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Monday, October 31, 2011

Five days of Dream Crushing at I.P.



Here we are. Table 127, seat 5. Happy freakin Halloween to all you goblins and spooky freaks. And Happy Birthday to my brother, Troy. Congratulations to some of my friends who have been enjoying success here. Tim Burt, who won the HORSE tourney. The same one I went out 10th in, two from the money. To Mark Rose and Gene D of Gulf Coast Poker, who both made final tables here in the first weekend. Props to those good 'ol boys Bob Talbot and Kenny Piel for going long! And speaking of going long, and this hurts to say as I loathe every and anything St.Louis, but holy cow, what an improbable and phenomenal run by the Cardinals! Then today word out of St.Louis is that Tony LaRussa has retired. Hey! That's how you go out in style!!! And to add insult to injury, the winless Rams go out and beat the 1st place N.O. Saints who had just destroyed the winless Colts by scoring 62 points last week. Go figure!


Ahhhh, just sitting down in the 10-seat is Kenny 'Bad Hat' Piel himself. Seated over in the 3-seat, and wearing his trusty blue Members Only jacket (for you kids out there, Google Members Only, and have a little laugh) is Brent Carter...one of, if not THE, biggest whiners in the history of poker. At 25-25 we have already seen a couple limps followed by a raise of 650! Which was called by two of the limpers, no problem! Should make for a very interesting day. Now, typically I'd be in "oh whatever, just another day in paradise" mode. However...this is Halloween. And we are at the IP. Three years ago, I was in the tortuous midst of a long run of 2nd place finishes in sanctioned tourneys without a single outright win. Well, that all ended at the I.P. on Halloween 2008. Arriving in full gorilla costume, I was told by security that I would be unable to wear the mask, some kind of security thing. So I took it off. And thank goodness, since I played till about 3am, and making no chop deal, won $16,000 in the $550 tourney that day. I then went to Venues, in full costume, shared the good news with my wife and our friends, opened up a $500 bar tab and told everyone to go crazy. That was a good day!



The next Halloween, I won the $235 P.L.O. 8 or Better tourney on Halloween, coming back from 3 bb's when we were 14 from the money and going on a tear. I literally steam rolled that final table. At 5 they wanted to give me first place money so they could chop the rest. I said "no." I know, pretty stupid, right? But the thing is...I was having a blast, something that in my poker life, is very rare. I didn't want to quit playing. And tried to convey this without sounding rude. And they all seemed to get it. I never lost a hand the rest of the way en route to winning. Another great Halloween.

Then last year, in the midst of my greatest poker run of my life, having Top Three Final Tabled the Main at the Beau Rivage, cashing in the Main at Borgata, finishing 6th in the Main up in Hammond and had a few other cashes along the way...I played in and won the Omaha 8 or better here at the I.P. on Halloween, and in doing so...won my first ever WSOP ring. That, was a very good day!



So, you might understand why I am a bit excited about today. As I was leaving my house today, I noticed in the yard...next to my car...a beautiful Monarch butterfly. Now, some of you that know me well understand how superstitious I am, or how much I rely on metaphors and/or analogies to guide me through my everyday life. This, to me...was taken as a very good sign. Our current waitress is wearing the costume of the Black Swan. Now, what that means, exactly, I haven't really yet deciphered!



Quite a weekend we just had in college football, eh? Clemson, poof! I called that one! Oklahoma ended Kansas State's brief little Cinderella run. Future SEC member Texas A&M blew yet another lead, losing to fellow possible SEC member Missouri. Stanford should have lost to USC but didn't. Everything that happened this weekend just made this weekend's clash between LSU and Alabama THAT much more meaningful. I can't believe how big this games going to be...and am so fired up for it!!!



My favorite little Eddie Munster-grown-up-look-a-like decided to show up at I.P. the other day to parade around and look for people who would be willing to walk over and shake his weasel paw. And yeah, I noticed you looking in my direction...waiting for some kind of reaction or blow up. Sorry chump, you aren't worth the emotion it would have required me to expend. I can only assume you came over here to take notes on how to PROPERLY run a poker tournament. I hope for my fellow player's sake you took something positive away from your 27 minute visit, and apply it to your future tourneys over there.

The good thing about having not blogged all week, is that I can spare you most of the ugliness of my punch outs, since, really...I don't really like blah blah blah'ing you all to death with sordid tales of hand after hand of poker blather. This way, I can just briefly summarize each event.

Before I get into that, I would like to say...that once again, I am astounded by the number of you who stop me and tell me you read and enjoy this blog. Or guys at the table, who won't say anything to me for three or four levels, then just blurt out something about my blog. It's always funny to me. So far, in the five days, I have yet to cash...but I have to admit, I am actually (with a couple rare exceptions) really enjoying myself so far. I've had a lot of really fun tables with some real entertaining characters. I think I have successfully managed my irritation levels when taking harsh beats. But I have to admit, with a baby now on the way, I can't keep running like this before I eventually begin to kind of start freaking out. And since drilling still hasn't started on our families oil land in North Dakota by Hess, who owns the lease, this is currently the only way I have to make sure our baby doesn't enter the world with a welfare daddy!!!

Two wonderful gals brought me a Monkey-related gift this weekend. One was a real cool 'crazy monkey' wool hat...which when I get home I will insert a picture of, and which I decided to wear for the first two levels after she gave it to me, until it just became way to hot! 



Then I got this neat little monkey made from metal and hand painted, by a gal who was vacationing in Indonesia and thought of me when she saw it. I love it when my poker friends and blog readers bring or send me stuff like that. I mean, once you get over the age of 30, it's so rare that any gift really gets you that excited, right? But I really find it pretty touching when I get these kind of gifts. ;) This little guy will now join my shrine of other cool monkey gifts, and trophies that I've won...back when I was running good!!!







So. A recap. Event 1. Thursday. 272 players. Played til 8pm. Got knocked out 80th. Which gave me time to get into the 7pm nightly. 97 played that. I started great. 9 were getting paid. I finished 21st. Friday, played Day 1A of the $355 tourney. Went out right before dinner break. Just in time to get into the HORSE tourney. Started like a house on fire. Turned 10k into 26k in only 3 levels, then watched my house burn down the next four levels...getting out of day 1 but with only 16k in chips. So, as an insurance policy, I decided to play Day 1b at noon, in an attempt to assemble a good stack, then go back at 2pm for the HORSE restart.

Mission accomplished. Ran my 10k stack up to 16k, then went to play HORSE. Patience and good timing allowed me to run that stack up to 46k, and with 12 left, had me feeling pretty good about my chances to make the final table, get some money back in the bankroll, collect some much-coveted National Freeroll points to go with my 17.5 from Chicago, and hell...maybe just maybe win another ring. Well...that all turned to shit when on three hands in a row I flopped the world in STUD, twice flopping three to a nutflush and turning the fourth...then bricking on 5, 6 and 7th street. On the other I had AA in the hole, and got drawn out on. And just like that I was down to 8k and 10 players left. In Stud Eight, I pick up A-2-4...a great starting hand, end up all in with 5 players all checking me down...and of course I get no help on the next four streets, and I was out...2 from the money. It's safe to say I was pretty pissed off.

I sat down to my dwindling stack in the noon $355, which was now 9k. And I get AA. UTG. How nice. The table was full of annoying Internet-ish, Tyler Smith-like players, so getting AA in early position was a godsend. I limped for 400. Dude behind me raises to 900. No one else calls. Bummer. I flat call with AA. The flop comes A-J-7...rainbow. Yahtzee!!! I check. He bets 3000. I pause. Then call. Turn is a four. I check again. He leans over and looks army stack...

"I'm all in."

