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Wednesday, October 24, 2012


So yeah...did the radio show Sunday. Didn't really want to. Had a lot of long talks with my wife over all of this recent shit show (not the radio show, but the past week)...and while she totally believes me, and trusts me, and thinks its a shitty deal the way it went down...she thinks there is another way to approach all this. But her to just not say a word. To anyone. Not to Facebook World. No here on my blog. Not on the radio. Just, well...nothing to no one.

I give respect to my wife in noting that she is very, very good about hiding from adversity. She doesn't admit weakness. She rarely lets anyone see her without a smile on her face. And she never complains about being broke...which is what working as a cocktail waitress on dayshift in a casino on the coast is good for. I try hard to ease her struggles on that end...handing her money whenever I have it to spare. With trying to be a great Mom to Carley Grace...the last thing I need her freaking out about is money. And next on that list, is freaking out about things going on in my life that are troublesome.

I know, or knew...that when Scotty Clark asked me five months ago to be his co-host, it was with a inkling of a clue that with me as a co-host, he would also be potentially sitting on a powder keg of future controversy that would certainly result in gaining him and his show a bit of notoriety. It would be ridiculous if I stood up here and said I never have wanted attention. I think, to an extent, that everyone normal seeks attention at times. I will contend that the degree to which I want to be noticed, or recognized has diminished greatly over the past 5 or 10 years. When I got into poker...I wanted to become famous, for winning rings and bracelets and money. Maybe get into the business side of poker...being an announcer, or a Tournament Director at a casino. Do some commercials, or sign a lucrative deal with an online site. I don't think it's crazy to suggest that all of us tournament grinders have fantasized or even 'planned' for this to be our course in poker.

A few things caused me to come down off that pulpit. Black Friday for one. The increasingly difficult task to win a tourney, with the influx of excellent players now flooding the poker community. And the crackdown on any attempts to be colorful or have fun at the table. It's all sort of turned me into a mind-numbed drone who just shows up hoping to have a good day, make a decent score, and provide my family with a little financial comfort. Until it runs out...then hope for it all over again. It's kind of a 'rat-on-the-wheel' existence, this 'being a poker pro' life that a lot of us lead. Some outside of poker think its awesome, and wish they could do it. Some (okay a LOT) of us in that life...get to a point where we just loathe having to show up every day...fearing another 10-15 hour day of 'work' only to fail to cash. Its mental torture.

I got sidetracked. Twice actually. First...Scott procurred my services as a co-host for a very good cost to him. Free. My initial take on that was...'we'll see how it goes. If it does well...lets talk about compensation later on.' That was 5 months ago. I don't know how well the show is doing. I know I hear a lot of comments from people about it. So I guess quite a few people listen. As for feeling a need to be paid? Eh...whatever. If its an amount that would impact my life? Great. Bring it on. But if it amounts to a tank of gas each month? Screw it. But what Scott did yesterday? Well...that kind of counts (in my book) as compensation. No one (certainly not myself) asked him to do anything on my behalf. But that is what he did...creating a petition, where he basically challenges the 'top guys' at Caesar's Entertainment (known to some as Harrah's and/or WSOP) to take a look at my decide if I was dealt with fairly...and then to respond with the reasons I was 86'd from Hammond without so much as a reason, other than "you were reported as having made harassing comments to a dealer." Yeah that's great. 

So Scott created a petition, made a nice summarized explanation of what occurred, and what his goal in this process is. To get the attention of the big wigs at WSOP. I guess we would call that Phase 1. See, my phase 1 was going to be to go to the security manager at Horseshoe in Hammond and trying to get the 86 lifted on the basis of complete lack of evidence, coupled with the fact I've been there for 5 previous events, have NEVER had an incident there, have made great acquaintances with the poker room manager and supervisors there, as well as some of their house dealers...and ask that I be given the benefit of the doubt, and have it converted to just a 24-hr eviction. Seems pretty reasonable to me. But then I realized...what's the point? 

Towards the end of our conversation, I point blank asked Jack Effel...."so let me ask you mention that you think maybe I am innocent, right? So assuming I talk to the folks at Hammond, and get them to rescind the '86' on me, can I safely assume that you would lift the roadblock on me that you just placed in my way to play on the circuit this year? And in next summers WSOP?" I mean, wouldn't that make sense?

