Monday, November 26, 2012

Out of the Bunker....Firing!!!

So by now, I'm sure you all figured out there wasn't any 'follow up' good news. It's amazing how high this game of poker can lift you...and how low it can drop you.  Adding to that...I hear stories throughout the poker world, so and so got screwed out of his job. So and so can't get their money off of Site X. I read a few of these comments that get left on here...and just wonder to myself, "Self, what kind of an asshole leaves a message like that? What person invests THAT much emotion to try and get a rise out of me? Why hasn't God dealt that person a case of penis cancer yet? How much longer will it be before he does? Will I have to wait long? Should I fire up some popcorn and throw some beer on ice?"

I came back for Day 2 with what I would call a 'decent stack.' Three times the starting stack was perfect...coming back I had 35 BB's...which was just fine. Well, my day started great. On one hand, Eric Froelich limped from the SB into my BB. I raised with A10. He called. Flopped an ace. He checks. I bet about 3/4 of the pot. He calls. Turn was nothing. He checked. I bet about 1/2 the pot. He folds. Nice. Button min raises. SB goes all in for a small amount. I just flat with KJ. The button (Froelich again) also flats (with 66 it turns out). On a flop of J-8-2...I bet out a sizable amount...he folds 66 face up..and the turn brought a 6. Whew! I knocked out the SB. We had the kid who finished 3rd in this year's Main Event...Jacob Balsinger, at our table.  Pleasant kid, then again, why WOULDN'T he be pleasant!??  He lost pretty early.

We got down to 50 from 75 in almost one level. Wow! And things were going great. After calling another min raise from the BB with 9-10 against the guy who's girlfriend one-outed me with the 7 on the river in the nightly the previous week (when I had JJ and had done everything to let her know how bad her 77 was on the board of 9-10-3)...he liked min-raising UTG....(and btw, she ended up winning that nightly. We talked about the hand, and he said she admitted she played that hand against me horribly. I'm glad she won...they both seemed like nice kids). The flop came 9-10-3. Sweet. I checked. He bet 7500. I raised to 16,000. He called. An ace on the turn. Hmmmm. Helps me? Hurts me? Decided to find out where I was. I lead out 17,500. He fidgets, tanks...then folds. Suddenly, I was up to over 100k. With the blinds at 1500/3000. Things were feeling great.  Only 23 till the money...which was a fairly decent $6500 (on a buy in of $2500). I really, really wanted to cash. Just to get a little positive return on the trip. Once that happened, I could go from there.

Everything went to shit. And it didn't take long. A pretty aggressive player, who came to my Day 1 table late the night before...raises to 7500 at 1500/3000. He was sitting on a shortish stack of 42k. I'd watched him raise like this the night before...making small raises that constituted about 25-35% of his stack. A sort of strange play. I look down at 99 in the SB. It folds around to me. I felt like I most likely had the best hand. And if not, I definitely had the chipstack to convince him that I did. I re-raised from his 7500 to 17,000. Did he shove? Or fold? Neither. He smooth called. Yeah. Huh? Weird. And all his body language prior to the flop let me know he didn't have AA or KK. No, he was making a very tough decision...and that made me think I was up against AQ...maybe AK (though most players like him usually reshove AK in that spot)...or a pair smaller than mine. When he just flatted, I decided he did that with the intent to see if he could either FADE the AK...or HIT the AK...which created kind of a quandary for me. The flop came J-7-4. 

He had about 32k left in his stack. I led out for 22k. He tanks. Forever, Now I really like my hand. Finally...he shoves. Huh? Hollywooding? Guessing? AJ? Well, I couldn't really fold...since there was about 89k in the pot and I had to call 10k or something. I called, and he turns over 10-10. Wow. Did he make the right call? Do YOU make that play? I know I didn't like it...especially when I bricked the turn and the river and was now cut in half almost...down to 63k. Shit.

Just two hands later...I get  88 at cutoff...and raise to 8500. The big blind looks down...and shoves. Older guy. He'd already pulled this move about 4 times. He was in for 24k. I couldn't find a good reason to fold. Plus I figured he had Ace-something...and hoped I could win a race...and get half of what I just lost, back in my stack. I was right. He had AJ off. Would my 8's hold? Fuck no. He flopped a jack, and rivered an ace. Shit! Now down to under 40k. 

A few hands later...I try to steal the blinds with KJ. Get called by that same guy who had the 10-10. Flop brings a king. He checks. I bet. He calls. Turn an ace. He checks. I check. River was a blank. He checks. I bet about 11k. He calls. KQ. FUUUCCCCKKKKKK!!!! And now...I'm freaking out. 47 players left...and I only have 12k left now....4 big blinds. I shove all in with Q10. Get a walk. I shove all in with A8d. Get a walk. Okay, okay...I can do this.

Then 'Mr Min Raise' does it again...and I call in the BB with 9-7. The flop comes 8-Q-7. Not bad. I check. He checks. I've got to be good. Turn is a ten! Open ended with a pair! Maybe I screwed up here by betting out 3/4 of the pot. Maybe I should have just shipped all in. I couldn't check raise there...since any bet that he made he'd be pot committed to call my shove...as I was when I was up against him with my 99 vs. 10-10. So I bet a strong amount...to try and just take it down right there. He postures a bit...then shoves all in. What!?? Wtf??? Did he have a set of queens? And was slowplaying it the whole way? If I fold...I've only got 9k left. I've come back from worse. But holy crap. Could this dealer...who'd been ruining me for three orbits now, bring me one of 8 outs necessary to get me back into this damn tourney? I found I had no faith in her. None. And folded. I probably should have just shipped all in on the turn and let the cards fall where they may. Hell, he might have had nothing...but had the position and the stack (now!) to pressure me into folding, which he successfully did. 

I will probably think about that hand for quite a while. I really needed to cash this Main Event. Especially with the Holidays coming. But it didn't happen...and as I thought I was about to catch a miracle double up...picking up AK in the SB in a heads up shove vs. the BB...who 'woke up' with KJ...not like he was folding anyway probably...with K2. But it was the perfect scenario...and if I won...I'd be back up over 20k...with a pulse. Flop brought a king. Hate that. Why can't it just bring the ace...and no other face cards? Why? Because...it allowed for me to get pummeled when the dealer slapped a jack on the river. The guy looked at me, apologized...I told him nice hand, wished everyone well...and walked in a trance-like state...to the front of the poker room...where I sat in one of the leather chairs...and just sank.