And I didn't slow roll him like so many douchebag losers might decide to do, and I didn't do the Phil Hellmuth move of leaping out of my chair and quickly shouting "I call!!!!" either. I just politely said I call, showed my set, he turned over AK and told me nice hand...and we had a nice day. I would get him at my table the next day too. An Indian guy from Houston who was a real nice guy, and pretty solid player. And I had a big double up. I would kind of coast the rest of the night. And then I let my history with QQ get into my head.

The one tool box we had at our table was seated in the 10-seat. He had diarrhea of the mouth. Now, I know some of you are giggling and claiming a 'coffee calling the kettle black" label be slapped on me here, but in my own defense, I think I am at least somewhat amusing if not entertaining and interesting. And for gawd's sake, I always can tell when my intended audience is not the least bit interested in anything I have to say. So I can it.

(just went on ten minute break, with 4 levels complete. I have exactly what I started with, 10k. Bob Talbot just presented me with a Jumbo Sized bag of my favorite, BEEF JERKY!!! And then informed me he DIDN'T in fact cash in the $555 the other day, but that he...as he called it, "pulled a Monkey, and went out two from the money." Ouch!)

So back to jackass in seat 10. His babbling finally drives me to put on my headphones. I have Sara, who is married to Todd...a real nice couple I met two years ago in Aruba...sitting two seats over from me...and being driven nuts by the guy in the 6-seat with the red sweatshirt who plays like Tyler, raising with any two, in any position, and who's stack is up and down like the stock market, or a parking lot prostitute...take your pick. After watching him deliver one bad beat after another, getting down to nothing and miraculously getting lucky then rebuilding, I finally look at her and tell her...

"I hate to tell you this, but I just don't think IT'S going to happen."

"Really? You don't think so????". No, I tell her...and she rolls her eyes.
{if you can't figure out what IT is...you shouldn't be reading my blog!}

Five minutes after that...that same guy raises her...with 10-4off. She calls in the BB with QJ. The flop comes J-2-10. She doesn't screw around with a check raise either. She ships, and for a considerable amount too. No problem, he snap calls. With 10-4. No idea what he was thinking, none. Kind of wish I did, but at the same time, I'm also a little scared to hear it. It might keep me up at night! So the dealer puts a 4 on the turn...followed by another 4 on the river. Jeezus H freaking....

So. Yes. The 'hand,'that I mentioned. Of course it would involve the jackass in the 10-seat. Of course it would. At 600-1200 he raises UTG to 3500. He was very fond of raising in early position, and would do so very light. The man to my right goes all in for 8200. Which, if you are scoring along from home was a raise of 4700. This was important to me since I was currently looking down at QQ. So I paused, trying to figure out what a raise of this all in would need to be. This is when the Mental Midget starts shooting off his mouth about the guy being all in and that I can't do anything but call his all in. My desire to get up out of my chair, walk around to the back of his chair, pull out some garrote wire, and strangle this prick is now cresting. (sorry, looked for photos of what this may have looked like, the internet cupboard was bare!)



I resist. Instead I try to explain to him that since I have yet to act, and since the all in constituted a legal raise, that yes, I can in fact raise. He maintained that I couldn't, until finally the dealer informed his dumbass that I could. So I raised it another 4700, partially just to confuse this clown, but also to signal to him that I had a very strong hand. So yeah, I raise it to 12,900. Asshole instantly shoves all in for about 35k and suddenly that "god I fucking hate queens" feeling took over my soul. And the last dick I wanted to lose to was this cockboy. So I fold. Face up.

"oh wow you had me crushed!" and turns over 77. I sunk in my chair and seethed. The guy who was all in had JJ. The flop? Q-7-5. I almost puked. It would have held. I would have chipped up to to well over 70k. Instead I had only 22k left at 600-1200. But the worst part was listening to this little shit antagonize me about it for the next hour. Finally I couldn't stand it any more and just teed off on him.

"Dude, how did your parents NOT put you up for adoption? You might possibly be the most annoying human being alive. It should be against the law for you to even be alive. Seriously, if there is some kind of license for you to exist, it should be revoked. When you were a kid, and you went out trick-or-treating, how did nobody hand you a live grenade instead of a Kit Kat?"

I now had won the table over, and had slapdick back peddling and frantically trying to retaliate with a horrible barrage of failed one-liners. And then he finally let the whole table know what a complete Fucktard he was. A new player at the table inquired about the hand that was getting so much attention. So I told him what had transpired.

Cue the idiot: "He's lying. That's not how the hand went down. He's telling you he raised and he didn't!"

"Idiot, are you kidding? You're kidding right? You honestly DON'T think I raised"?

No. He didn't. After the majority of the table finally convinced this simpleton that I had, in fact re-raised the all in player, he confessed that had he known I raised, he would have never shoved all in, but would have folded. That he 'wasn't really paying attention.' yes...these are the assclowns who have been tormenting and defeating me all year. Morons who couldn't find their way home with a GPS device. Refreshing isn't it?

So, realizing, I think...that he was now our table's version of the Village Idiot, he attempts to save face. At the end of the 16th level, and with only 16 people left to lose until we were in the money he approaches me and (sincerely I thought) apologizes for being such a fuckhead for the last few hours. And since I had no reason to doubt him, and my continuing efforts to get along with people as the 'kinder, gentler Monkey' I told him everything was cool. But was it really?

We returned from break. Two non-eventful orbits ensued, then...getting pretty short on chips I raise in early position with AQd. I get two calls, including the asshole..because yes, he is about to re-appear as the character 'The Asshole!' I won't drag this out. Asshole once again has 7-7. And the flop, predictably is one containing both an ace, and a damn seven. This story ends bad, obviously. I lose. I say nothing. Not a word. I am out, 10 from the money, after going out two from the money earlier in HORSE. I'm obviously disappointed. So I step over to where my bag is to pack up my stuff, and here he goes, running his fucking mouth again.

I would say I was surprised, but based on everything that had flowed from his cornucopia-like hole of ridiculousness over the previous four hours, I guess I wasn't.

"Dude, you must be the stupidest motherfucker on Earth! You come and apologize to me on break just 30 minutes ago, make peace with me, and now you're going to just go right back to talking shit? Wow! Good luck making it to 30 years old you fucking fool!" and I left. And yes...if you're wondering, that failed abortion DID make the final table I think. Further evidence that nearly everything in 2011 is upside down and inside out.

Went and lost a SNG, the only one I've played so far at this event. Ran AK into AA. Fun times. Then just went home, licked my wounds, and came back the next day...where I would play another 9 hours just to lose about 14 from the money. And it was a nasty cooler, too...but the guy was a solid player and played the hand beautifully.

I had 26k at dinner break, but after going back was dead as shit for three levels, and couldn't find any spots to maybe pick up a round of blinds and antes. But I was staying patient. Finally I get QQ UtG. I don't even shove...which should have been an indication that I wasn't raising light. Oh well, the guy in the BB insta-shoves, and I kind of fear AK, but I'm done folding QQ, especially in that spot. He has...what else? 7-7. No, he didn't hit a 7. I actually won the hand and doubled up..and had some breathing room now.

Two hands later...I get JJ in m.p. I raise, obviously. (wow, just as I typed that I picked up JJ in this tourney. Only, it didn't end like this other one is about to.) so the BB studies me then just calls. Hmmm. The flop comes 5-high. He checks. I bet out a pot-sized amount. He tanks. Then shoves. Whoa. He's putting me on AK, I'm thinking. Thinks he can get me off the hand. Or maybe he has like 7's or 8's and really thinks he's good. I call. He turns over aces. Oh shit!

"Wow. Nice hand man, and really a nice play." What else could I say, he stole one of my favorite moves, flatting out of the blinds with AA and checking any flop. So when I saw it done to me, I just had to tip my hat to him.

