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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

AND....its a.....

Time to start getting used to having a LOT of PINK all over the place!!!!


On or around April 26th, we will be welcoming to our world, what is ALREADY the most spoiled little girl I have ever known! We are still batting around names...so I regret to inform that there is no decision there. My mother, who has been INSISTING now for weeks that we were going to have a girl, has proven to be prophetic. I think we can call it wishful thinking...since she has FIVE grandsons between my brother and sister.

Cheryl's mom is also elated...as her son has three little boys as well. I really didn't have a preference. I just want with all my heart and soul to have a healthy child. Well, that...and I hope it looks a lot more like Squirrel and a lot less like Monkey!!! Especially NOW...that we know it's a girl! So the avalanche of gifts from friends and family has already begun...and I have to admit...the thought of a little baby girl crawling around the house in each outfit is giving me goosebumps.

Sorry to keep y'all waiting in suspense. To those of you (and I was surprised how many there were) who have come up to me in New Orleans this week asking me what we were having...I apologize for it taking a WEEK! I just got busy with the event in New Orleans...and with lack of sleep and all, just hadn't had time to post. But thanks everyone for your well wishes and prayers for a safe delivery. We are both feeling blessed to have so many wonderful, thoughtful people in our lives.

Now then...on to other stuff, like...TA-DA! Poker! First event...198 players showed up...which has been the largest field so far. Buy was $350. Everything went well most of the day. Made the money, and bagged up the 5th smallest stack out of 17. Drove home...slept 4 hours...and drove back, to return at 2pm. On the fourth hand...a guy raised in early position to 10k. A guy who I had already seen over-shove all in three previous times in the tourney with AK and/or AQ did again...this time for 85k. I had to assume he had AK...then I looked down at QQ. Those queens again. With only 6 more rounds before I blinded out...I didn't have much of a choice. I shoved. First guy folded. And I was up against...like I thought, AK. Everything was great on the flop...clean on the turn...and I started thinking about having 150k and being right back into contention for the $15k first prize.

But then the damn king hit the river...a handful of groans were heard. I got that typical feeling you get in your gut when that happens, and I slowly pushed back away from the table...and sauntered over to get my $731 payout. Two days and 14 hours to earn what I could have made in a 1.5hr SNG. Hate that.

But I was out early enough to get into the $560...which had attracted, I believe 115 players. I ended up getting really lucky on the last hand before the 1st break. This guy at the table...I had also had him at the table in the previous tourney...was real aggressive, liked to do a lot of 3-betting in late position. He also has this really annoying way of plopping down his bets.

He's one of those guys who puts his bets out in two motions. Know what I mean. Holds the first half in one side of the hand...and the other half in the other side of his hand...and goes....boom, boom (not the sound...just the action) with his bet. Well, anyway...I hate it. It's super annoying. So with the BB sitting out, having already left for break...I pick up KJs and decide to raise. Well it folds around to this guy on the button and he does his double-barreled re-raise move, taking my raise of 350 up to 850.

I stubbornly decide that I'm tired of this guy...and that he's just making a move because he thinks I'm trying to pick off the dead money in the big blind...so I quickly grab all my chips except my 425 in greens, and re-raise. Only problem, he thought I was all in...and says "Call" and turns his hand over. AA. Whoops. Well, that created a 'situation' that we all know the outcome of. (one round penalty for the guy after the hand) As the last hand before break...if I missed the flop I probably would be inclined to fold. Problem is, 425 isn't too many chips to come back from break with...and they offer re-entries up to the break. So just dumping the last 425 so I could walk out and re-enter was obviously an option. But having to cake off another $560 also wasn't looking very attractive, either.

Well...that all went by the wayside when the flop came out J-10-J. Whoa! Put my last few chips in there...and I had my lucky double up to 22k. Wow. I don't see that happen very often! To me, anyway!

