Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Easy Living in North Alabama

Well, since we have someone staying at our house...someone who my dogs LOVE...and who loves them as much, and since Cheryl doesn't have to be back to work for a couple weeks, and I'm a bum without an official job, we have decided to spend as much time up here with all here relatives as possible.

Carley is getting passed around like a little hot potato. I've managed to come down with a cold...so I'm trying to keep my face away from hers as much as possible, but honestly, its tough!

Sunday we had our first radio show...and aside from the volume level on my headset being way too low...I think it went pretty well. It was our first show, and Scotty and I talked about the good and the bad as far as what we need to work on in future shows. I got a lot of nice comments from some people who tuned in, and of course, the one standard comment from 'the hater.' I'm almost starting to think maybe the hater is the same person...since every message from him (who knows, maybe her) sounds identical. I published that comment, and took the high road, thanking them for taking the time to tune in at least.

I've been spending a lot of time on Facebook...reading all the posts of friends and acquaintances that are trekking to Vegas, and then playing in the first week's worth of events. I've made an interesting observation...and I kind of predicted this would be the case.

I knew the first week was going to be tough on me...reading posts with those excited to be getting there...and the anticipation of playing for bracelets and million dollar prize pools. That feeling of being on the outside looking in would, and has...naturally caused me to feel a little envious. But having been there the past 7 years, it's not like I don't know what it feels like. It always starts out very positive, and optimistic.

But I knew...if I waited long enough, that I would start seeing the posts that always seem to follow:

"played 12 hours...5 from the money, and lose with AA to KK when the guy spiked a king on the river."

"had 4 times the average at dinner break, came back and lost 5 races in a row vs. small stacks...got it in with 99 vs. QJ....Q on river. Busto."

On and on they came. And you could sense the pain, the heartbreak, the disappointment that always comes from playing big tournaments. And within a week of being there, I would say 75% of the people you know that are out there taking their swings...are chasing a deficit. And fighting with the mental demons that poker always instills in you. 'Stay positive. Keep getting a good night of sleep. Take that all-important day off if need be. Don't let people know you're running bad. They feed off it. Ride it out.' It's nothing you haven't heard or experienced before. 

Now there are those like Jeff Timms....who has gone out and cashed 3 of his first 4 tourneys he's played, including a win in one of the nightly's at Rio...who knows which one? There are so many. The 7? The 10? Win? Or a chop? Whatever...some guys get out there and run great from the time their plane lands....and hey, that's awesome for them. As long (hint hint) as they can stay away from the craps table and keep their winnings in their bankroll!!!

I think that sitting here 1738 miles away from Las Vegas and all the excitement, stress, thrills, disappointment of the 2012 Summer Poker Convention is good for me. My baby is next to me almost every minute, my wife and I have discovered a newfound appreciation and love for one another, and I've come to terms...or am at least trying to...with the notion that my days as a full time monkey chasing the circus....uhhh...I mean circuit...is coming to an end. I've had lots of possible 'feelers' on the 'real job' front. And that is exciting.

I sent out an email to all the people (1800+) who play in my various pools telling them I have gone ahead and decided to run a pool for all the major golf tourneys. They've been hounding me to do all three, and not just the Masters for years now...but because of the 7-week Vegas grind every summer, I just haven't been able to. So they are pretty excited about that. Next up, US Open in two weeks. I also told them I was going to be doing Vegas for about ten days...July 5th-15th...and would be putting together a Poker Shares Package...that would allow me to play the final $1k at Rio (which I expect should get over 6,000 players), one or two off the $1k Megas into the Main...and then the Main itself. I have had 7 or 8 emails already asking for information on it...so I have very few concerns that I will have any trouble funding that trip and those tourneys. Think I am going to sell a total of 60 to 65% of my action. When I figure out exactly what I'm going to do on that...I will post it here, for any of you folks who think you would like a 'Monkey Sweat' this summer. Even you, hater!

Okay...well that was just a quick little update for everyone that cares! I am getting ready to go and see my nephew Trey's baseball game today. I threw him some batting practice the other day, along with his brother...before we went and saw 'The Avengers' at the local theater. Thought it was pretty good. Hulk had to be my favorite character in the movie.



Sunday, May 27, 2012

Happy Memorial Day Weekend to Everyone!!!

This is a pretty special holiday if you live in the south. It also hits close to home whenever I am up north in Alabama with Squirrel's side of the family...as her brother Scott served a couple tours in Iraq...and her cousin is a commander in the army for a unit that is over in Afghanistan right now... today we got to see his wife, who was dying to see Carley. We drove 'home' yesterday....and what is usually a 5-hour drive for us was instead an 8-hour odyssey, due in large part to Miss Carley, who (I'm finding out) certainly does rule the roost. But that's okay...there was no big hurry. And it was her first big road trip. She did great.

I was watching the local news...about a young kid who came home to one of these small towns around here, to a hero's welcome. He was missing both of his legs. But he had the greatest attitude. It leaves me feeling several emotions. I think the most diehard, red-blooded, patriotic Americans are from the South...100%. And they make up approximately 65% of our military. A lot of that can be attributed to 'opportunity' or lack of it. You get a lot of poor kids...who really have no other roads to pursue, that end up joining the military to try and make a career for themselves. You get a lot of kids not qualified for college who are in the same boat. Its just the reality of the situation. 

So I guess when I watch the news, or read the news...and dig deeper into articles dealing with these last ten years of conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, it kind of pisses me off. Because I firmly believe we are accomplishing two things in the past decade with these ill-conceived wars. (a) destroying the economy, and (b) doing great damage to a whole generation of Americans. The number of soldiers returning from the Middle East who are committing violent crimes and/or committing suicide is absolutely staggering. And while deaths aren't off the charts like they were in Vietnam...the number of soldiers returning home missing limbs is astonishing. The billions that are being spent on these wars...for countries who have no desire to be introduced to our 'way of life' is offensive. We build them a school...it gets blown up. We build them a bridge...same deal. We teach them how to fight, or police themselves...and one of them tips off the opposition, and they all get killed in a building by a car bomb. I mean...what the hell is the point? Those people have been hating Christians and what the Christians stand for now for thousands of years. Are we ignorant or pompous enough to think we are the ones to change that theology?

I love the soldiers who are willing to follow orders, to do 'whatever it takes' to keep America free...or whatever our interpretation of 'freedom' is. Whenever I see a soldier in a store, an airport, the post office...wherever it might be, I always tell them 'thank you' and shake their hand. I never served in the military...and because of that I feel a little guilty sometimes. Oh...it wasn't that I didn't consider it...I did. But I wanted to be a fighter pilot. And with my education level, and my height, I was only offered a chance to fly helicopters and P-3 Orions, the Navy's submarine hunters...also used for flying into hurricanes by the Air Force. I decided to go a different route in life...and yeah, there are plenty of days that I regret it. 

But again...when I see these young men coming home dead or maimed...it really pisses me off. They are too young to experience that. They have no say in the matter. They have Moms and Dads...who have to bury them or see them suffer. Or a wife and kids...who lose their Daddy. For what? Just tell me WHY...and it would be easier to accept. So Halliburton can keep making billions with their contractor deals? I mean, I get it...there is a 'reason' for us to be there...to a point. And that point? Keeping the Taliban and Al Qaeda from assuming control in that region, especially Pakistan...and gaining possession of Pakistan's nukes. Which would likely result in total chaos, and possible World War. But to have 100k troops on the ground in Afghanistan? Pretty pointless. It's a special forces theater of operations and that is it. 

