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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Up, Down, Up, Down...Ughhhhh!

This has been a very unusual week. And I know, I am really, really behind on my content. Which is kind of stupid on my part. On Wednesday, I was asked by Bryan Micon to appear on their radio show, Donk Down Radio. I knew he was going to ask me about my 'plight' with the Beau Rivage and MGM properties as a whole.

 So, I bought into the 7pm at Caesar's...knowing they were going to call between 7:30 and 8pm. I played super aggressive and turned my 10k starting stack into 24k when they called. These guys ended up calling the Beau...and talking to Cincere Mason, who is one of my favorite people in poker. I was like the guy on the back of a motorcycle who was helpless to the driver who was jumping off cliffs, riding over fire and flying off of ramps over shark infested waters. With clenched teeth I listened as they pressed for a response from them.

In the back of my head, I'm hearing myself utter the phrase "oh boy...this is NOT helping my situation...if anything, it's hurting it. Shit."  While I am kind of appreciative to Bryan to take up my cause, and give me an open forum to air 'my side' of things, I also know the way these people at 'corporatee' MGM operate, and any negative publicity for them just further damages my chances to get reinstated.

But then if you are a person with common ask yourself "Yo! Self! What the hell? Why the f*** should I be having to 'watch what I do and say' anyway? I mean...I didn't do ANYTHING wrong in the first place! It's so effing ridiculous knowing that if a person who works for a casino happens to have a problem with you...for ANY reason...all they have to do is go to their casino's head of security, spin his tale...and that security man will simply put a little note in their system-side computer database that you are 'TRESPASSED ON ALL PROPERTIES.' And what are your rights? What can you do to dispute it? The answer is zippo! All of this because I started a Facebook group titled "Boycott the Beau until Grooms is Toast." 

My wife listened to the interview the other day. She hated it. Of course. She is a big advocate of letting sleeping dogs lie. And I respect that. She hated that Cincere was pulled into the interview process and put on the spot. I did too. Admittedly. Squirrel's big point of contention was that I was only doing myself further harm. That the Beau Rivage knew about and heard the interview and was 'pissed!' THEY are pissed? Why would THEY be pissed? They have 86'd for me for no damn reason at all...not just from there, but from EVERY one of MGM's properties...and its THEM who is pissed? Gee...I wonder what their next move will be? Strip me of all of my past victories in their casino? Make me give back my Beau Rivage 'sailboat' trophy? I don't think these guys understand that it's ME who is pissed. 

This all goes back to Johnny Grooms being thin-skinned, egotistical, and two-faced to the core. Then there are the allegations against him and his closest associates, who have been implicated multiple times for mis-allocation of player tips. I have heard so many 'eye-opening' stories from dealers, floor people and fellow players...that I got to the point, with my long struggle to convey my desire for better structures at his events, that I just decided I no longer wanted to contribute my funds to any poker event that he had anything to do with. Period. I am amazed that him and his little sock-puppet assistant who inhabits his basement at home are able to continue to operate at such a once-proud poker room.

Here is a picture of 'Frick' and 'Frack' posing with a friend and fellow respected poker player, John Dolan, who just won last week's Main Event there. John and my wife's friend (who she used to work with) Ashley (who we all call Taco) had a baby, with our own baby on the way...I have to kind of root for those with newborns in their lives. Congrats to John. I hope in Box #1 (dealer tips) he left a hefty tip and in Box #2 (staff tips...but in reality the Tournament Director box) he left a tissue with some of his nasal remains.

Sights and Sounds of Vegas:  Yes...these are things I have really witnessed and/or been a part of this week.

I have no idea who this guy is. But Barth and I had a table last weekend at PURE, and this dude was wandering around inside, with a shit ton of hot women...and it mystified us. Then we saw him wandering around on the casino floor and just HAD to have a picture with him. He surprised us by pulling this move. Okay then!

See this guy? I hate him. He kind of looks a bit like Ben Affleck...and I'm almost positive that he thinks so too, as he has taken on his facial mannerisms. He came to our table during the six-handed event, which I had been cruising through all day. He came with the eventual winner, who would end up knocking me with aces, him with KQ. Me and the Affleck-wanna-be would have a few verbal tete-a-tetes before that occurred. He had every little annoying 'thing' about him you could ask for. The long, drawn-out Durr-like theatrics before every bet. The slow pick up and drop of the chips. The glasses would go off and on in between every hand. He was just nauseating...the kind of player you want to get hit by a log like in that Snickers commercial when Roseanne gets owned by the tree!

So a few nights ago, I played...oh I'm pretty sure I played in the nooner, lost, then every other tourney that day, culminating with the 10pm $85 tourney....which was the last shot at getting all the buy-ins back for the day. I started out pretty good...then hovered for a while. Then got moved to Mark Kroon's table. A lot of you might know Mark...his nickname is 'The Poker Ho.'