I thought I was done, but actually had 1900 left, which went in on the next hand at 700/1400 and me holding AQ. Now, maybe one of you geniuses out there can explain for me what this guy at cutoff was thinking when he decides to iso-raise with K2s...because I can't figure it out. Was he targeting me? I wouldn't think so, since we hadn't said two words to each other all day. I was kind of baffled. At any rate, I hit my queen...which didn't matter because he went runner runner spades. Sigh, whatever. Game over. Day over. Went home and chilled and watched something I enjoy more every time I watch it...the Dallas Cowboys getting blown out.

So, I think that pretty much catches us up on this last day of October. It's gotta be the 'Halloween thing' working for me so far, because so far today I have had two monster suck outs, and at the end of Level 8 I am at 20.5k and avoiding trouble. 200 started in today's $355 and we currently show 138 remaining.

Thanks to the over 6,000 of you who (according to the site hit meter) have checked in on me this month. And to everyone wishing the best to me and Squirrel during our pregnancy, we really do appreciate it!!! It's an exciting time! Now if I could just win something! Today would be nice!!!!

Monkey


Friday, October 28, 2011

Day 1 at the IP WSOP Event

Day One had some highlights and some lowlights. First the highlights. For 14 weeks now, me and Squirrel have been sitting on a secret. Why? Well, cuz back in 2008 we got pregnant...and we extremely excited about the prospects of bring the world's first human species of SquirrelMonkey into existence. Then, on a night when I would take a utterly stupid beat from a guy who I never see anymore (David Robbins) from Atlanta, knocking me out two people short of the Main Event in Tunica, and follow it up the next day by getting killed on the Super Bowl between Pittsburgh and Arizona, I then get a frantic call from my wife, informing me that we had lost our baby.

It was, without a doubt, one of the worst two days of my life. So when we got pregnant again after I got home from a rather dismal summer in Vegas, we decided to be real cautious about how many people we told this time. If I had a nickel for every player or dealer who asked 'how our new baby was' after we lost it...well, yeah, I could buy something that cost a whole bunch of nickels.

So we agreed that we would only tell our family and close friends...until we got past that 12-week barrier. And so this morning, we went to the baby doctor to take another peek at our rapidly growing SquirrelMonkey...and once again, he/she was in there moving all over the place. Seeing that heartbeat...and this time hands, a spine, ribcage...and one very long arm (wonder where he gets that!) brought a tear to her eye...and a smile to both our faces. That was how my day started, so really, nothing could ruin it.

I only got the tourney a wee bit late. I had loaded my incredibly comfortable office chair in the car earlier in the morning, having already gotten permission from the tournament guys to use it during the week-long event. But I decided to wait until the first break to get it out of the car, choosing to ask the guys at my table if any of them minded. No one did. In fact, they thought it was a great idea. 

The first tourney...much to my surprise, actually drew pretty well. For a Thursday, the $355 tourney pulled in 272 players. For three levels I kind of hovered around 8k-10k...and I had this one pest in the two seat (I was again in the 10-seat, by virtue of being late) who every time I would limp...would raise, and if I raised, he would re-raise. Didn't help that he was one of those guys wearing dark shades. So when I raised to 525 (at 100/200) with AcKc and he re-raised to 1300, I decided it was time to put my foot in this guy's ass. It folded around to me, and I made it 3500 with a nice little 4-bet in his face.

What does he do? Insta-shoves. Ugh. Wonderful. But then I kind of started staring at him...in his stupid welding glasses. And I got this feeling that he had QQ. That and I had him covered, granted, by only 950...but I was also sick of this guy. And it was getting to that point in the tourney where I was going to need to take stand sooner or later or blind out. So I called. He had JJ. Ah...close. And the dealer puts out a flop of A-A-7. Magical. And it held. And he left. Bye Bye pain in my ass!

But that would be my last big pot. I made it to dinner break, but with only 10BB's. Why? Well, I decide to call the min raise of 1600 (from 400/800) with A8d...then flopped A-10-8 and decide to check-raise. Only the guy didn't bet. Shit. Then the turn brought a K...of hearts...creating two draws...oh boy, and I decided to play it slow....he bets 2000. I call. River? Damn Jack. Wonderful. I check...and for some reason he doesn't bet...and turns over AQ. Straight. Runner Runner. Shit.

Came back from dinner. Oh! Awesome. Tyler Smith is coming to our table. With...well, about 68k...which became about 100k when he quickly whacked our table's biggest stack...raising with 3-5off and rivering a gutshot. He then went into his 'Poker Robot' mode...where he unemotionally starts raising about 87% of the time...we saw him show down 2-7...vs. AJ...yeah he won. That was a fun hand. And he just sat over there continuing to build a wall of chips, while congratulating me on the baby and lamenting his disdain for poker. Kind of know where you're coming from there, Tyler.

I decide to raise in early position with QJs. Mr. Hellmuth poser in the 4-seat decides to look me up. As does the BB with a pair of 5's. Yes...fives. Mmmm...the new nightmare hand? Apparently. Mr. Hellmuth poser and Tyler had been playing a lot of hands against each other...and all of them were taking about 8.2 minutes each on the average. White hat, white Sony headphones, black Bustout hat (grrrrrrr!!!) and these ultra thin lips that he pursed every time he was in the midst of a decision. And...as an example, it would be checked to him on the river, heads up...and he would literally sit there....just sit there....staring blankly at Tyler. Why? Tyler had checked? Minutes would roll by. Oh my God...for the love of French Toast you idiot...DO SOMETHING!!!!

Anyway. On our hand, the flop comes K-10-5....two spades. Yeah...not folding here. BB checks his set of fives. I bet 7500. HP (yeah, you figured it out) tank poses for a bit, then folds....and BB ships all in with his set of 5's. I call of course. The turn is the 9 of hearts...giving me a straight, and a brief moment of joy...but the river was a 10 of spades...giving me, yes...a flush...but also giving him a full house. 

"Oh wow. You beat me. Then I beat you. Then you got someone to defib you...and then killed ME. Nice hand sir. Bye guys." And that was it for the nooner.

But...I was just in time to get into the 7pm tourney...already an hour old. I had to wait for the damn button to go all around the table...and on my first hand, in the BB...what do I get? QQ! No bullshit. Guy raises early. And since they only give you 3000 chips in that thing...I had no choice but to go all in. He calls with 99. And somehow, I won. Nice way to start.

Well, we had 'That Guy' at our table...who despite blinds of 100/200, felt the most impressive way to play every hand was to go all in. So I limp with AQ...wait for him to shove...which he does, for 6800...and I call him. He had 78. The flop comes 8-10-A. Okay. Cool. Turn is a 10. Perfect. Yeah, he can only hit one card to beat me. What was the river? What else? An 8. Everyone waited for me to snap, and expressed shock and disbelief when I didn't.

"No big deal. He is going to give me all those chips back." And he did. I pick up my favorite hand...K9, on the next hand, and move all in for 1950. He calls me...this time with AQ. The flop comes Q-4-Q. Hmm...pretty good flop for him, eh? No problem. King on the turn...King on the river. Monkey wins...and the Legend of K9 grows! I dinged him one more time after that and then put him away. But that is where the happy story ends.

Dude goes all in for...mmmm....quite a bit, at 200/400. I think about 7500. I wake up with QQ again. I call. He has KJ. First card I see, fucking king. It holds. Wonderful. I bust with 56c on a board of K-4-7-....pick up a club draw on the turn...and then brick the river totally. SNG-Land was dead...it was 10:30pm...the World Series was tied in the 7th inning...and I decided to make a beeline for home and watch the rest of that game.

