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Saturday, July 30, 2011

On Tap...'The Dogtrack $700"

If you live in the Pensacola area...today's poker tourney is like the Indy 500. For the rest of us its just another tourney. Sort of. 

I am currently working on what should be very amusing for all of you hard-core poker players. Today is Day 3 in...well, I'm staying in Perdido Key actually. The first two days saw me play the Mega satellite (lost with KK vs. AK...obv) and the nightly yesterday (KJ vs. AQ flop K-J....turn, of course...a 10) before working in a couple of cash sessions. I made quads three times in two days and won some lovely parting gifts from the DogTrack poker room.

Fun Place! You see a guy lose repeatedly in the cash game...two minutes later he is back with a fistful of tickets...and a reborn enthusiasm...as he roots for his new favorite pooch to get him outa the hole!


What I have witnessed here will make your head, quite possibly, become separated from your body...and roll across the floor. Hands you have seen played out in other venues, where you had to just shake your head (reference ANY tourney you have EVER played in Tunica here) you will look back on with a sense of dismissal after playing here for even one hour. I finally took to documenting individual hands...less I somehow accidentally purge the memory of them from my brain and its diminishing capacity to remember ridiculous encounters having to do with poker.

This is like a wasteland for poker dealers and players over here. Dealers I haven't seen since the days of The Grand in Biloxi. Players who...when I used to play with them were old...now are on life support. A lot of guys I hoped I would never, ever see again...some I remember quite fondly. Its been quite an interesting experience over here. I don't have time to get into all these goofy, comical hands right now... mainly because I fully expect to ADD to them today in the 'Big Tourney' or whatever the hell they are calling this donkfest at the dogtrack.

I'm staying with James Ray in his cool little condo in Perdido. I took my 4Runner to the shop for some routine maintenance. But then...the day before, it starts doing this weird thing where the stereo stays on AFTER I turn off the engine AND remove the key. Huh? Yeah. And everything else electric. Resulting in a drained battery twice. The word from the dealership is: 'We aren't sure what is going on there...but we will continue to investigate (which means labor+labor+labor+labor=holy shit!!!) until we figure it out. They close today at 4pm. They are closed on Sunday. Have a feeling I am going to be stuck here til Monday.

I ended up buying my $700 entry for $550. A lot of people have extra entries they can't get rid of....so they sell them at a discount. Good. Putting $700 into this thing is a spooky thought. I mean...these people are SO bad, you can't bring yourself to believe you are witnessing some of the hands you are watching go down. I think today's strategy is going to have to be to just play super tight, look for a good spot to double up...then just play divide and conquer all day!

Gabe and Claudia are coming over to play...so at least I can count on there being 4 good players in the tourney, at least. 

They are fanatical about the cell phone over here. Like...its ridiculous. And the iPad? Had four people at the table secretly go to floor person complaining about it...not because it was doing anything to harm them, or slow the game down. Nope, they just don't know what the hell it was...I think it frightened them. Like it was a crystal ball I was using to tell me the upcoming flops...or my opponents hands. I literally feel like I am on another Poker Planet when I am playing over here. It is a damn trip. 



Last night, I turn on this show on...I don't know what channel...about 'The Hunt for Bigfoot.' These idiots driving around in Oregon...calling what they are doing 'Bigfooting' I am typically not a cynic when it comes to stuff like UFO's and Bigfoot and whatnot. But this show was SO obviously concocted by a bunch of jackasses.  Dork was floating down a river with his dork posse...and literally delivers this classic line. "We might not be able to see any Squatches right now...but all the elements are here for Squatches...and you can be certain that there ARE Squatches present here. I guarantee it!!! It had so many glaring signs of 'bullshit' and their leader became so unbearable that I couldn't make it another minute. Click. 

Props to everyone for making this the #1 month in blog hits. Thanks to Adam Williamson for the shout out on his Twitter to get me peaked out. We are at like 9400 right now with two days left. Sick. Is 10k possible? Why not? Okay...I gotta get a shower and get outa here. Have 45 minutes and its a 20 minute drive. Got a nice seat draw at least...seat 5. Who knows? Maybe I will run good today? Could that possibly happen? We'll see!

MONKEY

Thursday, July 28, 2011

BANG BANG....YOU'RE DEAD!!!

Yeah. I know. Two blog posts in one day. Okay...technically, its after midnight...and we can say its not really two in one day. But you know it is. So...who cares. I have had two things come to my attention in the past four hours that must be shared.

One comes from Chris Hunichen, my former 'teammate' on Bustout Poker. He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina. And the other night...a poker game in his neighborhood was 'interrupted' by a couple of retards donning ski masks and guns. It was touted by the local news as a 'high-stakes' poker game...even though it was just a friendly 1/2 game. Love how the media always blows shit out of proportion.  

Just look at these two assholes. One is dead...the other is wounded and sitting in jail on 1.15m bail. Not sure which one is dead...does it matter? They both had records of assault. Peace out fuckers!

Good thing our lawmakers have made online poker illegal. Now instead of sitting in the privacy of our homes...degenning away our families bill money, WITH our family, we get to drive across town...away from our family...and degen it away there instead...with an outside shot of getting shot and killed. Good thinking, pricks. Home of the Brave...Land of the Free? Really? I call bullshit. Anyway we can move this next election up a year? How long before China puts their little 'made in China' sticker on the bottom of the USA?

Here you go. This will brighten your day. Do you like total dark, dry, cynical humor? Kind of like mine? Thought you did...so that's why I am letting you in on a little secret. For months this guy was friend requesting me. And I looked at this face...and was like  "who the fuck IS this old peckerhead!???"

This is NOT my Grandfather...or YOURS!
So...not wanting to be mean to the old fart, I sent him a message asking who he was, or how we knew each other? He replied in a way (rude) that caused me to just write him off. Bastard! Well...over the summer, I came to be friends with a guy...a fellow player, who I have known for quite awhile but never really got to know. Until this summer. Then he let me in on the little secret. Robert Pringle...is really him. Ohhhhh....I see. So I instantly friend requested him...and discovered all that I had been missing these past few months.

After I wiped the tears out of my eyes from laughing...I started thinking to myself...Hmmmm, self, maybe creating an alter ego...a dark, shadowy, mystery person, would be a good idea, to avoid putting myself in a bad light, while still getting to say the sick, twisted things that are on my mind. Like 'ol Robert Pringle here. If you enjoy laughing at sick, sick shit...I would highly recommend FRIEND REQUESTING Robert Pringle on Facebook....tell him (in a message when you do the request) that Monkey sent you!

Also, to the 64 people (and growing) who have friend requested me over the summer...who I have yet to respond to...if you are reading this and have yet to figure out why I haven't approved you yet? I am a stickler for letting people on my Facebook. I must either (a) know you (b) know you read this or (c) have some 'reason' for wanting you to be on my Facebook list. So simply send me a message telling me WHY I want to approve you. Without sounding like a jerkoff. Why are people so lazy these days that they can't just attach a simple note? I'm not trying to conquer the world of Facebook...seeing how many friends I can have! Porn stars, Playmates and Hometown Hotties...you need not provide me a reason to approve you. You are just being kept around for the photos, and the interesting posts you make that make me realize how much smarter my wife is than all of you.

I am happy to announce that my Seattle Mariners have snapped their 17-game losing streak...routing the Yankees today 9-2 behind a strong performance by defending Cy Young winner Felix "King" Hernandez. Thank God!!! Also collecting a complete game NO-HITTER for my fantasy team was Ervin Santana of the Angels. My fantasy team currently holds a 14-3 lead (we score by categories in our head to head matchups) over my opponent. Who knows? Maybe the Mariners and I are going to start turning shit around starting today!!!!! Huh? Whatever. Ignore me and my fantasy dork psycho babble bullshit. I am.

Monkey

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

This Ship Might be A-Sailin!!!!