Mark is, well...kind of crazy! And him and I have always gotten along really well. So he is at the next table over...mocking me and my chip stack, since his is about the size of the Empire State Building. He is playing like a maniac...not caring one iota about winning or losing. Which is, admittedly, kind of a great strategy for those nightly tourneys. So we get down to 18 players (paying 9) and I get moved to his table. It's on! He creates a policy that every time we both survive a full orbit, that he is buying us a shot of chilled Patron. I lost count at 4. But I raised with A9d...he called...and when I flopped a nine with two diamonds, I thought I would for sure be doubling up against his...mmmm, think it was Q10. But he would hit one of those two cards, and I would fail to improve...and I was busted 16th.

Yeah...not cashing sucked, and added to my day of misery...but what was hilarious, and what I didn't find out until the following day...was that Mark failed to even cash! In fact, he bubbled! Holy......crap! He could have literally went out and played craps until it got down to four, then played for the win.

The following night, in that same 10pm tourney...there were 71 players, with $1533 for first place. 2nd was $850. I was in for $1100 in buyins for the the only thing that was going to bring me ANY shred of satisfaction was a first place finish. The final table took forever...we literally played til 5am. There was a guy who was playing his first tourney ever...and it was obvious. But he was also nearly impossible to get a read on. Then this other guy...who sat there folding his way down to nearly nothing, before picking up a top 5 hand and getting doubled back up. Over and over. We played 4-handed for an eternity. Finally, I picked up AA...UTG raised, next guy shipped, I just flatted, and the first raiser, with AK...shoved. Thank you! And mysteriously, the AA held.

We got to three-handed finally...and I lost a huge pot, and was down to just 3 big blinds...and seemed destined to finish an annoying third. But then magic happened. And I can't really go into detail other than to say I got lucky a few times, limp trapped a few others...and got heads up with 'guy who never played before' and pretty much destroyed him...despite one hand where I limped with AA, only to see him flop a damn straight and get things nearly back to dead even. I know it wasn't a huge win...but dammit, it was a go with my 2nd place in the 5pm tourney at Caesar's last week...and a 12th place in the Ante-Only tourney. Not a terrible week, overall. And I got one of the Caesar's medallions given out to winners of their tourneys. Sweet. A medallion!

This is something that is really 'getting my goat.' Now, for the record, I want to state that I am totally in support of the American Disabilities Act, which provides for certain rights to the disabled. Bob Talbot, who has gotten to be a pretty good buddy of mine, is a wheelchair bound player who is almost always afforded the 8-seat wherever he plays, and parks in his wheelchair at the table. No problem. And there are several other players I am friendly with, including Jon Holloway, who now is pretty active in my pools and fantasy leagues...and whom I just traded Derrick Rose since it's his all-time favorite player (and I needed rebounds on my roster!). Jon is joined by his tremendously loyal and committed mother, who assists him in making his bets and what not. 

I would never want ANYONE thinking I am not sympathetic to their desires to play poker, and their special needs. Because I am. Totally. Here is the problem I have.

Some of these players are taking it too far! Being morbidly the point that they have given up on even trying to walk...and jamming around on their hove-a-rounds...some of them a speeds that endanger the other casino just ridiculous. But now, whereas in the past they were forced to park their 'fat car' on the side somewhere and sit in their chair like everyone else...they are being allowed to drive their sports car right up next to the table, and parking it there. Which, in essence, is taking up nearly two 'player spaces' and forcing the players on either side of them to be incredibly inconvenienced.

On top of that...we had this guy...most of you know him, he is one of the most obnoxious players on the circuit, and on top of it, he weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of 650 lbs. Now...if this guy were just fat...but had one of those loveable personalities that so many fat guys seem to have, he might be tolerable. But he doesn't. He is a prick. Has always been a prick. And to top it off, he is married (I think) to this scrawny little Asian woman who loves him to death, and finds his fatness to be 'sexy.' Yes, you heard me. I can't make that up. So guess how much motivation he has to lose weight? Answer: Zilch! So when he piles into seat 3...and consumes most of seat 2 and 4...sits there blathering on about how good he is, and how many tourneys he's won (very few just for the record, one day at Borgata I just had to go and look up his results, and there were pathetic) he is doing this while continuously eating. And eating....and eating some more.

It conjures up images of Mr Creasote in Monty Python's Meaning of Life...eating until he finally explodes. Watch the clip...this guy looks almost identical to this dude. So about the time he comes back with a double scoop waffle cone...and just sits there with this smug look on his face scarfing down his ice cream...the whole table collectively forms an alliance to do whatever it takes to eradicate his presence from the table.

