HELP SAVE a KITTY!

HELP SAVE a KITTY!
A BIG KITTY!!!! [click the logo]

www.gulfcoastpoker.net

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Bye Bye February, Hello March!!

So...yeah, 29 days, shortest day of the year. Happy Hump Day. Peace out, February. Thanks for another birthday. That's 45 now. Thanks for the unrest in Syria, and the uncertainty in Iran that has run oil back up to $105 a barrel, increasing the chances that they will finally get after the oil under our 600 acres in North Dakota...preferably before I go totally broke! 

Poker this month was another kick in the nuts. Despite cashing quite a few times, and playing deep in nearly everything I bought into, I finished with a deficit overall. Tough game. Just spent all weekend sending out payments to all my pool winners from the fall and winter. Kind of left me with an idea of where I 'actually' am monetarily. Somewhat scary. But at least I made a lot of 'other people' happy, as they will go to their mailbox this week and find a juicy stimulus check from the Pool Monkey. Next up...my March Madness Pool...which attracted over 525 entries last year. I might need to finally win the damn thing this year (for the first time ever) to get myself some breathing room for Carley's arrival.

It's amazing what a difference it would have made to have just faded another 15 players at the Venetian Main Event. To come home with that $6400 would have really made a difference. Now I really have to be smart, economical, and come up with a good strategy for the next couple of months. There are really only two tourneys that I am eying right now as possibilities to play before Carley gets here. The first is the 'Battle at the Beach' at Isle Casino in Pompano. It's a nice casino. I do hate their chairs though. Their those kind that sort of pitch you forward...where you feel like you're falling OUT of your seat. Know the type?  And the tourney runs for about two weeks. So I am kind of looking for a place to stay down there if I go. Or one or two guys to room with at an Extended Stay hotel of some sort. Also want to call down and find out if they are going to be running single table satellites with any regularity. I know the play down there is wide open, loose and crazy...but they give chips away frequently. So my strategy down there would probably be to not get caught up in that maniacal style of play, and sit and play sniper poker. Or as Wonky would put it...ZOMBIE KILLING poker.

Picked this up the other day at Barnes & Noble...will it work at the poker table???
Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to return to Chicago for that event, and as usual they had a great turnout. But that leads me to believe that the other event I am contemplating will draw almost as well, since it isn't too far away. I have never been to Council Bluffs, Iowa...and have heard a LOT of stories about the place, some good, some not so great. That event is near the end of March. It would get me home a full 3 or 4 weeks before Carley shows up. I know that nothing will allow me to leave this place the entire month of April. Not that I would want to be gone...just saying.

As most of you know, I lost my backer in November...and was pretty much wanting to play on my own dime throughout this past trip, as I was willing to run the risk of taking a big hit to my personal bankroll for the chance to play for 100%. As most things have gone for me the past couple of years, it more or less backfired on me. But not much you can do about running bad (or cold as ice) at crunch time in the tourney. It just happens...it sucks, but that's poker (as they say).

Another issue I have...do I fly to these places? Or drive? Drive? Damn! You seen the price of gas lately??? Of course you have! And though my car is in great condition...I was driving Squirrel to her baby shower the other day, and look down at my odometer and watched this transpire!


Yeah. 100,000 miles. Boom! I mean...I've been driving my 4Runner for 7.5 years now, and I guess that isn't an alarming number of miles. Hell, most of those miles have come from driving to Vegas and back...what? 5 or 6 times? At 3800 miles a pop. That's about 25% of the total miles on it. So I guess its good if they are 'highway miles' right? Got a notice from Liberty Mutual, who after 8 years together, was jacking my rate for me and Squirrel's car insurance from $2200 a year to $3400. Huh? Yeah...so, I am now a cliche. I just saved a bunch of money by switching to Geico. Like...about $700. 

So...regarding these two tourneys. I have decided that I am willing to play them staked. I'm not even going to be greedy about it. Why would I? But if anyone out there is interested, they will have the option of either sending me a lump sum...and I use it for satellites and tourneys...trying to 'play in' to as many events as possible, or just adding up the buy ins of which events they want to pay for, and sending me that amount. As for percentage...contact me, we will work out something fair. I will not, absolutely won't...do any kind of a staking deal that includes 'makeup.' So know that before you call or message me. I always provide detailed Excel spreadsheets of all my action and tourney receipts for backers if they need it for their taxes or just as proof that I played. Pretty standard stuff.

Something pretty interesting is going on in the poker world right now. A lot of you have heard about it. I have even been contacted by the person that it happened to. One day, while playing in a tourney at Caesar's in Vegas, I got a call from a long time friend, who explained the situation, then brought in the person on a three-way phone call. It was hard at times to understand the guy. Pretty sure he had been through a horrendous 24-36 hours...and might have been under some kind of medication. Understandable. But I got the basic gist of the mess he was in. Of course, it's always tough to make up your mind about something when you hear just one side of it.


So then an article appeared in Poker News. Some of you may have read it. Others might not have. To read the article...CLICK HERE. It has to do with a younger guy named Drew McIlvain, who was accused of being part of a chip dump in the Main Event in Tunica, getting DQ'd by Bill Bruce and staff, and subsequently 86'd from Harrah's Tunica...and possibly all the other properties. He was obviously shaken up by it. I listened. Which is about all I could do. Obviously I could sympathize...having had my fair share of 'issues' with the Harrah's people in the past. But those issues (as far as I'm concerned) are far far in the past. It's not like I was the best person to go to for assistance. And I wasn't really sure what he wanted me to tell him. Who to talk to? Who to call? Shit...tough one. Sounds like what happened was he made a lot of calls, got totally ignored...which I certainly remember experiencing myself...until finally, someone got him in touch with a writer from the Poker News.

As a former journalism student, its pretty basic 101-type wisdom to know that if you are going to do a story that deals with a lot of possible heresy, its always the required move to get BOTH sides of the story. And to Rich Ryan's credit, that is precisely what he did. He interviewed McIlvain, and then went and talked to Seth Palansky from Caesar's Entertainment...who is their VP of Corporate Communications. I can tell you who came off sounding a lot better and who came off sounding, well, for a lack of a better word; non-credible.

I saw the picture of him (posted above) from his win there earlier in the event. Surrounded by his posse. I've seen these guys. The cocky posse. All dress the same, talk the same, act the same. They are easy to dislike. And from reading his interview, I was kind of taken aback. His use of racial expressions were the type that make most people cringe. He insisted they were innocent, that because he has black friends, he is 'allowed' to use them. I'll tell you...I am pretty good friends with Dwyte Pilgrim, Maurice Hawkins, Paris (last name I forget), David Aker, and a handful of other black poker players...that I'm almost positive if they heard me firing the 'N' word at them would bitch-slap my ass. It's just...in a word, INAPPROPRIATE. So, knowing he was of the ilk to use this type of verbiage, and use it in an interview that might go great lengths in exonerating him...I found his judgement to be incredibly questionable.

