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Monday, October 1, 2012

Reporting from the Man Cave...Hammond Shares for Sale!

I am acutely aware, that when a week or more elapses without me making a blog post...there are many out there (concerned) who think I have done what some are perhaps hopeful (excited) I have done. Vanished. Quit. Died. Right? You know I'm right.

Well, the stone cold truth...is that I was feeling a bit irritated that I ended up my run in Bossier City in very discouraging fashion. First of all...I really did run pretty unlucky up there...for the 2nd year in a row. And yeah...I won a nightly, final tabled another one, and final tabled the PLO tourney early in the event, but for the most part, I would deem the trip non-successful. I was very hopeful that I would make some money for my investors. At worse, I thought I would be able to refund the 'Main Event' package buyers half their investment, when I wouldn't need to fire a second bullet.

Well...that went up in smoke with 20 minutes left in the 12th and final level of Flight A. All I had to do was sit there...not get in trouble, and come back with a 'decent' stack the next day. Well...it never seems to fail in Main events that I will pick up pocket queens at the most inopportune time. On this particular occasion it happened in a spot where I was sure I was good, and quite possibly about to double up with just 20 minutes left.

That same double could have come a few orbits earlier. Tyler Smith arrived at my table, and brought a small stack with him, below the 20k starting stack. I know what to expect. Raise, raise, raise, raise and raise some more. And almost always a min raise. And yes...that is what he did. I will almost always call a min raise. When in the small and/or big blind. Especially against a super-aggressive player...which Tyler is. And I know Tyler's m.o. is that when he is low, he just pounds on the table in hopes to grow his stack to an optimum amount. (in his eyes)

So he min raises. From middle position. Turns out he has J9. I had lost a semi-decent sized pot a couple hands prior to that, so my spending mood was somewhat tempered. Plus it was complicated by the button flatting him. In that min-raise vs. BB spot, I prefer to be heads up to improve my chances vs. any random two cards. Two or more players and it just increases the chances to take a nasty beat. So holding J5 off...I decide to cut it loose. Flop? Obviously...J-2-5...rainbow. He bets the flop, gets called. Bets the turn, gets called. Blasts the river...gets called again. Had I been in the hand...I'd have check-called the flop, probably check-called the turn, and then on the river...bet enough to pot commit him to his whole stack, and likely gotten called. He'd have been gone. Shoulda, coulda, woulda.

But in the grand scheme of things...that play? Getting me all those chips? Would have just hurt that much more when I got the queens. Because, holding the stack I did...instead of just flatting the 3-bet raise by the guy who looked like a dead ringer for actor Fred Ward...

...with my pocket queens...I jammed all in. For 25k...with the blinds at 600/1200. Why you ask? It's a fair question. Tyler had raised once again....to like 2550. And the Dad from 'Road Trip' three-bet for the umpteenth millionth time...to 6500. What was I gonna do with 25k? Make it 14k? Flat 1/4 of my stack? This guy had earlier raised in early position to 1600 when it was 150/300. He got called by AK in the SB. I will just tell you what he had. DEUCES. Mr. AK checked the flop...missing. Fred there checks. Turn...AK guy bets big. Fred calls...with of course...just two deuces. AK guy bets big on the river...and snarling tough-guy dad-dude calls again. With just twos. It was good, obviously, and the guy in the 3-seat...the third such person to occupy that seat on the day, and whom had been warned by me when he sat down that he was in the 'seat from hell' finally relented:

"You know what Monkey? You might be right...this chair might be cursed. Holy shit! I've lost 3/4th of my stack since I sat here."

It was pretty much just the table from hell. This guy loved to three-bet, and most of the time you never saw his hand. But I saw enough of his hands to think my QQ was good as gold. It was good as gold all right. Fools Gold. He snap called and rolled over two kings. Oh! Really!?? Just kings? No shit? hmmmph! How nice! Shitballz. Well, as I mentioned...I'd have gone broke on a called raise anyway after the flop...or certainly on the turn...as the board ran out with nothing over an 8...so there was some solace in that. (I guess??)