Maybe I've vented too much. I should get back to the central theme of this blog. I respect and admire our current troops, and all those who have served this country in the past. And on this holiday, I know that I will personally reflect back on those who have made what has kind of become an overused phrase...'the ultimate sacrifice.'  (Thanks for ruining a great line GWB)

So yeah...we are up in North Alabama all weekend visiting Squirrel's side of the family. Really a great bunch of people...I am lucky to be a part of their family. I got a whole bunch of really, really nice comments from you readers after my last blog. And a couple, well...one actually, that was pretty shitty. From the same 'person' who left me one back in February. In fact...it was pretty comical...I saved it, and as I read them side by side...it was almost the exact same message, word for word. Hey...um, Mr. Anonymous...I get it, you think I'm a shitty poker player. Whatever...maybe I am. Could care less honestly. But this BS you keep shouting about 'coming clean about our house getting robbed?' That it was made up by me? And that I should 'pay back all those people who didn't get paid?' It cracks me up that you still are trying to insist that never happened. You imbecile. First, I provided, ON THIS BLOG...the case number, the name of the detective...and then provided the names AND PHOTOS!!! of the assholes who robbed us after they were apprehended. Um...did you miss all that? 

And furthermore...who didn't get paid? I had a bunch of people in my football pools that were affected, yep...and when I went out to Venetian in February...and won/chopped a $550 tourney for $15k...guess what? Everyone got paid. And...on top of it all...those who had to wait, were rewarded with a free entry in the next year's pool. So...please...if you want to continue to send me this stupid ass message...at least have a fucking clue what you are talking about. Maybe I will even publish one of them...even though you are STILL too chickenshit to attach your name to them. I wonder...what do people like you look like? 

But anyway...to those of you who left the really nice messages, thanks. It actually does mean a lot to me. And I surely didn't write anything I didn't mean. I just kind of think...with the birth of Carley...I've really had a chance to sit back, and reflect on what is truly important in life. And while I enjoy the game of poker, and it IS in fact something I think I am relatively good at, certainly not the BEST by any stretch...but good enough I think, that on any given day...I could make the final table. I know that I will always have a bit of a desire to compete in big tournaments. Just not so much...or so often, to the point that its just making me miserable, and a nervous, stressed out mess.

So...I had a couple of nibbles about doing a staking deal for the entire summer...wherein I would play a full schedule of WSOP events (20-25) as well as 5-10 Venetian events and a few Caesar's and Nugget tourneys. But the more I thought about it...the more I thought I would much rather stay at home with my baby. Squirrel got screwed around by her work...on her hours, having to do with her maternity leave...and instead of having to be back on July 7th or so...now has to be back in two weeks. Ridiculous. So...she is going to really need me, and it feels good to be needed...as a father. It's something I've been looking forward to doing my whole life. Well, when the bell sounds...I don't want to be off in Las Vegas chasing that stupid 7-week carnival like I have the past 6 years. 

Oh, don't think it doesn't hurt a little to see all the Facebook posts like "Here we go...off to Vegas for the summer!!!" Or all the text messages from people asking me 'when are you heading to Vegas' and 'where are you staying in Vegas?' It does. For sure. Last year at this time...I was heading to Vegas right now...and gearing up for the National Freeroll...which I fell well short of qualifying for this year. (despite having the same number of cashes, 6) I had those same hopes and dreams that a lot of guys have right now. Start off the summer by cashing or winning the freeroll! Bankroll more WSOP events! Snap off a Venetian event! Final table a WSOP event! Come home with a million dollars or more! None of that happened. Oh...I cashed 14 times last summer. But I came home down about $10k for the summer. I played the Main Event...and once again...was busted on Day 3...just shy of the money. It was depressing as f***!

And its not something I can lie about. The money? It's definitely dwindled to a point that its now the cause of financial pressure for the first time in years. But hey! That's life. And when the going gets tough? Well...you adapt. Stick and move! Find a solution! So...that is the plan. Let Squirrel go back to work. Work on some other things in the background. Grind away playing cash all summer. Maybe find a decent job...not one that is going to make me homicidal whenever I go in to work! 

Oh...do NOT think that I am not going to find the ten days necessary to travel out to Vegas to play the Main Event! I'm not STUPID! Hopefully, Cheryl's mom will be able to come down for the first couple weeks of July...while I go out to Vegas with a buddy...and probably play the last big $1k at WSOP...then likely one or two $1k Megas for the Main, and then (whether I win the Mega or not) play the Main Event. And having not been grinding my brains out all summer? I like my chances to go in there fresh...and do well. I will most likely either sell $15k worth of action to one person, or portion it out and sell shares.  I have plenty of time to work all that out.

Guess what tomorrow is!??? Or Sunday...if you are reading this on Sunday? Yep! My first official day of hosting the radio show with Scotty Clark of St. Louis. And I will be doing it poolside I guess...before taking my three nephews to see 'The Avengers!'

I think, after listening to the show last week...that I was at first supposed to be on, but due to a misunderstanding between the two of us (him thinking I would be busy playing) I wasn't. Which was totally fine and cool. Oh but anyway...I think (after listening to the archived taping) his show went pretty smooth. And so I am pretty excited about our first show together tomorrow. And coming in for the first show...and I really, really appreciate these guys doing this for me...not that I would have expected them to say no...but still, really excited to have Frank Kassela...the WSOP POY from 2010...and Mr. 'Shot in the Dark' himself Dwyte 'The Duke' Pilgrim! Frank will lead off the show at 3:05 CT or so...and Dwyte will come in right after him...barring an uncharacteristic no-show by either one of them.

TO LISTEN TO THE SHOW JUST CLICK HERE and it should take you right to the show page! Also...if you miss the show, you can always click this link...and go back and hear it later on the archived shows! Additionally, you will be able to start hearing the show via YouTube or iTunes in a week or so. Scott is getting all of that worked out...as he is the 'technical end' of this radio program. I am just the fluff! Or whatever nasty label you wish to apply to me! Just so you guys know...the only reason I am doing this show...isn't for the fame or fortune, or the desire to show everyone what a great poker player I am. Nope..its for the money! I am getting paid $100,000 per episode!!! So yeah duh! Obviously it's for the money, right!??? Okay...maybe I'm exaggerating! I will let you all know, however...that the show's sponsor, which is currently LOCK poker...but I anticipate will be switching over to their new network when all that goes down...wants us to keep the show out of the gutter. Hence, if you are looking for me to take off the gloves and go after some people, it might not happen the way you were hoping. Sorry. I'm just following orders...gotta keep those 6 figure, I mean 5 figure...wait wait...4 figure...okay, 3 figure...paychecks flowing in!!!!

My Rangers...oh my Rangers. I am still in mourning. And probably will be for a few more weeks. In what I really thought was going to be a Carley Grace-inspired Stanley Cup season for my Rangers...ended in sadness last night...after erasing a 3-0 deficit in game 5...to tie it up....then friggin lose, they did the same thing last night, getting down 2-0 early...then fighting back to tie it...taking the game to overtime...then losing. And losing to the team I hate more than any other team in the NHL...the New Jersey fucking Devils. I hope the LA Kings sweep those jagoffs. I hate New Jersey. The state. Most of the people. Their tolls. Their casinos. (except Borgatta...and sometimes Harrah's) Their guido, idiot TV shows. I guess it could be worse...I could be a Vancouver Canucks fan. Ouch.

Had me a little moment today that would remind you of this commercial...all except for the part where I end up in a roadside ditch.

So...I hate flies. A lot. And today...they were everywhere. Outside the house. Inside the house. Grrr....fucking flies! So...I found not one... but FOUR...flyswatters on top of my sister-in-law's refrigerator. I decided to appoint myself the Fly Assassin. Fly #1. Dead! Fly #2. Dead! Fly #3...ahhh...fly number tre! Very tricky little fucker. He decides to land on the lip of the light fixture hanging over the glass top stove...where, surrounding that stove was Cheryl, sister-in-law Bridget, and cousin Lynn. Monkey moves in....with quite possibly the greatest fly swatter ever....lines up my prey...and strikes! Whoa!!! Wait! OMG...what the fcuk just happened!!! Said light fixture was loose....and when struck, broke free of the 0-ring holding it back...shattering the bulb....then falling down onto the glass stove top...breaking it too. All four of us stood there...silent...with that 'HOLY F***ing SHIT' look on all of our faces. And I felt like the biggest asshole on the planet.