But...I hadn't really made up my mind about who I believed. Or what I believed. I tried to put myself in his shoes. How would I have reacted to a guy telling me he just wanted to get out of town...and had decided I was going to be the lucky recipient of his chips. Honestly, knowing what I know about the game? I would think someone was trying to set me up...and would just respond to him with something like "I appreciate you wanting to give me all your chips, but I'm not going to be part of something that is against the rules in an intentional fashion...if things work out where I raise you with a good hand, and you end up shoving on me..and I have to call, and my hand holds up...well, great. But I'm not going to be a part of anything outside the lines, sorry."

I'm pretty sure that is all he needed to say. Did he need to take it to a floor person? Mmmmm...tough question. Not even sure how a floor person would respond. As far as Bill Bruce goes? I have had my moments with Bill. He has made a couple of rulings against me that I thought were utterly absurd. One of them even led to me taking him off of my Facebook friends list. A lot of other players have told me they think he is a bit of a Rules Nazi, and goes looking for things to crack down on. Well,  in his defense, personal experiences in the past aside, I think Bill does have the best interests of the game at heart when he goes to make a floor call at the table. I have to think he is just really passionate about poker, and the tourneys he is involved with...and goes the full 100% to make sure they run right.

And to do something like he did up in Tunica, I don't think he could have pulled that trigger without some pretty good evidence backing him...because that is a big deal! Booting a player from a $1600 Main Event? That he has bought into? That he was top 10 in chips in? That's a big deal. Bill isn't stupid enough to DQ a guy if there was a 'maybe he's guilty, maybe he's not' opinion from everyone involved. No, there had to be something pretty concrete backing up that decision.

So this weekend, I get a call from a good poker friend of mine, who will of course remain anonymous. He was there. At the guy's table. He told me exactly how it went down. There wasn't one conversation with the guy...or two...but three! And they didn't step away from the tourney area. They were only a few feet away from the table. And it got to the point that a couple of the other players knew what was being discussed, and that....that right there, is what resulted in the floor guy being tipped off about it. Because they were so stupid about it. I mean...if you ARE going to orchestrate a chip dump, are you going to sit there and chirp about it in front of your table mates? I would hope not. When I heard that...and this guy doesn't make shit up, I just decided this guy has some growing up to do. And smartening up to do. I kind of have a feeling that coming off a win, he was feeling like one of those young guys who wins, and struts around like he is the shit, unbeatable, untouchable. That nothing would come of him talking about this type of stuff at near the table. 

I guess he found out that there is no one bigger than the rules. And I hate to say it...but when you are sitting there with the biggest stack at your table, and other envious players overhear you talking about absorbing some guys stack at your table...there is the tendency to react in a not-so-nice way. And I think it's safe to say...this is what happened.

Did the punishment fit the crime? Hell I don't know. Like everything, I would have had to sit and talk with the guy...and using my gut feeling, and my own judgement, made the call right there. Since I didn't have the opportunity to do that, I have to assume that the people who made that call, did it with that information. So I can't really question them. Will this guy get himself out of this mess? Good question. He sure didn't help his cause much with that article/interview. Holy shit. Is he a good kid? I don't really know. We didn't talk long on the phone. And I wouldn't really base my opinion of someone (good OR bad) on a 10-minute phone conversation...not how I do business. I prefer to think the best of people until they give me a reason not to. And yeah...I'm quick to find things not to like about people...but at least I try first to like someone. Some people don't even do THAT.

Okay...I think I've said about all I have to say on that topic. Whether my opinion matters or not, a bunch of you were waiting to hear me talk about it...so there ya go. And I think this post has been plenty long...so I will wrap it up!

Monkey

Fatherhood, Ready or Not, Here It Comes!!!

On a daily basis, I check in and see how many hits I've gotten. It always either motivates or discourages me to put up a blog post. I've no idea how I get more hits today than yesterday, when I haven't put up a new post in several days. Interesting.

My house has been like Santa's workshop the past few days. On Sunday, Squirrel's best friend put on a baby shower for her. It was insane. I dropped her off at noon. I don't know what Brandy spent on that shower...but it was a lot. It was amazing. At the time there were about 20 girls there. I returned to get her, and the car load (not a square inch in my 4Runner to spare) of gifts...and there were still about 20 girls there, half of them different from the first. I think close to 50 girls attended.

They all helped me load the car...and then unload, as a bunch of them came over to the house and play cards. Girls are funny. As I sat there on the couch waiting for things to wrap up, I just observed. At no time were there fewer than ten girls all talking at the same time. Most of the time more. Do they listen to each other? Or are they just talking to talk? I kept thinking of those birds at the beach...'mey mey mey!!! Mey mey mey!!!"  Know the ones?

One thing about girls though...they sure are sweet to each other when they are friends. Oh...when they aren't? Yeah, they are nastier than the cruelest of dictators. But when they are tight? Wow. You don't EVER see guys put on parties like this. Don't see guys come over and spend 6 hours (Melissa Parker) putting together a dresser. Or even more sorting all the gifts, then painting pictures and walls for the nursery. (Claudia Crawford) My sister and her friend came down in early February with her two boys to paint the whole room, and move all the furniture around so it would accommodate Carley in her own room. I think Carley now has an outfit for every one of her first 550 days on Earth.

Here's a few pictures of 'The Nearly Finished Product'...as the girls have just left the house. The only thing missing, is the incredible pink chandelier that Claudia bought...which an electrician will be required to hook up. For those of you here for poker updates...sorry...I know you are probably just whizzing right by this post, and that's fine, I understand. But I also know there are a lot of you that are interested...that or you have done an incredible job of faking it the past 6 months!!!

As wide angle as our cameras were capable of. Claudia did that whole tree in the corner, as well as all the paintings, and assembling of the crib.
Carley's crib...and the dresser they spent HOURS putting together tonight. See the Monkey and Squirrel on the wall? Claudia painted those. Pretty cool!

Carley's changing table, hamper, and a world of necessities down below, and three separate bags to haul her stuff around with, with her name on them. No changing her name NOW!


That used to be my closet. I've been encouraged to find people to give away my clothes to.
The cute girly curtain went up today. The rocking chair was a gift from Uncle Scott and Aunt Bridgett.
Another one of Claudia's paintings. Looks much better in person. Claudia is really a gifted painter, and has already given us several works. Yes, she signed them 'Claw'
'Claw' has created a sparkly Squirrel...so Baby Carley knows who her Momma is!
Couldn't have a Squirrel and not a Monkey. Actually kind of looks like me, no?
Really a neat framed picture that Brandy put together...Carley from her 20-week old 4D ultrasound. Pretty amazing. We've determined she has her Mother's nose and hair...and my lips and chin.

Of course Claudia painted this as well! Theoretically, Carley attended her very first 'Bama game, albeit in Squirrel's belly, on January 9th...so this will serve as Carley's Bama game memory trunk.
Jasper, fresh off a shaving and a bath...taking it all in, wondering what in the hell is going on in that back room that used to be his place to go hide!

