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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My Upcoming WSOP Experience...and My Inspiration.

Ready for a new blog? Good. I'm ready to write one! Got a lot on my mind!

There are a lot of problems with writing about and just, generally...airing your thoughts and views about politics and politicians. Mainly...you are up against two sides that are very galvanized in their way of thinking, politically anyway.

Before we get into that...I will talk a little bit about poker, I guess. I was on LOCK Sunday night...in a goofy $5 tourney...and with 18 players left, caught fire. Went to the final table with 35% of the chips. With 6 left I had half. It was one of the fastest final tables ever. (online anyway) I won. Yeah...chalk up another whopper of an online victory. (for you morons, that's me joking about the relative unimportance or significance of this win)

So...I decide to get on there last night. It was a display of the worst poker I've ever seen, combined with some of the nastiest, and most unrealistic suckouts I've witnessed in quite some time...since perhaps those Saturday afternoon bloodbaths on Poker Stars. I don't care what anyone says...the kind of beats you sit and watch online, and the frequency of them...just is NOT normal. But what is equally stunning is the horrendous plays you will see that will put people (aka idiots) in the position to even allow those suckouts to occur. And I really want to clarify something here...these were not just beats that were happening to ME...oh no...they were all over the table...in every tourney. It was like, all of a sudden, pigs and cows could fly...and that you could be sure their were those people sitting there (like those online poker pundits suggesting its all completely normal, the shit that happens there) enthusiastically explaining how it was completely within reason to see pigs and cows flying all over the place!

Then...in my last three tourneys...something very bizarre happened. I'm pretty sure it cost me at least two cashes. The software just quit working. Or something. One of them had 126 players ($10 MTT) and the other had 97 players ($20 MTT) and when you clicked on the tourney lobby it said there were 6 players remaining...and that it paid only 3 spots. Well...there were 7 players at MY TABLE. And when you looked on remaining players...the cutoff line was at 14 players remaining...then there were like 7 players listed...the other 7, including myself...nowhere to be found. Huh? So as I started blinding down...first to 20BB's...then to 15BB's...I was utterly confused, not knowing how many actually cashed. Or how many were really left. 

I am trying to get behind Lock Poker...I really am. And the numbers of players logged on is definitely increasing on a daily basis. And I have heard they are doing a good (or at least better) job of paying people out who are fortunate enough to run good and 'require' a cash out. But when goofy software things like this happen...its discouraging. And I STILL haven't heard back from their guy in the Affiliate department, telling me exactly what it is I am privy to with my 'deal.' Not sure what would be taking three weeks to respond to my two different emails. Whatever.

One thing that has me really excited about being gone from Biloxi for 12 days? I won't have to sit here and listen to this annoying damn Magnolia Federal commercial that seems to play 227 times a day.

My most recent post garnered quite a few comments. Thanks. I like comments. To the guy who called me a 'dolt' (pretty funny word when used in the proper place!) because I referred to 'raising light' as not over-betting on my raises, to encourage calls, building pots, and playing after the flop. He was quick to point out to me that 'raising light' means raising with a semi-weak starting hand. Okay...yeah, actually I know that the 'poker posse' has their dictionary...and the definitions contained within their manual clearly state that THEIR meaning IS the true meaning of certain expressions. Now some...like 'pot odds', or 'implied odds' or 'smooth calling' are pretty self-explanatory. Not many will argue the merits of there being one meaning. However...I prefer to call raising with a shitty hand...just that...raising with a shitty hand. And if it turns to a beautiful pile of deliciousness after the flop, so be it. And I prefer to call raising 2.25/2.50/2.75x 'raising light.' This is my prerogative...and I shall not be 'dolted' into changing my ways. So...there ya go.

Carley turned 2 months yesterday. I swear she just keeps getting cuter every damn day. And her personality is starting to develop. We've also discovered she loves taking baths...maybe as much as her mom and dad. I've had her in the bath with me twice...Cheryl once. She gets in there and just wants to swim. It's so cute. 


Regarding Vegas...all my shares are sold, and nearly all the money has been collected. I'm down to just a few people who owe...not including those I'm collecting from in Vegas. I'm starting to get that nervous excitement that comes before I go to play with other people's money. I think all the people who are on my bandwagon all realize just how MUCH I need to go out there and have a good two weeks. I've had the conversation with people in the past who want to debate whether they play better or worse when they are staked. It's an interesting question...and I think all players are different. After all, they are human, right? Some people pay their bills on time. Some pay them late. Some people are alcoholics. Some are non-drinkers. I mean...I don't think you can say it works one way or the other.

