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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


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