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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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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. 



Anonymous said...

When things go wrong you have got to make a change. Today , I find out that my wife of 40yr. has fatal cancer. Things have gone wrong, things which I can not change. You have a future , a new child, a new life. There are things you can change.

I am hoping for the best for you and your family.
Deloflatsjim (omRG)

Poker Monkey said...

Wow man...that is a really, really bad beat. I don't even know what to say. You are right though...they make my problems feel like they aren't even problems. I'm sorry to hear that horrible news. I hope you find strength and together are able to make those last days mean more than any of the days in the previous 40 years. God Bless you both. ;(