I collected my shit. Then looked across the room to see where Flight B was now, level-wise. Level 5. Dammit. No small ball for this Monkey. Yeah, I could wait till the next day, and buy in...but only coming in with 12 BB's isn't too clever. They re-did the whole Main Event schedule this year. It's weird. They now start Flight B in the middle of Flight A...which undoubtedly diminishes the total number of entries. Not sure why they did this. Last year...Flight A started at 11am...played till about 5 or 6pm...and then Flight B started at 7pm. I really liked that. Then on Day 2 you wouldn't come back til 2pm...so those who had to play from 7pm til around 2am would get to sleep a bit. Why did they change it? I have no clue.

My biggest issue in Bossier City wasn't the structures. It wasn't the dealers. It wasn't the floor people. It wasn't the cocktail servers, or the massage girls. Or even (not getting carried away here) the other players...who are generally scary as hell up there. Nope...my biggest problem, with Horseshoe Casino in Bossier City...was the damn tent they made us play in. They did it last year, listened to everyone bitch about it...and had a FULL YEAR to make corrections. You know...like, augment and reconfigure the cooling system. Yeah...didn't happen. Same deal. Same setup. Same moans and groans. Same players trying to turn the slats on the A/C vents to control the air and make it hit their table...only to have 'The Captain' of the ship that never sails waltz through and turn them all back to their 'preset' position.

Is he trying to determine which way the cool air is flowing? I'll go with 'no where!'

Know what position that is? Okay...picture a big fucking tent. Rectangular shaped. Now picture a grand total of FOUR cooling vents on each side of this tent that is approximately 80 yards in length. The tent is shaped like a barn, you know? In an A-frame? So...now, I am not a scientist, or a physics major...or an electrical engineer...or anything like that. What I like to rely upon, is common fucking sense. It is my understanding that heat RISES. Yes? I believe that cooler air usually resides underneath hot or warm air. Hence...that same cold air would be likely to push the warm/scalding hot air up and OUT of the tent. Following me?

Hmmm. Maybe its just a simple case of them having the 'wrong' Captain manning the ship up there!??

So...can anyone explain to me why Captain Crunch thinks the correct setting for the air vents on the rather large outflow ducts would be to be pointing directly UP at the damn ceiling? If anyone was seen touching/turning the vents on the ducts...there immediately apprehended, blindfolded, thrown into a black SUV with blackened windows, whisked from the property and taken to an unknown location somewhere in the swamps of Louisiana to perform hard labor. No questions asked. Just...poof! Gone! No wonder the numbers declined so much during the second week of the event.

At least there's A/C in this beast...enjoy your ride to the Labor Camp!

Yeah so...that was really my biggest issue with the place. That and the amount of juice they are charging now. It's to the point of insanity. I know, they keep writing it up to make it sound like they aren't charging 'as much.' Picture the guy coughing into his hand while blurting out 'bulllshit!' A Main Event...where the prize pool contribution is $1500....cost $1675. The $1k event? $1125. $500 event? $580. The nightly $140!??? $95 into the prize pool! Is there a solution? Oh...I don't think so. Everyone is bitching about it. I mean...EVERYONE. But guess what they are going to do about it? The answer? Jack shit.

I kind of like to compare it to the oil companies amazing control over the gas market. They know we have to have it. They know we can't go without it. They know we will always bitch about it. But they won't do ANYTHING to NOT make as much as they possibly can. There is no government oversight...because so many politicians benefit from the oil industry. Well..the casino isn't going to hear your gripes. Pretty amazing how similar the two are, huh? The only solution is to start a whole new poker series. You doing that? No? Didn't think so. And if you did? Hmm...good luck getting the casinos to host your event knowing they are going to receive less in fees than they are getting from their current contractor. Bottom line? We are fucked! My only question? How much worse will the skull-fuckery get before you just feel stupid handing them your money at the registration counter? Well...stupid question. If you have a shred of common sense in your head, you already feel stupid, embarrassed even. How long before you simply won't allow yourself to set foot in the casino on the basis of how much (percentage-wise) of your payment is going to the house and staff?