Busted. 20 from the money. All I had to do now was kill 5 or 6 hours...then go catch my flight. So I sat down and played cash game...more to just amuse myself and burn off some steam. I booked a modest loss...then at 10:30pm...hopped a cab, took it to my hotel, asked him to wait while I go get my luggage, which he did...made it back down in 4m 26s's...the guy timed me, under 5m and he was giving me a $5 discount! I won. We headed for the airport for my 12:50am flight. The first hiccup came when the exit to the airport was closed for construction. We had to go two more exits up...then turn around and come back the other way. Lovely. We pulled up to the curb at 11:45pm. Should be fine. Get inside with my bags...after paying $60 to the cabbie. The lady at the United counter gives me this "your not going to like what I'm about to tell you" face.

"I'm on the 12:50am flight to New Orleans." 

"Sorry sir...the baggage belt has been turned off. You are too late."

 Huh? Too late? ONE HOUR early for a red-eye flight? Closed? Just give me my boarding pass...I'll check my luggage at the gate. She wouldn't bite. I was ready to flip my lid...but I remembered that I was in an airport...and these people LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to get the police involved whenever possible. So I resorted to begging. Nope. No good. Fuck! I guess the only saving grace was that I still had my hotel room reserved til the morning. So I got on the phone...called United, booked a flight for the morning...which I had to pay a damn $150 change fee...on a ticket that I had only paid $190 for! (one-way) and jumped in a cab and headed back to the hotel...another $30 down the tube. I was so annoyed. I just laid on my bed...fell asleep and woke up at 7am...to try again. This time...I made it with time to spare. Paid an extra $30 for the exit row...which when I got on the plane, discovered there were two black girls who simply moved INTO those seats (despite not holding a ticket for them) and proceeded to smack their gum and listen to their bad headphones (the kind where the music comes blaring out of them) the whole flight. 

If this was what WWE was all about....

And if we could get MORE of THIS....

and LESS of THIS....well....I can dream.

I'm watching 'E!' right now and the show 'The Soup' and they are doing a full show committed to clowning on the WWE. I really, really, seriously want to meet the person who is a hardcore fan of that crap...and just pick their brain for awhile. I mean, you watch it...and its SO FUCKING STUPID....but there are people who literally LOVE that stupid shit. Why? What do they find appealing about it? This is proof that all men are NOT created equal. Things like that? That are stupid on that kind of a scale? Just make me wonder how ANYONE could POSSIBLY think there isn't more intelligent life out there in our universe. My question is: How could there NOT be???

Getting into the first stop, in Houston...I was unusually annoyed by the one thing that ALWAYS irritates and annoys me, but for some reason was peaking on this day. I was seated in business class, in row 10. I had no carry-on, so getting off was going to be pretty smooth. Suddenly, and you know this moment...when the pilot pulls up to the gate, and that bell goes off? Nearly EVERYONE on the plane does that jack-in-the-box move where they spring out of their seat! And that is irritating, yes. And annoying, obviously...because we all know, that no one on that plane is moving one inch for at LEAST five minutes. See...if you have a connection to make..and you are cutting it close? I understand your desire to get the hell off that plane. But the thing is? Nearly all the assholes that are jumping out of their seats...have no where they need to be other than baggage claim. 

So here we have this douchebag...and its not just him...it happens all the time...where they come from 2...3...sometimes more...rows back...push their way forward...which results in a bunch of people standing there, all up in each other's shit...shooting each other dirty looks, while the people/passengers who SHOULD be able to stand up and occupy that space...are now trapped in their seats...waiting for these mutherfuckers to clear out of the aisle. I honestly think there should be rules that allow every human to carry tazers...and that there will be offenses that are punishable on the spot. Without repercussion. 

"Scuse me sir...who couldn't wait his fucking turn to get off this piece of shit plane? Who is now preventing ME from getting off this piece of shit plane? Because you're an asshole? I hope you enjoy these 15,000 watts of electricity that I am about to deliver to your body."  BZZZZBZZZZBZBBZBZBZZZZZZZ!!!  Dickheads!

So....yeah, I get home. Sleep pretty much for two days. And get caught up with my wife and Carley. Then...here comes my sister and her two kids from Wisconsin, for Thanksgiving and the weekend. She has two special needs kids that she adopted after serving as a foster parent. She does a terrific job with them. Frankly, I don't know how she does it. I would lose my mind. Kids are all sweet...ya know, but there is a limit to what I can endure before I lose it. As far as Carley goes...she is now crawling...and she is really starting to develop quite the personality. She is starting to really be a lot of fun to be around...its not so much just hours of change her, feed her, change her, feed her...now she actually wants to do stuff...crawl around, play with things. Play with the dogs. Go outside. I took her on a 2 mile stroller ride today...she loved it.

The radio show we have been doing for 6 months? Not sure what's going on with that. Scott Clark had some kind of deal with Lock Poker where they functioned as the sponsor...and paid him something. What, I'm not sure. All I know is that I wasn't seeing any of it. Which wasn't a real huge deal. I took on the role of co-host with the understanding that if/when it 'took off' and was a success, that I would realize some kind of financial benefit down the road. Well...I don't know how far down the road I was supposed to travel, or how you gauge 'took off' so I haven't done an ounce of complaining about anything. It wasn't too much of an inconvenience to put aside two hours every Sunday to just basically fire from the hip about whatever the hot topic of the week was. Well...he seems to be having some kind of dispute with the owners of Lock...and thus, the show is kind of being placed on the back burner. (for now) Not sure if that is a posturing move or what. Frankly...it doesn't really matter to me either way. The more I play this game, the more I am exposed to the characters in this game...the more I just want to run and hide from it. I don't think you people can even begin to comprehend how bad I wish I'd finished in the Top 50 this summer in the Main...so I could have just taken about a full year off from poker and just focused on my family...and my other business ventures.

Ah...speaking of that kind of stuff...let me share this asshole's comment...that I didn't bother to publish. Judging from this prick's writing style, I am pretty sure he is the author of several of the anonymous comments that have been left here (and not published) in the past. I will break down this jerkoff's latest.

Total bullshit lie by you.[nice opening] Your comment speaks for itself [huh?] and the tax hit. You keep spinning your lies Monkey Man.[anyone notice how he comes out firing, calling me a liar, then fails to tell me what it is, exactly, that I'm lying about? I find that rather puzzling] From the look of your recent poker results this year I don't think you have anything to worry about with regard to taxes anyway.[there is ONE thing I will agree with him on. So if he thinks that, why is he calling me a liar? Am I insane to be confused?] Tough year for you. Well at least your wife has 2 jobs [I know this guy has made several comments because he has alluded two or three times that my wife has two jobs. I am wondering how he has come to that conclusion. Because she pitched in one Sunday and helped run a benefit to pay for a friends' funeral costs? That counts as a job now? Or is it that she is taking on the role of 'mother' which could easily be counted as a job? Not exactly sure...but for your info...she has just one job that she shows up for every day and pays taxes on. That would be cocktail waitress at the Beau Rivage. If, however...you know of a second job that she is working...in secret...please, do share!] and pays taxes. Most of us are going shopping on Friday[I would have to disagree. I firmly believe the ONLY ones who go shopping on the day dejectedly known as Black Friday, especially those jackholes who camp out in the front of stores the night before...are the same asshats who attend WWE events. No, see...I'm the clever one, who uses my 'card status' privileges with companies like Best Buy to simply make my purchases of the same shit those parking lot losers are making...but from the privacy and comfort of home, so no, you can't lump me into the 'everyone else' category, Deliverance] I assume you are making your cardboard sign and are staking out a good spot at your Walmart [I don't even know what this means. Is this related to their strike? Am I about to come upon a litter of puppies or kitties that need to be given away? Oh...or was that another reference to my 'broke ass' going there to panhandle? Yeah...thats probably it, huh?]