I do know that when I am staked, especially fully...and I'm playing for people I know I will continue to have a relationship with (one form or another) after the events are over I really try to get dialed in...and focused, and minimize my mistakes. I tend to not 'gamble' on draws as much...unless I am getting the right price, or its against a short stack when I'm sitting in healthy shape. I remember the first time I did this 'selling shares' thing back in 2007...and it was for the Caesar's Classic in Vegas. I had about 8 investors...and I wound up getting 5th I think in the $550 for about $15,000...so all my people got paid...and they were pretty excited about it. It set me up great for doing future events too.

I'm not going to lie...I've sat around the house fantasizing about what happens if I make the Final Table of the last $1k or even the Main Event. The paperwork involved with chopping up that prize money and doing tax forms for 30 different people. Honestly...I think it would be GREAT! The thought of flying each and every one of my investors out to Vegas for the Main Event final table in October? How great would that be? To be able to force all those 'poker experts' to eat crow who ran all over Vegas the last month mealy-mouthing me over the 'outrageous-ness' of my WSOP shares package. Oh, don't think I don't know about that...you back-stabbing a-holes that would never say to my face what you are saying behind me. Those 'friends' you are shooting your mouth off to? The ones you think would NEVER tell me what you said? Well...you should know better! But it's all good...I really don't care. Just do me a favor and do approach me while I'm in Vegas trying to be all buddy-buddy with me. I know who you are...and YOU know who you are. So just keep your distance.

I just can't imagine a better time...than to have those 30 people, as well as my wife and daughter and probably lots of friends and family...and having a couple of huge dinner parties leading up to the final table...and maybe even after. As much pain and suffering that I've suffered in this game...one thing I can promise, if/when my 'day' comes in poker, I am going to enjoy it. And do it the right way. And make sure those around me, who believed in me...get to come along for the ride with me. 

One guy I feel especially motivated to do well for is a guy named Graham Pugh. He isn't anyone any of you have ever heard of. Back when I was in junior high school, and living in Redmond, Washington...my best friend was a guy named Brandy Pugh. Short for Brandon. He was great in sports, and we played on a few teams together. His parents were the greatest. I spent most of my time at his house. His family were huge Washington Husky fans and supporters...and really turned me into a bigger fan than I already was. Brandy's Dad used to get us game tickets all the time. Graham was Brandy's little brother, and went to school with my brother Troy. I always liked him...he was a good kid. At one point in my life...I think it was 8th grade...my abusive step-father finally went too far...and Brandy's parents demanded that I come stay with them. They hated my step dad...and what he subjected me to. 

Apparently, protecting the children from abuse wasn't a system that was set up quite as well as it is these days. If it were, I might not have ended up so screwed up. I mean, I know it affects me, and always has...but I think I've done a good job of working through those painful experiences. And I have a wife who is as loving and nurturing as they come so at least I know my child will never have to experience that kind of BS as she grows up. I know that I will never lay a hostile hand on her. No matter what.

So anyway...I was living with the Pugh's for awhile...and they treated me just like one of their boys. I loved them. Sally and Pat...my unofficial adopted parents. 

Well...the years would pass...I went to Redmond High School...Brandy went to Lake Washington...had to do with where we lived. He played for the LW Kangaroos (yeah...that was really their nickname) and I played for the Mustangs. We rarely saw each other as much. College made the gap even wider. It's sad how you can just sometimes get pulled away like that from your friends. I started my life after school, and it ended up with me living in New York City and being mostly out of touch with all of my friends from high school and college.

In 1995...the UW Huskies traveled to Miami to take on the Hurricanes, who we had shared the 1990 National Title with. We hated them. They had a 58-game winning streak at home. I had moved to Atlanta a couple years before that. My roommate and I drove the 12 hours to Miami to meet Brandy and his family, and go to the game. It was a great memory. We beat Miami in their stadium...and beat them convincingly (38-20). That night we had steak and lobster on South Beach at the Clevelander...then hung out. Brandy never was a drinker...so there was no hardcore partying.

That was when the rift occurred between Brandy and I. And it was so weird. I was a supervisor for a landscape design company in Atlanta...and had to be at work Monday at 5am...like every day. So I had a choice to make; leave first thing in the morning...and get home with time to sleep a few hours before work...or stay all Sunday...drive all night...and go straight to work. My roommate from Atlanta worked for the Atlanta Falcons at the time...and also had to work Monday morning, so he was voting for leaving Sunday about 10am. So that was what we decided to do.