And wow. What a game it was. If you watched it I don't have to explain it to you. I think it goes without saying that St Louis is riding quite a wave of momentum and adrenaline into tomorrow night's Game 7...and you would be out of your mind to bet against them now. Texas now looks poised to be the runner-ups two years in a row. That was easily one of the greatest World Series games I have ever watched...and I have seen a lot of them! Every since they made the playoffs on the last day of the season, St Louis has just kind of felt like a team of destiny. I guess in 24 hours we will know if that is the case.

Tomorrow is a $355 at noon, and its that re-entry format...where if you brick the one on Friday, you can try again on Saturday. Now this might get interesting...because Pensacola Dog Track is having their big $1k tourney on Saturday, and I know a lot of people are going to play it. Me? I am not one of them. I will be staying as far away from that place as humanly possible. But I just wonder how much that event will hurt this event? Maybe guys will play day 1B at the IP then go over there on Saturday and play that one. Who knows?

I was really pretty pleased with the turnout today. I hope it keeps up, I really do. These guys really do try hard to put on a good event. The tourney room is among the nicest of all the poker tourneys we play. Big...very spacious seating, and even the tables themselves are big. You don't have to deal with cigarette smoke at all, or the loud, annoying sounds of slot machines and all that other BS noise. Plus they give you food vouchers which is really cool of them.

Had Claudia "The Claw" Crawford sitting behind me all day in the noon tourney. That is always good for some entertainment. Then Gabe came along and shared with me that he has joined the ranks of the 'Unable to Perform his Craft at the Beau Rivage' like myself...but his had nothing to do with, well, whatever my reason is. Nope, Gabe took a beat he wasn't too fond of, and decided to rip up his cards and toss them. They invited him to leave and not come back. He didn't seem too torn up about it. No pun intended.

Ah yes...I finally got motivated tonight and did something I'm sure will keep you players giggling to yourselves tomorrow (well, today now) while playing the noon event. See, I got a whole string of nasty, vile, irritating Facebook messages (not on my wall, but messages) from 'Ol Orange while I was in Chicago. He informed me that he 'had just booked his hotel at the IP for the upcoming event.' So of course, I had my eyes peeled for him all day. No sighting. And it was obvious a lot of people were looking for him besides me. 

Well...here you go. Pouncing Monkey Productions was hard at work tonight coming up with these beauties for you all. Enjoy. And with that...I am calling it a night and trying to steal a few precious hours of sleep! 

MONKEY




Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Home from Chicago....and some 'Air Time'

Well, last time I blogged, I was heading back for Day 2 of the Main Event...having just doubled up on the 2nd to last hand of the night. So...I leave my hotel at 1:30...leaving myself plenty of time to get there and get settled in. Boom! Get stalled by a train. A train containing 104 cars. Yeah, these trains in Chicago are long, and I've taken to counting them. The other night, with Kai...on our way to that stupid smoke-filled bar with Kai, Tim Burt and Jason 'Fitz' we were delayed by one that had 107 cars.

The train finally cleared, and I parked at 1:57. Sprinted in to the Venue...with all the players from that days noon tourney all flowing out, having just gone on break. Felt like a salmon swimming upstream on the way to spawn.

"Excuse me...sorry...ahhhh....excuse me, right behind you....scuse me....grrrrrrr."

Finally get to my seat, first card is already there...slide into my seat, picking up the 2nd card just in time...and I look at....KK. Whoa! Really!??? I gather my breath...and raise from 1500/3000 to 8500. Guy across from me looks at me, in sort of "is this guy for real? Races to his seat, and just comes out raising?" And I am hoping to God he re-pops me. Then he starts eye-balling my stack. Hmmm, he has 30,000 and he only raised 8500? Must have a monster.

You would be right, sir. So he folds. As does everyone else.  Two hands later, I raise with KQh. No action. Sweet. Picking up 9k in both pots...I was up to 48k just like that. Then, in the blinds, I raise with A7h and get called by the BB. Flop comes King-high...I bet out 12k and pray that he folds. He does. Whew. Things are going great!!! Up over 50k.

Then, as if on cue...the one guy I was hoping I wouldn't see shows up. The Grim Reaper of Hammond. I will not name him here, so as not to bring shame upon his family. He knows who he is. We shall call him Dealer X. The other day in the $350 Tourney, when we were at 3 tables, then 2 tables, then 1 table...every time he showed up, my stack got smaller and smaller and smaller. It was confounding. Let me say, Dealer X is a fantastic dealer, and a very nice guy. He just happens to be this particular event's Bermuda Triangle for me. Stacks sail in...and never return.

So...when the cutoff raised to 8500, and the button called the 8500...it was only standard that I would look down at AKs in the SB. I looked at my cards, glanced at Dealer X...and despite the little dude on my right shoulder urging me to just fold...the troll on my left shoulder won the battle, prompting me to announce....

"I'm going to re-raise. Total of $31,000." A raise of 22,500. My primary objective was to simply take down the pot of $24,500...increase my stack to over $70k...and continue to keeps things rolling. Cue the sound of screeching tires and crashing cars.

"I'm ALL IN!!!" Those words came from the guy in the BB, a guy who (a) I'd never seen before (b) was sitting on a stack of about 200k and (c) didn't feel that a guy re-raising a raiser WITH a caller could possibly have a hand better than JJ. I didn't leave myself in a real good spot to fold...spotting myself only 18k behind my huge re-raise, and hoping I was at least holding ONE over. I was actually pretty happy to see JJ...with two overs and being suited.

The flop pretty much erased all of my hope...when it came out Q-J-Q. OMG! Really, Dealer X? He decides to tickle my heartstrings when he puts a K on the turn...which gives me actual hope...needing a king or a queen to win the hand. But the river was a big, solid brick...a deuce to the face. And like that, I was done. Out. Busto. I wished everyone luck, gathered up my stuff, and made the long walk out of the Venue...to a chair out in the lobby, where I just sat and reflected on the week. The one-outer on the river to finish a disappointing 9th, the numerous 3rd place finishes in SNG-Land...the barrage of stupid messages from Chad Burns, that had motivated me to come back to Biloxi with a fistful of $100's that I could photograph and post on MY Facebook so I could be half as cool as the Orange OomaLoompa from Spring, Texas.

Speaking of Chad. He has made it a point to inform me that he booked his hotel for the I.P. and this upcoming event. I could not be more thrilled. The biggest challenge I face at this next event will be avoiding arrest by the Biloxi P.D. and/or eviction from the I.P. It would be so much easier if the little asshole would just agree to lace up the gloves, go to a local gym, charge all of you $20 to come inside and watch, and give the money to the Breast Cancer Awareness charity.

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But since that probably ISN'T going to happen, since he is nothing but an 'All Talk No Action' dipshit who merely talks a good game, I will probably have to resort to stalking him til I catch him by himself with no witnesses in clear site, away from all cameras. Or...if that fails to occur, maybe just take the messages he sent me on Facebook threatening my wife with sexual assault...to our friend at the Biloxi P.D. and see if maybe I can have him arrested while he is here. That might...M-I-G-H-T...bring me as much joy as pounding the living crap out of him, taking multiple photos of his damaged grill, and sharing them with only my closest friends. We'll see what happens. 

Thinking maybe something like this, with a little more orange tint.

So...there was still one more tourney to play in Chicago. I talked Kai into snapping out of his pouting mission that he was on, after having committed what he deemed 'chip suicide' to bust out of the Main the day before. He met me in line for the 7pm $150 tourney. I was determined to win my last event and leave with the taste of victory in my mouth, thus preparing me for a week of domination at the I.P.