So...my tourney life was good. For awhile. Then 'HE' showed up. And this is where it gets interesting. Some of you remember my little flair up with Chalmette's own Danny Dorsey, who thought it was cool to stiff me $200 on a fantasy league, then concocting some lame ass story about his 'girlfriend changing the password on his Yahoo account, hence locking him out of his team.' What wasn't mentioned was that it happened after he'd fallen out of contention already. So after telling me he would get the money to me...he conveniently blew it off, and guess who had to pony up the loot on his behalf? Yeah. Yours truly. And then a little blog blazing of Danny ensued on my little corner of the world here. It was entertaining to some, I guess..and made for good ratings that month!  :)

Well, arriving at our table was who I THOUGHT....was Mr. Dorsey. I didn't learn until later (two days later) that this person was, in fact...not Danny...but a guy named Pike. A guy who looked just LIKE Danny. Weird. And shockingly, he talked like him and acted like him too. This guy overplayed everything, raised with anything, called with shit...only to get lucky and suck out over and over again. He went from about 75k down to 10 BB's with a couple of hair brained plays, then magically rebuilt it back up to about 50k.

I think we were down to about 35 players. The blinds were 400/800, maybe 500/1000...not positive. But a guy UTG+1 goes all in for 5450. The button calls. And this guy Pike calls. I look down at AKd. I see close to 20k in the pot. I have 22k total. Hmmm. I think the proper play here is to ship. So I ship. The guy on the button folds. And as Pike is tanking this original shover is telling me I don't like him...that he made a really shitty play against me in the past...and that I blogged about him. Added that "if I win with this hand you are REALLY gonna be pissed." Hmmm..that prompted me to wonder to myself..."If this guy has such a shitty hand, why the fuck did he decide to ship here, and now..in that position?" Well, as it turns out...he did make a stupid fucking play. He was shipping with J7. And yeah...the blinds were 400/800 come to think of it...cuz later when he came to me and asked me "what was I SUPPOSED to do with only 7 big blinds" my answer to him was that I would most likely be able to find a lot better spot, or situation to move in than to do it there, with J7 off suit. It was, in a word, RIDICULOUS.

So meanwhile, back to the Piker. He was in the middle of his swamp-donk theatrical speech, contemplating whether or not to make YET another stupid ass call...ah hell, it was only another 16,500 to call, or 1/3rd of his stack, for those scoring at home. Finally he announces "Shit...only cuz I don't like you Monkey.....I call" and turns over 6-7. So okay, I am up against 67 and J7 to get to over 60k. I like my chances. And wow does this guy stink up a poker table with his awful play.

DEALER FLOPS A SIX....AND PUTS A JACK ON THE RIVER. I LOSE TO THEM BOTH. PIKE CROWS LIKE A INBRED MORON....

I did not say a freaking word. Just left. Can't beat stupid. Can't kill it, maim it, or even affect it. It just can't be defeated. Stupid ended up finishing 6th in the tourney.

I went, then and played the 5pm tourney. For $240. I would end up getting it all in with 77 vs. 66. That guy wouldn't hit a six. Nope. Just four hearts. Peace out.

Then I went and played the nightly. Once again...good start followed by calamitous finish. We had now achieved the vaunted 'Hat Trick' of poker...having played and lost all three in the daily lineup. My winnings from earlier had been exhausted.

Then I galloped off to the cash room. Why? Because there weren't any SNG's being run. As a matter of fact...there have been very FEW SNG's all week. As most of you know, there was very little advertising done for this event. Why? No idea. I was told it was 'budget related.' The cost to place your event in Cardplayer.com...which is kind of the first thing any tournament does...is FREE. As of this writing, the event is still not listed there.

My buddy, Barth Melius, who is known to a lot of people around New Orleans..and who owns three bars/restaurants in town...has been especially critical of how this event has been run. 

See anything back there you have EVER seen on ANY bar's 'backbar' in your whole life? Oh! I think I do see Seagram's 7! That would be THE top of that shelf!!!!
It all started with asking for a Red Bull on the first day and getting one, no problem. Free of charge. But then the next day, it was $5. Huh? Then we received an explanation from the waitress, who told us, because the poker tourney was given no budget for the event...it was only going to be offering the players the worst of the worst as far as liquor choices. Most of the beer is free, but Corona and a few of the other imports are all $5. I find this, as does almost everyone else, to be almost comical. I mean...this is a simple business model. You spend a little money to advertise, and your player field increases by 35-50%. You are taking a hefty tournament fee already, for the casino. So with all that added 'juice' you just might be able to offer the players the same beverage service they have come to realize from Harrah's New Orleans the past 5-10 years.