A couple nights ago, at the Beau Rivage, Jessica Barratt Hazer (recently married to Doug Hazer) hit the bad beat jackpot for a hefty score. Also getting a table share was Doug. Nice! Run good much!?? Well, Cheryl came home from work two nights ago, and told me Jesse get up from her table...walked over to her, asked for a bottle of water, and handed her a ridiculously generous tip, which really caught Cheryl off guard. Jessica said something really nice, that I always took care of her when I played tourneys there. Well, I did, but not to the extent that she 'took care' of Squirrel. That really warmed my heart when she told me that.

I have a guy who plays in my pools, who lives in Atlanta...and he took it upon himself to find where we were registered, and had a baby diaper champ sent to us. Another really nice act of kindness. And all the really encouraging emails, Facebook messages and text messages from people just have me super excited for her to get here. When they were all done with that room, I just sat in the rocking chair...taking it all in...imagining my life in 7-8 weeks, when there will be a tiny life that we created together laying in that crib. It's kind of awe-inspiring. Granted, I know her Mom is coming down, my Mom is coming down...sure all of her other family and friends will be in and out of here like the viewing wake for Michael Jackson...so there is a good chance I might not get one second of quality time with my new daughter until sometime this summer!

Tomorrow morning we go in for a 'do-over' on our 4-dimension Ultrasound...I guess the doctor felt like the first one wasn't that great. I thought it was great. But hey...at $300+ to get those, I am more than happy to get a free do-over! On Friday I go in for my blood work, to see if this new brand of cholesterol has been doing the trick over the last 5 months. If it has, I will be able to get a better life insurance policy. During my appearance at the Baby Shower, a few of the girls told me they could tell I had lost weight. That felt really nice. Been trying to keep up the good work, but damn...its hard when Squirrel brings home pizza and boneless wings from Pizza Hut to feed her friends.

I guess that's about all I have on the whole 'baby front' for today. I got a few poker-related things to talk about...probably write another one right after this one and just sit on it for a day or two. Stay tuned...and thanks for continuing to check in on my ever-changing life!!

MONKEY

Friday, February 24, 2012

Home From Vegas

This feeling is becoming all too familiar, and all too depressing. The only thing that could have been worse about this one, is if I had had to drive cross country first before arriving home.

Not that the trip on Delta didn't threaten to brand itself 'unforgettable' first. First, there was the cranky bitch at the gate, insisting that my carry-on bag was 'too big' to go in the overhead. This is something I'm all too familiar with. It happens about 1in every 4 flights. The bag fits. It always fits. But whenever I am about to board a flight that is over 85% full, the gate agents go looking for bags they can stick below, and their first line of defense is always "your bag is too big to fit in the overhead sir!" 

Now, letting them do this wouldn't be such a big deal to me...if I hadn't had them already lose/misplace my bag once before using this process. That and I would be a lot more appreciative if the witch would just put it honestly. "Sir, we have a really full flight today, would you mind if we checked your bag down below so we could free up some space?"

Whatever. Then I take my seat...in 17d....a window seat. There is only one seat next to me...then an aisle. The plane fills. Will it stay empty? I already didn't get an exit row...so my leg room is at a minimum. Then I see him...cue the theme music from Jaws...what the...oh gawd no....omg omg omg....please...please...noooooooo!!!!! About six foot one, and easily 450 lbs...possibly more, drops in the seat next to me. Oh dear god. He attempts to be friendly, but can tell the immediate distress on my face. I am now a King Salmon that has been squeezed into a can holding smoked oysters. 

The flight attendant comes by and asks if 'there is anything I can get for anyone?' I don't miss a beat. "Yes, maam, if you could ask if there is anyone in the exit row willing to give up their seat, I will pay $50 for it." She promised to go investigate, noting my situation and the very real possibility of a passenger who is about to flip out with an anxiety attack.  Moments later she returned...and told me a bulkhead seat was empty. Saved me $50. And gave me a seat that rivaled a first class seat, with all the leg room I could ever desire. Wow!

Seated to my right...on the other side of the aisle, was a husband and wife, with a brand new baby boy that they were holding. He was adorable. And so well-behaved. Shared with them that I have my first on the way. They shared a lot of things I have to look forward to. As if that wasn't a tad bizarre, when I got into Gulfport, and spent that automatic 20-30 minutes waiting on my baggage, who did I see? He was there picking up his mother-in-law...and was wearing his scrubs...our Baby Doctor! Yep, Dr. Christie...and we had a nice conversation as well. Wow...this baby is coming at me from all directions. Then I get home and got my first look at the nursery that got created while I was gone...and all the gifts that have been sent our way for Carley Grace. Got a chance to sit down at my new 'work area' that doubles as an office and guest room. It's like a cockpit. Once you sit in the office chair, there is no moving back and forth, or even side to side. I get it. Sacrifices. Changes. Adjustments.

Go through my mail. Ooops, still haven't paid the property taxes on my house in Pensacola. Oh! Time to do income taxes. And hey! My new auto policy is up for renewal, as is my homeowners policy. And gee, that one speeding ticket I had last year has caused my premium to go up $1000! Then there are all the winners from my football pools who have anxiously been waiting to get paid, some for weeks. Welcome home. Stress? Pressure? Huh?

Of course, none of this would have mattered to me...at all, had I just been able to catch a few lucky breaks this past 7 weeks. How I cash 14 times and come home down for the trip is evidence enough at just how much variance there is in tournament poker. But how I get deep as many times as I did and consistently lose with the best hand over and over and over again...at a time in life when the need to fade all that shit was at an all time high? It's just demoralizing. 

I returned to Venetian for Day 2 of the Main Event with high hopes for a strong finish. A good result in that final event would have wiped away a winter of frustration and sent me home on a high, anxious to just sit and wait on Carley to arrive. We started with 65 players...and before very long were down to 45. Only 18 to go and I pocket $6400 and go from there. I wasn't getting a lot of hands to work with. And when I did raise with a good hand, wasn't getting any action...so was only picking up a round of blinds and antes when I did win a hand. I started Day 2 with 46,000 and at one point was up to 75,000 after a double up.

I then went cold, super cold...and with Isaac Baron (aka WestMenloAA) on my right constantly assaulting my blinds...it didn't make it easy to find any breaks. So when I was sitting in the big blind...and we were at 1500/3000...and my stack had dwindled down to 33,000...the button raised to 8000. This wasn't new, he had raised from the button just about every chance he'd had against my BB. Then Isaac re-raises him...to 20,000...which also wasn't new. Hell the guy loves 3-betting. An old guy, who was pretty tight...had raised earlier (with Q-10)...been re-raised by Baron with 5-8 offsuit...flat-called (which was a weird call, frankly) then went broke when the flop came Q-5-5. So When I looked down at QQ in the big blind...I was about 90% certain that I had the best hand...and had a good chance to double up.

I pushed all in. The button re-raised...to about 55k. That's when my stomach sank...and I got that "oh shit, queens are about to fuck me out of a main event ONCE again" feeling. Isaac folded in the SB...and the guy on the button turned over KK. No!!!! And of course I wouldn't suck out. And like that, I was out...43rd. 16 spots from the money. 5 minutes later my food showed up. I sat there eating my sliced cucumbers with the birds swirling over my head. I don't think there is a more hopeless, depressing feeling in the world, than to have played for hours and hours in a Main Event...and have it all end, in one hand...just shy of the money.