Come on animals...hop on board...this shit sails in less than a week!!!
Yeah...okay, so its now been a week since I have been home. I have a chest cold that is kicking my ass, which has kept me from wandering down to the I.P. and starting the first leg of my 'stay at home' job. You got it, I am going to try my hand at being a 'cash game player.' Putting in 4-5 hour shifts. Cutting losses when I must, leaving when I am up a set amount. You know...a 'real' job-like strategy. I am really going to try NOT being on the road so much this year. I mean, some events you just can't help not missing out on...Borgata, a few various circuit events. 

In the week that I have been home...it has rained every single day. I couldn't buy a drop of rain before I left...now its ridiculous. The backyard is like a swamp. I decided yesterday that it might be a good idea to start construction on an Ark. I mean, 2012 is just right around the corner. The tough part is coming up with a way to locate two of every animal on the planet. What a pain in the ass!!!

I am attempting to watch 'Inception' for about the 5th time. I have never been able to figure it out. Does that make me stupid? Maybe.

I see the latest poll on the right has closed. I don't know if I am supposed to be shocked, or pleasantly surprised, that the #1 chosen thing that people would want to accomplish before they die was 'Find the Cure for Cancer.' Are you guys being sincere? Or is it just the 'feel good' answer? Out of 23 who played the game...12 of you picked the cancer option. Only 2 of you wanted to win the WSOP Main Event. The other top three...all with three picks...were 'Win the Lottery,' 'Be the President of the US,' and 'Save Someone's Life.' Guess it's time to come up with a new poll.

Congratulations to the NFL for working out their differences. They seemed to have kept the details of the new CBA pretty hush hush. I guess I really don't care that much, as long as both sides are happy to the point that we wont have to worry about another work stoppage for 7-10 years. All I know...is that I can now get on about the business of getting my football pools and fantasy leagues fired up...and not a moment too soon. My fantasy baseball team is in the tank...and my freaking Seattle Mariners...who on July 5th were 1.5 games out of first place...have now lost a franchise record (the MLB record, btw...is 23 games) 17 consecutive games. And most of them they either led, or ended up losing by 3 runs or less. What a nightmare. So hold the 'your team sucks' jokes. They really don't SUCK...in fact, they have phenomenal pitching...they just can't hit their weight. 

Spent twenty minutes looking at Squirrel's 'US' magazine today. Why? I don't know. Wanted to hear why J-Lo and Marc Anthony split. Didn't learn much. But what I did learn...is that I am so freaking glad I never made it big in acting. My gawd....they have a picture of all these actors...caught doing 'everyday' activities...tying their shoe, using their ATM card, filling up with gas...you name it. I am absolutely stunned that enough people find this shit interesting enough to keep buying these magazines. What a joke.

There is a new game on the Zynga network capturing my attention. 'Hanging With Friends' which is a bit like a cross between Hang-Man and Wheel of Fortune. Its pretty hard. I'm a little surprised that I am spending the amount of time I am playing a game that has no financial benefit at all.

Last night, I had a really strange dream. My Mom had been carrying around this secret her whole life. How to make pay phones start coughing out quarters. She would do this weird thing where she picked up the phone...hit the plunger a few times...push some buttons on the keypad...then click the plunger again...and all these quarters came flying out of it. Whoa! Eventually, of course, this dream deviated...to the point that we were driving down a road in the car...and making huge quarter scores. The phone was in the car? No idea. Go ahead, Dream Doctors...figure that one out!

I hear the fields up in Tunica at the Goldstrike tournament have been great. Good! Glad to hear. First of all, for Tunica....after the floods it was really important for them, I think...to have a strong turnout for their first big poker tourney since they re-opened. Also, happy for the dealers...who I'm sure needed to make some money. And of course, for my fellow players, who are playing for 5-figure scores...which is always nice. I would have loved to have got up there for those tourneys...but honestly, Squirrel would have likely snapped if I had gone up there, after being gone all summer (7 weeks) in Vegas, spinning my wheels and coming home in non-glorious fashion.

Besides, after driving 1900 miles, and being so screwed up with sleep...it felt nice to just lay in bed for the better part of a week, sleeping, cuddling with my dogs, and getting re-focused. Been getting all my errands and 'to-do list' stuff done over the past week as well. Wanted to go work out...but this scratchy throat and chest congestion have kept that from happening. 

This weekend in Pensacola, at the Dog Track over there...they are having a $50k Guarantee tourney, for a $700 buy in. There is a $100 mega for it tomorrow night (Thursday) that I might go over and play. My buddy James Ray has a place on the beach, and a boat...near Orange Beach...so I might stay there Thursday and Friday...and play the tourney on Saturday. It will also give me a chance to check on my rental property in Pensacola, as well as get a tuneup and oil change at my Toyota dealership over there that my buddy is the service manager at.

The last time I played at Pensacola Dog Track...some old, half-asleep guy slammed his truck into my 4Runner as I was leaving. I never have had that work done...so maybe when I get my car fixed for my recent damage, I can get that one fixed too. My poker experience over there wasn't very memorable. It was very short-lived. I will take a much different strategy into this next tourney...knowing that nobody over there folds ANYthing. Play tight. Play the nuts. Extract value from nut hands. Period.

If this year is going to be anything like LAST year...well, then I guess I am about to catch fire. Last year...I pretty much spent the first 8 months treading water...just like this year...winning just enough to keep playing, but not enough to get ahead. So if I can somehow have a fall even kind of close to last year's fall...everything will be just great. But that's going to be tough...last Sept/Oct were incredible. I miss running good like that!!!!

My current hits for this month are at 8200. Whoa. The record was a few months ago...the month Osama Bin Laden was killed...I got a lot of random hits from the shot up face of bin Laden that I posted...which accounted for me topping 9k. With 5 days left...I have a realistic shot and breaking that record...and all from nothing but legitimate 'poker' hits. 

Oh...almost forgot. The pest reared his ugly, orange head again. Jeff Timms posted something on his Facebook last week about someone in Houston walking out to get $1200 to pay his insured 'marker' in a local cash game...but got in his car and drove away instead. I merely GUESSED at who it might be...and voila, was proven right. Never wrote about it, never even posted about it...merely guessed that it was 'his orangeness' and was told I was correct. Well, three days ago, Chad Burns invades my message box on Facebook...again. Using all the same stupid, tough guy insults...making the same empty threats. Squirrel was coming in from work, saw his name...and started to freak out.

"Again!!???? Will!!! WTF!???" Settle down Crazy Squirrel! The only thing that made me mad about the latest Orange Attack was her over-reacting thinking I did something to bring him out of the woodwork. I don't know what this guy's deal is...how he ever became such an incredible douchebag...or more importantly, how he pulls the shit he does in the greater Houston area and is still breathing air. Either Houstonians are great at making up stories, or they are just a bunch of total wussbags. Because...where I'm from...that guy would have been forced to move to another State a long time ago. Now...Texas, I understand is a very large state...so maybe they would allow him to go live in...say, El Paso...maybe Lubbock.

Good 'Ol Chad Burns...keeping that super-cool 'shirt under the shirt look alive and kicking.

Look at me...I am drinking cocktails...check it...see all those glasses sitting in front of me? Those used to belong to a girl. Notice how there are three of them? Yeah well...I guess when they walked away from me after another stupid one-liner they just forgot about their drink. MORE FOR ME!!!! Hahahaha LOL!!!
Yeah, his latest rant was that he 'heard' that I ran like shit all summer...that I bubbled nearly everything I played. Then asked how old I was again. Reiterating what a 'loser' I am that I have a backer at 44 years old. Then reflected on how disappointed my backer must be in me. Also mentioned that him and his 'boys' (God I wonder who constitutes THAT posse!!!) were in Vegas and that he spent hours 'looking for me.' All of this was especially amusing to me...(a) since I post on here or Facebook ALL of my results usually, rendering research virtually pointless (b) Finding me is like finding a gas station. Again...I post daily where I am playing. (c) anyone who considers ANY poker player...whether they are 21 or 51 a LOSER because they have a backer...obviously has ZERO grasp of how poker works, of the variance involved. Sure...the guy who clips a $1m score doesn't need a backer anymore...as long as he avoids managing his bankroll like a moron. But until I am that guy...I am eternally grateful for having a poker backer. 