That's Barth...who is about to pay $5 for a Red Bull...for the first time ever since coming to Harrah's, and not feeling very happy about it. Fortunately, the bartender had a great attitude and was being a good sport about it.

Its kind of been the talk of the event. Personally, I don't really care that much. Honestly. I haven't been drinking all that much...and now, when I do...its beer. I've started drinking Michelob Ultra. Those are free. And I tip the same. I mostly feel for the other players who have been bitching about it non-stop. And I cannot understand for one second, how a guy can have a Seven-Star card with Harrah's (the TOP tier of player's card available) and STILL be required to pay the $5 for a damn Red Bull. Are they serious?

So...where was I? Oh yeah, I just left the tourney room after pulling the inglorious hat trick. Decide I'm going to go play some cash game. I walk to the desk and ask for a 1/2 table. He points me to a table. I sit down. Look at the stacks. Lot of green chips. "Is this 1/2?" Nope. 2/5. Sigh. Go back to the desk. Tell him that was a 1/2 table. "Oh, sorry!" He asks if a table in back has a seat. Dealer raises her hand. He sends me there. I go, I sit...and again notice abundance of green chips, and typical 2/5 players. "Is this 1/2 or 2/5?" Yup. 2/5. Go back..again, to the desk. Tell him the deal. He tries to tell me he sent me to the table next to it. Uh huh. Right. So the dealer who raised her hand....whatever. I go to the third table. Ahoy. 1/2.

It took about 20 minutes before 'The Incident' occurred. One that caused me to report it to the Poker Room manager the following day. And given my reputation, in the midst of this incident, I had to dig down deep for the patience required to not lose my effing mind.

I decide to put my mark on the table early...and fire in a 4-bet behind a straddle and a raise. I had a pretty shitty hand. I get called four ways. I completely miss the flop. It checks to me. I bet big. I get one caller, and another guy goes all in for less. Awesome. Now I've really dug a hole. Shit. One more chance...get this other guys money in a side pot. So on the turn I fire in 150...which is what he has left. He calls. Ugh. Now what? The river gives me absolutely nothing. The guy Im in the side pot with...he is pretty drunk, and quite possibly has a screw loose...no one has turned their hand over yet. The one guy...who is all in, turns over a hand good enough to win...and the other guy mucks his hand. FOLDS IT. Face down! 

So...what does this mean boys and girls? Say it after me...real slow.  Monkey.....wins....the....side....pot. Right? That's the deal, huh? Right? Well hold on a second. The dealer...he decides to halt the action. He takes the guys folded hand...and pushes it back to him!

"Dude! What are you doing??? Why are you pushing him his hand back! He folded man...that is a muck!!!!"

"No, his hand isn't dead...y'all are all in and all the hands have to be turned up."

Oh my god. What planet am I on!??? Does this guy think we are in a tournament? He calls the floor. And here comes Mr. Anderson, late night poker supervisor. And when he arrives I try to explain what is going on and he orders me to 'CHILL OUT' and let the dealer explain the situation to him. Now this is fairly common, and in fact protocol. But as most of us players know from experience, there is also a propensity for the dealers to creatively change the way things went down when they repeat it back to the floor person. So, as players...we automatically try to plead our case before it can be falsely replayed by the dealer.

Why does the dealer do this? Well, I think its fairly obvious that a lot of dealers do this because they KNOW they screwed up and are petrified to tell the floor guy what REALLY happened because they are fearing that they might get in trouble. And that sucks. Because, hell...we all make mistakes. And I don't mind a guy making a mistake. But to go and LIE about something...and having it grossly affect the person who is sitting there tipping them all night, because they are scared of getting disciplined by their supervisor? That just pisses me off. So...pretty sure you can predict what happened.