I collected all my stuff, left the Venetian and started walking over to Caesar's Palace. Noticed they had a $130 Big 'O' tourney over there. That might be fun, and take my mind off my Main Event demise. While walking over, I re-booked my flight on Delta. Interesting that while buying the $24 Trip Protection, I was still charged $150 to change my ticket. Can you say 'false advertising?' Or 'Bait-and-Switch!??" Probably more phone calls I need to make.

So I play the Big O tourney. I take four disgusting river beats in 5 hands and decide to rebuy. Good idea. Or was it? I proceed to run over the table. With 2 tables left I had over $85k with the average at $40k. First place was only $2300...but I'd take it. Forget it. Three...not one, not two...but THREE OMRG's were brought to our table. Who could ever survive that? Not me. This one guy was so old, you could literally see the look in his eyes as he waited for the information to jump over his synapse gap to the other side of his brain, then deciding what to do, which 99% of the time was to call, even though he was miles behind.

I kept losing one hand after another after flopping the world, but finding myself unable to shake the humping OMRG off of my leg...who usually had nothing but top pair or possibly a low draw. Three times, this guy called a pot bet with NOTHING but a low draw. On the TURN! And you KNOW he would get there. Twice....for a gutshot wheel, to scooop the damn pot, and once to split the pot against my turned full house. He would get my final 30k in miraculous fashion. I flopped a set. I turned a flush with a decent low. And on the river...he could only beat my hand with the 2 of hearts...which would give him a better low, and a 2-6 straight flush. He caught it. Of course he did. And I was out....14th. 

A very fitting way to go out. Emblematic of my trip. And as if that wasn't enough to make me scratch all the hair out of my head, I limped over to Harrah's, sat at a $10 black jack table outside of the piano bar...looking for a reason to feel upbeat...and sat there winning. In for $200, I cashed out with $600. And yeah, I know that has no chance of setting records...but for me, its historic. I simply don't EVER win in blackjack...which is why I tend to avoid it. So when I am running good in blackjack...and running like I'm running in poker? Well, it's just another reason to slip a little closer into the pool of insanity.

What next? I honestly do not know. I have been home now for four days. Getting out of bed has proven to be a major challenge. At first I thought I was just 'really' tired from the past 7 weeks. But after three days...I would think I would have caught up on my rest. I got out of bed long enough yesterday to get after our jungle of a backyard. I guess we are having company this weekend, and clearly, I didn't want the embarrassment of anyone seeing what I was looking at.

All these pools that I have to get paid out? It requires a lot of cross referencing payments...seeing who has and hasn't paid. How much people are owed after deducting their winnings from other pools from their Super Bowl Squares. Very time consuming...and it seems like after about an hour of working on that, I fall asleep. Until I get that done, and all those people paid, I won't have ANY clue how much money I really have to my name after this last trip. And I think a part of me is fearing what that number is going to look like. In fact, I know it is.

So as far as where my next poker trip is going to be? Well, I already missed out on West Palm. And I'm not that upset about it. The feedback told me it was a zoo down there, and when I heard they were making no effort to run SNG's, that kind of clinched it for me. The next event on the docket is the CPC, up in Chicago. They drew over 1000 players for their first event. That would definitely be a good place to be right now, and they DO run SNG's. Only trouble with going up there is having to book a flight and a hotel. I suppose the best thing to do would be to get all these pool people paid out and figuring out where I am financially. 

MONKEY

Monday, February 20, 2012

Back for Day Two in Venetian Main Event

Don't have a lot of time to write this morning....errr...afternoon. Finally got a good night of sleep, with the aid of Doctor Ambien. And with the benefit of maintenance fixing the curtains in my room at Venetian so they would shut, turning my room into the dark cave I require for deep, uninterrupted sleep!

Yesterday was an incredibly long, 11-level grind...with a lot of excellent players on both of my tables. As always, Main Events always bring out the best players...thus, the necessity to make as few critical errors as possible is magnified.

I started out hot, turning 20k into 24k by the first break. The next two levels were disastrous, as I fell as low as 3500 in Level 3. But patience, and a few lucky breaks...saw me rebound, where I hovered around 8k for a good while. Finally caught a CDU when I got AA for the first of three times. All three times I got them I either limped in first position or flatted behind a raiser, and in all occasions got paid off handsomely. It's kind of how I have decided to ALWAYS start playing AA to get the full value from the hand, being open to the possibility of folding them if necessary.

I have quite a bit to write about...but not the time. We are back at 2pm...which is in about 15 minutes. One good bit of news is that we are moving back into the Venetian...so the walk won't be nearly as far. I bagged up 46,000 chips last night...and we go back at 800/1600 I think. Here is the chip counts and table draws...as released by Venetian this morning.

Not sure how well that came through. It looked pretty small on my end. One guy who didn't make it out of Day 1...and who I had a basically useless conversation with after the first break, was Matt Stout. That little troll who has been bashing me behind my back all over America...and who I promised to punch in the mouth the first time I saw him. Well, I decided to take the high road, and give him an opportunity to 'discuss' his issues with me like a man...and possibly hash shit out. Didn't happen. Instead he just stood there, with this smug smirk on his face...that I wanted to just wipe off with the backside of my hand. There is no reasoning with that twerp. So when I watched him get up and leave after running out of chips, it gave me a small semblance of satisfaction.

Okay...thats it. Gotta run. First place is $140k. The money hits at 27...and pays a little over $6k. Not interested in that number. Won't even get me to even on the trip. Nope...final table or bust for this Monkey!!!

MONK

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Overdue? I know! Lay Off!

As most of you longtime readers are aware, every time I am in Vegas...things just run out of control and get away from me. It's not like Tunica...where all you have to worry and/or fret over is your latest bad beat, or housekeeping once again forgetting to make up your room. Where a memorable moment is valet bringing your car around in under 15 minutes.

Yeah. This is Vegas. Shit is happening...constantly. Just the walk from my hotel room to the casino is a constant adventure. Depending on how your day is going...you allow yourself the opportunity to really delve into the mindset of the people you pass on the sidewalk. 'Where is this guy from?' ' What does this guy do for a living?' 'Who told that woman she should wear that hideous outfit?'

Yesterday I was walking, face buried in my iPhone, searching for the next good song, and inadvertently kicked this guy's handiwork into a million pieces. Yeah..this dirty, scruffy-faced hippie-looking dude was sitting in the middle of the sidewalk out front of Harrah's and was taking palm tree fronds and turning them into flowers or something. Then trying to sell them.  So his shit went everywhere...and I got screamed at, not knowing what I had done. Whoops. Fortunately a riot was avoided when I merely apologized to the guy.

