So...yeah, the Gulf Coast Poker Championship is on Day 3. If you have come looking for me...A.K.A. 'Monkey' you have discovered that I am not present. Is it because I chose to travel to Oklahoma for the Win-Star 'River' event that I have been non-intentionally avoiding for the past 4 years? Um. No. It's not.
It might have been! Had my message to Johnny Grooms at the Beau been returned 16 days ago...informing me that he was going to deny me access to this event, which, between you and I, wasn't where I really wanted to be. No, I looked at the schedule, and the structures...and frowned. I have no idea whose idea it is to schedule a $550 on Friday followed by a $340 on Saturday and $230 on Sunday. Let's see, people have jobs M-F right? And Friday was the first day of the event. And oh...yeah, there is no such THING as Online Poker anymore...so you no longer have to worry about all the top players staying home to grind all the Sunday majors. So...common sense would suggest that you might want to do something like...$340 on Friday, $340 on Saturday and a $550 on Sunday. No?
Where was I? Oh yeah. Walking into the Beau Rivage Thursday. Why? Well...because I was planning to play poker. See, a little over three weeks ago, I decided I might drive up to Tunica and try to satellite into that $3k Main Event. So I thought I'd better call just to make sure my 'status' with 'The Two Weasels' was indeed switched to 'ACTIVE' mode. And since I'd just played the last 7 months without nary an incident, and since most of the players and floor people are well aware of my 'personality makeover' and my dedication to my commitment to completely stop drinking at the poker table...I didn't expect a problem.
|Weasel #1...who so graciously gave me the 'green light' to play at Goldstrike in Tunica...but who's thumb did a 180 for the Beau Rivage event...why? You ask him!|
So when I sent a text message to floor person Shaun Johnston...asking if I was cleared to play up there...he told me to hold on, while he went to ask Johnny...A.K.A. Weasel #1. Shaun texted me back. "Yes, you can come. Please be on best behavior. See you soon!" Goodie. I am allowed to play, as long as I am a good little boy.
So, it would stand to reason that I would have expected the same treatment when I arrived at the Beau to play. Right? Same company? Same staff? Was I concerned that Grooms failed to respond to my email message from the 12th? Naw...figured he was just letting me twist and sweat. Wouldn't be the first time he has played this act.
So...what happens instead? Oh yeah. You guessed it. You readers are REALLY smart. See..that is why I like you guys...cuz you can figure shit out. I walk into the Beau at 6:35pm. I see my wife...delivering drinks. Go say hi. Give her a kiss. She wishes me good luck. 12 minutes later I see my wife again. Me seething. Her consoling me. And praying that I not freak out right there in her place of employment. Nope. Not going to happen.
See, several people in the last two days have talked to her...asked her if I was going nuts, freaking out, tearing up the house...plotting death and mayhem. To which she replies...and is being quite honest:
"No, not at all. He really wasn't all that excited about playing this event anyway. He was going to try to stay home just so he could avoid being away from me again. The only thing he is upset about is the way they handled it...that they couldn't tell him two weeks ago, so he could have gone and played that other event...thats all. He's fine."
And she would be dead on. Here is the deal...and this has been the deal now for 4 years running. I think the Beau Rivage is fantastic. Especially for a place like Biloxi. My wife has worked there since they opened. We have insurance through them. A LOT of our friends work there. I have ZERO issue with THE CASINO.
Nope. I have issue with the poker management. And after Ken Lambert left last month...and went to go work at Choctaw Casino in Oklahoma, I had no idea what to expect from Johnny and Eric Comer. I have not had a real rosy past with either of them. But at the same time...I would think they would want my business, and my ability to promote an event through my blog. I mean...that WOULD make sense right?
Given that attendance at their events has done nothing but decrease over the past four years, wouldn't it stand to reason that they would be doing anything they could to improve the turnout? Instead of the exact opposite?
Would anyone find it shocking to know that the WPT decided to leave the Beau Rivage off of their tournament schedule this year? And likely won't be coming back. Why? I am told it was because they were asked to fall in line with all the other casinos, and bend to the current poker economic trend...which calls for lower buy ins for their big events to attract a much bigger field. Its a simple dollar and cents (as well as sense!) philosophy. These events that were charging $10k to play were only attracting about 80 to 140 max...which meant a very small number of players in the hotel. Which of course means, slower action on the casino floor, less patrons in the restaurants...and on and on. You get the picture. But the Beau wouldn't budge. Why? Because they pride themselves as a 5-Star property...and the thought of lowering their $10k buy in on their WPT Main Event would just make them look bad. A slap in the face! So instead...they just lose the entire event.
Can you see the writing on the wall? The casino town of Biloxi is about to become...repeat after me....I-R-R-E-L-E-V-A-N-T
Why? Because no 'full-time' professional poker players are going to come to a town with no WPT or WSOP affiliated events. The I.P. was recently purchased by Boyd Gaming...who (pretty well known in the industry) are not exactly chummy with the gang from WSOP. So that event at the I.P. that is coming up? That circuit event? The one where I won my first ring last year? You are probably seeing the last of its kind this year as well. And the I.P.'s events have been poorly attended the past five years ANYWAY. So how does Biloxi see any kind of improvement on the horizon?