IF you ever...EVER...see me standing in one of these lines, you will know that aliens have abducted me and swapped out my brain with someone else's and returned me to Earth. Please....just walk up to me...and KILL ME!!!

I'm pretty sure this is the same guy telling me, after busting the Main...to tuck my tail between my legs..and take my broke ass back to Biloxi. He tells me to 'leave his town' and that it will become less seedy the minute my plane leaves the ground. Buddy...first of all, its comical that someone like YOU...who slinks his way around poker blogs looking for someone to cut down behind the veil of anonymity...would try to pass himself off as a 'representative' for the fine city of Las Vegas. A guy who can't even sign his name to a comment. What's wrong? You came to Vegas...chasing the dream? And now your just a pissant hourly employee? Who found out the cruel truth about living the 'Vegas Life' and who resorts now to trying to bring guys like me down to your level of misery and self-loathing? Pfffft! Naw! No thanks. You wallow down there by yourself. And don't forget to get that vest of yours dry cleaned...its going on two weeks now...it's really starting to stink, pal.

To the lady? Who did the most creative 'tip-toe...tickle my nuts ever so gingerly while at the same time smashing them with a mallet when I wasn't looking' message? I just have one question for you. You say you 'finally left your husband' for the 'same kind of crap' that you project me as putting my wife through? What would that be exactly? Supporting her for the past 5 or 6 years? Filling our house with nice things? Making it possible to bring this beautiful child into our world? Judging by your schizophrenic message...hopscotching from 'you are an entertaining writer who clearly has the support of many friends and family' straight to 'you come off as arrogant and an abrasive asshole, who acts as if he is the greatest poker player in the world, but who lately, doesn't have much to show for it...who comes off as a whiny cry baby when anything doesn't go my way. I easily go on tilt and are broke!'  You follow this up by telling me I should take your advice, and then wish me a Happy Holidays! 

Wow. Seriously? Um...so, curious, if I was lying on the sidewalk, dying of a severed leg, would you hand me a band-aid to stop the bleeding? Was it really YOU who left your husband? Or maybe it was the other way around? I don't even know  what it means to 'act' like I think I'm the world's greatest poker player. What exactly would that behavior encompass? And by the way...when was the last time you actually sat at my table? I'm guessing you had an experience with me, perhaps...in a nightly tourney somewhere, probably about three or four years ago, when I had an extremely difficult time biting my tongue while watching the worst poker that you could EVER pay money to watch. Am I getting warm? And sure...usually by the time I'm in a nightly...I've probably already endured the day from hell...so if someone that knows me should happen to ask 'how things are going' they are probably going to hear something negative. I like how, and you see this stupid shit a LOT while playing online...when you make ONE comment about how some nimrod played a hand, and suddenly you are a 'whiny cry baby.' How creative. Is there even some kind of lead up to 'whiny cry baby?' Or do you people who lack the ability to loop together even three intelligent sentences just defer straight to the only catch phrase you can come up with? 

"Boy...the gas here is .30 more per gallon than right across the street, how weird is that?"

A:  "Oh...shut up, your just a whiny cry baby!!!!"

"Does it strike anyone as odd that we are sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic at midnight in Council Bluffs, Iowa?"

A: "Why don't you just whine and cry about it, you baby!!!!"

Are two examples enough to drive home my point? I hope so.  I also get a kick out of what qualifies as an arrogant asshole in the poker world. Oh no...he's abrasive! Why? Well, he just lost half his stack when the other guy chased a gutshot for no apparent reason other than he's missing part of his brain...and when dork #2 in the five-seat asks Monkey if he's pissed off...and Monkey's response is...."No...I'm not pissed, I'm thrilled. Why would I want to be chipleader this early in the tourney?" Any more stupid fucking questions? 

Do not....NOT...ever make me a college football coach. Because, frankly, and I have all the respect and admiration for these coaches, who...at the conclusion of the half, are required to go meet up with Holly, or Traci what's her fuck with the Coco Puff sitting just under her nose, or Grunty Kolber....I know her name is Suzi...but all I ever hear when she talks is grunting. When I think Suzie Kolber, I think big, smelly dump. If I had to run over to one of these dingbats and answer their stupid fucking questions...I wouldn't be able to help myself. I would positively go Bobby Knight on their ass. By the way...how much do I miss Bobby Knight and post game interviews? The only one even close to him is the coach of the NY Rangers...and those pricks are on strike. Life is just FULL of bad beats!

See...poker is a pretty testy environment...and when you do it for a living? You take it pretty seriously. So...you should try cutting someone a little slack when you may have just caught that person at a bad time.  I have come up with a pretty good comparative analysis to describe to those who don't fully know me, what I am all about. Are any of you familiar with Chelsea Handler? She has a show on E! I've been watching her for years. Both as a comedienne and when she got her own show. I am basically the male version of Chelsea. I have zero doubt in my mind, that if I lived in L.A. Chelsea and I would be really good friends. Nothing sexual. At all. I find her almost repulsive from that point of view. But I identify with almost everything she says. But here is where it gets good. Because she is on TV? It's funny, right? It's edgy. It's great sarcasm. It's just Chelsea being Chelsea. But I'm not on TV...well, except for when my pocket kings are getting snapped by Elizabeth Hille's pocket tens to end my main event....and so when I act in this fashion...I'm an abrasive asshole, who is arrogant. Know what? That's fine. It really is. I don't give two rat fucks about most of you liking me. Most of you aren't even worthy of a conversation. 

See, I don't think I'm the greatest poker player on earth. That is just a stupid, ignorant statement. And anyone who knows anything about me, or about poker...knows that without even giving it two seconds of reflection. That statement, in and of itself...is made by a person like you, lady.  Walk into the bathroom, look yourself in the mirror, and just slap yourself...for being ridiculous. And don't do it again. It's embarrassing. Fortunately you (along with all the others) didn't sign your name to your stupid comment...cuz if you had, I'd have had to post it...and brought shame upon you and every member of your family. Lucky you.