What I find comical? Is how you will hear staff members bad mouth players who cash in a tourney and don't leave a tip. Hell, I used to be a HUGE proponent of tipping after winning or placing in the money in a tourney. But now? Holy shit...if you are playing event after event after event...and maybe min-cashing a couple times....bubbling or close to bubbling a few more...and logging major hours and busting without cashing in others? Its pretty hard to justify tipping any reasonable amount, knowing that this amount might actually cut significantly into your very thin profit overall. Variance in tournament poker was already brutal BEFORE the juicification of poker took over...now its just repugnant.

But I digress. No, I don't. I just felt like working 'I digress' into the fabric of today's blog. Tonight actually. So another reason I haven't blogged much this past ten days? I haven't felt like it. Pure and simple. Lazy? Maybe? Brain dead? Oh...very real possibility. I have not left my Man Cave since I got back from Tent City...other than a quick jaunt to Wal Mart to mingle with the crazies.

You know what I'm sick of? These stupid effing award shows...I mean how many are there? But what I hate the most...other than the awkward, rehearsed, stupid ass (what they think are) jokes they try to force on you. Ever been at a party (like, in high school) and someone not very popular tries to tell a joke...it bombs, and everyone kind of glances at each other with that pained expression on their face? Like that face you make to your wife...when, while visiting relatives, your brother's newest wife yanks out a breast in front of the whole family to feed her fussy 5 year old? Yeah? You know that face I'm talking about? Well...I didn't even tell you YET what I hate more than that stupid 'skit-like' moment before announcing the award winner.

What I wish would go die in a pasture strewn with old car parts, dead animals and downed aircraft...is when actors, musicians, athletes...whatever...get up there and want to "GIVE A SHOUT OUT" to someone. Okay, first of all...its 2012 fuckbats. Nobody even 'semi-cool' is still giving 'shout outs' to anyone. These are the same people who are still wearing 'Member's Only' jackets and giving out 'high-fives' to people who don't want them. Know what would be fun? Legalized brutality against generational jargon offenders. Yeah, I'm talking to you too...'LOL'ers!!! You oughta be smashed in the face with a computer keyboard! Like the dude at work in the movie 'Wanted.' You! ARE the MAN!!! Booooom!

Hey...guy who is 55 and about as hip as Mitt Romney? When you are standing up there and mention wanting to 'give a shout out' to .....blah blah blah...who cares!!!??? You sound like a fucking clown...and that award you just won? Needs to be returned now...because you just disparaged it. I (for some stupid reason) was watching Mr. Charisma Drew Carey on 'The Price is Right' the other day...and before they spin that stupid wheel....the one I keep (for over 30 years now) hoping someone will get trapped in and sucked into through the bottom of....Drew wants to give them the opportunity to 'give shout outs' before they spin the wheel. And oh...they don't refuse. Half the time they are still rattling off the list of shoutouts when their .35 cents from their first spin collides with .85 to eliminate them...creating that awkward moment where they are still excited, jumping around and giving shoutouts...and Drew is trying to get them to get the fuck off the stage. They should just have a trap door that opens and swallows them when they are done. With sound effects of lions and alligators. Think that show wouldn't be #1 within a week? It would be.

God did I get sidetracked or what?

So, uh...yeah...I fire a second bullet. I flounder for 3 levels. Then my table breaks. And I get moved to a very ...well, entertaining table. John 'Cowboy' Land...a friend of mine...and bit of a 'personality' is there. Then along comes Charles 'Woody' Moore. Oh boy. He of the A7 vs. 99 debacle in the Main Event in Council Bluffs. He of the earlier QQ (me) vs AK (him) punchout in the $250 Mega earlier in the week at Tent Boat.