Know what he tells me? "Well, that wouldn't be my decision. It would go before the guys in security out here in Vegas...and they would have to decide if they wanted to lift the Caesar's-wide trespass on you." Does anyone out there need me to break this down for you? To translate what that means? I will assume all of you reading this have an IQ over 17....and can read between the lines on this one. And so I will say nothing more, at the risk of saying a bunch of things I might later regret. 

Know what else I discovered? Initially, I was told (by a very good friend, who works as a supervisor for the WSOP) that the 'complaint' by the girl in question...was filed with in-house security. That she didn't go through SOP (standard operating procedures) for a dealer. So of course, that led to me being irate about THAT...that she hadn't even followed policy. Well, then I hear a rumor (later confirmed by the dealer himself) that a dealer, trying to play hero to this girl, listened to this girls tale, and walked her over to Charlie Cirisi...and basically dropped the guillotine on my head.

Why? Well...for starters, the reason my good friend thought she went to house security, is because that is what he was told! Why did they tell him this? Because he is a known friend of mine. He was kept in the dark, excluded from the discussion that took place over this. This is where the politics of poker take over. There are a couple different crews that run these WSOP circuit events...and its safe to say they aren't exactly friendly with each other. So what they vie for Jack Effel's admiration. Like kids in 5th grade trying to outdo each other for the teacher's attention. There are a lot of juicy stories about sabotage and squeezing certain employees out due to petty grievances...these stories go back several years. I've been made privy to these stories because I have a lot of friends on 'the inside.' Well, I have always agreed, out of respect to my friendship to never tell these stories, in this blog, or to other people involved with poker. 

And I will continue to honor that request. But what I will that Charlie Cirisi is quite aware with my history with Jack Effel...and the 'short leash' that I was being paraded around  on for the past 5 years. Charlie is trying to gain more events. And so delivering something to Jack, my head on a platter, would play very well for his future interests. So yeah...this story that was handed to him? Perfect!!! Which explains quite easily why there was no 'real' investigation, no interviewing of it players or dealers. Why the 'surveillance tape' that they claimed to have looked at is a joke...considering it was 50-60 feet off the playing floor, and didn't record audio.  No...this is real easy to figure out. And the only way to get it fixed? Is for the right people to hear about it. And not from Jack. Because I know how that carnival barker will present it to his bosses. 

" I told you guys two years ago, when you decided Will Souther had to be let back in, that he was a major liability risk. That he would eventually show you why he was 86''d in the first place. His true colors will come to light. That he would say he'd behave, but then let us down. And see? See what happened?"

Yeah. Great. Isn't it fun...watching a conspiracy unfold right before your face? And because I had a bit of reputation...from basically just being a wild man with no filter...five years ago...that seems to be a reason to embellish the hell out of me and what I am portrayed as? I mean...I know this guy has this insane, childlike obsession with me, from a vendetta standpoint...but my question has always been...and remains...W-H-Y??? Because I think maybe its a game to him...and he just wants to win. He beat me in 2006...when he tried to ban me over a stupid incident in where again, I just tried to do the right thing. I won't go into detail. Some crazy woman went on a wild rant (she has since vanished from the poker scene...actually a while ago, say 2008) flinging accusations all over the place citing all  kinds of shit. I talked to Jack about it, and he said didn't do anything wrong...but please just stay away from that lady.

I should have. But me...wanting to play peacemaker? I saw her, sitting in the hotel lobby, with Miami John Cernuto...and I decided to try and bury the hatchet and make nice with her. Walked over, asked if I could steal a minute of her time? She stands up...and screams for security! I stood there, dumbfounded. Look over my shoulder...there is Bob Dunning (tourney director) and guess who? Charlie Cirisi....both telling me they saw and heard the whole thing...and to just walk out the door. Which is what I did. What happens? I get 86'd from the casino. For what? Harassing this woman. Jack leaves that event and decides when he gets to Vegas, to ban me from the World Series. This was after I'd already won a seat on Pokerstars...and paid for a share in a house with 5 other people. 