Yes...hiding under the hood, and shrouded in darkness is your hero...Lord Monkey of the Dark Side! I don't remember what night I slipped into this altar ego...or why I thought emulating Dwyte "The Duke" Pilgrim would be a cool idea...but the bottom line is, I am pretty sure I was scaring some of the old people, and that gave me a reason to snicker to myself.

While cruising around the casino one night, I was stopped dead in my tracks when this beauty and her superfly boyfriend ambled by me.! So, seriously, how did this conversation go before they decided to leave the house?  "Baby, how do I look?" Ohhhh damn girl, you look tight! That is the shit! And off they went, to scare small children all over Las Vegas and send single straight men right to the other side! And she could not have been any prouder of herself. You know when you observe someone and you can kind of detect a bit of insecurity in their appearance? Not so with this hottie. She was sexy...and she KNEW it! Thank god she didn't treat us all to the 'wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle!'

Yesterday, since I never managed to satellite my way into the $1600 Main Event at Caesar's, and just didn't feel like coughing up $1600 only to take another stupid beat and being mad at myself for taking that big swing...I instead went and played the $350 Deepstacks event at Venetian. I arrived at the break, valuing sleep over timeliness. And besides, when you arrive and see that you have outlasted 70 of the 231 already by not being there...its kind of a cool feeling. Then I start out getting AA on my fourth hand and getting the guy with AK to re-raise me not once but twice, before he finally got the message and folded to my 3rd raise. Nice little 11k pot to start the day with. Then rivered a full house to felt a guy who bluffed the flop against my trips, only to go runner runner nut flush (no good) and bust himself. Thanks for the chips. I never had a small stack all day.

We get down to 15...and played that way forever...after an already marathon bubble at 28 players. That's when the same old malady that seems to never stop plaguing me reared its ugly head again. Now...we have been playing (well some of us!) for 12 hours when you hear that guy utter the phrase "I was ready to go to bed" you just shake your head and wonder what the guy's IQ is. But that is what this yo-yo says when he raises to 12k on the button...leaving 55k behind...and I re-raise him all in, holding AQ in the BB and 125k in my stack. He snap calls...with J10 offsuit, claiming his desire to go to bed. As soon as I hear that I know I'm dead. Flops a jack, it holds. I fume. Put on my headphones and fire up a song.

I go on a nice little run...sucking out with A6c vs. AQ (deserved that one) then check-raising a flop of 5-6-k and holding 4-7c in a hand where the guy limped with 66 and I got a free look in the BB. He bet, I moved in...he snap called and I turned an 8 for the straight...and it held. Nice. Now I was back in the saddle and ready to go deep. 185k. Blinds at 4k/8k.  Down to 14 players...and on the second to last hand of the night. The ugly troll sitting next to me, who I'm sure has played no more than 10 tourneys in his life, and who's leg wouldn't stop rubbing against me....@*(&#&^!&#(*....raises my BB for about the 7th time in a row. I look down at AQ again...and I raise him, from his 25k raise to 100k. And does he fold? Or even...shove all in for his 135k? No. Why would he do something that makes sense? He calls! Just calls! Leaving 32k behind. I have now only 34k behind. The flop comes Q-10-10. He moves in. Of course I call. What does dipshit have? Ad7h. He groans...but every imbecile seems to do lately...turns a diamond and rivers a diamond...for, what else? I flush.

I throw up in my hand...and put half of it in my left hand...throwing the left hand contents at the Mr. J10...and the second half at A7 idiot...causing everyone to laugh like hyenas! Okay...that only happened in my imagination. I was all in on the next hand...and of course 'woke up' with 2-7...and was up against AK. Shockingly I lost...thank god! Having to come back with one big blind at 2pm today would have been about the most annoying thing ever. Collected my $1070...tipped out $70...took a walk up Las Vegas Blvd, won $187 playing blackjack, bought a veggie patty sandwich at Subway...then went to bed. I have yet to surpass 2100 calories in a day now for almost two weeks. My jeans are fitting a bit looser, so I am hopeful that I have actually lost a little weight.

Want to know why I didn't play the Main Event? Well this little fat hick pictured down below is one of the primary reasons.

Caesar's didn't have a Mega satellite that was reasonable. Your choices were either the $200 rebuy...or the $240...which also was a re-entry. In both you got a ridiculous 3000 starting chips...and started at 25-50. They were shove fests by level 3. I would have loved to have skipped those tardfests and just played SNG's....but guess what? Those weren't taking place either. After three days at Caesar's I had what I thought was a really good conversation with Poker Room Manager Andy Rich's associate...who promised to share my ideas with Andy...and get things running like a 'real' circuit event. Like adding some chips to the 1000 starting chips they were giving us in the $80 AND $120 sngs. Never happened. Like setting up a designated area, posting dealers there, and putting out 10 chip stacks with seat cards...which is how EVERY circuit event does it...which works remarkably well.