So after cleaning up all the broken glass...I booked it for Home Depot...which was located in another town. No biggie. Nice half hour drive. Arrive at Home Depot. Find old, bald guy in lighting. Knows nothing about lighting. Or their current inventory. Find item on my own. What is it with these retail stores now-a-days? I think Best Buy has GOT to be the worst! Is it just me? Or am I usually about 20 times more intelligent and aware of the stuff in Best Buy than any one actually working at Best Buy? Its like...you walk in, they ask if they can help you...you attempt to LET THEM help you...and about two minutes into the experience you're like...'holy shit man...do me a favor and just fuck off...please!' Do you have that experience? 

So...I pick out my items. I go to the customer service desk...because like every time I shop at Home Depot, they have to look up my account number. Why? Because...I paid off my balance three years ago...and cut up my cards. However, a few months later...I found the need to make a large purchase there. And now...that is how I make purchases there now...and Best Buy...incidentally, by letting them look up my account using my Social Security number. Well...on this occasion, I would spend 1 hour and 23 minutes at that front desk. Oh...I'm sure there could be any number reasons for WHY this happened. Lets just say it always seems like these fucking marathons of annoyances happen to me! It wasn't the girl's fault. Nope...it was the various idiots on the other side of the phone...who kept demonstrating for us just how stupid human being could actually be. I think I would have rather ended up in a roadside ditch. Alas..they finally did get my transaction to 'go through' and also update my information to remove the 'home phone number' from my account that I disconnected 6 years ago. (seriously, who STILL has a land line in their home? And why?) 

When I got home from Home Depot...I had an eye patch on and was trying to explain to everyone what had taken me so long. Then I went in the kitchen and started in with my repairs. Then I wrestled my kid away from everyone and laid next to her on the couch...her sleeping, and me watching the original 'Bad News Bears' with my brother-in-law Scott...while everyone else went to bed. It was nice. And with that...I bid you adieu!


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Big O-Fer in NOLA...Now What!!??

The most sobering day in the life of a poker pro...or whatever we should be called when poker is the only thing we do for a living, is that day after an event has ended. When we go home, sleep in...and just lay there, asking ourselves 'what's next?'

In my case...it's a tad bit more complicated. I owe a debt of gratitude to the gentleman who was nice enough to put me in the events in Council Bluffs and New Orleans. I was pretty hopeful, since it seems like everyone he puts his money on catches fire and does nothing but win. And with a baby on the way, and a lot of obligations to meet, there would be no time like the present to have that happen to me.

And now...our baby has been born. She will be a month old tomorrow. And admittedly, she is perfect. I should be feeling like I just won the Main Event, or the lottery. And in a sense I do. She has made living life great again. She has caused me to look at my wife with a sense of amazement, and I might go so far as to say she has never looked more beautiful in the ten years I have known her.

The last time I had a 'real job' was in 2005. It was a job I liked, actually. I was good at it. Were it not for my annoying pissant of a manager, I'd probably still be there. Or maybe not. I have no regrets over the past 7 years...and where they have taken me. There were 2 or 3 great years of poker...where I won enough to have a lot of nice things, take a lot of fun trips...and do a lot of nice things for my wife. Then there were a few that were pretty lean, and that taught me the evil, agonizing side of playing poker for a living.

I've encountered a lot of people this past 7 years who, after hearing that I play tourney poker for a living, expressed a degree of envy...wishing they could do the same. For awhile, I agreed with them. And was so happy I wasn't 'one of them' who had to wake up every day...travel to their job, do the same thing day in and day out...go home, eat dinner, go to bed, then start all over the next day. In fact I cringed at that existence. It's funny how sometimes things, and your opinions, can change. In the past couple of years, I've had guys tell me they have really good jobs, but that they just want to give tournament poker a shot for a couple of years. Do I think they should go for it? And now, I always tell them 'Hell no!' That if they have a good job...HOLD ONTO IT...and play poker whenever you have time. Period. Take a vacation every July to Vegas to play the Main Event..because every player worth even a shit, should ALWAYS take a shot at the Main Event and $10m.

But to give up a promising career to chase the circuit around? Trying to stay ahead of the juice and the variance? Encountering one close call after another...the two-outers on the river just shy of the money, the impossible heartbreak of thinking you are about to triple up with AA, after being card dead for 17 million orbits, only to have that internet asshole who 'liked the price he was getting, and/or knew what your range was' based on your 'nittiness' enough to call your 4-bet all in...holding 4-7d....rivering a gut-shot straight to bust you on the bubble. Living out of a suitcase for 24 weeks out of the year? Being stuck in conversations with other players you can't escape? Where they want to hound you with the story of their untimely demise, while you are trying to forget your own? Why should any 'normal' human being want to make this a normal part of their daily routine?

Oh I know why? Because there is that one day...when everything goes right. When your 10-10 holds up against AJ. When your AK magically hits an ace against the guy who woke up with KK when you shoved. When you are somehow able to get away with bluffing 5 or 6 times in the same tourney. And before you know it, you are running over the final table, and feeling like the greatest player in the world. All those people who watched you struggle for the past weeks and months are gathered around your table, all of them wanting to pat you on the back, to tell you they 'told you so' that things would turn around. And you even start to believe them a little bit...enjoying one shot after another with your 'rooting party' while one player after another leaves the final table and your $$$ keeps going up.

Then you win. You take the photos. You get your ring. You do your exit interview. You shake all the hands. You cash your check at the cage. You select your three closest friends and go to a nice steak dinner. And if you're smart...you take the next day off...maybe even a couple. But you probably aren't smart. Very few of us are. Because you think you are hot. That you are running good. And you don't want to miss out on the chance to 'strike while the iron is hot.' So you go back that next day. You get the occasional 'congrats' from the dealers as they push in...and a few players at your table, and some walking by. The memory of your win is still fresh in your mind.

But then some old guy at your table, oblivious to the fact that he was supposed to fold his pocket 2's after a raise and a re-raise by you with QQ...goes ahead and calls your huge 3-bet with the smallest pair in the deck...so that when the flop comes 10-6-2 rainbow, you somehow think your QQ is good. Old man ends up getting a large percentage of your chips, if not all of them...and guess what? That feeling? That shitty one? It returns. And suddenly, you are looking at your watch, trying to see when the next tourney starts. You have now got the infectious stench of defeat clinging to you...and its as though everyone can see it. The 'attaboys' start to subside...and now attention turns to the suckouts again. The horrible rivers. The close calls. The bubbles. 

This, my friends, is the existence of a tournament poker pro. No one...I mean....NOBODY...just goes and wins over and over and over. If you pay attention even a little bit, you will notice that it is generally the same 15% of us who get deep in almost every tourney. What changes, on a pretty consistent basis, is who happens to 'run good' when it gets down to the top 15% of the field. And sure, there are some guys who get deeper MORE often than others. And I admit, there are some players who I confess are superior players to not just me, but to others like me. It doesn't mean they win more...because they don't. But you will see them stacking a lot bigger piles of chips than a lot of us due to the nature of their style. But they are also the same guys who will drop-kick those massive stacks when a lot of us never would...because they are making a move they think will be successful at crunch time. 

People ask me all the time "What do you think is the best style of play to win poker tourneys?" I don't know that there is a BEST way. I think a lot of a person's chosen style of play depends a lot on their personalities. I think some of these great young players who are fearless, and will play any two cards like they are aces...and manage to accumulate huge chip stacks, would be winning a lot more if they would learn how to completely change gears when they get to a certain point where bluffing and 'making moves' just isn't a part of the tourney anymore. No one (tight players especially) is folding to an aggressive player 'making a move' late in a tourney. The main reason, is they have been paying attention all tourney long, and know that the player is likely just trying to move them off their hand. But when they are raising with top ten hands most of the time...most of them are going to be willing to go to their grave with those hands. 