Well, in a word. It doesn't. Unless a few things change.
Oh yeah. So what happened when I walked in, you ask? As I reached the top of the escalator, there they were...the 'Two Weasels' walking from the other direction, in tandem, almost as though it were planned. Johnny sees me, smirks...and asks what I'm doing there.
"Well, I think I am here to play poker...."
He looks at me...chewing on something...which is what I become transfixed on because its just annoying...and shakes his head from side to side.
"Nope....not gonna happen. We still have a ban on you."
"Is that right? For what? For that little 'issue' in January? When you guys told me...after 10 days of the event that I had to sit out the rest of the event? But that I wasn't 86'd?"
"Who told you that?" (this from Grooms)
"You did Johnny! Right over there on that couch! With Ken Lambert! You told me I wasn't banned, but that I had to sit out the rest of the event due to a 'few' player complaints about me...which in actuality ended up being ONE guy with a bigshot player rating who went to his casino host and had me railroaded out of the event via upper management."
"No..I didn't say that."
Well, there are a few things I can handle in life. And a few I can't. Lying two-faced weasels are one of the things I cannot handle. Hey...the thought of walking in there and even attempting to play, and put money in that shyster's pocket...was already making me sick enough. But its been a rough year. And I was looking to reduce my costs on travel and hotel by staying home. And staying with my wife and dogs. So I was going to just swallow my pride and play this crappy event. But then this jerk tells me I'm banned? So when I again ask him "why am I banned!!??"
How does he respond? "Oh I'm not going to get into that with you." Really? So I'm banned but you won't tell me why? Awesome. And why didn't he return my email from two weeks prior? Why couldn't he just NOT BE PETTY...be a freaking MAN...and answer me back, telling me he wasn't going to allow me to play...so I could make plans to go somewhere else? Why? So he could get some kind of juvenile thrill out of turning me away after I waited, and walked in their door? That....is FUCKED up! So what was his answer to that?
"I don't do my business through email." Which is also horseshit. This guy has been 'doing his business' with me via text message and email for years now.
So before I really lost my temper, I just told him I appreciated him handling this with such class, and walked away. Then proceeded to tell Squirrel what happened, then left. Went to I.P. to play cash for 6 hours...where I proceeded to lose $16. Yippy.
Then I went home, went to bed, and when I woke up...I started a new group on my Facebook page. It is called: 'BOYCOTT the BEAU til GROOMS is TOAST'
I made my little speech...launched the group...asked my good friends, if they could, to show their solidarity by NOT playing at the Beau Rivage until management there finally gets rid of his ass. Within 4 hours of creating that...I had close to 300 members. THREE HUNDRED! And posting to the wall were between 30-40 people/players saying they were going to go play the GCPC event...but after reading all the threads...they were cancelling their trip. I would like to THANK those people.
So obviously I have been keeping tabs on the numbers the first few days. That first nightly tourney drew fewer than 50 players. The $550 on Friday attracted about 225 players. And then on Saturday, for the $340 they had a decent turnout...of about 450. Including a lot of my good buddies, which...I won't lie, kind of irked me. But what was fun was following all the Twitters and Facebook posts from guys we all consider to be excellent players...talking about how bad the structure was.
"Pretty lousy that we are paying $550 in a tourney and only getting 30 minute levels on a speedy structure..." ~player from Baton Rouge who I'm not revealing here.
"You have to be kidding me! 226 started and at dinner break there are only 50 players left? Who did this structure? ~player from Dallas, TX...again, not revealing.
Poker players aren't stupid. The Beau used to put on good events. Great actually. The WSOP has stepped up and destroyed them in every way. Offering attractive room rates. Attracting huge player fields. Selling merchandise at their events, and offering food choices. Giving out vouchers for food. Giving the players amazing tournament structures. Bringing good dealers. It has now put itself in the category of 'can't miss' events.
Johnny Grooms' strategy? Get 'em in, get 'em out...pay out as little as possible to the floor and dealers...screw the food, screw the merchandising, screw the players wants and desires. Just get their money...take his cut...and laugh all the way to the bank. I got emails from...ready? EIGHT! Dealers...all who wanted to remain anonymous, for obvious reasons...who all used to LOVE coming to the Beau to work these events. None of them decided to come.
One of the reasons? They are limited to 40 hours a week. ZERO chance of overtime...which for poker dealers...is like telling them they will have to skinny dip with hungry piranhas. Yeah yeah, I know...we have all heard the dealers bitching about how much they have been working...how tired they are. Right? I agree. But for circuit events? Which are usually 10-14 day events? They have to pay to fly to that city. They have to pay for their hotels, on almost EVERY event. Which means...they are already starting out about $1000 in the hole. So they are chasing the whole time they are there. Trust me, they ALL want to work 50-60 hours a week. But Johnny won't allow for one hour of overtime.