I'm watching Monday Night Football. Carolina and Philly. Remember when they played in the Super Bowl last decade? Boy....have things changed. Dude just missed an extra point. That only happens like once every 987 tries in the NFL. I have a bad feeling that 'ol Andy Reid might be coaching his last game if the birds don't pull this out...and being down by 8 with 4 minutes left isn't exactly making it look good. He had a good run. Oh...does someone want to tell Cameron Newton that when he scores a touchdown for a team that is 2-8...that he can save all the posturing and camera mugging? I just have a hard time NOT hating this guy. Things sure are rosy at Auburn since he left, aren't they? Whatever...the joke's on Auburn...they fire a guy who brought them their first National Championship since...wow...a long time...and just two years later, they are stuck looking for a new coach, while having to pay this guy $208,334 a MONTH for 36 months! I would never leave the house!

I needed to chime in...let you folks, the ones I give a shit about, anyway...know that I'm fine. Just been home with family. Haven't played a hand of poker, or desired to. What's next? Poker-wise? Not sure. Some dude on my Facebook is getting a weekly 1-2 PLO game going over here...might have to go sniff that out. That Bayou Classic thing, or whatever they are calling it in New Orleans...the tournament they always have in December that ISN'T a WSOP event....starts this coming Thursday. Maybe I will go play that. Maybe not. Not sure. Pretty much gearing up for Christmas...Carley's first...and the time we will spend in North Alabama with Squirrel's family. Actually looking forward to Christmas for a change. I usually loathe Christmas...but now, it kind of comes with a deeper meaning. Much deeper. As I finish this blog, I look to my left, where she is passed out...with her little hand wrapped around my arm...she is becoming really attached to me. And I love it. And her. I found out this week that my old buddy Jason Young is about to become a father...after maybe the best year of his life...after his restaurant was opened and is a total success up in Suffern, New York. Josh Brikis had a boy about the same time we had Carley. My friend Joe Cutler had a son last year, too. Leo Whitt just had a boy last month...and was quick to send me a picture. A lot of us who have toiled in this miserable existence that is playing poker as a profession are finding out that there really, truly is more to life than grinding poker tourneys.

Honestly, if I never 'win the big one' so be it. I've been close...yes, SO many times. And yeah...it rankles me sometimes to see how bad some of these little jerks play, watch them get horseshoe-up-the-ass lucky and lead to winning millions at an annoying age of 21-24...and wish that on just ONE occasion my hands had held up on the biggest stages, or if I had the 'gene' in my body that allowed me to make retarded plays and somehow coming out looking like a genius.You (as a poker pro) are sometimes left to wonder if you are just unlucky. If you weren't intended to ever experience that ultimate victory. I know we all go through those thoughts. And then, some guy who has spent years falling short...of taking horrible beat after horrible beat, finally has his day in the sun...wins his millions, accepts all the 'atta-boys' from those who were by him for that whole, painful journey over the years...and enjoys his victory with the required amount of modesty. Because he knows. He knows it wasn't HOW he played. He knows it isn't ANY different than all those other tourneys he played. The difference, was that on this day...the hands held. He won a majority of the races. Period. He wasn't 'great.' And his win didn't suddenly lift him to the heights of 'greatest player on earth.' Nope...because he is smart enough to know that the next time out...his pocket aces are likely to lose to J9 suited when the guy flops a gutshot, turns a flush draw, and rivers the draw (take you pick!)

The long, painful odyssey has made that guy smart though. He takes those winnings, and he puts them away. Maybe invests. Maybe buys a house. Something that has real value. He avoids the big cash games. He avoids buying fancy cars. He doesn't feel the need to start playing ONLY $5k and up tourneys...because he is afraid people (poker haters and shitheads, usually) will accuse him (always behind his back of course, because we ARE talking about poker players here) of being broke. 

"Dude, why would he be playing in a $300 tourney if he wasn't broke?"  Dude. I hope you die in a car fire. Dude.

If you haven't figured it out....I pretty much HATE poker now. And most of the players who play the game. There are a small handful who I like. And I like a lot of the dealers and floor people. And I'd say most of them know who they are. So why don't I just up and quit? Trust me, the thought crosses my mind. Daily. But I happen to think that I am good enough to play this game and make a living doing it. And somewhere along the way...the plan is to accidentally 'luck into' a big score. Like a lot of these other shitbirds have. Because that...will provide me the freedom of not having to show up so often, and worry about some fucking housewife who thinks I'm arrogant and abrasive and who comes off as an asshole because I'm not all rosey and fun. Suck it lady. There is a reason why I quit using my trademark 'monkey' at the table on this past trip. (a) I'm tired of being targeted, (b) I'm tired of people seeing my monkey, realizing its 'that guy they've heard about, who is crazy, and funny and blah blah blah' and feel this sense of responsibility to 'live up' to their expectations of me and (c) giving people, and I'm pretty much referring to the hyenas who prowl the dusty plain of 2+2 Poker Forums, a beacon to home in on.

Okay. I promise. I'm done. Good night. Now my head hurts. Shit.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Finishing Strong in Vegas...I Think (and Hope)!!!

Here we go. It's Monday. I just slept about 5 hrs. One hour on, one hour off...back and forth like that all night. Not sure what the hell happened, but for some damn reason, after about two or three years without a flare up...my herniated disk in my lower back aggravated my sciatic nerve late in Day One of the the Main Event here yesterday...sending a jolt down my leg. And my back is all screwed up now, and kept waking me up all night. Well...that combined with the constant creaking of the floor above me, as this hotel is incredibly NOT soundproofed in any way.

It's been awhile since my back acted up like this. On a trip to Reno a few years back, it got so bad I was actually sent to the floor once, where I crawled over to an empty table to sort of hide from everyone (laying on the floor UNDER the table)....as I waited for the pain to subside. It's a very helpless feeling when it's raging like it does...you're left to just wait for it to quit radiating pain from your back to your legs.

I wish I knew a 'legitimate' massage therapist in Vegas who would come to my room before we return today at 2pm of the Main...and could properly adjust me or whatever they do. I've known some magical hands that have left me feeling awesome...one set of them belong to a gal up in my Mom's hometown of Snoqualmie, Washington...who, if I were rich, I would fly down here right NOW!

Before I get into poker...I had a FRIGGIN AWESOME WEEKEND of football! That I am still sky high over! Last weekend, as you recall, I was getting my stack demolished by Jabba the Her (whom many of you have seen the picture of, after texting or emailing me requesting to see the picture) late in the $1650 Main Event at the Palms in the Heartland Poker Tour. Upon departing that room of doom and gloom, I had to endure the pain of my beloved Alabama Crimson Tide getting derailed on their path to the National Title game by the Texas A&M Aggies and their wunderkind freshman QB, Johnny Manziel, who people are now mentioning as the Heisman favorite. Why? Because a series of things transpired this weekend to make that a possibility.