I would love to see tag-team poker. Let a super aggressive player start us out...get us up to over 100 big blinds by level 15...then tag me to come in and micro-manage that stack to a final table. And then based on the makeup of that table's players, decide which one of us was going to play. I think that my experience in playing 1000's of SNG's over the past 7 years has made me an excellent final table player. It's amazing, but whenever I get to a final table, thats exactly what it feels like. A SNG. Lose a player, gain leg and elbow room. I've never been nervous at a final table. Not once. 

So, I have admittedly sidebar'd the shit out of this blog entry. Haven't really shared my last couple of tourneys with you. Does it matter? I lost. I got deep in the last one...Monday's final ring event. I raised with 10-10...and had David 'Lurky' Nicholson just recklessly raise me all in like he is prone to do with a lot of hands. I didn't fold. And his AJ conveniently connected with a flop delivered by redheaded John...who KNOWS he has been the Monkey Assassin all of 2012 and parts of 2011....with a A-J-8 board...and no help on the turn or river. Another deep run. Another 10 hours of poker all for naught. 

The night before, I played in the 9pm nightly. Got down to 24 players...paying 15. Had been pretty much cruising along the whole night...and had high hopes of a shot at the $4k, and saving my week. But then I ran QQ into KK...which crippled me, followed by 99 against KK again...and just like that, I was gone. Before that kick in the balls, I played the noon tourney on Sunday...which I didn't even know about. I got there in time to register, but they were really lacking tables, so I didn't get in until level 6. Not a problem, I had a good table...and did a little stick and move, stick and moving...to get to around 24k...and 95 out of (I think) 335'ish players remaining. That's when I would raise with AKd under the gun. A guy on the button, who had been very aggressive, and had been re-raising people a lot, did the 'ol 'how much are you playing behind' speech that I fucking hate. I told him. And as soon as he completed his re-raise amount, I just shoved. He had to call.

As soon as the dealer put two hearts on the flop...him holding AQh...I got that feeling, we all get it when we see them flop four to the flush, don't we? I just lowered my head...thinking "fuck, not again...shit." The turn was a spade...and I was just one card away from a huge double up. Forget it. 5 of hearts on the river, and I was gone. That's how my entire week and a half in New Orleans seems to have gone. Just one punch in the face after another. People were telling me, after Carley Grace was born, that she would be my lucky charm...that my 2012 was about to turn around. And I allowed myself to believe them. 

In a last ditch effort to take something positive from this trip, I thought I would take the last $300 in my wallet over to the cash room, the one place where I have had some success on this trip. I found an open seat next to Scott Weinberg, a really nice guy from Gulfport, who I knew I could sit next to and not be annoyed by! We both had shared equal frustrations throughout the week. And we both decided to reward our bad fortune with a punishing trip to the Lucky Dog stand next to the poker room. Me, two sausage dogs, a bag of Maui Sweet Onion Chips and a bottle of Coke. That meal would haunt me all night last night...I won't go into details. It was painful.

I would win a couple of hands out of the gate...get up to about $400. Then the shit hit the fan. The topic of conversation was on baseball. Scott and I were talking about Peter Angelos, owner of the Orioles...and how bad he was. It turned then to Al Davis, how his interference had ruined the Raiders. That's when this scrawny, long-haired freak in the 4-seat, decked out in bedazzled shirt, jacket and hat chimed in. "Al Davis is the man! He did things the right way!" Huh? Scott and I both reminded him that Davis hadn't had a team in the Super Bowl in a decade, and hadn't won in many years. He insisted that Al Davis was 'brave' and was never afraid to 'buck the system, take chances, and tell it like it is.'  That this moron would destroy my stack only minutes later should not have come as a surprise.

With two limpers behind me, I raise to $15 with AhQd. I only get 5 callers. The flop comes J-10-8...with two hearts. Double gutted. With a backdoor flush draw. I decide to play this like I've hit the flop. I check. Super goof makes it $45. He has 9-10 off. Okay. Middle pair, open ended. Not bad. Everyone else folds. I decide to flat...to see if I can either pick up another heart...or hit my straight with one of 8 outs (7 actually since he had a nine). I turn a heart...like a 3 or something. I ask how many chips he has. About $160. So I bet $75. Now, what makes him think his lonely 10 there is good, I have no idea...also, there are now three hearts on board...so he could be chasing a straight futilely. 

"Well...no guts no glory I guess!" And he shoves all in. No way I could fold now...and frankly, I liked my chances. But what comes on the river? A fucking ten. I never showed my hand...and told anyone that asked that I had AJ...winning me a little sympathy at least. Fuckball would donk off 3/4 of those chips on a hand 5 minutes later. I was left with $85...and limped in with AK...hoping someone would raise so I could ship and hope to get lucky. I got my wish. One guy raised to $12. And this old guy shoves all in...not for the 95 that he had in front of him...but I guess he had another $200 in transit...so with, what? About $22 in the pot...he ships it for close to $300. I pretty much put him on 10's, J's or maybe Q's so with two overs...and nothing to lose, I snap called...also figuring we would be heads up. We were. I caught nothing...and a jack even hit the river. He had jacks. Of course he did. I was done. I shook Scott's hand...made the lonely walk to the garage, and drove home...and started reflecting on what lies ahead for me now.

What does lie ahead? I don't even know. Am I going to Vegas this summer? Right now...I would have to say, probably not. I have a baby that is growing every day. I can't see being away from her all summer. I'm only going to get one shot at this fatherhood thing, I think...and I really don't want to fail, like so many men have failed before me. I've had a couple of people express interest in staking me in a full WSOP package this summer...and if that were to develop, I think its the ONE thing that would get me out to Vegas...but I would do it in a way that I could fly home at least twice, and spend 3 or 4 days with my wife and baby. The only other thing I could envision is selling off shares to play in the Main Event...then go out to Vegas the first week of July, maybe play a couple of Venetian events, then play the Main...and stay as long as I survive, then come home.

I think there is a very real possibility that I will be looking for a job in the Biloxi/Gulfport market. What will that be? I really don't know. I really am interested in a position with what will be the Golden Nugget pretty soon. I think it would be fun to develop that poker room into a big tournament presence on the gulf coast. Maybe launch a new career for myself running poker tourneys. And being on that end of the business, I could still play a tourney now and then. Which...truth be told, is probably the only way I am going to enjoy playing poker...where I don't HAVE to win to find joy in it. There is nothing more stressful or emotionally taxing then sitting down at a table with the pressure of having to win to pay your bills. Having a good job...and not having to worry about those bills, and sitting down to play a tourney? That would be a real joy. Where if you lose, you shake it off and go home. But where if you win you are able to really enjoy it? I long for that feeling. 

I'm going to take on this endeavor with Scotty Clark doing this poker radio show...putting a lot of energy into it. Then possibly, that Golden Nugget deal. Yes...Monkey in a suit. Dig it! There are other possibilities I guess. I have a long history of high-level food and beverage industry experience. Maybe I will go manage a local restaurant. There is also a Mercedes-Benz dealership opening here in Biloxi. I've never liked car salesman very much. Or thought I would like doing that job. But I think if you were going to do it, you might as well sell the finest cars on the planet (within reason). And it would certainly be close to home.  My friend Barth is also contemplating opening a bar in Perdido Key...which could lead to a potential management position for me. I was a liquor salesman from 2002-2005 and that was my territory...so I am pretty familiar with that area. It would also afford me the chance to recreationally dabble in some poker there at the dogtrack.

WHO KNOWS? While I'm depressed somewhat about the outcome in New Orleans...and the reality that I am slowly running out of money...I am excited about the future, of being a father...of new opportunities. Of finding myself, and of diving into something that could make for a better future for me and my family. 