It just cracks me up that every time this fucktard opens his mouth, he just keeps sounding more stupid every time. It is good for one thing though. It makes him a lot easier to just laugh at and not get upset over. 

Still watching 'Inception' and still ridiculously confused. I think its time to just give up on this movie.

Spent about three hours last night perusing Ebay and several other online sites...trying (to no avail) to find a replica of the Missing Raising Monkey. I really want to find a replacement...and not just some run of the mill Monkey...but T-H-E actual Monkey. I've never seen another one like it in 8 years...and just have a feeling it was a one-of-a-kind. 

So I am told by a few guys that I have GOT to get on BoDog and play...that its super, super soft. Um...well, okay...thought about it...and was about to try and get money on there, then today I read that they will not seek to renew their gaming license at the end of this year. That they will honor the ban on US internet poker. So forget about that one. This is such bullshit. Okay...its been what? 4 months now? How long is it going to take for the US Government to get this shit ironed out? Ive never seen more hypocritical horseshit than I have from the past two administrations.

Yesterday, I did decide to try playing online for the first time since May. So I logged onto FeltStars...which doubles as Lock Poker. I bought into a $5/18pp SNG...because that was the only thing I could find that was about to fill up. And I won that shit. For $45. Hip Hip Hooray. After that game...I was sleepy, and logged off and took a nap. Lately, sleepy is how I have been feeling about 18 hours out of 24 a day. That's kind of freaking me out, too.

Happy Birthday to my friend Allie Prescott...who like me, hasn't moved since we got back from Vegas, though I know its his plan to get in his car...and drive to Florida, where he plans to live and become a full-time cash game player down there. That is definitely the right place to do it. 

Okay...see ya later!

MONKEY

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Home From Vegas...Winehouse 86'd...Icehouse anyone?

So, I finally managed to pull myself off the bed after being home for three days...or was it two? Who's counting. Went to return my overdue RedBox movies...then get a new mouse to replace my jumpity, sketched out current clicker...and find a new battery for the garage door opener. Yeah, got home and the garage door wouldn't open! Hmmm...wassup!??? Nothing. Just a dead battery.

So I walk in the house, bust out the mouse, load it with batteries, fire up the computer...and voila! I see the news. Amy Winehouse is dead. No! No way! I don't believe it. Sure! And men really walked on the moon. Christopher Columbus really discovered America. I call bullshit. No way in hell that wonderful health nut could be dead. Mistaken identity? British media sensationalism? I mean, we all know that Ruppert and his cast of miscreants are under fire for journalistic malfeasance (is that too many big words for you clowns in one sentence? Raise your hand if the answer is ABSOLUTELY!) this month...so is it possible that this is just a smoke screen to escape all the scrutiny of tapping phones?

I'm sorry, but until I see an actual photo of the pop princess laying in the morgue, I will not be able to accept that she has passed on to another place. Let's do a little photographic timeline of the musical goddess. Shall we?


Not bad, right? Pretty eyes. Long, flowing black hair. Obviously picked up the fun bags at a very inexpensive plastic surgeons sample sale, and that's too bad, and not sure who Blake is, or how he warrants a tatto'd 'pocket' above her left mammary...but hey, whatever.

Oh boy. What happened? Someone appears to be hiding from the sun, visiting the Tattoo Parlour (a LOT!) and missing several meals. The style of dress is also starting to leave a little to be desired. Not going to be finding this on too many COSMO covers anytime soon, are we?

Oh, for the love of Nancy Kerrigan! Is it me? Or does she appear to be crying out "Whhhyyyyyy!!!???" I think we are all asking the same question. What happened to those fake titties? Someone drain them? Like a lake in Africa...they just dried up! Yeah...that was one slippery slope indeed!



And in one final farewell to Amy...we check out her final appearance on stage, where she was booed off of it, in Belgrade, where...if you can't impress the locals, you are REALLY doing something wrong!

I would say it's sad, but lets be real...I think the amazing thing is that she made it THIS long. I personally made her my number draft pick in the annual 'Dead Pool' four years in a row, twice giving up my #2 pick to move up in order to take her. I knew the potential was there, but she just seemed to be a bust every year. She has finally redeemed herself. And for anyone about to leave a message calling me 'insensitive???' Please save it! Her own parents predicted she wouldn't make 30 and pretty much washed their hands of her years ago. So don't think they are all huddled around the living room right now shedding tears.

Lets move on. About four months ago I was 'friended' by a guy named Anthony Howe on Facebook. Since then, I have been entered into a group called by 'Poker's Elite Secret Society' by him. It seems like every day there are 10-15 messages coming my way from this cult. Some, I have heard of, others...nope. He has a blog...called Poker Talk Matters. I am absolutely flummoxed by this guy. I look up his stats on Cardplayer. Zilch. Yet he qualifies himself as a professional poker player who has been grinding for over ten years now. His wife even serves up a testimonial that he has 'paid his poker dues.' I asked where those dues are collected, how much they are, and if I can pay them myself to close the book on that irritating task?

Don't get me wrong. I am not here to bash Anthony. He has never said a bad word to or about me. I just don't get it. I couldn't be more confused. I've read his blog. Lets imagine you build spaceships for a living. And some guy asked you to join his group called "Shoot For the Stars...let me Show You How!" so you could learn about becoming an aeronautical engineer. You with me? And on the second entry...he talked about the times required to turn the rubberband to achieve liftoff? How would you react to that? Poker's Elite Secret Society? Is there a handshake? A password? Are there events where we show up in masks and the women get naked and eat food off of each other?

Say what you will about him and his....enterprise? A lot of people seem to be falling into his web. And he appears to branching out into other areas...including podcasts. It makes me wonder if I am missing the boat on how to make a buck in poker. Clearly, just showing up and taking a swing at multi-million dollar prize pools isn't paying off, or...from what I can see, necessary. This guy might just be a mad genius.

The yard here at Monkey Central looks like a jungle. Why? Well, it didn't rain for about 37 days in a row when I was here. Now it's rained like 15 days in a row. About the same number of days my Dad has been out of the Big House. Also the same number of days since my Seattle Mariners won a baseball game. I hate to suggest that my father return to prison so the M's can win another baseball game...but what the hell? From .500 and 1.5 games out of first to 12 games out!!?? And this yard? $30 to call a band of illegal aliens to do it? Or watch me walk out into the 95 degree 80% humidity and stroke out??? Squirrel keeps hinting about the yard needing cut. "I thought you might like something to do!"

Yeah. I would. However, death wasn't on my agenda. Wondering if she secretly took out a life insurance policy on me while I was in Vegas. Anyone over the age of 40 tried mowing the lawn in South Mississippi in the dead of summer? After a summer of sitting in air conditioned casinos in Vegas? I feel a heart attack coming on just thinking about it.

The NFL owners are pulling one of the biggest 'quickies' I've ever seen. Anyone really following this? Or just reading the scrolling headlines like all the owners hope you are?

The only thing missing from this picture is a big crown. Or maybe devil horns.
Well, Roger Goodell has likely pulled one of the greatest PR gaffes of all time. Knowing the season is on the front doorstep, and that no one can afford a work stoppage, they have pulled one of the most incredible moves of all time. Him and the owners went in...worked on a deal they could all be happy with...then went ahead and voted on it. Oh...all except for the Raiders (because, well..they are the Raiders) agreed to it...so POW! It's a deal! Well, once, of course, the players sign off on it! As if that was a forgone conclusion.

Now, depending upon your point of view...this is either awesome, or super fucked up. Do I think the players make too much money? No. I don't. I think basketball players make too much. And hockey players. And thats based on the amount of money generated by the gate and TV...which in both, in no way constitutes the salaries being paid. But football? It's a very short career. They are, without a doubt...the best at what they do. The stadiums are always close to sold out. The networks always get the highest ratings. And these guy literally destroy their bodies, in the pursuit of greatness and short-lived riches.