I spent the first three weeks of the summer trying like crazy to appeal that decision. Jack wouldn't budge. But Jack always likes to blame it on everyone else. It wasn't his decision. It was 'the board' who made that decision. Oh yeah? in a last ditch effort, I write an impassioned plea to Howard Greenbaum, who is, basically 'THE' man at the WSOP. The same day I emailed him...he called me. When I told him about the letter I had written to him and all the other members of the management, he claimed he NEVER saw it. Yeah...because Jack had buried it. Howard decided to reinstate me. Immediately. I got to play a few events leading up to the Main Event...and then the Main Event, for the first time.  I went out on Day 3...with QQ (the first of many Main Event bustouts with QQ). Jack carried a grudge from that point on.

So when the business went down at Caesars Palace two or three years later...with that jackass Jim was Jack's opportunity to get me back. And he did. For two and a half years. Until Harrah's legal department decided I had to be readmitted, since I had been allowed to play at all the properties, and had won entry into the Million Dollar Freeroll...that and the fact that the '86' on me had been done in violation of company policy. Jack has probably done enough against just me to get himself fired three times over. And if I were to unveil all the other dirt I know about him? Holy shit...he'd probably be fired and prosecuted. So for him to be masterminding this little railroad job on me...AGAIN? It's not only exhausting...but its gotten to the point where I am right on the cusp of just saying fuck it, finding a personal injury lawyer, and filing a multi-million dollar lawsuit against this guy.

So...thank you to Scotty Clark for starting this petition. I haven't really been circulating it to many of my friends on my Facebook or my email list...I'm sure if I did it would grow from the current number of 90+ to about 300 or so. But I just feel weird emailing them asking them to please sign my petition. First of all, probably more than 75% of them aren't even aware that I'm in this mess. It's probably not the greatest idea to let the entire world know the pickle I'm in. See what I mean? Kind of a sticky spot. But I do appreciate Scotty doing this. And a couple of other people for banging the drums on my behalf. 

I inserted a link on the top right corner of the page...if you feel compelled to sign the also gives you ample space to leave a comment. I have gotten so many nice comments on there...after all the 2+2 bullshit last week, it really kind of brought me out of my mental tailspin. I might suggest, if you happen to be a Diamond or even Seven Star with Harrah's/Caesar's and go to sign that...that you include that in there. Sometimes, I think, these casinos look down on us poker players as a bunch of non-revenue generating peasants...but maybe if they understood just how many of us players are actually guests that they would deem as 'valuable' to their would make a greater impact on them when Scott decides to present this to whoever he has earmarked for delivery. I know who I hope he DOESNT deliver it to...because you can be sure where THAT will end up! A place I like to call....File 13!

This blog post probably got a little longer than I wanted it to...and I probably ended up revealing a lot of things I might not have planned to reveal...but you know what? I've just started to get my brain working about this stupid shit up in Hammond, and I'm just pissed off enough to start really digging in and going to work on getting this problem solved. And to be honest with y'all? I don't really care which road I have to take...high road...low road? In between road, if there is such a thing. I'm not going down for something I didn't do. Period. And if people (or person) want me out of the poker scene so bad that they are willing to risk their job to make it happen? Well, then I'm willing to meet them head on, and make that possibility a reality. So lets go boys. Game on!



scottyclark said...

You're welcome Poker Monkey!

Anonymous said...

Wow, the poker world is a bunch of candy asses now in management. I remember when the players were treated a lot better when Jack Binion was in charge. He had a knack for calming us down when we got out of line but never banned us for life. What a bunch of asses they have now. I am glad I quit now. Punk asses.

Anonymous said...

Man how the poker world has changed. It used to be a little fun. My first experience playing with you was at a final table in Tunica. I thought you were a bit of an ass, but that was part of your game, and I respect that. One of your friends turned me on to your blog at a WSOP circuit event. You are a great writer. My view of you has changed and I think that the poker world needs to get some thicker skin to the psychological aspects of the game. I used to be able to play the “villain” at the tables to my advantage. I can’t do that anymore. Combine Black Friday, this economic downturn, and people having too thin a skin, it’s just not a good time for poker players.

As a high diamond TR player, I am actually a little scared to sign your petition.

P.S. We have not played together much, but I was one of the people that walked up and congratulated you for your ring win at the IP. I also share your opinion of Mr. Grooms.

Anonymous said...

You are a great guy and I am sure you will be able to resolve your problems. EV