So much has happened out here on the felt its literally a nightmare to keep up with. Last night...I played the 7pm $175 tourney. I think there was 82 players. We got down to 4-handed at 2am. We played two hours without losing a single person. Jeezuz. A chop was never discussed. Old guy shoves with Q10, gets called by young kid who looks like Worm (Ed Norton) from 'Rounders' with 88....and rivers a damn 10. If he doesn't hit that river...he busts in 4th...which was a difference of $500. But if we'd gotten 3-handed, I'm almost positive we would have done a 3-way chop for about $3k each and called it a night.

But why would anything every go 'right' on this effing trip? How is it that I now have 14 cashes on this trip out west...and am down overall? Pretty simple. I keep making the money but not finishing in the top three. Except for those two nightly's at Caesar's...but who cares? Well last night would end the same way. I had a dealer push in who spent 30 long minutes giving me nothing...I mean NOTHING...like 2-8, 3-9, J-2, 4-9...over and over and over....and my stack went from formidable, to pathetic. He left. I got a hand to 3-bet...and climbed back into contention. Then 'Worm' raises me...with Q-8. I shove all in with A-4. He calls. Feeling pot committed, which I thought was kind of a joke...but whatever. Everything was groovy on the flop and turn...but the Q on the river put me on spin cycle. Oh...$1097 for that 9 hours of grinding? Marvelous.

Went back to hotel. Slept 4 hours. Packed up shit. Taxied it to Venetian. Left bags with concierge. With the plan to either win the mega and get a room...or lose the mega...go collect my bags...and head to the airport for my 11:30pm flight home. Things got a little turned around. Why? Two reasons. (a) I'm stubborn as shit. (b) I was pissed off as hell and (c) I wasn't going home a quitter.

Need clarity? Of course you do. The first mega ended badly. Today was so long I honestly don't even remember how I lost. So I wander over to Venetian (the tourneys are all being held at Palazzo) to find a possible SNG. Ah ha! Found one. But its a pricey one. A $540. For two entries into the main event. I entered. Struck up a $100 last longer with 6 players. Won a couple of hands early. Stuck to my 'system' in deep structured SNG's (5,000 starting chips, 20 minute levels) of sitting around folding...only playing top 10 hands...and letting the shit players bleed away all their chips playing garbage hands.

That is precisely what occurred. Then when we got to 4 handed, I started putting my foot on the gas...and pretty soon I was 2nd in chips. We got to 3-handed. Could smell the win. And a night of doing nothing involving poker. Maybe a good dinner. A good night of sleep for sure. Seat in the main locked up. You know? The dream scenario. Scratch that.  Douchebag guy who had the chiplead had no interest in doing any kind of deal. Me and the other lady...who I had covered by 2k, wanted to just give him $2500...while her and I split up the rest. No big deal. But he was being a typical jerkoff...not realizing that we were offering him exactly what he was going to win anyway. 

So what happens? Obviously...he fucks me up. I raise in the SB with A3s. He calls with QJc..admittedly a decent hand. The flop comes 2c-4h-6c. Pretty nice flop. But I know if I check, he will shove. Its one thing to check, thinking a guy will just bet...so you can shove on him and induce him to fold. But when the guy just blasts his whole stack...it kind of stifles your options, now you have to decide whether to call and hope you either 'get there' or are already good and need to fade something. So what did I do? I shoved all in. He thinks about it...and calls with his club draw. 

He turns a damn Q. Shit...so I need a 5 or an ace. I do get an ace on the river. The ace of clubs. FUCK ME! Busto. I got up. Walked outside. And went mental. Throwing my hat, kicking it all over the courtyard out there while tourists were watching the crazy guy flipping out. I entertained thoughts of swan diving into the moat and just drowning myself. Yeah...it's safe to say I was just a bit pissed off.

I gathered myself...went back inside, collected my shit...and made my way back to the Palazzo side to play the 4pm mega. Things started well. Only problem...I kept getting moved. Three times in 2 levels. A hand here, a hand there...managing to cling to the average. Then with a limper, a raiser, and me shoving all in with 99...I run into AK..and actually beat it, for a double up. We got down to 12 away from the seat...and I was really starting to think I was going to knock this thing down.

Then two things happened. Understand...I was just moved to this table...so when this joker went all in for 2800 (at 200/400) under the gun, and I looked down at A10d...I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with it. I mean A10 is far from a power house hand...especially in middle position. So I folded. the big blind goes ahead and calls with KQ. Wanna guess the other guy's hand? He had kings. Good fold, right? Guess what the flop was? 10-A-10. No bullshit. And yeah, I told them my folded hand before the flop...so half the table turned in my direction and kind of mocked me. Fuckers. A jack on the river made the guy with the KK a bad beat loser to the KQ. And my potential monster pot never happened.

New guy comes to table. He looks like Evil Santa. No...seriously. Imagine if Santa decided to quit being Santa. Stopped bathing. Forgot about grooming his beard and hair. Quit letting Mrs. Claus clean his clothes. Started drinking heavily...walking around with a chewed up straw hanging out of his mouth. This was the new guy in seat 4. Asian lady limps in for 1200. She did that a lot. I already hated this lady...from a hand earlier, where she limped in UTG with fucking K7 offsuit...and on a flop of 9-4-2 (all diamonds) and me holding 9-4 in the BB...I check, she bets 1500...I decide NOT to raise...just to get a look at the turn (fading another diamond, hoping for a 9 or a 4) and call. The turn was a 7. Not a diamond. I bet 3500. She calls. River is a non-diamond King. I check, she bets 4k. I call. FUCK ME.

So yeah...she limps again...for 1200 again. I look down at 10-10 and make it 5000. I have 15,000 behind...and the blinds are about to go to 800/1600. It was the last hand before break. It folds to Evil Santa...and he INSTANTLY shoves all in for 22,000. It was one of those 'Oh, I think he has AK' shoves. Or 'maybe' pocket jacks. So I sat there...thinking...and the whole time...Evil Santa was staring at me...with this sinister glare...refusing to blink. Or avert his gaze. Just staring at me. What the fuck. Does he WANT a call? Is he trying to scare me into folding? Is it AK? Is it JJ? Could it be 99? Shit. Do I want to fold, and come back from break with 10 BB's? Or do I want to gamble that I'm good...and double up...and coast to the seat? I decide to call.

Fuck! He has jacks. Dammit. And I get zero help from the dealer. In fact...with three clubs on the turn...I only had ONE out going to the river...since he had a club. Marvelous. I lose. Shit. What to do. What to do? Its now 8:30pm. I have a flight at 11:30. The last mega just started at 8pm. There is 110 players. I'm starving. I'm depressed. And pissed. And lonely...and missing my wife and dogs. But I also feel like I can't leave now. I can't NOT take that final shot. Because I got a baby...Miss Carley Grace on the way...who is going to change my life. I need to put myself in position to make enough money so I can not be mentally tormented by financial needs. Squirrel is going to be out of work for 10 weeks after we have the baby. Someone has to pay the bills. I feel like I've been playing some of my best poker of my career. I have more cashes at this point of the year as I ever have in my career. And I expect a solid turnout of 200-250 for the Main at Venetian...and not playing it would really stick in my craw.