See what I think the suits don't realize, is that us poker players...we are like trained animals. Or zombies. Take your pick. But we stumble into the tourney area...and we scan the area looking for "SNG Land" which is easily identified by the dealer with chips in front of him and seat cards ready to be claimed. This system ALWAYS works. Always has, for over 8 years now. But instead, you have some places that want to use the system of keeping a handheld list for 'interest' instead. Then when they get ten players, they try to call them for the SNG...only to find out half of those players have either left, or decided to play cash game. Then they sum it up to 'there just not being much interest in SNG's.' Wrong! Totally wrong. It's just the way you are running the damn things. It's not that hard. I swear a monkey could run SNG-Land seamlessly. No...this is not me lobbying for the title of SNG LAND Coordinator.

So, due to the lack of SNG's being offered...I was forced to try and play these damn shove fest Main Event satellites. I sit down. I fold under the gun. Guy on my left raises it to 200. Blinds 25/50. The hillbilly in the SB, pictured above, makes it 500. Then the BB shoves all in...for 3000. First raiser folds. Redneck Robby snap calls with 88. BB has QQ. Guess who wins? Yep. He makes the same similar move with 88 again...this time against 10-10. Wins. Beats 77 with KJc...on a shove and a call. I am realizing that if I get in a hand against this guy I'm likely going out. True story. I raise in early position with AK. He calls...with what turns out to be 2-3. Flop comes A-Q-5. He leads for 500. I feel content to call, and hope he bets more on the turn so I can shove. The turn is....ding ding ding..a king. He bets 800. I shove all in. And he snap calls...with a gutshot. No flips over a damn four. The dealer and I just stare at each other in disbelief. Busto. Rebuy!

Go to new table. More super annoying people. I win a big hand. Now have turned my 3k into 6500. That wouldn't last long. Short stack limps. I raise with QQ. He goes all in. Sigh...I call. He has KK. It holds. Grrr. Very next hand! He limps again! I raise again...this time with AK...folds back to him. He shoves. This time he has QQ...and of course, his QQ is good. Now I'm short. I lost..and don't even remember how. I re-bought one more time after that...and lost again...for a $600 punch in the face.

Incidentally, that little gremlin who was shove, shove, shoving like he had no care in the world? He wouldn't win his seat, of course. Those players never do. They just take out a bunch of good players in the beginning...then donk off all their ill-gotten gains.

I've been playing an unusual amount of cash game on this trip. And not running especially well. Have a few winning sessions, but for the most part, its been a hockey stick upside the head. One night at the Venetian, I had this trippy dude at the table, and though he looked like an associate at Victoria's Secret who all the girls 'loved' because he's just one of the girls, this guy was actually straight. I'm almost positive. He was from Utah, as was the other very hetero guy at the table. Apparently they worked together. Well, this guy was what we call...a mobile ATM. He re-bought at least 6 times...for $300 every time, in just a two hour period. I was the beneficiary of one of them...when he shoved on a J-5-5 flop and me holding AA.

Pink shirt. Pink pants. Pink tie. Pink jacket...that was very ruffled and dirty. Now...I gotta say, if you are going to 'be the guy in pink' and want to pull it off, I think you need to focus on the quality of the garment and the cleanliness of said outfit. This guy looked like he slept in an alley in his outfit. And his hair was outrageous. He was fighting baldness. the war on terror. And when you see a guy with just a few strands on his head...who insists on using gel, its comical, because all he is doing is putting a gelatinous shine on his head. We give him an F- for, well...everything.

What else? Today was one of two final ring events at Caesar's...a $350 at noon. The other one, and final one of the event, is tomorrow, a $350 turbo. I was thinking about playing that...but the need for sleep and the long overdue need for a blog entry caused me to pass on today's $350. Venetian had a $550 at noon, that I also didn't feel like playing. Nope, I will go drop $350 at 3pm at Venetian and play the always mind numbingly boring Omaha 8 or better tourney. It's always nice to get four cards instead of two! Just breaks up the monotony of hold em.

It's 2:30 now. Perfect timing. I am going to wrap it up...and take a nice leisurely stroll down to Venetian for today's Omaha tourney. Which is actually being played at Palazzo. They have relocated the tournament area for this Deepstacks give the construction crew the opportunity to keep working on their renovation of the Venetian back entrance and poker room. It's funny, one of the interesting things about playing at the Deepstacks is the flow of traffic that happens by. I've noticed that at Venetian its more of a 25-35 crowd...a lot of girls on their way to Tao. And at Palazzo you get more of a 30-45 crowd, most of them on their way to and from dinner, or shows...or shopping in the afternoon. Not as many club hoppers passing by. Fun if you are into people watching like I am.  Okay...I'm outa here.


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