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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




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