Well, I won't keep you in suspense. I was sitting in the big blind at 400/800...on a 6-way limped pot...with the mighty J-4 off. At least I get to see a free flop! Whoa! Bingo! Flop comes A-J-4 rainbow. Check-raise city for the kid! Sitting on a pretty paltry stack of about 11k and dying for a double up. I check. 'Woody' bets a relatively decent amount. Two others call. Nice! Time to take this pot down! With about 12k in the pot...I shove all in. Woody calls. The others fold. And he turns over, gasp......pocket aces. I'm uh...drawing...well, pretty dead. I need running jacks or running fours. Yeah...didn't happen. Unreal. Gone. Out. Two bullets. Two shells. No refund for my investors. No reward.

So I left my laptop (on accident) on the chair behind me...and went off to blow off some steam. I drank. Then drank some more. And played blackjack. For hours. At a $10 table. I think when the smoke cleared I won $30. Then returned to the Burger Bar. Ate. Went back to my room. Died. Well...passed out. When I woke up I felt like I'd been trampled by ten cows. Maybe I had. Can't positively say I wasn't. Became immediately aware that my laptop was missing. Fuck.

There was another event at 2pm. The final one. It was Sunday. I watched, or tried to watch, some NFL...out of my one good eye. Then about 1 I started coming to life. Oh...its a ring event. But a $580. Ouch. But I imagine the field will be small. Making it easier to get another ring...and much-needed Freeroll points...as I am sitting on just 15 points now...and a chance to get to 65 would be huge...especially since I don't see myself going to very many events this season.

So I went for it. Headed to the casino. Got there on time. Bought in. Only 77 players. Nice! Walk in. Find my laptop! Yes! It's going to be a great day! Sit down. My table looks like a final table. What the hell!?? On the third hand, something feels weird. The blinds are going up. Huh? I look up. It says 20 minutes. Wait. What? 20 minute levels? This is a TURBO!??? Of for chrissakes! I had no idea. And if I had...very likely would have skipped this thing. But now I'm stuck in it. I get one hand after another....lots of middle pairs, lots of AQ-like hands. How many hands did I win? Zero. Was I playing bad? I'd like to think not. I think I was just running like shit. It was unreal. 6 levels. Still no winning hands. I was getting very annoyed. Two players were overplaying a lot of hands. And one guy...Mr Sunglasses with Male Pattern Baldness kept raising constantly, always c-bet...and always triple-barreled the turn. It became a guessing game. Do I have him? Or not? Is he bluffing? Do I re-pop his ass here? Or wait?

Those are the tourneys I hate. When you have enough chips (you think) to wait out the guys like this...but then the stack dwindles while his keeps getting bigger and bigger, which means...down the road, when you do finally take your stand, he will have enough chips to make a semi-loose call against you. Well..that is what indeed happened. I pick up AK in early position...and knowing if I limp...it will get raised. Well, I'm sitting on 7200 with the blinds now at 250/500. So when the next guy raised to 1200...and the aforementioned baldy-glassy re-raised, I shoved all in. The first guy folded. And he thinks for a few brief seconds before calling with 88. I missed...no pair, no draw. Nothing. Out. Without ever winning a hand. Marvelous. Trip...over. Good riddance.

But...before all that ended, there was just one more thing to address. The 'Last Longer for Casey Jones.' Pretty sure this was the topic of my previous blog post. It was a good plan. A lot of people were talking about it. The response on Facebook was very positive. Was even hopeful that the WSOP staff would get behind the effort. Cue the screeching sound of tires on pavement...followed by loud crash as it gets side-swiped at an intersection by a dump truck.