They are obviously not very smart either. For starters, their leader, DeMaurice Smith...has done very little to further their cause. But to let the owners just parade around like they have solved the issues, agreed to a deal, and are just waiting on the players to agree themselves? Without saying a word? Its like...the owners just made DeMaurice their bitch. See...if the players say FORGET IT...then they fall into the trap laid by the owners...where they look like the good guys, who tried to get a deal done....and the players are just greedy and spoiled and uncooperative. Nearly every issue on the table has either been ignored or put off in this new 'deal' orchestrated by the owners. All it is, is an attempt to get the players to camp, and get the turnstiles turning by September...which of course, I am all in favor of. And most of us are too, I'm guessing.

But as a guy who pulls for the underdog? I hate to see what is happening, because the players are literally getting hosed by a bunch of rich assholes with better lawyers, better PR firms behind them, and who can use other sneaky, dirty tactics to force them back. I just wonder...with their 'deadline' for acceptance looming, is DeMaurice going to finally step up and do what the players hired him to do? Or is he going to 'puss out' and let the owners win the battle without a single shot being fired? Should be interesting.

Casey Anthony is out of jail and living God Knows Where. I wonder how long it took her to have sex. And was it with a guy? Maybe a threesome? Monkey's need to know these things.

Yes, my dogs were happy to see me when I got home. In fact, they haven't left my side since I walked in the door. Several people have been asking me if I am coming up to Goldstrike to play in the WPO up there...which started yesterday, and drew well for their first event. It is awfully tempting. But what isn't is looking at the faces of my dogs and thinking about leaving them again. Or packing...after just UNPACKING. Or driving, after having JUST driven 1900+ miles to get home. Or leaving Squirrel, who I am almost positive would freak out if I even mentioned it. All the errands that piled up while I was gone...they need to be addressed. Plus there is a $50k Guaranteed tourney in Pensacola next Saturday. Now...it has a $700 buy in...so why do they even try to entice us with the 50k G banner? How stupid.

One thing that has me chomping at the bit however? Once you sit with the best players in the world for 7 weeks...and yes that includes all the crazy, maniacal Euros...then go to a place like Tunica...winning a tourney up there seems like child's play. Or does it? Yeah! Its kind of a double edged sword. Those cotton-farming, catfishin rednecks still insist that getting it in with 3-8 suited or 59 off suit is a good play...so when your AA goes down in flames to Farmer Fred and his two pair and you are looking for a mosquito to bite you and give you Mississippi Malaria...don't come crying to me about it. It happens up there. A lot!

Hold still you son of a bitch! What were you thinking anyway? Playing AA in Tunica!!! I got something for you, assclown!!!!

So anyone wanting to know about the journey home? It was rather uneventful. Kai got tired in a place outside of Albuquerque...we stopped so he could sleep in the parking lot. At a casino called Route 66. I played 2-6 spread limit with a bunch of whackos...one who, despite having a woman's name was the most masculine fella at the table, and bragged that her father was a one-time WSOP champion. He obviously forgot to pass down his amazing skills to her...him? I won $19. Meanwhile, Kyle was busy playing Bonus Hold Em..in for $400...out for $1550. Nice session. He bought dinner later on...at a place called, ahem...'Restaurant' in a place called Santa Rosa, NM.

Outside of this place...there were bird nests...everywhere. It was very Alfred Hitchock'ish. But the liver and onions that Kai and I both had was wonderful.

Dammit it Mom....feed us BITCH! And so she would....swoopin in with a mouthful of regurgitated worms...to their waiting mouths. Yes...the brush with nature was, um...lovely.

'Scuse me you two...but seriously? Once you barely fit in the nest still, don't you think maybe that it's time to get your ass out of the nest? Come on...beat it!

Who hasn't been known to get their kicks on Route 66 at least once or twice in their life? Me and Allie Prescott managed to experience ours. Wheeeeee!!!!

Proof that the American Dream is still alive and well...no idea where this was. But my insides ache for that scooter.

While filling up for gas....in....who knows...we see this amazing ensemble. The woman is easily 55+. But you wouldn't know it by the sex appeal she is throwing off!


After an authentic Mexican food experience in Hobbs, NM...the boys stand outside in the 104 degree 'dry' heat to...well, I don't know...look very 'Reservoir Dogs'ish' IMO.

About half way through Texas...I get to look at this in my mirror for about 15 minutes.

Followed by getting to look at THIS! I now hate Texas....bad.
 Yeah...we pretty much just did a lot of driving, stopping so Allie and his bird-like bladder could relieve itself, and filling up with gas and food occasionally. Thankfully Kai and his legendary Jetta had no 'flair ups' in the maintenance department. Allie and Kyle were locked up in 'song games' then graduated to 'Hanging With Friends' the latest word game from Zynga. So of course...we got to hear about all the words that aren't really words that Kyle kept stumping Allie with. Allie also stole my big metal spoon. I will be sending him a bill for that. Once we got to Dallas, they veered left for Memphis...and we veered right for Biloxi.

But before that took place...we both got pulled over by two of Texas' finest. Pfft. Finest. Yeah..if being a big, old, fat, ignorant redneck is fine...they were hella-fine! Thing about Texas...if you have ever driven through it...you realize that until you get to Dallas...there really isn't ANYTHING worth noting, unless you're big into oil wells and tumbleweeds. So...with a speed limit of 75 the last time I checked...with it dipping to 65 and or 70 at times...I felt like 75 was a good speed to set the cruise control on.

So when we were cruising along, and I see a cop off of the exit and passing a gas station, I made no attempt to slow down, figuring I was fine. Nope. Cop lights go on...and he came after me. Tells me I was going 83. Hell no, wrong. I gotchu on radar. Oh... from 80 yards away, going in the opposite direction? Yeeeep. The 'ol "my word against your word, I WIN" form of justice. Then tells me the speed limit is 60. What? Yeah...its night time, and you are in a city zone. WTF? Another fucking Texas Highway loophole. When you are in the jurisdiction of a city/town/shithole...they lower the speed limit from 65 to 60...and thats at NIGHT. In the daytime it goes 75 to 70. Lets see...lets just confuse the fuck out of everyone...then drill 'em with a ticket. And since they live outa state...they will never show up to fight it!

So this piece of shit gives me a ticket for going 83 in a 60. Despite the fact I was going 75. Again...my word against his. And his radar! What a racket! How much is my ticket? $208! I will be writing a letter to that judge. And quite possible never paying that ticket. Fuck you Texas!

So what happens 30 miles later? While texting to Kai that (guess what!!???) Allie and Kyle just got pulled over, in almost the same identical fashion...as they were now 25 miles ahead of us...I hit an interstate alligator! Holy!!!! !@*(#Y@*(. What the hell was that??? And right on my tail...I see Kai's car swerve and swear I can hear an Ed Helms-like (Dr. Faggot in The Hangover) squeal coming from the inside of Kai's car! I had, it turns out...put the finishing kill shot on an 18-wheeler's dying tire. To my shock, I incurred no damage to my 4Runner. Incredible. We met up with Allie and Kyle at Whattaburger on exit 'who cares' to hear their sordid tale of Kyle ending up in the back of a police car...due to not having any proof of insurance, and looking like (take your pick) a drug dealer, serial killer, terrorist, arsonist....eventually, the cop was unable to find any good reason to hold him after the interrogation ended...and he was released, with a brand new speeding ticket. 

I hate Texas. I mean...how broke is that state that this is what they resort to? Its midnight...on a friggin Wednesday...there are NO CARS on the interstate at all...and they are cracking down on people going what? 5-10 mph over the limit? Give me a break. We pay almost $4 a gallon for gas...we should be allowed to go as fast as we want, within reason! I hope the Longhorns, the Aggies, the Red Raiders, the Mustangs, and the Horned Frogs all go winless in football this season...and that the whole state gets hit by a category 15 hurricane!!!! Which for you farmers with cattle wouldn't be a bad thing...I know you need the rain. I saw all your skinny cows that looked more like deer than cows!