Well, Brandy had his flight back to Seattle at around 5pm. His parents were leaving first thing in the morning. So he would have no one to really hang out with that afternoon. And more importantly (to him) was that he was wanting a ride to the airport. So when I told him we were going to leave in the morning, he went mental on me. It was very strange...and was not like him at all. I felt really terrible. But at the same time...I didn't want to be responsible for a crew of 6 workers and operating dangerous machinery after driving all night and not sleeping a wink. So, reluctantly, we left. I even offered him cab fare...he scoffed at this. From that time on...he wouldn't talk to me. Wouldn't have anything to do with me. I kept sending Christmas cards...to him and his parents...but never got a response from him. It really, really hurt my feelings. I didn't know what to do to make things right between us.

In March of 1999...Brandy died. From leukemia. I never had a clue. I found out through a network of friends. I was devastated. I looked on the internet at all the forums and message boards and memorials that were set up for him. They were everywhere.  HERE is his obituary. They now have a baseball tournament every year named in his honor. Shortly after Brandy died...both of his parents passed away. Leaving just Graham. I couldn't even imagine what that must have been like for him. Graham was always 'Brandy's little brother' to me...just a kid that I would say 'hi' to or maybe let play with us sometimes. I had no idea what to say to him if I ever saw him. I think the way it happened was he saw one of the comments I left on one of the comment boards...and he reached out to me. 

Later on, he would visit Las Vegas...while I was there for the summer. He showed up at Venetian with his wife (who he currently is separated from) and watched me for awhile in a nightly tourney. (maybe it was a SNG?) As a matter of fact...him showing up seemed to turn my whole tourney around. I think when they walked up...and was letting them see my cards, I got KK and ended up doubling up. They left to go to dinner and see a show I think...and I'm pretty sure I won that nightly. Graham and I have stayed in touch over the last few years. He had a son...who he named after Brandy...and admits that his child is his whole world. Understandable. He was one of the first to congratulate me and Squirrel on our pregnancy, and then the birth of our daughter...who is currently asleep in the most awkward position on my chest/stomach.

Graham heard about my shares program...and was eager to buy a share. It's a funny thing...I want to win for people...especially those I care about. But at the same time...I'm also very afraid of disappointing those same people, by not winning. So selling shares to people is kind of a double-edged sword. I mean...I think they ALL know what goes into this stuff, and just how much luck at the right moments is involved...and don't honestly think I will have ONE of those 30 people cursing me if I come up short. But if I don't win for them...I know I will be beating myself up a little bit.  When Graham inquired I was pretty much sold out...but I had one guy who wanted three shares...who I was able to talk down to 2...so I could sell that last share to Graham. So he is now on board....and to a certain extent, I feel like I am bringing something very spiritual with me to Las Vegas.


Has Brandy forgiven me for what I didn't even think was a breach of our friendship? Did he have regrets for locking me out of his life? Is he maybe reaching out to me through his brother? Am I just being ridiculous and grasping at straws? Maybe. But while I have sold shares to all people I know through poker and my pools...this is a chance to include someone who is linked to my past, to my childhood...and to my best friend from 8th grade who is now with the Lord. This makes it even more special. To fly Graham and his boy Brandon to Vegas to hang out with me while I go and try to win us all a bunch of life-changing money would bring so much joy to my life. 

So yeah...not sure why I decided to share this story with you...but I did. And today I sat down with the intent to discuss all the reasons why I hate politicians! But I think that one will have to wait...perhaps till later today, maybe tomorrow. Maybe never. I have one more week here in Biloxi with Squirrel and Carley...I'm going to soak it in as much as I can...because I know I'm going to miss them SO much when I'm gone. 

One thing I fully intend to do while I'm in Vegas is keep every ONE of my investors totally in the loop...with daily reports...and hopefully all of them have me on their Twitter and/or Facebook...so they can follow all my updates during the tourneys. 

Alright...well, Carley is awake and crying for a bottle...so Daddy Monk has to cut this short!

Monkey


2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tito, give me a tissue...Great story but the odds are against you for flying anyone to Vegas but good luck...Your blog is cool and fun to read and I wish you the best...

SaintTino said...

I'm not typically an emotional guy, but that story seriously pulled my heart strings.

Knock 'em dead in Vegas man! I'm rooting for you...hope to see you on the final table!