Had my dry erase board, just purchased that morning at Office Depot for $42. Had it all dressed up, ready to take names and money. Players walked in for the Main...saw my board...and we got 18 names pretty quickly, along with their money. That's when I was visited by Roger, from Horseshoe security. Um, yeah...so...despite the fact that we have a last longer on nearly EVERY sit n go we play at circuit events...despite numerous players doing last longers for tournaments...this one, that I was doing to benefit the son of one of their former employees...was causing alarm. Roger informed me that I had to 'take down my board' and discontinue the open lobbying for last longer contributions.

Great. So I did. I took my board with me back to my table, and put it up against the wall, out of site. A few other players who knew I was doing this, came to me...wanting to get in still. I took their money, and added their money to a list I had drawn up on a piece of paper, replacing the board list. We were now up to 21 players. Uh oh...here comes Roger again. Roger didn't have much of a 'hey let me hear your side of the story and then let me use some good judgement' type of personality to him. His was more of a 'my job is to crack down on ANYTHING that looks fishy, period' kind of demeanor. Told me I had been 'observed' taking money from other players...and that if I was seen taking ANY money for ANY other players...I would be DQ'd from the tourney and 86'd from the property. See? No matter what I do...good intentioned or not...I always...always...seem to find trouble! Amazing...isn't it?

So...obviously, I let everyone know that the Last Longer was CLOSED. And why. And what the ramifications were if I took another player. After the first warning, the floor person came by and told me everything was 'okay' that Roger had asked him about me...if I was someone who was 'running some kind of sportsbook operation' or something? The floor man told me he assured him that my intentions were noble and that no, I wasn't running a scam. So...when he told me that...I basically felt like it was okay to keep taking money from guys...just not so out in the open about it. Whoops. I was wrong.

I could say a lot of shitty things about how that episode made me feel. But why bother? It won't change anything. Fact of the matter is, there is some really nice people who work up there. Joe in the poker room comes to mind. Good guy, really busts his ass. One of the better poker room managers I've seen in awhile. Jason that works there...same deal. Good guy. Very competent. Even met a handful of pretty nice security people. I can honestly say, however...that I will likely never go back up there to play. And the major reason is that fucking tent. It's just miserable. And to top it off...they have you playing 10-handed. Which is totally fixable. I think if we are being asked to pay the juice we are paying...we should get to play 9-handed. Players just keep getting fatter and fatter (myself included) and its just getting more and more uncomfortable squeezing 10 people into one table.

But imagine sitting at a table of 10 large poker players...and its between the hours of 12pm and 6pm...and the temperature is between 85-100 degrees. The cold air that IS blowing into the tent is blowing STRAIGHT up into the ceiling of the tent. And escaping...leaving just the heat. So you sit there...and get more and more agitated by the second...hot, sweaty, missing flops, getting shown bluffs by the little twerp with that flat-billed hat that still has that stupid fucking sticker on it and his stupid goatee that looks like it was drawn on his face with a magic marker. You know the kind? Where they had to use the 'shaper' to give it 'that special look' that is usually reserved for rappers, gang members and criminals that live their lives behind bars? Yeah...try playing under those conditions for 6 hours...until, oh! Finally...the sun goes down. At which point...>THE A/C STARTS TO FINALLY TAKE EFFECT!!!!


So within 34 minutes of that occurring, the tent is now transformed into a fucking igloo! You half expect to walk out of the tent and see glaciers floating in the Red River...with polar bears surfing on them...and the occasional seal jumping out of the water. Parka please!!!

Yeah...I can't find a good enough reason to return to this location. I gave it two shots. They had a whole year to fix the glitches. They just got worse. The juice got worse. The fields didn't increase very much. Nope. Crossing that one off the list.

Oh...who won the Last Longer? Well...the Jones Family won. A total of $1050 was sent by me to them on their site...on behalf of the 21 players who entered the Last Longer. You can still give if you want...the link is still up in the corner of my blog...until October 9th I think...when they close the fund raising page. But who won the $1050? Well, originally I thought it was Caufman Talley...which I learned from just comparing my list of 21 players to the payouts list on the Poker News site. Caufmann finished in 18th...which, along with his 1st place in the $1k (with $125 juice) made for a great trip for him. I thought he was the highest finisher of anyone on my list. 