So I walked over...and bought in. Then I went to Grand Luxe and ordered the super-healthy Wild Mushroom Veggie burger...that I've had about 12 times on this trip...and went to my seat. You only get 5000 chips to start.

(super kick ass diet update! On January 9th, I stepped on Barth Melius' scale in his bathroom after the BCS title game and read 265 lbs! Two days ago...I stepped on scale and looked down at 245! Holy freaking cow! I've lost 20 lbs in 5 weeks??? Sweet! My goal was 35 lbs by April 26th when Carley arrives. I might just make it! Feels good, really good!)

On the first hand...cutoff raises to 325 (at 50/100). The SB calls, and I call with A3. the flop comes 2-4-6. Wow. There are two diamonds. I have the ace of diamonds. Now, early in a tourney...I often times elect NOT to get after pots too much...not if its going to cost a large percentage of my stack. It's easier, I find...to get into pots on the cheap, and hope to flop big, then manipulate weaker opponents into juicing the pot for me. Small ball. But for some reason...probably the fact that we didn't have a lot of chips to fuck around with....I decided I was going for the jugular early in this tournament. I check the flop...and the original raiser makes it 750. Wow. So we already have 1725 in the pot...before I even act. The SB folds. Hmm...what to do, what to do. Can't really re-raise to 2100...that would be stupid, and leave me with just 2600. And if I do re-pop it and he shoves...what do I do then?

So I spent quite a lot of time doing some Jedi mind-fucking of this guy...counting my chips, analyzing his stack...gazing at the pot. Then finally I ship all in. He hesitates, then shrugs and calls. Turns over KQd. Ah. Flush draw. But hey! I'm ahead. Turn, brick. River, brick! Monkey has chips. Very next hand...idiot from the $550 SNG...who was easily the worst player I have ever seen get to four-handed in a SNG...had somehow managed to accumulate a lot of chips early.  Well I knew this guy sucked...so calling his bets didn't require a lot of effort. I get into a hand 6-handed with A8. The flop comes 8-6-4. SB bets 300. Doofus calls 300. I raise it to 1200. Everyone folds around to doofus, who calls. The turn is a 7. Ugh. He checks. I bet 1800. He flats. Hmmm. The river is a 4. Now he fires out 3000. That makes no sense. I mean if he had 3-5...then he played it pretty good. But I just don't feel that. I call. He turns over fucking K-7. Huh? People at the table are making that face...you know the one? That...."did that really just happen?" face! I gratefully raked another huge pot...and now, suddenly I had over 16k. Sweet. 

Two hands later...there is a limp for 200. Followed by 6 calls. Yeah. SIX! I look down at 10-10 in the BB...and seeing that 3 of the callers are fucking maniacs I'm familiar with, who will never fold to any raise under 1000 right here...and since I have everyone covered 3 times over...I just decide to shove it. No one calls. Check that...one guy was already all in for 300 I guess. He had 2-7s. Nice hand. I flop a set. He loses. I continue to stack chips.

Honestly, I never really got in trouble during the entire satellite/tournament. And those make for really nice experiences. I had JJ Liu at my table most of the night...and we both know each other well, so there is a lot of mutual respect between the two of us. And since it was a Mega...which always plays a bit differently, we kind of stayed out of trouble with each other. She really played well...getting short a few times, but clawing back in. Then Kenna James came to our table...and Kenna and I have always gotten a long really well. I like Kenna, he is a nice guy with a colorful personality. He made one pretty big fold to me, when I raised UTG with 10-10 and he found AdQd in the SB...and just decided to fold. I'm glad. Hate that race. He would end up winning a seat. As would JJ.

In a interesting twist...the pain in the ass who had been bullying our first table with his constant 6x raises and over-shoves against other raisers....and who used to be married to JJ (his name is Dan something) would end up bubbling...losing with A8s vs. KQ. So yeah...sometime around 2am we were finally done. Seat, locked up. And once again...not sure why I always run so effing bad when it comes to seat assignments, I managed to procure seat 1. I hate seat 1. But at least I have a seat...right?

So I am shacked up in a room at Venetian...and excited as I always am the night before a Main Event...with the anticipation of what lies ahead. It's been a weird trip. Lots and lots of deep runs...that almost all have ended in some brutal suckout right before the money started to get what we determine to be 'good' in this 'poker for a living' lifestyle of ours. I just hope I can run good tomorrow, get to Day 2...and put myself into position for a decent finish. Can go home with my head held high. Can go to the bank and make a damn DEPOSIT for a change!

I know this blog post was mostly poker-related...and that is out of the ordinary. Sorry. I really have a ton of funny pictures and videos and stories saved up...but I have to get to sleep...and I don't want this to drag on too long. I celebrated my 45th birthday on Thursday night...and it was a fun night, I have to admit. Tequila was involved, and yes...the next day I was told of things I didn't recall. The good news was that I called Kathy Raymond, the poker room manager and informed her that people were sending me shots of tequila for my birthday. She expressed gratitude that I was 'keeping her in the loop' since I have voluntarily agreed not to consume alcohol while playing at Venetian events. She wished me a Happy Birthday...and it kind of made me feel like I could have a good time without having to look over my shoulder all night. 

I received an amazing amount of Facebook birthday greetings, and I sat and responded to every single one of them. That kind of made my day. Hell...once I turned 40, birthdays kind of became more of a 'count-down-to-death' event every year....rather than something to celebrate and party over.

If you would like to know what exactly I was doing to these things, I can't tell you.
Ever have a thought that you are about to share? But then something happens, like your phone rings? Or someone asks you a question? And suddenly, it breaks your train of thought...and you just lose it? Well, that is what just happened to me right here. I had something very profound and/or succinct to share with you...and now, suddenly, NOTHING. And it's pissing me off. Kind of.

Wanna see a funny video? About a guy who made a video about stupid things you see at the poker table? Well good...I am going to share it with you here. Wanna know what is about to be coming your way? A video of my own. Along the same lines...but what I think will be even more funny. And creative. And crude. With plenty of berating of imaginary players. For those familiar with me...you can only imagine how sweet this video will turn out. One of the things I have been entertaining is doing Vblogs...or 'Video Blogs'...wherein, I somehow record little mini-rants...or mini-diatribes about certain topics...and then attempt to edit them down...and include them on my blog. Problem is, I have no idea how to do this so that it appears to be even kind of presentable. But oh...yeah...check this out. It's pretty hilarious...and so true in a lot of cases.


Like this video? Well, then you will love this one...shot by me. During a break. The FIRST break...yeah, two hours into the tournament. Were people laughing? Uh...well, yeah. Of course they were. But more importantly, they were asking each other...."what the fuck is that guy doing!????" It's the perfect video for a caption contest.