A few people to thank. Barth Melius, for letting me stay at his home in New Orleans...and for being such a supportive friend all during this difficult year. To Todd and Sarah Elwood, for letting me join them for dinner at my favorite sushi joint, Rock N Saki...then paying for my dinner, very unexpectedly. I enjoyed getting to know what they are both all about AWAY from the table, and was so impressed with everything they both have going on...and realizing how depressingly one-dimensional my own life is. They are a beautiful couple and have such a great relationship...along with children they are both so proud of. Thanks to all the players who came up to congratulate me on Carley, and all the nice things you had to say about her. Thank you to all the floor people and dealers...who could not have been any kinder to me during the event. I even had a guy get hit with a penalty in the last event for 'talking disparagingly' to me. That was truly a first!!! I felt like Steve Frezer and his crew did another amazing job at one of the WSOP's biggest and most successful circuit stops. Sure there were a few hiccups along the way, and the juice was astronomical...but most of that has/had nothing to do with Steve's crew. They work with what they are handed. Thanks to Allie Prescott for coming to town and entertaining us with his whimsical ways. Having him around is always good for several reasons...he did, as I predicted, end up making an appearance in the Main Event. However, my prediction of him getting deep did not transpire, as he was out in two hands. Oh he did manage to lose with AQ...to...uh huh...AQ...on a four-card flush!

The summer that lies ahead should be interesting. I haven't spent an entire summer in Biloxi or Pensacola since...wow, not sure when. But I will try to make the most of it. Squirrel and I are going to take Carley to North Alabama this weekend for all of those relatives to see and meet her.

Congrats to all of those folks who had a good event in New Orleans. And good luck to all of you venturing out to Vegas for the annual World Poker Convention...which is what I prefer to call it. Sure wish I was joining you...but then again, maybe I don't. 


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Today is the Debut of the Scotty Clark/Poker Monkey Radio Show!!!

At 3:00pm Central time...history will be made! Well, I might be over-dramatizing this a bit. First of all, I thought that today was going to be a clear schedule until 7pm...when I would play the nightly. And since I disappointingly was dumped from the Main Event yesterday in the 5th level of day 2, figured I would sleep in until about 1:30...then do some laps in Barth's pool...to wake up and get refreshed...then do our first show.

Whooops. Had no idea, but there is another $355 today. That started at noon. Which I have got to be playing. Don't think this will stop me from doing the radio show. Because it won't. With my BOSE on, I fully intend to do it right from the table. Because if they ask me if I'm on the phone? No...shit, I'm on the  damn radio, dealer!!! Big difference, right?

I'm not sure if Scott has gotten this link worked out...its working one day...then not working right the next day. I don't want y'all to have to go searching high and low for the thing. I want you to just be able to click on this Monkey picture...and BOOM...you're dialed in. Today...for show guests, he has some very interesting guys lined up. Bill Bruce, of Poker Tournament Consultants. Jeff Griffith, who owns Bustout Poker...a clothing line that I used to represent, until they dropped me last summer after a heated exchange/email battle with a guy who is also on the Bustout team, and whom I loathe more than (I think) any poker player on the planet...Matt Stout. I got the shitty end of the stick on that deal, probably because I had just went out in the Main Event on Day 3...and he was still in and getting deep. Whatever. It's in the past. And the last guest is Tim Vance...who won the EPT event in Copenhagen a few years ago. Tim and I used to get along pretty well...then we had a little issue occur. 

I would tell you to CLICK ON THIS LINK...and hopefully it will take you to the radio show direct link. If not...I apologize, but just tinker around with it and you should be able to find it. If you CAN'T tune in at 3:00...you can go there later and listen to the archived show. Which is probably what I will do, to see how much of a spaz I sounded like!!!!

 See, Tim and I made a side bet on who would have the most POY points at the end of the year. I had been having a good year up til that point (May) and had about 800 points if I recall. Unbeknownst to me, he had won EPT Copenhagen for about 1200 points. So I had some catching up to do. But I wasn't deterred. Well...then I got the kibosh from Harrah's for 'THE BS' of the past...which is now, indeed..in the past. But what it did was cut me off from being able to earn any real POY points. So...accordingly, I cancelled our side bet with him...which I thought was pretty justifiable. Well, he felt otherwise. And proceeded to hound me about it. Even got a phone call, or text actually, from a buddy of mine up in Atlantic City...telling me he was spouting off about me at the table...telling anyone who would listen that I was a few choice names, and that I had welched out on a bet. One thing I never do is welch out on bets. Some of you may see my side of it...and maybe even a few of you think I should have paid him the money. But he has told Scotty he isn't planning on bringing it up...that he has agreed to 'bury the hatchet' so I guess we will assume he keeps his word. If not? It could be an 'interesting' radio show today!!!!

If we have time, I have a few mystery guests lined up in our cue that I might have call in to pick their brains on a few subjects. We will see how the time looks while we are progressing. I'm excited for the show but have NO IDEA what to expect. We didn't rehearse or go over a format or anything, so its pretty much coming from the hip! 

Okay...I have to get the hell out of this bed, get showered and get down to Harrah's...which yesterday was my tomb of doom. No details right now...not enough time. But nightly...flopped straight. Announced check raise. 'Man Boobs' bet anyway...I shoved, he'd flopped a set. Rivered a boat. Ball game. Played 3 SNG's....make that 4. Got 8th...and then 3rd or 4th in ALL the others...losing them in agonizing fashion. I did manage to buy in for $300 in the 1/2 game and cashed out +$350 after a few hours. So absolute disaster was averted.

Okay....lets get this day going...maybe pull a win (finally) or hell, just a nice cash would suffice...out of this horrendous circuit event. It's been nice playing with all of you, and I have to admit its been a really pleasant week, I've had some great conversations with a lot of you, both about poker and about my new addition to the family, Carley Grace. She really does make the bad beats a lot easier to take. And I've appreciated all the kind words about her. 


Friday, May 18, 2012

Main Event Time in the Crescent City

Last night, I was hanging out with a couple buddies, and the conversation turned to the standard topic the night before the Main Event.

"How many entries do you think it'll get?" I quite confidently blurted out that I think it will get close to 600. That was met with surprise and shared disagreement. Then it dawned on me that the $1k drew 232. But then I also realized that they didn't have a 2nd entry time on that one. Nor had a lot of the 'big boys' who only show up for Main Events gotten into town yet.

So, as I sit here banging out this entry, I've looked at the live updates and they are nearing 400 entries. In the 12pm start. Coming up at 7pm...you will have all of those (like me) who have opted for a later start...coupled with those who lost at noon and want to fire a second bullet. So my prediction of 600 looks pretty safe. It might even go over that. I think we are looking at the largest WSOP-C Main Event field ever in New Orleans. If ever there was a time for me to make a Final Table...this would be the event.

I've had a pretty rough event. There is no denying it. I've won 5 out of 16 SNG's...which sounds pretty good, except that I started out 3 for 4. I had another one of those runs where I was getting rivered with 3 or 4 players left..and 2 winners. I could easily have won 8 or 9 out of 16...which would be pretty solid. I did play one cash session, where I was in for $300 and out with $1250 in only two hours.

But if we talk about tourneys? Oh my gosh. I have literally NOT CASHED a single event all week. No noon tourneys. No nightly's. No Megas. Nothing. In the 1k...I started good...and then doubled up fully with 77 when I flopped a set against a guy with KK. I was at about 34k when I made a critical play that would turn the tide for me. At 75/150...a guy raised to 300...got 4 callers, and I flatted with KQ in the big blind. I held the K of spades. The flop came A-4-2....all spades. Wow. Nut flush draw. I checked to the min raisers...who bet 2500. Whoa! The guy in the SB...who was an OMRG...and pretty loose...calls the 2500. 