Oh for the love of God...Squirrel is back in here hounding me again about the lawn. I am now almost positive she has taken out a life insurance policy on me. I am going to a place where I am almost assured of NOT stroking out...the movie theater...to see 'Captain America!' I enjoy watching Nazi's get killed.

Thanks for stopping by....

Monkey

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Road Trip Begins.....

This MIGHT be a fun little adventure! As Kai got that magic phone call at 4pm saying his car was finally fixed....the wheels were set in motion to finally leave this desert outpost....returning my traumatized nose to normalcy, in the good 'ol humid south!

We had a plan. Spend time at the pool. Eat a good meal (Kaizen...for fourth time this summer-Sushi)...run a few errands...take about a 3-4 hour nap...then wake up, pack...and hit it.

Slight snag. I get a phone call from Allie Prescott at 1am. Him and Kyle Bowker are interested in joining our little caravan. Really? Well...cool.  Get packed and get your asses over here!

That has occurred. They are interested in a little cross-country adventure, sightseeing as it were...so this might just possibly end up being a very fun trip home. I have gotten over my bitterness at all the bad, late beats this summer. My wife is home from Orange Beach...all ready for my return...as are the dogs.

Pretty sure things are cool with my backer. The fall circuit schedules have been released. Honestly I can't see anything in August I'm even slightly interested in playing. Might just stick in Biloxi, play some 2/5 at I.P. like its my job...and get after it in the fall. I am fired up for the Borgata tourney in September. Always great to see all my good buddies from the Northeast up there.

I want to thank the fine folks at Riviera Casino and Hotel for the wonderful treatment we got there. I will miss my super comfortable bed and the great maids. I would also like to salute the staffs at Venetian and Rio for doing a KICKASS job all summer running those gigantic events. I really can't think of too many things they did wrong. The crowds were huge...and the mistakes were kept to a minimum. Sure I would like to be leaving Sin City with a few bricks (10k'ers) in my car...but fate just did NOT smile on me this summer. But at least I got back into the WSOP...and feel pretty confident that I represented myself well. So that is a good thing.

I will likely be making a few entries on the way...probably with a lot of pictures...so look forward to that! Thats it. We are in the parking lot of Wal-Greens...just got my FIVE movies to watch on the way....lets do it!!!!

MONKEY

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Leaving Las Vegas....


Here it is. The long-anticipated entry...my final entry for the Summer for 2011. A lot of very interesting events have occurred in the past few days...some good, some bad, most that I will never, ever forget. For one reason or another. I will warn you...this entry is going to be very long. But their are going to be lots of exciting photos and videos. I try to give you people what you want. What you need. I have now had someone other than Garrett Jones tell me I should start video blogging. Someone with much better looks and much prettier hair. I will take this under advisement as we move forward. Or, maybe after I get home and get on a daily gym regiment and make myself...mmmm what I would deem as photographically desirable, or for that matter...tolerable even.

Today is Sunday. I got us a late checkout...so we could join many of our friends at Aria last night...play some tourneys, some cash games, drink cocktails...sleep in...avoid the 105 degree, bright sun, traffic-laden highways and get our journey under way under the cover of darkness, making my ability to watch movies from RedBox much easier to view on my stereo in the 4Runner. The plan was for Kai to follow me on the 1786 mile journey in his recently repaired, legendary VW Jetta. For obvious reasons...mainly in the event of another breakdown and him getting stranded somewhere in the middle of West Texas, where he would become buzzard food.

Small glitch. And this glitch comes as the Squirrel's level of angst at me still BEING IN Vegas grows by the minute. On the way back from Aria late last night (he stayed longer than I did) his car....SURPRISE!!!....broke down AGAIN! So I have no idea what that means for us now. I'm kind of stuck in a position of 'I'm damned if I do, I'm damned if I don't'...not wanting to piss off the Squirrel anymore than I already have...and not wanting to desert my good friend. Bad Spot. Kind of like having pocket 8's in the BB with 9 big blinds left and a raiser in early position followed by a re-raise on the button. What would YOU do?

I wonder what Kenny "Motherfu***ng" Powers would do? What does this have to do with anything? Absolutely NOTHING...except I think it might be one of the funniest videos I have watched in awhile. So enjoy! And no...this is NOT an endorsement for K-Swiss Tubes.


 In other news...we were all emotionally impacted by the disaster that struck Japan this spring...well, I think most of us were. If you weren't then you just aren't human. So when I saw the inspirational run made by the Japanese women to reach the World Cup final against our US Women who made an equally amazing run to reach the title game...I kind of felt like there would be no bad outcome to this game. As much as I am proud to be an American...and as much as I take pride in our country in everything we compete in, I have to say that watching the Japanese ladies make their incredible comeback to beat the heavily favored United States and win their first World Cup was awesome. And what it has to mean to their country? I think its one of those amazing things that happen in sports that have the ability to transcend a whole nation and bring them together. Congratulations to Japan...and continued success in your efforts to recover from the Earthquake/Tsunami/Nuclear disaster.


 Kai Landry is a bit (understatement) of an insane maniac. At some point he decided to introduce a new character into his arsenal of intimidating table props. Mr. Tomato. Yep..a real, gigantic, juicy tomato. This thing joined him at the Caeser's Palace Main Event...which he barely got into after busting early on Day 3 in the WSOP Main Event, or maybe it was Day 2...now I forget. Yeah it was Day 2. He got in and took his 50k in starting chips to 140k. Then came back to the room, after I picked him up after bagging up 120k of my own chips in the Main Event...and presented this stupid tomato with its own place to sleep.


Kai looking upon Mr. Tomato with glee as the Ambien kicks in and sleep awaits him

Nighty Night Kai-ster...you and Mr. Tomato have a lovely night sleep!

 Yeah...well, the tomato continued its journey the next day...and Kai again dominated the field at Caeser's. But don't let Kai convince you that him and his poker skills had anything to do with it. Nope...it was all about the damn Tomato. So after he bagged up something like 2.5 million and was in the Top 5 in chips with a shot at $225k...the tomato was afforded the same sleep accommodations.

The next day...he would make the money...get deeper and deeper...as the tomato began to show some signs of wear and tear, now requiring a bandage to cover an ugly blemish. Eventually Kai would run out of luck...losing a few of those 'much needed' coin flips that always arise late in tourneys...and he ended up 25th or something, for around $9k...which certainly wasn't what he woke up hoping to bring back to the room at Riviera...but nonetheless, another great run for Kai. 

So...like a good buddy/rail sweater...he headed over to Rio to check on my status. Where I managed to get to 150k early...the day kind of turned to shit when I got moved from what WAS an excellent table draw, into the Amazon Room and a table full of absolute maniacs. Fearless, internet-savvy maniacs. And they weren't bad players. In fact most of them were excellent. It required a whole new strategy...the most challenging scenario in poker. Study the table, pin point each players' strengths and weaknesses, their tendencies...everything. The iPad went in the bag. This was the big time. Crunch time, times twelve. Everything I did that day was tantamount to my immediate future. No mistakes could be made.

The first four orbits I got absolutely NOTHING to play...which was kind of good because it afforded me the chance to do a lot of sizing up of my table, as well as develop a nice, tight table image. What was going on around me was mind-boggling. UTG raise...middle position re-raise...cutoff smooth call...to the big blind, who would invariably re-raise HUGE...to the original raiser...who would tank forever....then put in ANOTHER huge raise....while the other two would tank then fold. Back to the guy in the big blind...who would once again go in the tank...jeezuz.....then RAISE AGAIN! Back to the guy UTG...who would drain another 3 or 4 minutes off the clock....then shove all in! To which the guy in the BB snap folded!