Okay...that's all folks. No comments about Jeremy Lin...and ESPN's witty 'Chink In The Armour' comment. No thoughts on the funeral of Whitney Houston...or Bobby Brown getting run from the procession. Not gonna climb up on my soapbox about Syria...and the madness on that side of the world, including Iran's joke of a Navy trying to flex it's muscles in the Mediterranean. Not gonna bitch and moan about my NBA fantasy team going to shit since Zach Randolph and Andrea Bargnani of Toronto went down with injuries. No more political thoughts on why we seem to have a new 'frontrunner' in the Republican race every month. I guess this month its now Rick Santorum. Are these guys fully aware that they have almost NO chance of unseating Barack this fall? Its almost laughable that they are raising all this money just so they can lose.

GOOD NIGHT BOYS AND GIRLS.

MONKEY

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Get Ready to Die...Zombie Mutants!!!

Today, I am going to ignore the negative. Did I just pull another 0-fer yesterday? And the day before? And the day before? Maybe. Maybe not. I'm not going there. I am also NOT going to address the death of Whitney Houston. Too early. And too sad. Not going to talk about my hotel switch due to my becoming an official 'resident' in the eyes of Las Vegas law...which apparently happens after 28 days in the same hotel.

I refuse to address the insanity of the retard running the poker room at IP during graveyard...or the front desk's inability to answer the phone...EVER. Won't talk about why Subway at Casino Royale always closes every night between 2:23am and 2:45am because their 'systems are down.' Won't babble on about how my lovely wife is up in North Alabama today for her first of two Mega Baby Showers for Carley Grace...who is already the most spoiled child to ever not even be born yet.

I won't even talk about my decision to take my diet up a notch...by deciding to go on a self-imposed hunger strike until I make it back to a final table. ANY final table. No...sit n go's do NOT count. Not that it matters, since SNG's seem to have vanished from the face of poker. FML.

Nope, today I shall talk about me and Wonky's grudge match with the poker world. I like to call them Mutants. She prefers Zombies. She harbors the same disdain for OMRG's and OLRG's...in fact, she coined the phrase. Yes, I will give her creative credit. Here is Wonky...after her devastating victory in the nightly at Venetian three nights ago. And two days before she did me the pleasure of doing my laundry!

My alter ego in crushing souls
Today at Caesar's at 4pm (22 minutes for those scoring at home) is the Valentine's him/her team Mutant Destruction tournament. We contemplated going to buy T-shirts...to wear as a team. A little something like this.




But since we are both lazy sloths, who like to sleep in...we didn't make THAT happen. You've heard me talk about Wonky before. She is the one who is married to the F-15 fighter pilot. Who bitches, whines and rants about other players better/worse than I do. The one who when I'm running like shit I can go to that will actually make me feel normal, and sometimes better. She is without a doubt one of the better female players I know...which should make us a powerful duo today as we take on whatever the poker world decides to throw at us.

Yeah....bring it on...suckers! While the one teammate is playing in the tourney during his/her 15 minute 'shift' they will be running a parallel cash game table...where we are able to play out of the same stack. I am honestly looking forward to a day of crushing souls...and dreams...and having the joy of doing it with a friend who can derive the same amount of joy from it.



This should be the look on my face....ALL DAY...as I wreak havoc on all the opposing players. I really hope we make the final table...because holy crap...its been two days since I ate...and I am freaking STARVING!!!!!

Okay...gotta go.  Oh...props to Justin Booth for his CHOP/CHOP-SHIP/SHIP in the big 600+ two day tourney at Venetian. Special thanks to Brett Allelo for shipping me (overnight) his miracle Kidney Stone evaporating pills from Louisiana (effectively the ONLY good thing to SHOW UP from Louisiana this year so far!) along with a special gift of beef jerky!

MONKEY




Thursday, February 9, 2012

It Won't Be Long....Promise

Fresh off yet another min-cash last night in the 3pm $150 bounty tourney...which of course I had to re-buy/re-enter in after my KK succumbed to JJ in Level 3....and after having bought in TWICE for the $500k Guarantee two-day event...with a $350 buy in...I head back today to play Day 1B of that same damn event trying to make it to Day 2 and a 'decent' cash on this year of nothing but min-cashes so far. I think I am up to 12 cashes now, but the biggest one is for $3700.

Yes, my Super Bowl prediction fell flat for the first time in three years...though if things break right...as they should have, my predicted score of 27-21 New England would have been pretty damn close, as it would have likely ended up 24-21. Whatever. Congrats to all you Giant fans. I did have kind of an epic day in Super Bowl Squares. Granted, I did invest $3200 throughout 9 boards...but I managed to win $4000. So it was a win, overall. Never got my wager in at the window...because the sportsbook here at Riviera is a bit, ahem...to put it politely, S-L-O-W.

I've got some great photos to share. And a couple videos. And some fun stories. But I don't have time to share them all because, as usual I am running late. But that might be a good thing...running late means I get to miss the cooler beats...and hypothetically, the urge to rebuy before the break. Getting pretty sick of that shit. The fields at Venetian are starting to pick up a little. But there are still NO sit n gos being run...so if you don't cash deep in a tourney to keep your bankroll sustained...you are playing catch up and burning a hole in that roll. Case in point: Senor Monkey.

My boy Banger arrived from Canada two nights ago...and is celebrating his isolation from years of being pent up in the icy north. He played for 12 hours yesterday...after also having rebought...only to bust in the last half hour of the night. That friggin blows. And I finished 10th out of 157 mutants in the $150 bounty tourney that started at 3. I collected 6 bounties for $150...and when my AK couldn't connect against JJ...I left with another $355 whopping dollars. Oh boy. Huge score.

Eric Baldwin a.k.a 'Basebaldy' reached out to me on Twitter...and when I did that 'follow' thing, he sent me a link he thought might really help me a lot. Apparently, he bought and read this book... 'The Power of Now' awhile back and said it helped him tremendously. So...I thanked him for the recommendation and purchased it on iBooks, so I can read it on my iPad. So now I have another book in my virtual library to keep me busy on...in my efforts to improve on myself.

Okay...gotta hit and run...just didn't want anyone thinking I died. I didn't...just feel like I did about once a day. 

MONKEY

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Disappointing Final Table Outcome....

Well, the devastating assault on min-cashing continues. And I won't lie...it's about to drive me insane. I think I have probably set a record for most cashes in a month...oh wait, I guess now it's February...so we will just say most cashes in a 30-day period. But the biggest amount won was $3900. I think I am up to 10 cashes on this road trip...and I am actually down money for the trip. Yep. Factor in all those other buyins, the hotels, the food, the travel costs, and some bad cash game sessions...and it makes min-cashing all the more infuriating.

Yesterday started pretty good. I had 67,000, which was the 3rd smallest stack, but won my first hand of the day to get to 90k. Then just picked up a hand every so often...and hung around while the first two players both got knocked out. Both were knocked out holding AAxx in their hand...and having the guy make a very loose call to go runner runner both times to beat them. So, in the pit of my stomach I was kind of fearing picking up AAxx myself.