The dealer explains what happened. And of course, he explains it wrong. But the one thing he does admit, is that the guy threw in his cards. But does the floor guy then immediately do what 97.5% of all the other floor guys out there would do...and rule his hand dead, and award me the $300 side pot? Nope! He ordered the guys cards to be turned over. And his pair of 8's were good to beat my hand. I almost lost my mind. I asked about three times if this was really happening. If I was really witnessing this. And then he says:

"Hey...why don't you say it ONE MORE TIME...and see what happens!!!???" Huh? Oh...he is threatening me now. What? I ask him if this is REALLY his decision one more time and he's gonna what? TOSS ME? For asking why he is making a decision that just cost me $300...when he couldn't be any more wrong? Holy shit. Well, it got better...before he returned to the front desk, he turns to me and throws me this gem:

"Hey Monkey...why don't you go blog about THIS one!!!"

Wow. I just sat there, stunned. And yeah...I told the poker room manager about it the next day. And he acted like he was upset about it. But when I asked him about it yesterday, I came away feeling like nothing was done about it whatsoever. In fact...what he told me was that when it was discussed, Mr. Anderson laughed about it. Oh...yeah. Pretty fucking hilarious eh? Well...I sat there for about another hour...and finally got fed up with being there, and left.

But where did I leave to? I decided to do something I rarely do. I decided to go play blackjack. Maybe a hat trick and a bad cash session had something to do with it. Well, in New Orleans, there is no such thing as a $5 or $10 blackjack table. And when I play blackjack..which isn't very often...I like to chill at a $10 table. Not available. So its $25. I plop $500 on the table. And within an hour I was up to $2400. Hmmm. I was almost having fun. Know what didn't happen? Not once did a floor person ask for my player's card. Or a dealer. And I'm making a lot of bets between $25-$100. And in most casinos...you are, or should be...sitting there earning a LOT of comp points. But, not in New Orleans I guess. I don't know a lot about comp points, because I don't do a lot of gambling on the floor...but somehow I think I probably got hosed.

I finally got up when I managed to lose all but $600 of that $2400. Headed out to the parking lot. It was 6am. Damn. What to do, where to go. Drive home? Ugh. Find a hotel? Why? So I can check in...then have to check out in 5 hours? Screw it. Hotel Toyota time! Good news. The last time I slept in my car in New Orleans? It was in 2008. And that following day...I made the Final Table in the $550 event. So maybe lightning would strike twice. I was only hassled twice by the parking lot dude who rolls around in the golf cart trying to keep the parking lot from turning into a hotel. I told him an answer that was just good enough to buy me a few hours of sleep.

Time for a sidebar: Has anyone seen the feature on HBO...Bryan Gumbel's Real Sports...with Marcus Dixon of the New York Jets? It was an amazing story. Literally brought me to tears almost. If you get a chance, check it out. 

Bought Squirrel her own XBox to have in the bedroom so she can use it to watch NetFlix and Hulu. She's not a real gamer. She's likes to find herself a series of shows to watch...then watch all of them. Well, the one she found now is 'Friday Night Lights.' I think maybe I've seen 2 or 3 episodes in the past five years...not much. But now I've watched about 10 episodes in the last two nights. Never realized what a great show it is. 


Want to see some goooooooofy ass pictures of some gooooofy ass people? And what is almost better than the pictures...are some of the comments under the pictures! FUNNY FUNNY SHIT CLICK HERE!!!!

Okay. So...back to poker, because this one almost had a happy ending. After sleeping in my car...I ambled into the tourney room to play the 1pm tourney.  I'm not gonna lie, I don't remember much about the first 8 levels. What I do remember, is winning the first monster pot. A guy raised to 1500 utg when we were at 250/500. I looked down at JJ...hmmm, he had a lot of chips, and I've gotten into a lot of trouble when I re-raise with JJ against an early raiser, as a lot of players have, I'm sure. That and I had a lot of chips at the time...about three times the average, as did this guy. So I played it safe and flatted. Which led to FOUR other guys calling. There were a couple guys lurking behind me...and heard me say "Great...I don't see how in the world I'm going to win with this hand, now." And they saw my hand.