I now had a major decision to make. Fold and just preserve my top stack at the table and turn my back on a chance to win a HUGE pot...and cruise to the dinner break? Or get involved and take a shot to win that massive pot? One thing that came into play: the dealer was Vicky. She doesn't do much right for me. And in SNG's the past couple nights she had been torturing me...and then fumbling the action after the hand was decided...botching pots...it was really irritating. I tried to put that out of my mind. 

I wasn't just going to flat for 2500. Although maybe I should have. The first guy...I figured he just had like AJ with no spade...and decided to overbet the shit out of it to take it down...not expecting the OMRG in the BB to be sitting there with a made flush (3-6). So I knew I could raise him off the hand. And raising to something like 6k...with OMRG holding 22k...was just going to give him enough leverage to shove all in against me, forcing me to have to call and pray. So I figured, if I was going to play this hand at all...the right thing to do, since I had all of them covered, was to move in. So I moved in.

Initial raiser folds, like I thought he would. But the second guy...after realizing that my raise had him covered...started finally showing some hesitation. And I was pretty sure he was about to fold...and I was about to go to over 40k. But then he calls. Vicky failed to provide another spade. Then after the hand was over she tried to ship the guy my WHOLE STACK! And this happened while I was off doing a lap to calm myself down. Fortunately Shawn the floor guy moved in when he saw what she was doing and corrected the issue. It left me with about 11k. 

I never really recovered. We would come back from break and I would get 10-10 twice, losing both times. I would get KK, limp...get a raiser, re-raise...and end up winning a decent pot. I would enter a 5-way raised pot with 33...get a free turn, which brought me a 3...and won another nice pot. I was up and down between 5500 and 15,000 for about 4 hours. I got put into spots that were brutal, having to fold trip tens on a hand where I was 97% positive that the other guy either had a better ten...or a small set that turned into a boat. He assured me I made a great fold, and I guess I believe him. It was just a very frustrating day. The last big blow was when this dork raised in early position with A10...and I should have re-popped him with AQ at cutoff...but I think we all feel the same about AQ. Most of us anyway.

I flatted. The flop came A-10-Q. He checked. I bet. He called. The turn was a 7. He bets now. Unbeknownst to me...this pickle head was hiding a gray ($5k) chip behind his stack. My plan had been to coerce him into stacking off with a min raise if he fired out on the turn, thinking he only had 4500 remaining. So when he led for 2250, I raised him to 5800. He says "All in" and out comes this gray chip from hiding. WTF!??? Whatever, I wasn't folding anyway...just thought I was, well...you get the picture. It suddenly became around 9500 instead. So when he cockily turned over his two pair...that were no good, I was happy to show him my two better pair...until the dealer gave him a fucking 10 on the river. 

Then that all-too-familiar feeling of being kicked in the gut showed up. Holy shit. Why? I was supposed to come over here, after the birth of Carley...and run like the wind, wasn't I? It's just been one humbling beat after another, all week. I was left with very few chips...which I got in a couple hands later with Q10d. I ran smack into 10-10. However, I flopped a flush! Still had a prayer. Cancel the prayer. I would get JJ in the small blind...and with action folded around to us...raised the big blind, who put me all in with AJ. He hit the ace...right on the flop. And I was out. I think that event was eventually won by Jacob 'Nocko' Naquin....a really good guy and a New Orleans local. I'm glad that someone cool won, at least.

I really have no desire to share all the other humbling and deflating beats this week. It really doesn't matter that much. It's just been a really brutal week of poker at a time in my life when I really need to be running good. I guess the one good thing that has been going on this week is that three of the nights, I've been able to get in my car...drive home and see my baby Carley. She is really incredible. And everyone was right when they told me I would discover a new kind of love. Also, my mother is here visiting from Seattle, so I really wanted to be able to spend a little time with her and not just be in New Orleans the whole time. She has a great relationship with Squirrel though...so she has been in great hands.

I managed to play almost all the events. Much to my (and my backer's) chagrin. I think the only one running as poorly as me all week, has been my backer! Well, yesterday I decided to spend the afternoon with my family, and just come over at 5pm and take one shot in the mega. So I played the $355 at 5pm. I started out great. Got my 6k up to 14k and was cruising along pretty well. Then I made a read against this guy who was not a good player, and who was extremely erratic. I won't go too much into detail. Other than to say I raised with AK....had him re-raise me...which I called...then watched him check a flop of 2-3-5. The turn was a 6...and now he bets. But his bet left enough to cause him to fold if he had just fired with air. So it got me to thinking he was the kind of player who could easily have been re-raising me with AQ. Or, it was possible we had the same hand...AK. There was so much in the pot now, that I didn't want to surrender it to him. But I also didn't want to flat his bet. I thought there was a chance I could make him fold.

So I gunned it, moving all in on the guy. He tanks...ah ha! I got him! Caught him bluffing, right!?? "I guess I'm out...I call." Huh? And he turns over KK!!!! What the fuck!???  Yeah...your out buddy. Weird. And no ace or 4 would hit the river, and  now I had managed to fall to 2200. I would work my way back up to 9200...and were now 10 away from a seat. I might just pull this off after all. Nope. Forget it. Raised with JJ. Called by 8's. Flop comes 9-8-2. You know the rest of that story. Shit. And was too late to get into the 8pm. So I played the 9pm nightly. Joke. Lasted a while...but not long enough. Lost...got in my car and drove home to Biloxi.

Before I did that though, I presented my backer with a listing of all that I had played, and where our balance was. Told him if he wanted to bail on me for the Main Event I TOTALLY would understand. What he did instead kind of shocked me. I had already contacted my buddy and asked if he had any interest in putting me in the Main, and he said sure. So at least I knew I would be playing for SOMEone. But when I showed this to my guy...he just flat out told me I was playing for him! And handed me buy in chips! Told me I could play at either 12pm or 7pm. 

That put me in a great mood. I mean...backing is a tough gig. I've done some of it myself, and its hard to keep giving money to someone who is running bad. So when someone believes in your ability enough to keep trying, it really really makes you (or me at least) want to give 100% effort to bring about a promising outcome. So when I lose, it really hurts. More so than if I was playing on my own nickel. I just hate to disappoint people. I have a odd feeling that this may have come from playing sports as a kid. When my parents or even friends were in the stands, I always felt pressure to succeed, and when I didn't, was pissed with myself. If we had a game, and there was no one there...and I sucked it up, I was never as upset. Is that normal? 

So I let my buddy know that I was in. He even proposed that I play at noon...and if things ended badly, he would be willing to pay my second bullet at 7pm if my other guy wasn't. With already 420 entered (as I just looked) and 600-700 now a real possibility...it would NOT have been a bad idea to go with that strategy. But sometimes in life you have to look at what is most important. My Mom took a week off of work to come down and be with us...and I've been over there almost all week. She has to leave Saturday morning. So I thought it was more important to (a) get a good night sleep so I would be fresh and be as sharp as possible (b) go home and see my baby, my wife and my mom. 

The other thing...I really like playing the late session a lot better. For a variety of reasons. For one, I always feel like I play better later in the day. I am just kind of a night person. From noon til 4pm I'm always still kind of clearing the fog from my brain. In these Main Events with two starting times...you get a lot of the big pros and guys with deep pockets who will play that first session very wide open and aggressive...knowing that if they lose, they can re-load and fire again at 7pm. And typically, when they come back at 7pm...they play a lot tighter and less aggressive. For a lot of reasons. One being that they are now in for $3200. Another being that now they can see just how much they are playing for..and on this occasion its going to be around $300k probably. Enough of an incentive to NOT play like a stupid asshole. And they no longer have the 'mulligan option.'

So, as I was discussing with some people this morning...yes, you can find yourself in one of those situations with one of those players who are willing to go broke, and maybe get lucky and scoop up some copious amounts of chips on the way to bagging up a hefty sum heading into Day 2. But on the flip side of that...you can also get caught in the crossfire of one of those 'chip wars' and end up taking a horrendous beats and being left broke and trying to get back in for a 2nd shot at 7pm. I guess the RIGHT PLAY would be to always play at noon...and try to chip up...and be willing to play again at 7pm. But with my circumstances being what they are...I have no problem doing it this way. 