This was going on constantly. As was the tanking. We had hands that were taking 12-15 minutes on a regular basis. It was making me insane. And while that was going on...I'm looking at Q-4, 6-2, 9-3....total shit. So even if I wanted to make a move to take down a pot, it was impossible. At my previous table, I was getting drilled with the deck...though I lost 10k to a 7-9 shover with AA when he made two pair. Then get QQ on the next hand and lose to a short stack player with AA himself. Lose with QQ again to AA a short while later. Win with AK about 4 times. It was a fun table, fun players with lots of personality, zero tension, everyone acting on their hands in a reasonable time. I hated it when our table broke, despite taking some nasty beats. I still came to the new table with around 100k.

But losing chips to dead card fever is a bitch...and it eventually gnaws at your soul...as you go from 100k to 80k...then 70k...then 50k...then the onset of panic begins to rear its ugly head. You fight it off, because the structure is so good. Hope for just one situation where you can get a raise and a re-raise before you act...then look down at AA or KK...and work your way into a double up...then just sit around, get to the end of Day 3...bag your chips...then get a new table the next day, sweat out 180 players...make the money, then go from there. 

So once I got down to 48k...and desperately needed to win a hand...that scenario occurs. At 600/1200 the player UTG raises to 2800. Another player calls...and I look down at KK. Finally! Hmmm...I'm in the SB. Flat call and play for a huge pot? But run the risk of letting them hit a small set? Or a possible ace? Or raise big and take down a pot of around 10k? At a time when I really needed to turn the tide back into my favor? Of course, you always wish you would have done it differently when your mission has ended in failure and you look back on it. Now I wish I had just called and checked any flop. But I re-raised to 6500. And given my super-tight image, both players quickly folded, and while I was happy to finally win a pot, I felt a sense of disappointment too.

There would be a couple more hands....AQ and 10-10...where I would raise...get called by this Euro who was incredibly tough to put on a hand. I got very bad flops and had to fold to the guy. I was so wrapped up in NOT making a critical mistake that it might have affected my ability to just let it fly. Or maybe I was doing the right things but just not catching any breaks.

I would go card dead after dinner break. About that time Kai showed up with Mr. Tomato, and knowing I was floundering...presented me with the Tomato, promising me an immediate turn around!


When things were looking bleak late on Day 3...Kai brought the over-used, often-abused Savior Tomato to my table in the Amazon Room to resurrect my dwindling chip stack.

So I welcomed the tomato to the table. Alongside my crystal Silverback Gorilla, who has replaced the Missing Raising Monkey...another side chapter in this summer of ups and downs. We were getting closer and closer to the end of the night...and I was continuing to get NOTHING to play. Meanwhile, my table was turning into damnation alley...with mountains of chips on either side of me. I was in Seat 5...with my stack that was dwindling with every hand. 400 antes with 1200/2400 blinds...7200 a round. Going from 40k...to 30k...to 20k....shit!!!! I think the chipleader in the tourney was now at around 1.2 million, and at my table alone...there were at least 6 players who had more than 500k. I would bet money that there was NO table in the whole tourney that had as many chips on it as our table. Which was just adding to my anxiety level.

Then...with 10 minutes left in the night...they cleared all the spectators from the Amazon room. I was down to 19k now. Do I limp into Day 4 with what will amount to about 5 or 6 big blinds? Or do I try like hell to get a double up and at least have a chance better than a prayer? 

UTG...fold, next guy...fold...another fold....fold, fold...to me in the cutoff...and I look down at K10d. El Diablo. Jeezuz. I would have much rather seen K9. Even stealing the blinds here would be huge. I let 'er rip. ALL IN! Button folds. Small Blind folds. Big blind was still busy building a new west wing to his huge stack...and literally asked the dealer 'how much'...did not even look at his cards and just threw four orange (5k) chips out like it was a tip for the shoe-shine boy. Didn't even look! He turns over Q7. Cool. I'm ahead of both cards. Excellent chance to double up and get outa Day 3 with a decent chance of cashing. Forget it. He flops a Q...and it holds. And my WSOP experience was over. I just sat there, feeling so empty. Nobody even acknowledged me. It was like...Hmmmph, okay, whatever, picked off another one. See ya!

That is the worst feeling in the world. 28 hours of poker...and it just ends. With no money. No fame, no glory. Just more reasons to freak out about life. Then I left the Amazon Room...and got out to the hall where my friends were waiting, thinking I had survived. I told them the sad news. Got my looks of sympathy...and walked aimlessly down that long hallway that leads to the parking lot. 

Then it was decided that we were going to head to O'Sheas...the place we go when everything has bottomed out, which it had. My summer was essentially over. A summer of deep runs, close calls, and a few min cashes. But in the end...an unacceptable deficit. A dwindling bankroll...a diminishing life roll, and a wife who's doubts about this 'career' continue to fester.


 Before we got to O'Shea's however...Kai thought it would make me feel better to drive to a remote parking lot and give the tomato a proper burial. So...we did that...and I turned Mr. Tomato into Mr. Salsa....

Then it was off to O'Sheas...with Kai and Weronika Starr and her friend Kelly Bragg, both wives of fighter pilots who also like to play poker...and make fun of people. On the way into IP to valet my car...I completely missed this little stupid black sign...and when I heard the crunching of metal...I slammed on my brakes and inquired....

"Oh my God...what in the hell was that!!!???"

Kai: (after opening the car door) "Um...you might not want to look at this!"

Great. I got out...went around to the side of my 4Runner...and a large chunk of panel above the rear wheel had been ripped from the side of the car. Tried to put it back on. No dice. Unreal. My car now looks like that of a welfare recipient who shops at Dollar General. Great! I picked up the piece of side panel and put it in the back seat. Another thing I need to deal with when I get home. At least I had the good judgment not to duct tape it back on.

On top of that, my BOSE headphones developed a short in them sometime in the middle of Day 3...so bad that trying to listen to them is just annoying. So that's another phone call I need to make.

And...though I'm getting a little ahead of the story...on my way BACK to the Riviera from O'Sheas later? Due to all the damn road construction on Las Vegas Blvd, I decide to cut a right on Sands and take the back way to our hotel. After sitting in traffic, and getting onto a street with no traffic, isn't it always kind of a natural reaction to accelerate to celebrate having escaped that cluster fuck? Well, it is for me...and as soon as I reached 62mph...there, in the shadows...appeared, like magic, a motorcycle cop. Who couldn't wait to pull me over. And yes...I was presented a speeding ticket. In Vegas! The one town I always thought impossible to get a speeding ticket in. FML! The one shred of good news was that I won a little money at the cash game at O'Sheas. Very thin silver lining, however. Since the rest of my day couldn't have been any worse!


 We do always manage to find fun at O'Shea's though. Here Kai is sitting out on the sidewalk emulating a homeless person panhandling from strangers/tourists. It was hard not to break out howling. Watch some of the people's faces that are walking by. Classic Kai. And if you listen closely, Kai is uttering the phrase..."pocket Jacks....pocket jacks."

Kai out on the street seeking an autograph from Barney for his little girls...and possibly negotiating for other 'favors!'

 You see all kinds of crazy shit whenever you go to O'Shea's which is kind of why I like to go there after a 'bad day' at the poker tables. It always has a way of taking my mind off the bad shit that has happened that day.


You KNOW you are at O'Shea's when, after busting the Main Event, being taken hostage by your friends to escape your miserable mood...you peer over to find these princesses holding up the wall in anticipation of...??? Yes...that is a Hooters shirt!


Cute! Not that tattoos are for me or anything...and that's fine...but if you ARE going to have a tattoo, do you really think you need to shave the hair ONLY around the tattoo? Leaving the rest of your caveman-like arms covered in hair? Nice look dude!