So when the flop came out J-10-10 I felt pretty decent. The original raiser (who had AK) led out for 3500. I simply called. Another player re-raises to 10,500. Folds back to AK guy, and he folds. I didn't have to go all in...had enough chips to re-raise...so I did, another 9k. I was pretty convinced he had A10. He goes all in, I call and tell him I hope he doesn't have quads. He asks if I have jacks. Yeah. He has A10. Huge pot. And that pretty much propelled me to the final table. Yeah..there were some big hands along the way...like the lady (super nice, always forget her name) who raised with JJ...I re-raised on the button with AA. She merely flatted, then went all in on a 7-high flop for about a 80k pot. 

We ended the night with 11 players. It paid 12. I didn't realize it but when we returned the next day, I saw on the sheet that I had the chip lead. Wow. That doesn't happen very often. Me? Chipleader? I'm usually the short stack who has to grind it out. But things could not have gone much smoother. I didn't lose very many hands. And never had less than average. First was only $7800 so I didn't see a lot of value in every chopping. 

Ricky Romero kept beating AK with AQ...twice making serious over-shoves against guys who re-raised his initial raise to an amount that should have told him AQ was crushed. But...well, everyone plays a little different I guess...so maybe in his mind, he convinced himself that these other guys had AJ. Or KQ. Meanwhile Andrew Becker, who was sitting on about 5-8 BB's for a long, long time played his shortstack amazingly, and almost pulled out the miracle comeback for the win. But he ran out of luck...and ended up losing to Ricky when we were three-handed.

Ricky and I got heads up and had about dead even stacks. He wanted to chop....and now, of course, I wish I had...we both would have walked with about $6500 each. Which was sure a lot better than $4800. I couldn't get anything going against him. He was calling all my raises...and then C-bets (most of which I had whiffed on) and then crushed the turn with a huge bet. It was getting very frustrating and I was quickly falling behind. I needed to turn the tide...or I was gonna be dead.

So I get pocket fives on the button. I raise. Ricky re-raises me. Jeezuz. I've decided that I am done folding. I re-raise him all in...and it was for a LOT. He snap calls, and I expect to see a pair over 10's and/or AK. But I see 88. Huh? Eights? Snap call all in for 250k with 88? Wow. Shit. Well...okay. Obviously I fail to hit a five...and I was the second place finisher. Oh well.

Barth, who had gotten knocked out 6th...when Ricky busted his AK with AQ...joined me for dinner at Grand Isle down the street and we ate a shit ton of oysters. It was a great meal. We finally decided we would go screw around and play the nightly tourney...which had started all the other nights at 8pm. So we walk in about 8:30 and the girl at registration tells us its closed. Huh? Closed? We walk in and discover that the nightly started at 7. What? They changed the start time from 8 to 7 during the week. Why? I've never been at a tourney where they did that. Can't imagine what the reason for that would be. Very odd. So yeah, we were shut out of playing the nightly. So we just went and goofed off for awhile, and I headed home to Biloxi.

Now...for the longest time now...it seems like every time I have a decent score, the following day is a complete shitstorm. A nightmare. A 'whatever can go wrong, will go wrong' day of wanting to kill myself the very next day. So I decided...I was absolutely, positively...NOT playing the next day. So today (Tuesday) I spent nearly the whole day in bed...sleeping on and off again. Took Cheryl to dinner when she wasn't needed at work, and have just been relaxing watching this show all night. Turns out they only got 56 players today in the 1pm tourney and then Barth called me and told me that they only had 7....yeah...>SEVEN!!! Players in the 5pm PLO tourney. Holy crap. That...is insane.

Well, I don't know what else to expect the rest of the week...but I guess I'm just going to go play and make the most of it. But hell, with a turnout under 60 players...you aren't even earning P.O.Y. points if you make the final table. Can't wait to see how many people show up for the $1500 Main Event. Could be scary. If these guys can't make the commitment to advertise their event, then I'm struggling to find a reason why they would even bother putting on the event in the first place. And to not utilize even the outlets who will list your event for FREE? The places where EVERY player looks to see what tourneys are out there to go play? That's just inexcusable. It kind of has the feel of a place that doesn't WANT anyone to show up. Is that even possible? Hell, I don't know. So much shit these days doesn't make any sense.