I'm going to do another blog right after THIS one...sort of a 'sights and sounds' from New Orleans...as well as some fun/exciting news to share. So...I think I will post this one second so it comes out on the top of the page!


Sights and Sounds from Big Easy

So a couple nights a go, a friend shocks me with a phone call. Another friend is sitting with me while I'm playing a SNG...and sees the caller ID on my cell phone when I answered it.

"Was that seriously Allie Prescott? How do YOU get Allie to call you? I call that asshole all the time and not only does he not answer, but he never calls me back. I heard he was holed up in a cabin somewhere in the woods in Arkansas!"

Yes, Maurice (Hawkins) that is correct. That WAS in fact, Allie Prescott, he DID in fact call me...and he HAS been isolated, alone, in a cabin in Arkansas, where he is (allegedly) writing a book. I have no verification of this. 

I simply texted Allie last week...as I do about once every two months to make sure he is still alive. Asked him...since he went to school (Tulane) in New Orleans, and it is one of his favorite cities, if he might...MIGHT...be making an appearance there this week. Well, he did respond, and was looking for a place to stay. Well, since him and Barth both know each other, and both played baseball at Tulane, it seemed like a natural scenario to invite him to come down and stay there. Barth was only too enthused to confirm the invitation.

So here comes Mr. Prescott waltzing into Harrah's the other night...while I was in the midst of another agonizing 3rd place finish in a SNG. He looked healthy, and groomed, which is way better than the last time I saw him. We made sure to alert a cocktail waitress to his arrival...and found him his favorite beverage!

The night would turn very bizarre. We ended up at Ernst Cafe...with a bunch of dealers. This was after I almost put a kids face through the wall at Harrah's. I won't go too into detail on that one...other than to say he was about half a foot shorter than me, 100 lbs lighter, and thought because he had two girls who he would NEVER in a million years get to sleep with...that he had the right to say whatever he wanted to me. I was wearing a 'Bama shirt..and if I recall right, he started by saying shit about Alabama...which I could live with. Just another annoying LSU clown. So when I go over to the bar to talk to my other friends who were there...about 8 of them...he makes some quip about something. I look at both girls and tell them they can do a lot better. They laugh. He says something about them being hotter than anything I could get. Blah blah blah...something something something...and he decides to say I'm probably married to a 'fucking elephant' since I like Bama. Okay punk. I grab him by the throat and throw him against the wall.

Luckily all my friends were there to keep it from going any further...granted, I was done with him. I wasn't going to punch him. Was really just trying to scare the shit out of him. But when security showed up, my friends painted a perfect picture. Everything was cool. But we were ready to leave anyway...so we left shortly after that to go to eat.

We go to Ernst. There are about 10 dealers and 4 other players. A handful of them leave. We ask for food. The creepy looking guy tells me the kitchen is closed. That it had just closed. Damn. I ask him if there is ANYTHING at all still left in the kitchen? If he can find ANYTHING at all? So what does this idiot do?

First...I wish I had taken his picture. It's hard to explain how he looked, and I've searched images all over Google trying to find something...and there just isn't anything. He had one of those ugly red chin beards...that hang way too low. Beady little eyes. Tattoos all over him. Very real possibility that he might have been out on work-release. So...with females at our table, he announces:

"Let me dig in here and see what I can find you to eat...." and proceeds to dig into his shorts and pull his cock out and act like he is about to plop it down on the table. Gasps ensue. He packs it away...and giggling, leaves our table. The four of us who saw it sat there with our jaws open. Did we really just witness that? Yes. We did. I went inside to ask the guy what the hell he was thinking? Instead he got in my face, tried to grab me, and was intercepted by a co-worker. When I told the guy what had occurred, he asked the maniac if he had done that. He admitted it. Now, on a normal planet, in a normal city...this is typically where the employee would be fired, right? Sent packing? Asked to leave ASAP? Well...kids...this IS New Orleans. The guy told him to just go finish whatever he was doing and stay away from us.

I'm not sure what happened after that, but somehow, we got invited to the bar...6 of us, for free shots with the bartender. One of the dealers got into a weird conversation with the bartender...and before I knew what had happened, they were challenging each other to a 'Fight Club'-like battle. Huh? About this time...Allie whispers in my ear that he is almost positive he saw the bartender give a sign to the two guys by the doors to close and lock the doors. This was starting to look like one of those things you hear about on the 11 o'clock news. 

"Gang breaks into Ernst Cafe...threatens staff...staff shoots gang members in self defense, called 'heroes' by local authorities." 

Yeah...I have been around this effed up planet long enough to know how these situations can get out of control. I whispered this same thing to the dealer who was engaging in the 'conversation' with the equally maniacal bartender...and hinted to him that, though I enjoy a fun little fist fight once in awhile with assholes who deserve a solid beat down...I am not very fast, certainly not fast enough to outrun a bullet...and that taking the high road, and getting the fuck out of there, might be the best decision on this occasion.  After all...I had only come to this place looking for food. I finally got him to put his fur down...and we all left that place. 

Next stop: Barth's house. We walk in...and there are naked people running around. Huh? Oh! It was one of the bartender's birthday, from Barth's place, Out of Bounds. I guess he was having a good party. Along with his naked butt running around was a hefty girl and her almost equally hefty friend, who he was about to be engaging in a threesome with that would make most of us want to kill ourselves the next day. Or at the very least, track down Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones and have them zap me with that memory thing they carried around in 'Men In Black.' 

While they got into the booze....I found some leftover sushi...and made that my bitch. Allie would end up drinking himself dead. Now for those of you who know Allie...you know that this is nothing to worry about.

Mr Prescott...and his new friend. This picture really should be used for a 'Caption Contest' I think!

I woke up the next morning, well..afternoon, to one of the dealers needing my keys, telling me he'd been fired for not showing up for work. Whoops. Walked out to the pool...and found a couple guys, one passed out on an air mattress IN the pool, another on a lounge chair. Found another guy on the couch, one on the floor, and one in a recliner in Barth's theater. It was 2pm. I hooked up Barth's router and got it working...did some shit online...then him, me and Allie took off for the city...and their favorite place, Port of Call. They have famous hamburgers and big huge drinks that Allie couldn't wait to get coursing through his veins. We were about to be playing the $1k tourney at 5pm. So I stuck with soda. 

Went and played the 1k after that. Details of that lurid affair appear either on the blog post AFTER this one...or before...not sure which order I posted. Allie chose not to play, but instead to enjoy some more of the New Orleans 'flavor.' Upon losing the 1k event, I made the decision to drive home and be with my family, resisting the temptation to hang out with my old buddy on Bourbon Street and do unspeakable things to my mind and body. I was texted this photo of Allie later from Barth...I guess the night before he did the backyard...so he decided to mix it up and go with the front yard the following night.

In his defense, I have laid down on that front yard...and it IS very plush and soft, and were it not for what I'm sure were conditions of 85-90 degrees and humid the next morning, would not be such a terrible place to sleep.

Allie is a piece of work. One of (without a doubt) the most entertaining people I know. Intelligent, articulate, funny...and just really a good guy. I have had issues with him in the past...not 'issues' that you have with most people, but issues where I am just flummoxed by the mysteriousness of what the hell he is all about. I will have people ask me questions about him...and I just simply never know how to answer them. It's awkward being good friends with someone you seemingly know so little about. And I think he likes it that way. I don't think it's not intentional by any stretch that he keeps a certain amount of distance between himself and others. Why is he down here? I have no idea. Thought maybe he was coming to play some poker. But he hasn't played a hand...and doesn't seem interested in doing so. But for some reason...I just have a feeling that he  will end up playing the Main Event...and probably get deep like he always does. 