 The next day I woke up...and went to the pool. It was rather pleasant. Then I decided I would go play the nightly at Venetian. I would get chips early. I would lose them. I would get them back. Then I would lose AK to JJ...and had only 1000 left, with the blinds at 600/1200. I put on a miraculous comeback...get back up to 32k...and we are down to only 18 players...paying 13. Wow...I might just pull this shit off, I thought. Forget it. This guy I know from the south...who was chatting me up at my earlier table..."you don't remember me? We played a SNG together in New Orleans one time." Oh....sure! How could I ever, possibly forget that!??? Jeezuz. Well, he was playing a lot...I mean...a LOT of shitty hands...and getting lucky a lot. And consequently, had an ass load of chips. So when he raised to 9k in early position and I looked down at AKd on the button, all in for 29k seemed like the right play. 

He doesn't even THINK about it. He snap calls with Q9o. Hmm...of course. Rag flop. Rag turn. Hey hey...about to go to about 70k and make a deep run, maybe bank a nice $3500 score before leaving Dodge? Forget it...dealer puts a Q on the river. I don't even react. Just got up and left. It's happened so many damned times this summer, I'm almost immune to the pain associated with getting gutted on the river. Just out. Again. Deep. What else is new?

Imagine that your table breaks...and you go to your new table, and you look down at THIS? Fortunately this was not my seat. But I just kept staring over, perplexed...and wondering how I would have reacted if that were me drawing that seat. I am not trying to belittle anyone with a skin condition. By all means. However, I think if you HAVE a skin condition...and know that some people might feel uncomfortable with having to come in contact with one of your body parts...that you should feel a certain sense of responsibility to conceal this from other people.


My nightmare of a table change...dude, seriously? You can't wear pants? Just seems to me like there should be a law against this. *!@#(&*!(

 Am I wrong? If so...please tell me. I would like to think I am pretty sensitive to people with 'conditions' as long as they decide NOT to make their issue my issue. I mean, if I had a gigantic boil on my neck...I would probably wear turtle-necks everywhere I went. 

The next day was Saturday. Kai and I had kind of decided we would leave on Sunday (today) so I was going to play something. Originally I thought about playing the Saturday $340 Venetian tourney...which they have every week, even after the Deepstacks events conclude. But then I thought about how I hadn't been to Aria all summer after practically living there last summer...when I was locked out from playing at the Rio and Venetian. They were all very nice over there, and I liked the casino and the poker room a lot. So after spending a couple hours at the pool I decided to go play the 1pm tourney at Aria.

After about 3 minutes of play I realized I was amongst some of the worst poker players on the planet. 5 and 6x raises were standard. Jeezuz. I would manage to get a double up fairly early on...with KK against QQ...and had the luxury of sitting back and finding spots. One such challenge arose when I picked up KK under the gun. Knowing with absolute certainty that one of these idiots would raise if I limped...I called for 400 and buried my snout in my iPad. Then I hear the dealer....

"Its on you to act sir." Yes! That meant there had been a raise downriver. I peek down at the mutants and see that the button had raised to 1200 and the BB had shoved all in for 7800 (I had 12000 in my stack)...and I just called. The other guy folded. Super Shove shows A3o. Ugh...here we go again. Dealer didn't even tease me...just put an ace right on the flop. Awesome! And then it was just downhill from there. Don't even remember what punched me out...but I lost. 

Went inside, got on a list to play 1/3...then ran into Frank Kassela, who was playing 200/400 mix game with a few notables like Tuan Le, who had JUST been knocked out of the main, and a guy they all call Crazy Mike...who I encountered at Venetian a couple summers ago, when he just walked up to a 1/2 game and decides to bet 100 blind on every hand...daring people to call him. Mostly delivering bad beats on people, and talking about how much money he had. I will never forget how much I wanted to take him outside and teach him a few lessons about how to act like a regular human being. An absolute motherfuc***er. So he hadn't changed much. He was berating this Asian gal who was dealing to them...and just wouldn't let up. I felt terrible for her. And wished I could yank him out of his chair and kick his ass. Of course, that isn't/wasn't an option...but you can dream. What a douche. They finally called my name and I was off to play cash.

Lost $300 in about 15 minutes when this Asian kid...who was on fire...was hitting every thing he needed on the river. Rebuy! Ran that up to about $500 and just hovered there for a long time. Then decided to play the 7pm tourney. Decent turnout of almost 100 players. Decent structure. Got off to a good start again. Then lost a huge coinflip with AK vs QQ...got short, then got busted.

Proceeded to play cash game until about 4am...had a lot of good buddies from the summer stop in, including Omar. It was a pretty fun night...and we had a real friendly table for the most part...and I booked a decent profit, which I was glad I got up and left with. Plus I was tired, and ready to get a good night of sleep, get packed, and get on the road. Now all that is in limbo, as Kai has since come back to the room while writing this...informed me that he extended the room for two more days, is getting his car towed (again) to a repair shop...to be fixed. I don't know what to do. Leave...and run the risk of him breaking down again...and also piss off the wife by not coming home yet...or stay, be what I would like to think is a good friend...and see that he makes it back to Biloxi in one piece. I mean, I miss being at home...miss her and my dogs...but I'm just going to go home and sit around all day and night with nothing to do really.

 There is some exciting news coming out of the WSOP Main Event. A handful of Gulf Coasters are inside of the final 90...with a very good friend of ours being one of them. I tagged Claudia Crawford with the nickname 'Claw' a few years ago...and we all shared a house here in Vegas together...she dates Gabe Costner, who was sitting on the chiplead in last year's Main Event before a catastrophic three-hand nightmare put him out I think 23rd. Claudia and I were pretty good friends, and then she started hanging out with Squirrel and now the two of them are like best friends. It's kind of a bittersweet feeling being OUT of the Main...and watching Squirrel post all the messages for Claudia...while I am happy as hell for 'Claw' I am obviously a bit envious that it isn't me. 

There are a handful of good players from the Gulf still in it. Ryan Lenaghan is a really great cash game player...and doesn't play a lot of tourneys. For some of the same reasons Claudia doesn't. They just like the high stakes cash game for the potential to make money. Tourneys really are such a high-variance crapshoot. I might actually have to start taking a look at playing more cash game when I return to Biloxi. Fred Berger...who was at the top after Day 1...continues to quietly remain in the running, as does Ben Mintz...another veteran of the circuit. Sam Barnhardt...who somehow amazingly won the 1m Freeroll that kicked off this long summer, has been on fire the last three days and is also among the chipleaders. I do not know HOW that guy does it! I have been watching him make some of the most mind-boggling plays over the past couple years, but somehow, it works for him. And I have to say...there isn't a nicer guy on the poker circuit, so its really hard not to root for Sam to do well. And then you have Jacob Bazeley, a pretty laid back guy who runs around with the whole crew of Mintz, Dolan, Tyler Smith and those guys. SIX players from our region with a solid chance of making the November Nine.

When people ask me..."why do you do this Monkey? When will you just give up?" Well, its really easy for me to answer that when I see guys making it this deep who I play with day in and day out and usually compete with on a very even keel. I don't think there is necessarily a "I think I'm just as good or better" than that guy/girl mentality that persists at all. I just think you get to a point where your ability to succeed is set in stone; with the obvious opportunity to always fine tune it and get better, where you can enter into a big tourney and have every bit as much of a chance to win as the people you play with all the time. I also happen to think we have a LOT of excellent players from the Gulf Coast...as is evidenced by this year and last year's WSOP results. Cashing already but missing out on the big money were David Diaz...who already won a bracelet this year...and TK Miles, who was among the chipleaders most of the tourney...and who I consider a PHENOMENAL tourney player...not that I am ready to give him $25k to 'fine tune' my game!!! (again thanks for the generous offer TK!)

"The Claw" and Squirrel...out to dinner on Cheryl's visit to Vegas this summer...before Claudia had a gazillion chips with 90 left in the WSOP Main Event...think she'll still remember us!!??