Well, then a little later, I looked again for some reason...and noticed another name that caught my eye...who finished 17th. Stephen Hesse. Well, on my list I had a Steve Hess. Same guy? has to be? Oh shit. I had already posted on Facebook that Caufmann was the winner, even texted him as much, asking how I could send him the money...since I'd already driven home. About that time I caught my error. Well, as fate would have it...I do not have Stephen on my Facebook, or in my phone. I barely know the kid. So...if someone out there knows him...please let him know that Senor Monkey has $1050 for him!!!

Okay...this blog is getting WAY to freaking long. And I'm actually getting tired. I know the question is: Where am I playing next? And am I selling another shares package?

After much deliberation...I have decided to go to Hammond/Chicago in ten days. It is without a doubt...the BEST event on the circuit. The ONLY thing I do NOT like about it...and I really LIKE Steve Frazier and his crew personally...is that they are the ones who enforce the DREADED 'exposed card gets you a one-round penalty' rule. The other crews don't. It's very weird. And incredibly aggravating. It even cost me dearly in a Main Event in New Orleans last December. So...aside from that little quirk, Hammond is the shit! They add all kinds of main event seats...6 I think to the final 6 in every nightly. They high-card players in the cash room on the hour...for $1500 seats! Its awesome. They have a big, gigantic poker arena...good spacing between tables, good dealers, and HUGE turnouts. Some of the biggest I've ever seen, second only to those at Rio in the summer and some of the fields at Borgata. As much as I miss being away from Squirrel and Carley...its just not an event that can be missed.

I was debating whether to go out to Arizona and play the 45+ baseball tournament (they moved up from 35+...and now that I am 45!) with all the guys I played with two falls ago. Chad Brown might be there again, and my old roomie from New York, actor Chris Bruno will be there....it was between that and Hammond...or just staying home. Staying home was looking and feeling kind of attractive. But I couldn't find any other events I wanted to go play before the New Year arrives...and just thought, if there is ONE event I had to select, this one would be it. So...yeah. 

I'm having some trouble finding reasonable airfare. Not sure why...it used to always be SO cheap to fly to Chicago from here. Kai was entertaining thoughts of taking the Hammond trip...and mentioned the train. Hmmm...the train! I haven't done Amtrak in years. So I looked. One-way....$170. Leave New Orleans at 1:45 pm Wednesday, arrive 9am Thursday. Sounds kind of fun. The hotel I like to stay at looks booked. The Ramada on Calumet. And its hard to go there without a rental car. So I hope Kai does decide to go. He hosed me on travel/hotel costs on the Tent City trip...so he kind of owes me.

As for shares? Well...since I think the schedule is basically the same as the Bossier City lineup...I guess I will most likely sell it exactly the same. Only...this event will have a LOT more value and upside to it...as the fields are massive...and the SNG's go off a lot more regularly...so those prelim packages have a lot more earning potential. So...yeah...Main Event package....or PACKAGE #1...will cost $125 for a 2% share. You will be paying for two bullets in the $1675 Main Event. One flight played only, will result in getting half your investment back, on top of anything that is won..

Package #2 will be the PRELIM PACKAGE...and entitle you to 2% of everything I win in EVERYTHING I play other than the Main Event...every ring event, every non-ring event, every nightly event, every SNG. For $150 you get 2% of that action. I will sell a total of 25 shares....totaling 50% of my action for the event. I will not sell any more than that. If I sell less...that is fine. 

First come, first served. Rather..first paid...first guaranteed. If you bought into the last one...and have money coming back...you can reinvest in this next one. If you desire not to...cool, I will shoot you that money in the next three days. Let me know. Need any more info? ThePokerMonkey1@aol.com

Good night!

MONKEY

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