Has anyone heard of a guy called 'Wizard?' Well, if you are from Houston...you might have. He is about as eccentric a guy you will ever see at the poker table. I had him on my right for an event this week. Then Barth did...losing to the guy with a set of aces against some goofy hand like 47 that became a straight on the river. He makes plays like raising 2300 (first raiser) at 50/75...only to fold to a guy shoving all in for 9200. He has zero fear. None. Doesn't care. He is, I'm told, worth...uh...millions. He dresses like...well...I can't even describe it. It is 100% its own style. He has driven serious poker players crazy ALL week. But is secretly living out my dream...if these jerkoffs from Hess ever get a damn drill in the ground on our property in North Dakota and start pulling oil out of the ground. Get so much money that I can't spend it all...and just go play events like a complete idiot, just for shits and giggles. 

This is 'The Wizard' and I know...it's a bad picture. Kind of grainy, like those ones shot of Bigfoot walking through the woods. And yes...those shoes are purple! Every day he has a different 'look.' In the day I sat next to him...he was very nice to me. Granted I couldn't understand him a lot of the time. And he takes forever to act on his hand...but hey, whatever.

The thought that keeps creeping into my mind is how I would approach the guy and sell him on my 'Package for Summer 2012' that would see me play a complete schedule of about 20 events in WSOP and maybe another 10-15 events at Venetian...with $5k for travel and hotels....for a 70/30 split...total cost, about $55k. I'm guessing, were I to present the proper way, he might just say "How much? That's all? Sure...here ya go!" And bang...I'm off to fire away at millions all summer. I'm just not real good about those kind of 'conversations.' But if everything I have heard about this guy are true...he is certainly a good option if I were to go out knocking on doors.

But then...if you have a shred of common sense...you find yourself asking the question (of yourself) "if this person has millions of dollars of disposable income...why in the hell would they ever want or need to back a poker player who MIGHT win a million or two? What would winning that money mean to them?" The obvious answer is 'nothing.' And when you have a better chance of just losing whatever you invest in that person, then why bother? Backing poker players is a rough, unforgiving venture. If anyone decides to back a poker player...a certain amount of their decision to do it for that player, is because they have a special place for them in their heart. They WANT to help them, WANT to see them succeed. I mean, if I fall into millions someday, I can't say that I would be going around giving money to everyone who asked. But if I saw a couple guys that I KNEW had the ability, who I liked...but just didn't have access to the funds necessary to take shots at the huge prize pools, I would probably take a flyer on them. Without a doubt. 

Lets change topics.

The other day, I was standing in the theater around the place where the supervisors keep all the chips...and this overweight guy walked by me. I was immediately assaulted by a smell that almost knocked me over. Holy shit. "What the....." and as I turned to my right there was a man and a wife who both looked at me and claimed they were both equally floored by the smell. This was about my fourth experience with a smelly beast that day. One of them was with a dealer, who many players in the past have told me smelled horrendous. Well, that day I had the pleasure of being in the 1-seat and got to witness the nightmare for myself. I'd be lying if I told you that his breath and body odor didn't put me on temporary life tilt.

So yesterday....while playing in the Mega satellite, I look over to the table next to me...and OH MY GOD....this is what I see!

As I saw it...I turned to my right and saw the cocktail waitress, Shannon approaching...and saw her face as she saw it...and from the looks of it, she threw up in her mouth. I was just like..."Whoa...how is that massage girl dealing with that?" Then...I realized that it was stinky from the day before. And started wondering if he smelled today like he did yesterday. That massage girl should have been getting hazard pay.

And here is a question. Since they are SO damn fanatical about the 'exposed card' rule in New Orleans...and other venues actually, should it be some kind of penalty for 'exposing your ass' at the table? Maybe a full orbit? Which would allow him time to go put on some fucking underwear? And who the hell made that belt? And is that dealer picking his nose? Or pushing up his glasses? I prefer to think the latter. No massage girl should have to deal with this. Ever.

Any idea what a typical pipe fitting for this thing costs? Can't be much.

Translation: We don't like spending money on hand towels...so you can spend half an hour trying to dry your hands with our shitty hand dryers. Enjoy!
I've had a lot of bad bathroom experiences on this current trip/event. Toilet liners are always out. Hand towels are either out...or they have replaced them with hand dryers that take forever to dry your hands. The pipe fittings on all the urinals are rusty and gross looking. I mean, how much could it possibly cost to replace those? I'm sorry, but I'm big on keeping things sanitary. The hand soap is constantly empty...or barely comes out. Cold water seems to be the preference or warm or hot water. Often times, despite doing contortionist exercises to get the water to come out...it just wont. Remember the days when we just had good old fashioned water faucet handles where we could turn the water off and on? I miss those. And I can't tell you how many times I am standing there waiting to use a stall, with urinals available...and there is some idiot standing there pissing ON THE SEAT...of a stall toilet...then walks out, doesn't wash his hands...and just leaves the bathroom.

These guys, I really, honestly think...deserve to spend a day or two in jail. You're rude. You're inconsiderate. You're dirty. You're just a pig. It disgusts me. But by all means, let me play Mommy and clean up after you, dickface!

I have absolutely NOTHING mean to say about this guy. Surprised? No, actually, he was a very pleasant guy. But I just thought he looked so hilarious with that big, fat cigar hanging out of his mouth...that I had to post his picture. I even told him I took his picture and would probably use it. "No problem!" I like it!

No...I did not get this lady's permission...but she is a blackjack player...doesn't enter our world, and should be safe in her anonymity. I think if you saw this outfit in person...it would be funnier. In fact, I know it would. And she was even funnier from the front. But that is a filthy dirty pink skirt. Worn with pink and white, beat-to-shit boots...and she has a funky tattoo going up the side of her leg. She is in her late 50's from what I could tell. And had a drink in one hand and smoke in another. If I'm a Hollywood director here in town scouting locations, I grab her and make her an extra on the spot!

This lady is hilarious. I was calling her Mrs. Costanza. Kept asking her how George and Frank were doing. Asked if she was still living in Queens. In fact, she USED to live in the Bronx...when she came to our country from...not sure, I would guess Hungary maybe. And she just was oblivious to what I was referring to (Seinfeld, obviously). The rest of the players were howling. And to her credit...she isn't a bad player, at all. She made a play with AA against a guy that was very crafty. So she knows her way around the poker table. But she alternates between glasses on and glasses off...and its comical. She was definitely one of my favorite 'characters' this week!

Moving on to other topics:

I have been officially named the Co-Host of a Poker Radio Show with Scotty Clark. It kicks off this Sunday...and I will be there, from 3pm to 4:30pm Central Time...unless I am at the Final Table of the Main Event. I am already lining up guests, and am pretty sure it's going to be a LOT of fun! I've been unable to figure out how to post this logo for the show...but I will when I figure it out.

I've also signed on with VERVE!  (click the link to go to my VERVE website!) energy products to endorse and market/sell their exciting energy drinks and energy 5oz. shots. The guy, Kevin Cooper...literally approached me about it during a tourney, gave me the whole pitch...and let me sample the product. I was really impressed! And here were a couple of other players who had tried it and were ALL singing it's praises. He send me a couple cases to my house and has signed me on. Now I just need to do the follow up work on my end, which I will do when this event is over and I have a few hours to get all my ducks in a row. VERVE! is a great alternative to Red Bull. I've tried a lot of the others...and HATED them. This one actually tastes great...and (unlike Red Bull, which I just drink for the flavor) GAVE ME a boost...and also doesn't contain all the horrendous ingredients that are slowly killing your insides like Red Bull. But the only way to get it...is on a private purchase. Consider me YOUR GUY! And yeah...of course, I get a little something when you order a product through my site. Not anything major...but with a new baby on board, I will take whatever I can get!

Okay...I have to get ready to go play this Main Event....please please please Poker Gods....let me enjoy one tourney of unprecedented 'run good!'