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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 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 sucks, but that's poker (as they say).

Another issue I 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?, 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 me, we will work out something fair. I will not, absolutely won' 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 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 there ya go. And I think this post has been plenty I will wrap it up!



Zin said...

Well i am glad he got DQ, one thing i cannot tolerate is a cheater, liar and a thief. These young punks nowadays do not even respect there elders much less the game of poker.

Anonymous said...

The Coushatta in Kinder Louisiana, March 30th-April 1st, $1000 Seven Clans tournament, Good Structure, weak players and within driving distance of Biloxi. Thank me later.....

Anonymous said...

OH, I forgot March 28th is a $175~ qualifier to the $240~ on the 29th and the main on the 30th. Qualifier to both, a $1300~ package. They cap the main at 240 players with a alternate list. I will back you for half if I see you there. KL from Texas

Poker Monkey said...

Zin: I, like you...cannot stand a cheater, a liar or a thief. And whether this kid is guilty of one or all three of those, I really don't know. And I do know that a lot of crap in poker seems to be allowed, whereas a lot of chippy shit is cracked down on. But then again...that is everywhere in every avenue of life, isn't it? Guess we just try to do our best to follow the golden path and hope no one screws us over.


Poker Monkey said...

While I appreciate the backing offer...there are two reasons I won't be attending Coushatta. One...I have been offered a staking deal for Council Bluffs during that time period...and will be taking that deal. Two...I have played Coushatta, twice. (A) it isn't exactly driving distance. It's kind of a long ass drive. (B) I hate the tables, chairs and dealers who they pull in from the blackjack pits to deal poker. (C) The players are brutal. None of them possess a fold button. It's just a very bizarre place. No thanks. Sure its a great place, go play cash game on the weekends.