Those fears would prove to be prophetic. I had just won a big pot to climb to around 150k. The guy who kept busting people's AA hands...raised in early position to 8400. This guy is from Canada...the Yukon Territory, and had been at my table almost all of Day 1. He is very entertaining, has a sense of humor I admire, and can tell he has an IQ in the range of people I like to be friends with. He was the last person I wanted to take a bad beat from. I look down at A-A-Q-7 double suited. No way I'm not potting there. I do...making it 34k I think was the total. He grins, looks at me, then his cards...I don't think there is ANY way he is calling me. He had been respecting my raises the whole tourney.

But for some reason, he decides not to respect this one. He calls. The flop was very friendly for my hand...rainbow flop with only two connected cards. I didn't hit anything and figured I was still ahead with my aces. I'd seen him lead out big a couple times when he was doing so to get the other to fold what he assumed was AK-something. But I had aces. And when he potted it on the flop, I figured he was doing the same thing. He was...because when I announced all in he uttered that phrase we all hate...."You're ahead...sure hope I catch up."  Well he had a straight draw. And a pair of nines. The turn gave him nothing. I was one good river card away from having a mountain of chips. River brought a nine. Holy shit. I lose to trips. Son of bitch. Not again. 7th place. $1100. Big deal. SHIT! It was 3:15.

I stumbled out of Venetian...wandering around on the streets. Walked down to Wal-Greens and picked up my Flomax prescription for my Kidney Stone issue...which hasn't gotten as bad as it did the other day, but is still there, as I continue to get lower back pain in that area every day.

Then I just decided to walk to Caesar's and see if they had a 3pm tourney I could play. They did. $70. Oh boy. 33 players. I sat there, kind of just numb, and not talking to anyone. I kept getting hands. And mowing people. Before I knew it...we were at the final table, and I was chipleader. Whoops. First was $660...and another cute medallion. Well, might as well win this.

You know...its really weird to sit in a tourney...say a $550 with players you know are talented poker players, then sit in a $70 tourney with players who are absolutely clueless. I mean there are such exploitable ways to extract money from those lousy players that rarely occur in tourneys against good players. But it also presents a Catch 22 in that bluffing is incredibly tough, almost impossible, and unpredictable plays, lacking in total logic will come along that leave you shaking your head like you spent the day at the lake and can't get the water out of your right ear.

I'll cut to the chase. We got to 3 players, and I had a sizable disadvantage chip-wise. But this old guy...yes, another OMRG...was asking for a 5-way chop of $495 each. Personally, I didn't care either way, I was still in mourning over not winning the 8k in the Omaha tourney...and the $14k and $16k from the other two tourneys when I got clothes-lined near the finish line. But since I really like playing 3-handed, both because I think I'm the best player in that situation, and also because I like the practice for future tourneys when I might not be. So I suggested we just play it out. So after about 30 minutes I had the chip lead...with 45% of the chips in play. OMRG had about 40% and 'the kid' had the other 15% and was running out of time.

CUE: 'The Play.'  Seems to always happen when you are dealing with an OMRG. I failed to mention that OMRG was showing a card every hand. OMRG's tend to do this a lot. Not sure why. But they do. And on this particular hand, he flashed the 8 of hearts. He limps for 2000. Which prompted 'the kid' to call the 2000. I look down at A10s. Even if OMRG has 88, I still have two overs, and am suited, so I'm not that big of an underdog. If he just has 8-x then I really love my hand. So I raise it to 12,000. He babbles something incoherently, probably something about having to get to the RV park to meet with his wife for bingo night...then proclaims "Well, I guess I just have one move here" and shoves all in. WTF? I have him covered, but just barely...and having seen his 8 there is no way I am folding now.

I call..and as soon as I do so, he pops out "Well, you are way ahead!!!" Yeah, kind of thought that...but what the hell are you doing making that play knowing (or, well...he SHOULD be knowing) that I can't really fold to any re-shove? Just stupid. But stupid is a foe I cannot defeat. He turns over 5-8. Oh it was suited, I know this is important. I flop two spades. He flops a five. All I need is a spade, an ace or a ten...and this thing is all but over. Forget it. It holds. I lose on the next hand. Out 3rd...for $330. Oh boy. Whatever.

Saunter over to O'Sheas...walk in to Subway, order another vegetable patty sandwich...which comes in at around 180 calories...and sit there eating it watching the drunk tourists playing Beer Pong. It's funny and sad both. The women get so drunk, that you just watch them...eyes rolling into the back of their heads, hair getting messed up...stumbling on their high heels. The guys get shit-faced and it becomes a contest of who can yell the loudest, who can dole out the most high-fives. I sit there looking at them...wondering what they do for a living. Wondering where they live. What a 'day-in-the-life' consists of. I am an admitted people watcher...and the older I get, the more disillusioned I become with the status quo in our society. There are some people who just find joy and happiness in every moment of their day. I'm not that person. I tend to cruise around noticing nothing but things I find ridiculous. I know there are people like me, who think like me. I like those people. We have things in common. We laugh at the same things.

I don't think there is anything more annoying than that person who vilifies you for making fun of someone who desperately NEEDS to be made fun of. Sorry, but if people aren't 'with it' enough to leave their house demonstrating something about themselves that is begging people to laugh at...well, sorry, but that has to make them somewhat accountable. "Its not nice to laugh at people!"  "It's not nice to make people have to look at something so laughable!"

Oh. I played the 7pm at Caesar's too. Got AA early and played it like a master...clipping two players and gaining a lot of chips. I then proceeded to play like shit. Kind of tried to run over the table, and in a nightly with  newbies...not a good idea. I would fold to two bets I probably should have called, then called the one I should have folded. Yeah...I played bad. You heard me say it.

Played cash for an hour...losing $180...then deciding to play (why? Cuz I'm stupid) the 10pm tourney again...$85...going for back-to-back wins in that. Started pretty good. Then just sat there patiently. Guy limped utg. I raised with 66. He called. The flop comes K-J-6. Nice! I check, he checks. Turn is an ace. He bets 1000. I raise to 2500. He calls. The river is an ace. hmmm...full house. Nice. I bet. He raises. What? Smell a bad beat coming. I go all in, he snap calls and turns over AK. No way. Kidding me? Nope, not kidding. I was done. Left Caesars. Took a cab to my room, and crashed. I have been sleeping on and off all day.

No idea what I am doing tomorrow for the Super Bowl. I always put in a play of some sort when I am in Vegas...having done very well the past two seasons. Well...here comes my Super Bowl prediction.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 27
NEW YORK GIANTS            21

I will most likely be betting the Patriots and the Under.

My Super Bowl Squares are nearly done. I have filled one $100 board...and have sold 70 of the 100 in the 2nd board. In the $50 boards, I have filled one board, and have only 10 squares left on the 2nd board. The #4 and #5 $25 boards are getting close to being full too. I suspect I will get the usual avalanche of square buys on game day. If you want an invite to buy a square or ten...shoot me an email at ThePoolMonkey@aol.com. 

Okay...I'm going back to sleep. Blogging has made me tired. It's 9:20pm here in Vegas. I am still accepting invitations to 'can't miss' Super Bowl Party invitations for tomorrow's game.

Monkey