Oh...but there is ONE thing they have been VERY good at covering. The 'exposed card' rule. You are familiar with the rule where you aren't allowed to expose one card or two with action pending behind you. This rule is designed to protect the other players in the hand. And it makes sense. And its a good rule. So is the law against littering.

So one day, you're driving your 4Runner down the road, and a big huge piece of paper comes flying at you...and gets caught up in your brush guard...and won't come off. Then suddenly, the wind hits it just right and it comes flying off, blowing up over the top of your windshield...and over the top of your car. You watch it in your rear view mirror...and then you see the cop. No big deal. Wait. WTF? His lights just went on. Huh? Must be someone else he's going after. Nope. It's you. You look at your speedometer. 70. Speed limit? 70. What in the hell??? You pull over.

Guess what he is giving you a ticket for? Littering! You try to explain to him what happened. Nope. Not hearing it. He saw it come flying from YOUR car. That means it came from YOU. You are guilty of littering. You get a friggin ticket. And are so pissed off you want to smash your car into that son of a bitches cop car. But you don't because you know how stupid that would be. So you drive off cursing the guy.

So...we have the exposed card rule.  Think there is room for a little discretionary judgement on behalf of the dealers? Oh...well, in most casinos (and by most I mean EVERY casino except, apparently, Harrah's New Orleans) there certainly is. We sit there for hours sometimes...and see a LOT of hands. Every once in awhile, you finger might be sticky...and when folding, one might stick to your finger and get accidentally turned over. No harm no foul. Dealer lets everyone know what card has been exposed. That's your burn card.

Ever went to fold your hand...and had it collide with the dealer's hand, and flip over? It happens over the course of a tourney. Simple accident. Ever had a dealer deal out the cards...and on the last card, say you are sitting on the button, the dealer slides the card up your hand and onto your wrist, and it turns over? These are ALL examples of things that have happened this week which have resulted in players getting slapped with 10-hand penalties. More than the $5 for Red Bull and imports thing, this has been the #1 hot button issue this week.

What makes it worse, is that a couple of the floor guys who are making these 'zero tolerance, no excuses' rulings are guys who I have a great amount of respect for, who have worked at several other events, including the WSOP at Rio, and I can't believe they are making these calls. It's just bizarre. I have to assume that the home casino has been adamant with them about it. Why this has become the thing they decided to focus on, I have no idea. Has there been a rash of intentional card showing at their weekly tourneys there? And I'm telling you this having NOT received one of these penalties. Not even close. I haven't received a penalty for anything. But its just like a lot of things I've spoken about in the past that didn't have any effect on me. Some of them even got me in trouble. But if I'm going to get treated badly because I'm pointing out a few negative things...then I think that is more of a reflection on the ones who feel threatened by my voice (or keypad) than it is a reflection on me for trying to 'start trouble' or something.

Pretty sure all of you know that for years now I have been going out of my way to advocate for all sides of the game...not just for the players but also for the dealers and floor people. I just want poker to be a good game...for it to be fair, and for the rules to be uniform across the board. When one place starts running a rogue operation, making bad floor calls (sometimes intentionally because they have a BIAS against you!) and over-penalizing people for chippy rule infractions...then it really starts not becoming fun.

What else? Pools. My bowl pool starts in just 4 days. We have 50 signed up so far. And my BCS Board is exactly half full. Both cost $50. In my 12-team league for NBA fantasy...I have ONE more team available. $150 fee for that one. If you are interested in playing any or all of these...shoot me an email at ThePoolMonkey@aol.com.  
That's it for tonight! Gotta be over in Nola again tomorrow at 1pm. My current record for that 85 mile door-to-door drive is :58 minutes. Followed closely by my 1:04 the other day. Both excellent times! That new bridge over Lake Pontchartrain is a god send! Before that new bridge...I never made it over there in under 1:20.

Good Night.

MONKEY




1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Congrats on finding out the baby is a girl.
They seem to be much easier to raise in the beginning. Also, congrats on having lightning
strike twice for the good in poker. You have much to be grateful for.

Thanks for blogging.