In the nightly tourney this past week, when I finished 5th...a guy came to my table, having been moved there from a broken table. Before getting settled in he decided to get a massage. He decided to take off all his jewelry, which include a big, clunky ring...that after wriggling loose from his hand...had it fly off and hit me in the side of the head. He politely apologized, then told me it was his class ring. Where from? I asked? You won't believe it...and I can't MAKE this up! Texas A&M!!! No fucking way!

When 'Bama lost, I had to console Squirrel, just as I did last year when we lost that heart-breaker at home to LSU 9-6...to seemingly end our title hopes.  "Sweetie, we aren't dead yet. We only dropped to #4...and Oregon, Kansas State and Notre Dame all have tough games left that they could lose. If two of those three lose, we are probably in control of our own destiny! So cheer up!"  Well....'Bama started the day by predictably blasting Western Carolina...the annual 'tune up' game before the big rivalry game with Auburn, which hopefully this year will serve as nothing but a 'tune up' game for Georgia in the SEC Championship. Because now that game has taken on what the NCAA has hoped those conference championship games would be...a virtual playoff game to decide who will play for the National Title. 

Kansas State, apparently unsure of how to deal with the responsibility of being #1 went down to Baylor...and got trounced. Behind from the start, they never could engineer any kind of a real comeback...and fell from #1 all the way to #7 with the loss, and probably ended the Heisman campaign of the previous favorite, Collin Klein. Then, an hour or so later...it was Oregon's turn to bite the dust...falling to the Stanford Cardinal (also probably ending the Heisman chances of Kenjon Barner), who became the first team all season to shut down the Duck's vaunted offense. When the game-winning field goal split the uprights...and both #1 and #2 teams had lost...I was two players away from locking up a Main Event seat in the fourth and final (after busting all three Megas on Friday, at $300 a pop) mega satellite...and sitting on a very 'safe' stack of over 100k (with the average at around 65k). I would end up putting an end to that Mega...calling the all in by the girl who was all decked out in Ed Hardy gear from hat to toe...and tanking on every hand, with J8...getting the BB to call...and checking it down...me hitting trip 8's. The guy seated next to her told me the next day (in the Main, as he was at my table) that she started crying under her big huge shaded glasses. Great. Well, at least she got $784 for bubbling.

I immediately thought of Squirrel, who is at home with Carley in North Alabama visiting all her family. I've been getting pictures and videos all weekend, Carley is almost fully crawling now...it's so cute watching her scoot across the new wooden floors in Cheryl's mom's house. We Skyped and/or Facetime'd on our iPads a couple times the past couple days...and it just makes me so happy to see her little face. She shes me and starts grinning. I can't describe that feeling in my heart when that happens. I can't WAIT to get home to see her! However, after being here for 12 days, and having mixed success...I would really, really like to have to cancel tonight's flight that I booked for just after midnight...which would get me back into Biloxi at about 10am tomorrow morning.

On Friday night...after losing 3 Mega's...and winning a SNG...before losing $500 in the 2/5 game...starting hot (running $500 up to $800 quickly), then losing three monster hands to knock me down to a mere $45 (refusing to reload out of principle and spite, and maybe, just, stupidity or stubbornness), I ran that $45 up to $425...then lost all of it on a hand with KK...having raised to $25 behind 6 callers....getting called by 4....flopping K-5-7...leading INTO the flop for $85...hoping to sell them on thinking I missed, getting two believers...who called. On the turn...a 3 hit the board. I bet $120 this time. I get raised all in by the guy next to me. Huh? Looked at the board...the only hand beating me is 4-6...would this guy really call $25 preflop with 46? Or $85 on the flop? I guess so if he was open ended, huh? After watching this guy play for awhile, I thought the chances were more likely that he was making a move. Well, I was half right. He actually had 6-8 in his hand...which left him STILL being open ended on the turn. I called his all in...and prayed for the board to pair. Instead, the dealer gave him a 4 on the river...completing the straight...and sending me off into the night for a nice (not SO nice) walk back to my hotel.

Before I did all that, I bought a guy's Main Event seat for $2000. A discount of $500. He knew he couldn't play...and needed to get rid of it. So he offered it to me for $2000. I knew I was playing, one way or the other...so I took the deal. Glad I did now...because after I won the Mega on Saturday night...it just meant a nice little $2500 addition to me and my backers' bankroll. Which was badly needed after four buy ins on the Megas...at $300 a pop. 

Side note:  Check out the message board exchange with a guy named Rakewell...who, to his credit, at least took credit for his comment, choosing not to hide behind the veil of the 'anonymous' tag...as he accused me (basically) for being a 'tax cheat' after mentioning the avoidance of a tax form in the chop I had in the bounty tourney a couple days ago. I checked out his profile and discovered he writes a poker blog. Ironically, on one of his recent posts, he talks about a new, unfamiliar poker term he has been hearing lately...something called a 'touch bet.' He had to seek out clarification, so he turned to David 'The Maven' Chicotsky...who, as irony would have it, served as my dinner date last night on our dinner break, along with Annie LePage and a poker player known as CajunDragon. It was purely by accident, as Annie and I have been friends for years...and she invited me to join her at Grand Lux. Both guys were very pleasant, and it was a dinner consisting of poker players, who thankfully didn't dominate the entire dining experience with talk of poker hands. Instead we mainly talked about nutrition and dieting. 

When we returned from dinner break...Annie would have her table break...and arrive at my table! I wasn't happy about this. Because I know how Annie plays. And we both had about the same chip stack at the break...me with $34k and her with about the same. I just hate having good friends at my table in a tourney where we are playing for a substantial amount of money...because I hate the thought of busting a good friend. And hate the idea of getting busted by THEM. It's just an awkward thing.

My table had been pretty decent all day...until Sam Stein and David Williams arrived...then the entire texture of the table changed...and forced me to have to completely change my style...especially considering David was now in the 5-seat...me in the four seat. I know how he plays...which meant instead of opening now with hands in the top 15-25 range with a raise...I would now limp with those hands instead (being prepared to call a reasonable raise)...and instead of raising 3x with decent hands in decent position, I would now raise 2.5x...knowing there was a likely chance he would either be snap calling or even re-popping me...and I wanted to be sure to keep the bet size manageable, so I could get the action to the flop. Having guys like Sam Stein and David at the table, along with two other 'pests' in the 7 and 9 seat...who had been running like gods all day, and were hell bent on exacting their dominance on the table...raising about 85% of the time between the two of them...made for a very, very mentally draining day.