So when the good dealers start cancelling, guess what you get instead? Right...the ones who are willing to work for peanuts. Allow me to make a comparison. Drive through at McDonalds vs. dinner for four at B.R. Prime. Case closed. And that isn't to say there aren't still some GOOD dealers dealing this event...surely there are. And a lot of them I have the utmost respect for. Even they know what I am talking about here. And I'm sure will agree. The slow erosion of a once-great product/event is taking its toll on the Beau Rivage.
I am done with poker at the Beau Rivage until Johnny Grooms no longer works there. Period. People were telling me to "be careful" Will...don't do anything to make it worse! Hey...guess what? I don't care! I really don't. Worse? How, exactly could it get worse? This guy has been treating me like shit for four years now. I've jumped through all his damn hoops and shit like he wanted me to for too long. My issues with poker have been resolved everywhere except the one casino where I LIVE! I am at total peace with myself finally, where poker is concerned. I had a bad summer but I showed everyone that I am not what has been portrayed by some. I am absolutely thrilled to be back, on a FULL TIME basis with the World Series of Poker...
I tried like hell to do nothing but help this weasel-bag run a better event the past few years. And he kicks me out for a variety of reasons...one which resulted from him READING THIS BLOG and not liking that I was critical of his structures and some of his dealers who had some real SHIT attitudes. So instead of USING that information...to provide a better product to the poker community, he goes after the messenger. Banning me for WRITING something about his poker room. Nice management style. This guy is a joke. An absolute joke. And if you are a big fan of his...ask yourself a question: how well do you REALLY know him? Do you think he really gives a damn about YOU?
I am not bitter. I don't NEED the Beau Rivage. Not at all. It just sucks for my wife that three times a year I don't get to be at home with her for those six weeks that those three events consist of...playing in what should or COULD be a great event. Promoting the hell out of it here and on my Facebook. So please, don't just read this and dismiss it with 'Ahhh Monkey is just pissed off cuz Grooms won't let him play here.' I'm really not. What I am pissed about, is that the weasel wasn't man enough to handle this, and me...like a professional.
That is all I have to say on this matter.
My car is finally fixed. Went and picked it up yesterday in Pensacola. Only cost $1800. Only? Yeah...well, for awhile there it was looking like it might be $4000. And its running great. Really missed my car.
Gave about 12 seconds of thought to playing the end of month tourney at the Pensacola Dog Track for $350. Then my brain caught up with the rest of me and told me I was an idiot if I went through with it.
Drafted my first NFL Fantasy team of the season. A lot of guys were getting disconnected, I guess due to that little dust up along the east coast. I loved watching CNN and Weather Channel yesterday...they were trying SO HARD to hype this Irene up. What a joke. I looked at that thing on Friday night and told Cheryl..."This thing will barely be a tropical storm by the time it gets to NYC...and they are panicking like the end of the world is coming." Well, as predicted, they got nothing more than a lot of rain and a little wind. Please...when you Yankees are ready for a 'real storm' come down south and pay us a visit.
And how must these people in Tuscaloosa and Joplin feel seeing all this attention being paid for what amounts really to almost nothing? Joplin had their entire CITY wipe off the map almost...and over 160 people died...and did we see any special TV programs benefiting the victims of Joplin and/or Tuscaloosa? Hell no. But lets make sure we send billions to freaking Haiti...which was already the biggest hell hole on Earth BEFORE the earthquake hit it! The more I live in the country, the more I realize everyday just how much our media controls our lives. What we see, how we are expected to react to what we see. Its disgusting. I've taken to a lot more honest forms of media...mostly via Apps on my iPad...and now pretty much ignore what I see on CNN and FOX News. I was watching Shepard Smith the other day...and I literally almost threw up. Why, when I used to watch this guy 5 years ago did he not only NOT nauseate me, but who I actually found quite engaging? Watching him now...I wanted to puke. Did he just evolve into this slimy douche?
See that grass up there that my 4Runner is sitting on? Well, that picture was taken when I first got that car. That yard? That was the yard BEFORE I paid $1000's of dollars to have a sprinkler system and sod installed. My current tenant has done a HORRENDOUS job of taking care of the yard. One of the things I stipulated to the management company who I hired to oversee the renting of my home was that the yard be taken care of. In fact, it was priority number one! Well...as I stopped by the house yesterday to 'check things out' I was nearly knocked on my ass. It couldn't look worse. Now my biggest question is who's hide I'm going to take the $1500 or so out of...that its going to cost to replace all that dead sod!!??? I've about had it with this rental company...in case your wondering who NOT to use in the Pensacola-Perdido Key area? That would be POINTE SOUTH REALTY!
I believe this blog is done. Time to go cut the grass. Maybe wash the dogs.
Oh...again...if you have friend requested me on Facebook...and their are now over 80 in the 'hold queue' that I haven't confirmed...if there is NO message telling me who you are, how I know you, or why I should confirm you...I won't. I haven't hit 'IGNORE' yet...you're just sitting there...with your picture of a bush, a dog, a cat, a rock, a car, famous actor, or just a sun glass shaded face at a poker table of a person I don't recognize...waiting for me to be provided a reason for approving you. Feel free to fire me off a message if you think I am talking about you. And chances are, I will probably confirm you.