Things started great. Turned my 6k into 14k. Then I limp on the button with J10d. Squirrel's favorite hand. For some reason, the guy in the SB with AQ doesn't raise. Flop comes Ad-3d-Ah. He checks. I bet 1100. He calls. Turn is the 8d. Flush. He checks. I bet 2200. He goes all in, and says "Flush is good if you have it." Oh!?? Well then I call. River? 8. Full house. Shit. Back down to 8k. Grrr. 

No problem. Rebuild it. Dominating table. Run it back up to 12k. Raise with AK. Little goober in BB who has already over played about 5 hands, does the double handed snow plow all in with about 35k. I call. He has nines. Flop a king. Double up. Here we go. Lets do this. Tables break, redraw at 27. 9 getting paid. New table. Old guy...who keeps limping, limps again at 600/1200. I have KJ on the button and flat. Oh! Did I forget to mention who JUST pushed in as the dealer? You guessed it. Dealer X. And upon sitting shoots me that glance...the one that says, 'Sorry Monkey...hate it that its me, hope you get lucky and DON'T get busted by me.'

And by this time we are down to 21 players. Kai is also still in, but seated on the other table. Good for him. Here comes the flop. Ks-Qh-10h. Wow! Great flop. Old dude leads out for 2200. Next person who limped folds. I raise to 7000.

"How much? Oh...oh...I call, whatever it is....I call." The turn is the 3 of hearts...now putting 4 hearts out there, and I have the Jack of hearts. He goes all in, I call...and see his hand...and am just flabbergasted. Son of a....then see a heart on the river, and briefly thought I was spared, until I see that he has the queen of hearts.

MotherF*(&Q(*@)_(!(*&!*#*R#)( !!!!!!!

Out. Again. Same dealer. Good Gawd. Chucked my iPad. My phone and my bag onto the next table. Then just sat there and fumed. Funny, but I think I was more irritated by that one than the main event one. And the main event was shooting for $400k.The 7pm'er was going for $3k. Am I whacked in the head? Maybe. 

Went downstairs, bought into $1/$2. Sit next to a black kid...who is chewing gum, blowing bubbles, popping the gum, and wearing those cheap earbuds where you can hear the noise coming out of them. Know what I mean? And I was in the 1-seat, perfect combination of annoying elements. In his defense, he actually turned out to be the most tolerable player at the table. And possibly the 2nd best player. I would sit there, chip up to $500, then Squirrel calls. "Guess what I have in my hand, sweetie?" Yeah, I had QQ. And she got to listen to me, as my queens got snapped off by this Harry Potter-looking dork with his pair of 3's, flopping a set on an 8-high board, and not getting around to re-raising me until the turn when I had already put too much into the pot to fold to his remaining bet. Fucking cash game. Damn queens.

Kai later strolled in, telling me he had just been two-outed, courtesy of Dealer X. Now he was guilty of reaping both me AND Kai. I think Dealer X has figured out what he is going to be for Halloween. Lucky for me he won't be in Biloxi at the I.P. event to reap my ass on Halloween. Hmmm...Halloween...costume or no costume this year?

I convinced Kai to get our asses out of that place and call it a trip. We stopped by this jam-packed cafe we had been avoiding all trip. Our waitress was horrendous. About 60-70, missing part of her lower face, and about as helpful as a prison guard on death row. Kai was describing her waking up in the morning, with her thick white trash, Midwesterner accent...lighting up a cigarette, popping open a Schlitz, and barking out orders to her asshole, unemployed drunken husband. It had me howling. I had been craving french toast all trip. And they had it.

"Can I please get some french toast? And if possible, I would love it if I could get my syrup heated."  See, I am kind of particular, as every Waffle House waitress between Georgia and Louisiana can attest...but I always tip at least 30% at Waffle House as long as they get it right. Hash Browns? Extra well done. Bacon...limp, lightly cooked. Always like my waffles cooked light also. But syrup? It's just got to be hot. I hate cold or room temperature. So what does 'Flo' (that is a 'Mel's Diner' reference, a sitcom from the late 70's early 80's that many of you might not be familiar with, god it sucks getting old!!!) say to this demand?

"Well, they ain't gonna do no hot syrup...its just not how they do it. It will come out room temperature."  Me and Kai exchange awkward looks. Umm....I wonder if 'they' expect their customers to leave tips. I ask her if they have a microwave. She tells me they do. Really!!!??? So to put the bowl of syrup in there, push 30 seconds, then START, would be creating all kinds of havoc for her? She tells me she 'will see' if they can heat it up. Needless to say, it arrived at room temperature. Service with a smile!!!!

I wake up at 7am. Leave at 7:30. Stop and get gas. Go to Walgreen's and buy some 'Goof-Off' to get the scrapes and scratches out of the front side of the rental car...or 'skate' as me and Kai had taken to calling it. That mission didn't work. Now, I still don't know if this came with the car...or if I put it in the wall on my first night here and just wasn't aware. Well, I made it to Midway with time to spare, got a really nice curbside check-in guy...who saw my Alabama shirt and started in on a conversation about his son, who had received offers to go to Alabama to play football or San Diego State to play volleyball, both on scholarships. Hmm...that, is actually, kind of a tough call. I know it might not sound like one to some of you....but I will assume most of you haven't ever visited San Diego State University, with a full, raging libido at the age of 19. Trust me, it's a tough call.

I left the nice man...and returned the car. The lady who checked out my rental...who I was sure to be extra nice to, took no notice of the 'damage' and printed out my final receipt. I think I may have dodged a bullet. Made it through TSA with my bag only being re-scanned and pilfered through twice. Leaving me 7 minutes to catch my flight...which I scored an emergency exit row seat for. And that concluded my near-perfect morning. The flight was perfect. As was the flight from Atlanta to Gulfport.

Then, the standard GPT experience began. Waiting for the luggage. I was seated in the last row of the plane. Got off the plane last. And yet...waited a full 20 minutes at baggage claim...while nothing came out. This airport here is an absolute joke. For once, I decided to walk outside, and around to the fence...just to attempt to watch the action out back. Wow! I actually videotaped it on my phone. I'm not posting it here because, frankly, I'm too lazy. But they had two guys unloading the plane. TWO. Which took forever...then the one guy drives the luggage cart the whole 75 yards from the plane to the baggage claim dock. Where he radios for the big fat redneck in shorts...who comes waddling down the driveway....no sense of urgency whatsoever. He finally gets to the cart, him and the driver exchange some kind of funny joke...and they begin chucking the bags...one at a time, like they are bags of garbage at the city dump. 

Now I know why three different sets of luggage have been destroyed at this airport. I was hoping that my presence would be noticed by them...and maybe seeing me holding my phone up recording them would prompt them to stop hurling the luggage the way they were. But it didn't. Every tossed bag elicited a cringe by me. Then I see my carry on, containing my laptop and everything else electronic that I value in my life get tossed, landed and slam into the metal wall. I wanted to climb the fence and go attack this guy like a pit bull. Son of a.......

Loaded up my car, which Squirrel had been circling the airport in for 45 minutes, since the fat, old asshole buzzin around on his Segueway refused to let her stand still for more than 3 minutes before running her off. What is it with these airport Nazis? I hate bin Laden for what he did to make flying one of the biggest headaches in the world. Whatever, it was nice to be home.

Spent the rest of the day unpacking, doing laundry and catching up with my dogs. Then slept...for almost a day. On my new, kickass mattress (from Beds To Go in Houston...yes Stephen, that is YOUR shameless plug you whore!), and new bedding that Squirrel had just bought, courtesy of Mollie and her attack on the bed the previous week.

So...I wake up this morning, and almost totally forget, that I had given my word to this guy to appear on his radio show. Yeah...radio show. Now, I am not real up on how radio vs. podcast works...but I know it was live, because a bunch of people listened and told me I did alright after it was over. I sat at my desk waiting for the phone to ring...not wanting to miss the call, and coming off as a flake.