I love playing Main Events...because the players are usually GOOD. It makes all your decisions critical. But at the same time...you KNOW that these guys are paying attention to your game, too. I never had to move tables all day...so that continuity that you develop when being with the same players all day...is very beneficial to your long-term existence. I employ my strategy that some admonish...wherein I show a LOT of hands along the way. Why? Because it makes it a LOT easier for me to throw in a sizable 3-bet or even 4-bet re-raise to take down big pots preflop...which I managed to pull off about 3 or 4 times last night. Sometimes with hands no better than AQ. Of course, it also hurt me a little, when raising with KK a couple times and getting no action. But to be perfectly honest...I love the image that I am able to build...that of a supposed 'super nit'...where I am able to take down a lot of pots (some very good in size) without having to see a flop. Not that I am afraid to play after the flop...I'm not, it's just that...tourneys are so much easier to get knocked out of when those five community cards come into play.

I would hit a couple of monster flops...with Sam Stein and the other two pests...hoping to get clean double ups. I never did. These guys were good, to their credit, and wouldn't fall for it. Oh, I would get the occasional c-bet out of them...which I would either flat (sending up the red flag) or re-raise, if the board was a little problematic, and called for a little pressure to be applied. Which usually resulted in them folding. Another thing about playing with good players...they know how to get away from hands, where bad players just don't. But those bad players will also stick around with a shitty hand and watch it turn to gold on the river...and fuck you up. So it kind of goes both ways. David Williams would end up busting, when he shoved 15 BB's in early position with 99 and ran smack into the BB's pocket Kings...which held. Sam, who got short after a 3-orbit attempt at running his stack up...but failed miserably...sat quietly for about 3 or 4 orbits before deciding to start jamming on the button and cutoff over and over in hopes of just surviving. Finally, Annie woke up in the BB with AJd and called. He had K5 off and couldn't hit either of his live cards. He was done. 

In Level 9 (we played 10 levels on Day 1) I had a great hour. On one hand...'the pest' in seat 9...who with his porn stache kind of resembles Eric 'Basebaldy' Baldwin a little bit...and to his credit, plays similarly...raised to 2500. Two callers behind me...and I flatted with 66 in the SB. 10k in the pot...well, a little more than that. A flop of 4-5-K comes out. I kind of like it. I check. He checks. The other two check. This tells me right away that I'm good. The turn is a 7...making me open-ended now. But there are also two hearts. Ugh. I bet out 6200. Porn Stache Pest calls, the other two fold. The river was a seemingly harmless card...the 10 of clubs. I decide to either limit my losses and check call, or just check-check it and hope I'm good. I can't find a good reason to bet the river...knowing that if he raises I can't really call. So I check. He bets 7500...and something about his bet tells me its a weak attempt at scaring me off the pot...which is now around 35k. So I'm getting 5 to 1 to call his bet...and with what I think might be (and probably is) the best hand. I count my chips, count the pot...stare at him for awhile...then make the call. He taps his cards in a respectful manner, tells me good call and mucks his cards. 

THAT RIGHT THERE? Is one of the rare moments in poker were I truly enjoy the game. And it really only seems to occur in big events. Good player...making good play...getting called, and tipping his hat to you. Your 'hero call' is good...and you win a big, meaningful pot. I love those moments. Its like the same feeling you get when...and this happened yesterday too...you make a fold that (it turns out) might have saved your tournament. The pest in 9 raised in early position. The guy in the 1-seat, a well-known player who I've played with a lot (and who seldom re-raises without a top 5 hand) re-raised him. I looked down at 88 in the SB. I'd been card dead for quite awhile...but trying to ignore that, I made what I was certain was a good fold. The other guy called. Flop comes K-10-4. It goes check-check. I immediately put the second raiser on KK. Only reason for him to check there. The turn is an eight! Oh no! But oh wait! Did I just get saved with my fold? I think so. Now the first guy bets. And just gets called. The river I can't recall...but the 1st guy bets again...and now the 1-seat raises. Which brings a fold by the first guy. I blurt out....

"Please show me pocket Kings!!! I laid down 8's and just want to feel great about the fold!" And he looks at me, smiles, and shows me pocket kings!!! Yes!!!! Those are the great hands you remember...the ones that didn't felt you or decimate your stack!

It was a very long, arduous day. I got to about 80k in Level 9...but Level 10, the last level of the night was wrought with frustration and a couple of big losses...which had me down to about 48k...but I picked up a couple decent pots before the night ended to close out the first day with 63k in my stack...which was right at the average. We come back to blinds of 800/1600...so I am really in great shape. Day 1a started with 113 players and got down to 33. We started with 148 and played down to 43. SO 77 come back today...with 27 getting paid. I have no idea what we are playing for...since they never did post the payouts. Which is weird for the Venetian. They are usually really good about posting the payouts early. But, then again...its not that big of a deal. I have a fairly good idea what we are playing for. And as far as I'm concerned...the only thing worth shooting for is the Final Table...so that is the obvious game plan for today. Play well all day, make the final table, miss my 'just after midnight' flight...renew my hotel room for one more day...and go win a nice chunk of change that will make my backers smile, and allow me to go home...spend the holidays with my family, not play ANY poker...and have a nice relaxing time playing 'Daddy' to my rapidly growing daughter.

Just laying here watching the news...and saw the highlights of the AMA awards last night. See that Justin Beiber won 3 big awards...and they showed him in the audience, hugging his mom after his last win...then bringing her up on stage with him. She was taken aback, and looked awkward or overwhelmed. That was my favorite moment of the day so far. I know its popular for people to hate on Justin Beiber..and I admit, I'm not a huge fan of his music...but I really like the kid. I saw his movie, can't remember what it was called, and just think he is a really good kid. He clearly loves and respects his mom, and the hell she endured in raising him...and think its awesome that he hasn't forgotten all that she did for him. His mom is also kind of a hottie. I just love to see a kid with all that fame and money at such an early age hasn't been ruined by it. YET! 

Well, I think that's it for today. Hopefully my next entry will be a POSITIVE one. A really, really POSITIVE one!!! And if not? Well, that's poker. Pretty used to it. And I will still be a winner, because I will get to go home to my gorgeous wife, my amazing daughter, my awesome dogs...and have my sister and her boys coming down from Wisconsin for Thanksgiving...so no matter what, it's going to be a great week, one way or the other!!!


Friday, November 16, 2012

Now That's More Like It!!!

If someone told you that in 1 week of poker tournaments, they had made 3 final tables, and was still down on the trip...you would look at them with that one left eyebrow arched up and that crooked smirk on your face, right? Of COURSE you would. And well...that is the case with this Monkey. But...and this is a nice, big, fat but...the deficit just shrank up considerably after last night.