 But I have to be most excited for 'The Claw'...as she has had a very up and down..sometimes tumultuous two years...and who is very near and dear to my wife and I. I know that she is very grounded, and that a huge win wouldn't go to her head. At least I don't THINK it would. Her and Gabe are engaged again...and entertaining thoughts of buying a house...just like Squirrel and I have been trying to do. And I think that all of us that do this for a living are just striving for some damn stability in our lives.



I love this interview they did with her. She is obviously SO excited...so much so that she forgets to pause to breathe in between sentences. And of course she comes off as such a little redneck...blurting out the 'ol Roll Tide to kick off the interview. I'm sure the German interviewer was like..."Huh? WTF is she talking about? And what is UP with her funny accent!!???" But then she got into some hand conversations...and situational stuff, and the true poker smarts in her became evident. Claudia gets it. She is a solid player. I know she can do this. And I'm sick of all these women rattling off about 'how neat it would be if a woman made the November Nine.' Fuck that! How bout...'wouldn't it be cool if a woman won that shit!???'

Just last year...when things were going like shit for her...and she was waiting tables to make ends meet, I was staking HER...in some tourneys at the IP...trying to help her make a score and turn things around. Jeezuz...look at her now! Kind of sobering, too.

Something really magical happened yesterday. And it probably needs to be saved for an upcoming blog entry (pfft, or not!). I was on Team Bustout, as most of you know. I really like the owners. And thought we had a solid relationship. I was one of only two players who attended the Team Bustout dinner at the Mirage a couple weeks ago.

Well, on Day Three, I 'checked in' at the WSOP on Facebook...and 'tagged' some 'friends' who I knew were also competing that day. Most of them liked it. Some even replied with 'good luck' and stuff like that. Not Matt Stout. Instead, he messages me that he is deleting me because it is bothersome to him to have people replying to the 'Checked In' status. I simply reply to him that I was sorry to cause him such an inconvenience, and wished "you good luck in the tourney, Mr. Personality!"

To which...he decides to launch a tirade of abusive emails on me. Calling me a shitty player, admitting that he openly lobbied against me being allowed on Team Bustout. Takes it one step further and calls me (and my wife) a couple of stupid racist, redneck pieces of shit (I'm going to deduce that because we live in the South, that must naturally mean we are rednecks AND racists)...and tells me he hopes I die in a fuc**g fire. Real classy guy. And all I ever did was reply to him that he needs to develop some people skills, find some maturity, maybe quit smoking an ounce of dope a day...and stop being so negative about everything. Even complimented him on his abilities as a poker player. 

So what does he do? Well, obviously, he goes to the owner of Bustout and demands that I be dropped from the team. Why? Because he doesn't like me? So yesterday, sitting at Aria...I open my email on my iPad and see one from my Bustout boss, telling me that due to a few factors, most of them pertaining to my inability to get along with Matt Stout, that they are ending their relationship with me. And just like that...after logging on to the Bustout site, I see my profile is GONE...as well as my blog entries. 

I reply that its pretty clear what is going on. That if I had been the one sitting on 1m chips and still in the Main Event...and if Stout had been the one going out with 10 minutes left in Day 3 and not cashing...that I seriously doubt I would be getting this email. That I understand how BS politics work. The funny thing is...I have been reppin the hell out of Bustout for months, and I have not seen a red cent from them. Not one. And when they showed up with a whole slew of new gear two weeks ago...for the Team Members...it was that same owner who was in the halls of Rio just handing it out to anyone who wanted something, so that when a couple of us team members went to pick something up...there was NOTHING to be had. At all. Awesome. So what I am losing out on...I'm not exactly sure of. I was basically giving them exposure to over 7000+ potential customers a month...plus wearing their gear in a lot of events, and in exchange I get dropped because Matt "The Bakehead with Attitude" Stout doesn't like me and cried to the principal about me. 

I won't bad mouth the guys from Bustout Poker at all. I actually really like them. And I like and believe in their product. I had a chance to sign a deal with Ksino at about the same time as I met Jeff from Bustout...and I liked his approach a lot more, and the product as well. And 97% of the guys on the team are great, great guys...and good poker players. But as is the case in life...it always seems to be that one bad apple that can spoil the whole bunch. If you are someone who thinks of Matt Stout as a friend...so be it. And I'm sure he will talk a whole lot of shit about me...but he has never even sat down and had a conversation with me. Man to man. Not once! But he is very quick to pass out a lot of shitty information about me. Which to me, is one of life's worst personal characteristics. 

So what magical thing happened yesterday? Well...its funny sometimes how fate, and maybe Karma work. And every once in awhile, there is proof that God has a sense of humor. So I am sitting in Aria playing cash game...following the Live Reporting on the WSOP on PokerNews....when I see it. And after reading it...the biggest smile crossed my face...maybe the biggest smile since I walked over and saw the pile of chips in front of Kai that signaled my entry into the Main Event....

"Crawford sends Stout to the rail"

No effing way! Yes! Yes effing way! Stout raised with 10-10. Claw called with 8-8. She flopped a set. An ace also came on the flop. Some betting took place on the turn I think. Then she bets the river I think. He shoves all in, she snap calls, and Mr. Grumpy Stoner goes bye bye. I sent Claw a congratulatory thank you text message.

So...yeah, I guess I'm no longer a member of Team Bustout. Oh well. Not to sound conceited, but as far as I'm concerned, it's their loss, not mine. I wish them well in the future, sincerely. As for Matt Stout? I hope the guy can learn a little class. Two weeks ago...when a man was in the Ladies Event...and had gotten close to the Final Table..he posted on Facebook that he "fuc**ng hated the guy" and hoped he died some violent death.  I have to ask...is that the guy you want representing your company???  The 40+ messages that people left below that comment caused him to have to back pedal a little bit. Sometimes...I think people just let you know through their words what kind of a person they are. I rest my case.

I have no idea where my next tourney will be played. I have to get home, get settled...and figure things out. Reconcile my bottom line with my backer, and discuss our strategy going forward. I am disappointed with the overall results of the summer. But on the bright side...it was nice to be back in the Rio...and Caesers, and Venetian (though that was already resolved a while ago) and get to play on the World's largest stage all summer...and have one opportunity after another to make a life-altering score. The new friendships I made, the new players I met...the interactions with dealers and floor people...it was all very positive. I stayed out of 'hot water' at all the casinos...and hopefully laid a good foundation for this seasons upcoming circuit events. I tried to win with grace and lose with class in all my hands this summer. I kept the drinking to a very bare minimum...only in a couple nightly tourneys, and a handful of late night sit n gos. And never to excess.

Poker is a tough life. Its an exciting way to make a great living...or a nerve-wracking way to slowly go broke. It takes an incredible amount of patience, understanding, and self discipline. It is a learning process for sure. Being able to accept the highs and lows...not to get too high on yourself when you're running good, and not getting too down on yourself when you're running bad. We all battle this every day. We expect our spouses or significant others to 'understand' and 'deal with it' when things aren't going well, sometimes forgetting what we are putting them through. Or not making it a priority. That's important. If you have a partner who tolerates this lifestyle, you are already ahead of most. What is the payoff? It's being one of those people sitting over there across I-415...in the Amazon room...who are already guaranteed of making around $70k...with a shot at $8.7m. Yeah...that's the payoff! That is why we play this game. Because when I win 1m...I'm done for 6 months. If I win 2m...I'm done for a year. If I win the Main Event? I am done forever. Mark my words!

OMG. When I started this entry...the players were on dinner break. I just went back over there to check things out...and they went from 90 all the way down to 79 that fast. And guess who has been eliminated? :(  Yup, "The Claw" is out. As is Fred Berger. And the other two gals are near the bottom in chips. Claudia took home $76k...which is her biggest score ever..and will really do a lot of good for her and Gabe...but I know she is going to be really disappointed. But she had an awesome run and should be proud! Just like everyone told me I should be for my deep run...only she made $76,000 and I made zilch! A moral victory? Okay...fine!

Take care everyone...talk to you when I talk to you....maybe a bit of a hiatus coming for me. We'll see.

MONKEY