It was a show for a guy who is a doctor, who also plays poker, and who reads my blog. He is married to a clinical psychologist. He deals with heart and weight issues...so he found my case to be intriguing, since I have talked about my ridiculous cholesterol problems. It was kind of nice to hear what they had to offer, and I kind of came out of it a little more educated. Anyway...I decided to go ahead and post it on here, if you are REALLY interested to hear how it went. I think my part starts about 20 minutes in. Trust me...its not that exciting, just me talking about some personal health issues.


Listen to internet radio with chslv on Blog Talk Radio


So what else? Squirrel and I had a date night tonight when she got off work early. We went to that bastion of health food for dinner, Red Lobster. Our 'Seafood Specialist' known to some by the title of 'Waitress' did a marvelous job...and we made it out in time to catch Brad Pitt in 'MoneyBall' which, as advertised, was a pretty solid flick. Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Art Howe was a bit of a reach...maybe? I grew up an Astros fan, and always thought of Art Howe being, well...not as he was depicted in the film. Maybe my image of him was wrong. I wonder if Billy Beane regrets not taking the job with Boston...which would have led to him NOT losing the last game of the season. 

Speaking of losing...Monkey the Greek had kind of a disappointing Sunday with my NFL picks. Granted, some of my predictions weren't too far off base...but the results didn't show it. The Saints barely squeaked by the winless Colts. Probably time for them to start looking for help at the QB position. I mean, Drew Brees? Surely they can do better than this guy!!??

The World Series heads back to St. Louis with the Rangers now holding a 3 games to 2 lead. I have no idea what is going to happen. The Cardinals have been tough all postseason. I did predict, I think, that the Rangers would win in 7...I guess I will stick by that. 

Okay...that's enough for today. I have some very big, exciting news coming in my next blog post...which might come before the IP starts. Please...for the love of god, if you are thinking, even THINKING about coming to the IP WSOP event...do not let anything stop you. Get your ass down here!!! The structures are good, the tourney room is huge, and comfortable...and I might even do a last longer with you for every event! I am planning on bringing my oh-so-incredibly-comfortable office chair from home, and keeping it there for the whole event. I feel like since I am on my home turf, I should at least get to enjoy some kind of a home-field advantage over you savages.

Good night. Squirrel just turned off the TV...that means that next she will be bitching about the peck peck pecking of the keyboard. Yup...there went the first moan!!!

MONKEY

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Next Up: Day 2...in pursuit of $393,584.

Yeah...for a $1600 buy in tourney...that's first place! Oh, I know high-rolling big shots like Chad Burns would scoff at that number...but the large majority of us guys who do this for a living, and do so under a very calculated formula that has us trying to use good bankroll management skills, are part of a rare opportunity where for very little (relatively speaking) we stand to potentially win a whole lot.

Last year in this event, when I put together a great run on Day 2 to make the Final Table and finish 6th, I won $45,000. We had about 860 players last year. This year....6th place will get $80,000. 2nd will get what first got last year, a quarter million. I don't think I have to reiterate how much I would love to be in position to win anything 10th or better.

Well, in order to do that, I am going to need some luck. Some good cards right out of the gate tomorrow will help me a LOT! Yesterday was a pretty weird day. As predicted, I had a table with a lot of dead money on it. The only problem for me was that I was giving them most of my chips early. QQ got it started...when I lost to 10-10 when the guy hit a straight. Then I lost with JJ...betting out on a 9-high board, getting called, c-betting the turn when a Q hit...and folding to this guy's massive re-raise. I watched my 20k quickly drop to 6200 by level 2 and was already making backup plans to participate in Day 1b.

I was writing a blog from my iPad for most of the first three levels. During that, I was making a few comments about my table, as you noticed, if you read my last entry. Well, I noticed a guy in the 5 seat reading it, and sharing it with the lady seated next to him. The lady I was describing as the 6x raiser with no money in the pot. And this coming after a hand where...and I still can't believe I watched this happen, with about 700 in the pot, and on a flop of Kd-Qd-Jh...she goes all in..for 29,000. Why is that unbelievable?

Because the kid sitting next to me....holding 9s10s....hems and haws...and CALLS! I mean...is anybody with half a clue calling there? I guess when you won your buy in courtesy of a box of cereal, maybe you would. So yeah...the Captain Crunch guy calls the lady, and she (predictably) turns over A10. The nuts. Her rationale for shoving all in? She was 'afraid of the flush.' Dude was drawing to a chop...he didn't get there...and this lady suddenly had about 50k in chips. I mumbled (I thought) to the other guy next to me that "it's okay, those chips are in a good place." And she freaked out a little.  "I heard that!!!!"

Well, thats fine. You heard that. Maybe she didn't quite understand what I meant. Basically I just meant she was pretty predictable and that I didn't have to worry about tangling with her all day. You give a bunch of chips like that to a super-aggressive internet-trained player...and he will drive you and your table mates crazy the rest of the day. So she did what I thought she would do with that stack...limp a lot, only to fold to people betting when she missed (which was me about 4 times) or overbet the shit out of it when she hit, and realize no value in her hand. She would pick up KK one time at cutoff after not having played a hand in about 5 orbits..and with the blinds 150/300 and no action behind her...she makes it 2000. She gets no action...and shows KK. Most of the other players just kind of looked at each other and smirked.

Meanwhile, I was just sitting there hovering between 6k and 9k for about 4 levels...waiting patiently for something good to happen. Finally...it did.

Sitting in the BB with 10h2h...a guy limps early for 600 holding A8. The button, the guy who took all my chips earlier when I had QQ and he had 1010, and who I hadn't been able to beat all damn day...also limps in, with A9. The flop comes A-6-2. I check. They both check. Why? No idea. I guess trapping with A8 or A9 isn't a trick I've learned yet. But I would like to thank both of those donkeys...since the next card was another deuce. I checked. Donkey #1 bets 1600. Donkey #2 calls. Monkey #1 raises to 4000. Leaving 2800 behind. Too obvious? I think (and I'm trying to reverse-think like a moron here) they must have convinced themselves that I was just trying to 'represent' holding a deuce. Why do I think that? Because they both called.

The river was like a 4...nothing to dissuade me from dumping my last 2800 into the pot, which again...they both merely called. Ship it boys. Triple up for Monkey...to over 20k. Finally. A break! I then spent the rest of the next two levels treading water...and went to dinner break with about 20k. And feeling great.

After dinner break, I caught fire. Raising, getting called, hitting flops, betting...and getting them to folk. I raced from 20k to 46k in 2 and a half levels...and was starting to finally really get excited about this event. And any thoughts I had of having to return for Day 1b were starting to be erased from my mind.

While I was running good, this lady was just sitting there, slowly blinding down. I was in the middle of a great run of 'That's What She Said' jokes to the guys at my end of the table...and she was living in the 'Sensitive Zone' thinking I was talking about her, as she kept shooting me dirty looks. I decided I wasn't even going to try to talk her off the ledge. Just didn't care. 

So when her stack went from 40k down to 30k, then 20k....and finally 12k....we were all starting to wonder if she was going to just sit there and wait for AA or KK, or just blind out? I raised under the gun, where I seemed to be picking up a LOT of my better hands all day. It folded around to her...and she tanks. Starts mumbling to the guy next to her...and I hear...."I just can't let him be the one to knock me out..." and she folds. They all fold. I show my JJ and ask her if she had that beat. She claims that she did. Yeah. And the guy next to her later told me she folded QQ. Huh? Well, if she did....THANKS MA'AM!!!