I know that when I last wrote, I was about at the end of my wits. Then, I'm pretty sure...I went in the next day and watched my aces lose three times...twice busting out of the tourneys that it happened in. I was getting destroyed in cash game too, which just compounded my ills. I was flopping a straight on the third hand of a SNG...with a player having raised preflop and getting 5 callers. It was like..."wow, I just flopped the nuts...I'm going to have a nice chiplead right out of the gate...in a SNG...which, with a big chiplead to start, is nearly automatic for me to win." Well, the guy (original raiser) did, in fact lead out...and was again called by TWO other players...before I shipped all in...to which he auto-called (since he had flopped a set) while the others folded. He would river a boat. And I was out.

Then I got deep in the 7pm tourney. Things were going pretty smooth. It had that 'on my way to the final table' feeling about it. Then Miss Horseface raises UTG. We both start this hand with close to the same stack of about 40k. She raised (at 600/1200) to 3500. I re-raise her on the button to 8500 with JJ. She calls (with 77). The flop comes a very favorable 8-9-3. She bets out a rather ridiculous amount of 5000. I re-raise her to 17,000. Leaving...yes, you're following correctly here...about 14k behind. Any chances here that I'm folding folks? Try convincing her of that! She tanks for a long time...staring me down in a very amateurish way...then going all in, and cringing when I call.

"Oh no! I didn't think you had anything! I guess I made a bad read....."  I didn't say anything...but saw her two sevens and just waited for the dealer to reward her stupidity, which he did...with a seven on the damn river. Then had to listen to her empty apology. Yeah yeah...blah blah blah..I get it...your stupid! It always makes me just irritated as fuck when you have those fairly new players who want to mix in all these 'poker terms' and ill-timed phrases to explain their goofy-ass plays...when all they really meant to say was..."I am not good at poker yet, and I honestly have no idea what I was thinking there...I guess my stupid play just got lucky."  I would rather they say that. It's like the person who claims they aren't a bad student...they're just a bad 'test taker.' Oh, you mean that part that determines most of your grade? So what your saying is...you're stupid?  Don't tell me you 'made a bad read' when you don't even know HOW to make a read...or know what it is you are 'reading.' I could have been a fucking totem pole making that play and a good player would have known their 77 was trailing to an over pair. Everything about how I played that hand screamed 'HE HAS A FUCKING OVER PAIR HORSEFACE!'

Yeah, so whatever...I didn't win that night. That was three nights ago. Two nights ago...in the 7pm'er....my 2nd event of the day, after busting in the noon $400...where my AA lost to 22, I would finally put everything together. I don't remember much now...but I did manage to make the final table. And while I was dragging around one of the shortest stacks for most of the tourney...I went on a heater and pulled to 2nd in chips with 8 left. It was pretty much me and this Euro with the stupidest jacket I think I've ever seen. I couldn't help it...I was all over this guy about his jacket. It was...how do I explain this thing? Oh! Shit...this is easy! It looked like (but worse...shinier) the jacket those fellas on the race horses wear. It was so short...it came up to above his stomach. I asked him...if I knocked him out, if I could have his jacket so it would never get worn in public again? But this guy loved this stupid jacket. He thought it was really awesome. The jacket kind of became the focal point of the whole tourney and all the players. 

The 'jacket' would end up knocking me out in 5th for $1200. Which...not lying, never have I been so irritated about accepting $1200. I thought I had this guy, finally. He was chipleader, and I was just behind him...and the other three were dying a slow, blinding-out-death. I could have easily just sat there...dicked around eating my cucumbers in balsamic vinaigrette sauce...and waited to get 2 or 3-handed. But I didn't. So when I raised with AQ...and 'The Jacket' re-raised me...I just figured he was playing tough guy. I call. The flop comes A-Q-10. Nice. Right? He was first to act....and he just shoved all in! For like 300k. Pretty sure the blinds were only like 2500/5000. Well...I sure wasn't putting him on a set of aces...I mean...who would make that strange play? Maybe this guy. But if I was going to raise...then call a re-raise with that hand...and THAT was the flop? Folding would seem pretty stupid. I make the call....and with the chance to own 80% of the chips on the table with 4 (one on death watch-him!) players left...would probably waltz to the $5200 first prize. I made the right call. He turned over KK. Yes!!! I hadn't even gotten the excitement out of my soul before watching the dealer slapped a fucking jack on the turn. What the??? NOOOOOOOOO!!!!! I needed an ace or a queen on the river...and what he gave me instead was a four....and a complete reversal of fortunes. I'm out!?? No fucking way!!!?? So you will understand why $1200 felt like $12.

At least I was smart and opted NOT to go play cash game. I went straight to my hotel. I mean...it was a positive day...but. Well, I don't need to explain the 'but' I don't think.

Yesterday I decided to NOT play the $600 noon tourney. I had some paperwork to get caught up on. That and I slept until about noon, having gotten in at about 3am. I left my room about 2:45...and walked the whole 2.2 miles...on my continued mission of losing 10-15 lbs on this trip. Those walks are great. I got there at 3:25...only missing a little bit. Buy into the $200 3pm Big Bounty tourney. And at my first table...I get the 'guy who never folds after he has raised.' In his defense, I've had him at my table several times in the past few days...and he is a very solid player...and handles his losing hands (often times bad beats) with a lot of class. He is one of those guys who likes to min raise constantly. Well...he would cause me to have to fire a second bullet in this deal. After winning a few pots early....I then lost a pretty big one...turning a straight..then losing to an OMRG's flush. Then...on a board of 9-7-6....with two clubs...and me holding Ac9c....I bet...get called...turn the 10 of clubs...and get it all in against a guy who had limped in with 5-8 (flopped straight) and miss the flush. Now crippled, I double up two hands later...and grow that to 3500 a couple hands later. That's when never-fold guy raises to 600 UTG...gets two callers, and I ship 3500 with 10-10. He calls (with KJoff), the others fold...and he turns a jack and rivers a king. REBUY!

The second bullet went a lot better. I would collect 5 bounties in total. I had one beautiful suckout. Holding AdJd...and only 58k with the blinds at 6k/12k...I didn't have much choice when this super-aggro punk who'd been annoying me all week, and was on the female dealer's last nerve with his assholish attitude (he was in the 1-seat) raises to 25k...the older guy next to me (and who I knew was pretty tight) went all in for 47k. I had to move, knowing I was likely behind...but probably not going to see a better hand than this. So jackass over there...mulls the decision. Really? What's to mull? He raised to 25k...and there is now about 140k in the pot...and he only has to call both of us for $33k more...and he is sitting on about 200k. But he folds. Wow...how shitty was HIS hand? Well the all in guy has AQ. Ouch. But I flop a flush! Nice. And he was drawing dead. Even turned another diamond. That got me back into the game. And I really never looked back after that...although...I did drop to about 80k after that winning hand put me at $145k. The blinds were brutal...and if you weren't getting cards...you were dead. 