I ended up making one big mistake. I had been very good all day about folding 'those' hands, the ones that can get you in trouble when you are playing nice, patient tournament poker. Hands like QJ, A10, pairs under 6....when in lousy position...when you know that if you raise with them, you can't call a re-raise. So at cutoff, I pick up KQd...and raise a semi-shortstack in the BB. He shoves all in. Dammit. I count the pot. 34k in the pot. He is all in for 15,400. My stack is 36,500. So....15,400 to win about 50k. A little over 3-1. And this guys range, judging from other hands, is pretty wide. He could have a bad ace, a middle pair...there is a good chance my cards are live. I just hate the idea of falling back down to 20k. But with the current average at about 55k, I might need to make this play to get back in good shape. I call. He has A10. I miss everything. Dammit.

I was pretty sure I saw a smirk on the lady's face. Whatever lady...you and your 8k over there are looking good. So the blinds are 1k/2k with a 400 ante. She is now in the BB...with 2000 in the BB...and 500 behind. You heard me...500! There is a raise on the button. The small blind calls. And she tanks. We are all looking at each other...like "what is she waiting for? Is she kidding? Why did she even look at her hand?" The guy next to me, who was really funny...lays 4-1 odds that she WILL fold. I take him up on it for $5. Then we watch in amazement as she FOLDS! I pay him the $5. He giggles. The hand concludes and she announces that she would have lost. On the next hand...she had 400 in the ante, and her last 100 in the SB...which constituted 10% off the small blind. She would win the hand. Exchange high fives with the guy next to her...and then promptly lose two hands later.

Shortly after that, our table broke. I moved to a table that was filled with good players. A lot of them friends of mine. And nearly all of them had a TON of chips. It was pretty humbling. Yikes. And then my 20k shrunk to 13k. Oh no....I am going to play 12 hours only to lose? Or worse...play 12 hours, be left with less than a starting stack, and be shut out of being able to play Day 1b and actually get out of Day 1 with a respectable stack. No! This is NOT happening! 

When we got to that magic 10 minute mark...they announced that we would play a total of 3 more hands. I decided right then that if the action folded around to me, I was shoving all in with anything. I was either going to get knocked out, or double up and have a prayer on Day 2. The first hand...there was a raise and a call behind me...and I had 9-4. Ugh. Fold.

But on the next hand....and with the only guy at the table in worse shape than me...I asked him if he wanted to go all in dark if it folded around to me? He was non-committal. But I wasn't. I didn't want to look at my cards, it might cause me to change my mind. So when it folded around to me...I did as promised, shoved all in for 13,600. The blinds were 1200/2400. Everyone folded to the guy. He looks down, raises his eyebrows and calls. Uh-Oh...well not really, I did WANT a call either way. Picking up the blinds was going to do very little for my cause.

He turns over KJ. Oh, nice hand. I turn mine over one at a time. There is a nine! And here is a ten! Okay! I would have shoved with that anyway! I flop a ten...and it ends up holding! The final hand brought me nothing exciting, and I felt pretty energized, as I bagged up 31,500 chips at the end of Day 1. We started with 912 players and played down to about 175 or so. Then in today's Day 1b they had around 700 players and I think made it down to about the same amount. Well, I just looked and there shows a total of 334 players remaining. There are 171 players who will make the money...so it really shouldn't take more than 2 or 3 levels maybe to get into the money tomorrow. I really hope I am one of them.

On the National Freeroll leaderboard, I noticed I finally showed up...but they are annoyingly calling me 'Corey Souther.' I thought they had fixed that last year. Oh well, whatever. My two cashes have me with 17.5 points, which is obviously nowhere near enough yet. But there are a lot of events left. Or...I could just go on a monster run tomorrow, get a huge stack, make the final table...and win. Thus locking up the National Freeroll, and oh yeah...putting the dreary memories of 2011 behind me finally.  We'll see what happens.

Kai just slinked into the room. He played yesterday. Lost in about level 9. Then played again today...and lost again. He is pretty bummed, understandably. I wonder how many guys paid twice and lost twice? I am guessing its a pretty big number. 

There are a couple of things I'm wondering. Last year they had 4 separate Regional Championships...all with $10k buy ins, with the first being here in Chicago/Hammond. I see that this year...they did away with that. I wonder why?

Last month in Bossier City, the Main Event had a totally different blind structure...much more similar to that of most of the other Main Events. As I was sitting there yesterday, I started to have one of those instinctual feelings that a dog has when he is getting close to home, or the beach. My insides were just starting to tell me that something with the structure felt speedy. Then it was confirmed for me by a few other players on our second break...when it became the topic of discussion. Guys couldn't understand why they were looking down at a stack of 35k in Level 9 and feeling like they were in shove mode all of a sudden. 

I am guessing, and it makes the most sense...that they anticipated having this massive field, and knew they would have to eliminate some of the early levels, like 50/100 and 250/500 for example to help thin the herd...thus avoiding turning it into a 4 or 5-day tourney. If that was the strategy, it appears to have worked. Now, the good news, is that tomorrow when we come back, the blind levels go from 40 minutes to 60 minutes. Which should help my case a lot, I hope. I haven't looked to see if the blind levels will be as they should, and not be missing a few...but I assume it should be fine. Hope so anyway. 

Whoever wins this event is going to pick up a SHITLOAD of POY points! Can't wait to see just how many.

Squirrel has spoiled our dogs to the point that she has lately started letting them stay in the house when she goes to work, fearing that its too cold outside for them. I keep trying to remind her that they are dogs...that they have fur, and that we have a space heater for outside. And then last week...Mollie did a dirty, and destroyed one of our living room pillows. Not a major deal, but she got scolded. Now you would think this might convince Cheryl to quit leaving them inside, right?

Wrong. She did it again Friday night. Came home and was greeted by a winter wonderland of down feathers everywhere...and Jasper was covered head to toe in feathers. The comforter, which I just bought for her a few months ago...and a bunch of our nice pillows, had fallen victim to Mollie's home boredom. I guess she spent four hours cleaning up the bedroom. I'm glad I wasn't there for that.

Great college football today. LSU looks awesome. Bama was sleep walking in the first half...but thankfully showed up in the 2nd half. Oklahoma went down to Texas Tech...thus ending their babble about being "The Real #1." And then it was Wisconsin's turn...who was my Survivor Pick...and just needed to win for me, since almost EVERYONE took West Virginia....who got pummeled by Syracuse...but after making a huge late-game comeback to tie it, lose on a last second hail mary. Wow. My Huskies, as I expected they might, got destroyed by Stanford, and our stay in the Top 25 was a short one. I was going to think about playing the 7pm tourney today...but instead never left my hotel, just slept off and on all day and watched football. 

That football game between the Rangers and the Cardinals was pretty good too. That Pujols guy had like 3 TD's I think...and the Cards won by a TD and a FG...what was it? 16-7? Yeah...that's right. Good day to be on the over!

If you push a button on the AC unit that says 'Fan Constant' can anyone tell me why it would cut on and off all the time?

Anyone find it odd that we were treated to dead and captured photos of Saddam Hussein, Moammar Khadafy, and several other terrorists...but the one guy EVERYONE wanted to see dead...Osama bin Laden...we never got to see? I wish I could bring myself to trust our government a little more. I just can't.

The other thing that keeps me up at night...wanting to know the real story behind what and why World Trade Center #7 collapsed. Why a guy who testified to authorities to hearing obvious explosive charges in the building, and was scheduled to appear in hearings to share this information...suddenly had a heart attack the week before he was to appear? A guy who was in perfect health? It pisses me off, the things that are carried out under our noses, with the conclusion being that they can just spoon-feed whatever story they want us all to believe through our media that seems to be bought and paid for. Whatever...not going to open that can or worms. Or maybe I already did.

Have you guys been clamoring for my awesome NFL picks? I know, I let you down last week, as I was busy with the poker tourney up here. But hey...fine, here ya go.

SUNDAY in the NFL...MONKEY's PREDICTIONS!!!!

Game 1.  My Seahawks visit Cleveland. Both teams are desperate for a win, and since it appears both are now almost OUT of the running for the LUCKy Draft Pick...they better start trying to win. Charlie Whitehurst finally gets the start for the Hawks...for a supposedly injured Tavaris Jackson, who has been wholly ineffective all season, and a terrible trade. Had Hasselbeck been re-signed, I think the Hawks are probably 3-2, possible 4-1. Cleveland is favored by 3. I like Seattle to win a close one.  SEATTLE 21 CLEVELAND 17
Game 2.  Atlanta at Detroit.  Detroit should be 6-0. They let the Niners off the hook last week and escape Motor City with a win to improve to 5-1...which sucks for this Seahawks fan. So now their coach is pissed off, and maybe the team is too...which isn't good news for Atlanta. The Dirty Birds have been up and down all season. Tough game to call here, but I like the home field edge, and see the Lions going to 6-1.  DETROIT 28 ATLANTA 20

Game 3.  Houston at Tennessee.  This used to be more fun when old Oilers fans were still bitter about the Titans moving. I think that shit has kind of subsided. Now its just Texan fans wondering when they will finally make the playoffs. They started hot, and were the sexy favorite to supplant INDY as the division champ...but the Titans have been surprising (with the help of ex-Seahawk Matt Hasselbeck) despite getting very little from Chris Johnson so far...that's usually what happens when a guy holds out for more money. He gets the money, then plays like shit. So this game? Another brutally tough call. With Andre Johnson out...and Foster and Tate both not 100%...its a tough day for Houston on the road, and I think the Titans might just pull this one out.  TITANS 34 TEXANS 27.

Game 4.  Denver at Miami.  The rumors out of Miami are that if the Dolphins lose, Tony Sporano is gone. This is pretty unfair. The guy has been handed more bad breaks than a orthopedic surgeon, and doesn't deserve being canned yet. And what's really a bad beat? Tim Tebow has been named the starter, and coincidentally, the Dolphins are holding a special reunion for the National Title-winning Gators, featuring Tim Tebow...so in essence, it could amount to a home game for the Broncos. Sure Bronco coach John Fox was aware of this when he decided to give Tebow the start. I am afraid to pick against Denver, because Tebow just seems to make things happen, but I just can't see Miami losing again...and Denver's defense sucks. DOLPHINS 35 BRONCOS 23

Game 5.  S.D. Chargers at N.Y. Jets.  Another tough game to call. The Jets won a game on Monday Night that they HAD to win. San Diego is playing in one of the weakest divisions in football, but now that Al Davis has croaked, the Raiders might actually have a shot at making the playoffs again. Which makes this a pretty important game for the Chargers. And since they are coming off a bye week, they should be well rested, and might even get All Pro TE Antonio Gates back. I hope so, since he is on about 3 of my fantasy rosters. I like the road warriors to pull this one out. SD CHARGERS 42 NYJETS 28.

Game 6.  Chicago at Tampa Bay. The Bears finally put together a game here in Chicago on Sunday night...pounding the Vikings, and putting another rookie behind center, Christian Ponder. The Buccs overachieved, a week after getting slaughtered in SF...beating the division leading Saints, and tying up the division. This is a big game for both teams. And another tough one to call. I think the Bears are going to ride the wave of a good game last week...and beat the home standing Buccs. Oh wait!!! Snap! The game is NOT in Tampa Bay!!! Its in freaking LONDON! What does this mean? I don't know either. But I'm picking the Bears to win...
BEARS 24  BUCCS 10

Game 7.  Washington at Carolina. The Skins are 3-2. The Panthers are 1-5. That's a joke. The records should be reversed. The Panthers are very, very close to being a really good team, and Cam Newton is the real deal. With a great set of RB's (when healthy) and All Everything WR Steve Smith (when healthy) this is one of the best offenses in the NFL. I think this could be the biggest rout of the day. And with Washington pulling the trigger and yanking Rex Grossman...it could be a long day for John Beck. Watch, the Skins will end up winning.  PANTHERS 41 REDSKINS 24.

Game 8.  Chiefs at Oakland.  The Ghost of Al will hover over the Raiders all season. I have a very eerie feeling that the Raiders are going to win the Super Bowl. I know...that sounds crazy. But running out and getting Carson Palmer tells us that they are serious about making a run. Hell, they gave away next year's #1 Draft pick, and possible the #1 pick in 2013. For a guy who hasn't played in over a year, and who's arm strength was already on the decline. And with Jason Campbell laying in the hospital recovering from a broken collarbone and moping about them going out and getting another QB, it could end up backfiring for the Raiders. But I don't think so. I think they let Kyle Boller run a offense controlled by their running game this week while Palmer learns the offense and unleashes the hounds in their next game. The Chiefs will need a lot of help from their passing game...but I think the Raiders are just too tough at home. RAIDERS 23 CHIEFS 16.

Game 9.  Steelers at the Cardinals. Arizona is 1-4 and desperate for a win. Pittsburgh is 4-2 and coming off a close win over struggling J'ville. This could be a spot where Pittsburgh gets caught sleeping and gets beat on the road. But I think its more likely that Arizona leads like 13-10 at the half...only to lose the game after the Steelers decide they feel like winning.  PITTSBURGH 20 ARIZONA 16.

Game 10.  Rams at Dallas.  There is an above average chance that these two teams might not outscore the Cardinals and Rangers did tonight. Sam Bradford is out for the Rams. This could be ugly. The Cowboys...after another game they felt they let get away vs. New England last week, have got to be ready to just explode. This should be a total blowout.  COWBOYS 45 RAMS 10.

Game 11.  Green Bay at Minnesota. The World Champs are 6-0. The Vikings are coming off a devastating loss at Chicago. The city is offering to hand them the beat up MetroDome instead of building them a new football-only stadium. This has all the classic signs of a Green Bay butt-whipping. Which is why I think the Vikings will rally behind new starting QB Christian Ponder and the running of Adrian Peterson to surprise the Packers. Then again, they might just lose by three touchdowns too. But I will stick with my prediction of an upset. VIKINGS 27 PACKERS 21.

Game 12.  Indianapolis at New Orleans. Can you say "Duck!!!" I think the Saints are furious at not winning in Tampa Bay last week...and intend to take it out on the Colts. Early in the season, this looked like a marquee matchup between the Saints' Super Bowl opponent from two years ago. Now its just an easy (supposedly) win on the Saints schedule and a chance to rest their starters in the second half if they play right. The Colts are right on schedule to draft the next greatest NFL QB...as they are 0-6 and going nowhere fast. SAINT 44 COLTS 13.
Game 13.  Monday Night Game.  Baltimore at Jacksonville. Weird game. Not even sure how or why ESPN decided to schedule J'Ville on a Monday Night. And with Hank Williams Jr. no longer offering up the opening song, and MNF going with their little home town theme video instead, what in the hell is J'ville going to serve up? To me that's the biggest mystery in this game. Because the Ravens LOVE playing on primetime, and almost always impress. I have the Ravens defense in my big money fantasy league...so kind of hope they score about 4 defensive touchdowns in this one. Blaine Gabbert could be in for a very long, embarrassing night in front of America. RAVENS 34 JAGUARS 13.

Okay. That was fun. I'm done here. It's 2am...time to try and get some sleep, something I rarely do on nights before I go back for Day 2's. Pretty irritating. Hopefully I have a good day tomorrow, make it back for Monday, and get to NOT show up for my flight Monday morning!

MONKEY