Well, I did get cards...pretty much all final table long. And it was about time...because I had really been pretty card dead the whole tourney. Making the most of the ones I did manage to get. I never got aces until we were three handed...and when I did finally get them, raised small on the button, only to get zero action. I had the same thing happen twice with KK....no action. We got three-handed and it was me, this really nice, jovial, older guy from Brisbane, Australia...a man whose name was John Jolley...pretty fitting. He was hilarious. At one point, he bluffed that asshole in seat 1 out of a HUGE pot...then showed him a worthless 8-2 offsuit after the giant douchebag folded. Which put him on super tilt. I was really entertained by him...and we struck up a good rapport right away. Which really came in handy later.

Super Douche finally busted, making his last 'bad move' of the tourney. Then the only annoying player left was the Asian kid who thought he was the shit. Between you and me and the guy in the corner playing with the mouse? (I have no idea what that just meant) Anyone who wears the t-shirt they just got from the event they are playing in? Is an assclown. Sorry. But they are. No one even semi-cool wears event 'schwag' AT the event. So this guy was 'one of those' guys. Well, after he decides at 6000/12000 to just bomb away his whole stack for 157k...in a blind vs. blind spot...with, ahem....5-7 off (which I had also folded) he got caught by the big blind with QQ. Or did he? Nope...he flops open ended, and rivers a straight...and knocks the guy out. Gross. And stupid. There is, as most players with a Poker IQ over a grapefruit could tell you...nothing to justify that play. Nothing. Jamming his whole stack to save his small blind, and pick up the BB and antes? Nice play.

So a short while later...after he blasted his whole stack into my BB...I remarked, keep it up with that kamikaze poker, dude...it's gonna bite you on the ass. So what does he do? Oh...well, first he takes the comment as a racial slur. Because, get it? He's Asian? See...what he was doing? Was playing a kamikaze style of poker. Period. Whether he was Asian or Croatian...it was straight up Kamikaze poker. So get over it, shit head. Then he rebutted by telling me "At least I don't sit around waiting for AA while blinding out of the tourney." Now...I won't lie...I've heard this 'accusation' quite a few times in the past. It's not totally inaccurate...though suggesting I'm waiting for only AA is kind of silly. But yeah...I am patient, and I do make proper decisions in the proper spots most of the time. I just don't think it's ever 'the right play' to just recklessly jam my stack in bad spots with bad hands.  This twerpy fuck wouldn't let up...and I wasn't even talking to him...just listening to him. He kept infusing the 'kamikaze' expression into everything he was saying.

Finally I just had to tell him...."buddy, let it go. Okay? I haven't said a word to you since...okay? I think it would be sensational if you would just zip it up." I had a chance to whack him AND another guy and get three-handed with me holding 75% of the chips. I raised with 5-5. Another player shoved an amount that I would have called...but then shit head goes all in for too much to call. I fold. He had AK. The shorter stack had A8. I would have held. Oh well. We get three-handed. He had been begging to do a deal since we got to 9. I told him forget it. In my defense, I was telling my table when we had 16 left and I was grinding 10 bb's that I wouldn't be agreeing to any chop deals if I was lucky enough to get deep again. And I sure wasn't doing it now...especially with his annoying ass. Well, the Aussie guy would bust him. I was pretty thrilled with that.

So we were heads up...and he had a slight lead on me. I won a few hands. We were pretty close to even...when I asked if he wanted to chop. It made sense. First was $5400. Second was $3200. A chop would give us both $4300. And neither of us would take the tax hit. (a finish over $5000 gets stung) He said he would do the deal...but lets play three more hands. Okay. So on that first hand? He limps into my BB. I don't raise with QJh. Why? Because this guy limped in a LOT with big hands. I checked. And the flop came J-7-4. He bets 40k.  I raise to 100k. He goes all in. Shit. Well, he'd done this a lot...with a lot less in his hand. Dammit, I call. He turns over KK. Oh shit! And it holds. And I think I've fucked myself out of the deal, and it just cost me $1100. But? He didn't go back on it. Which he could have easily done...since we hadn't played three more hands. How refreshing. A 'stand-up' guy at a POKER TABLE??? I was quite blown away by that move. Well, Mr. John Jolley of Australia won a big fan in Mr. Monkey. We collected our money...and I walked out of the Venetian, feeling like I had just shaken a big, damn anvil off of my back. 

So, I'm not sure what happened, but I just had two good nights in a row. I almost always follow up a decent/good day of poker with a disaster. But it didn't happen this time. I am still down for the trip...but man, oh man...what a time to pick up $5k on the bankroll (last two nights) with the Mega satellites into the $2500 Main starting today!? I was in danger of missing out on everything...having already burned all the cash I brought AND having hit the ATM three times already. So now...what I'm hoping for...is to play today's noon mega...win a seat...then play the later mega...and win that one...for another $2500 infusion to the bankroll. Then take tomorrow (Saturday) off...rest, watch college football...then come back and play Flight B (Main Event has two starting days, Saturday and Sunday) on Sunday. That would be the ideal scenario. Now...granted, things in this aggravating game seldom go according to plan...but you never know. 

I am really missing Carley and Squirrel...but I was miserable knowing that I'd been here for a week...had done nothing but lose my backer's money...and hadn't won ANYTHING to take home to my girls. So last night, and the night before...have me holding my head quite a bit higher...and has restored my confidence, at the most critical time in this trip. And Squirrel just loaded up Carley a while ago...and is headed for N. Alabama to spend the weekend with her family...who are SO excited to see Carley again. I tell ya, that kid is so loved, its not even funny. I hope nothing happens to me, health-wise...but if it does, I know, 100%...that she will always have nothing to worry about when it comes to being cared for. It makes me happy to know how many people besides me that care about her. I have been seeing her a lot on Skype...everyone was right...you will NEVER love something so much as you will your child. I can be having the worst day...and the world seems like its falling apart, and the minute I see her face...and look at her bright eyes...and that cute smile cross her face, I start to get teary-eyed with joy...and get a little flutter in my stomach. I made that! That little creature loves me. And depends on me. What a powerful feeling that is. 

On that note...a really, really good guy in poker, Leo Whitt...just had his son. He sent me a photo on my phone...cute little bugger, too. I could tell from his message that he was feeling what I was feeling...am STILL feeling...when I had mine. Congrats to Leo and his wife!

Well, that's about it for the day, I think. Hope you all enjoy reading some GOOD news for a change...its been pretty negative in here the past 6 weeks or so!


Monday, November 12, 2012

Insane In the Brain!!!

The last three days have been a mental challenge. How much can one person take? Why does Venetian give me so many horrendous beats? Why does Venetian seem to house some of the absolute worst poker players on the planet? Where do they come from? How do they find this place? Where do they stay when they aren't at the poker table? Why do they wrap the concrete pillars that support the overpasses in Vegas with wooden pickets? Why is it called risoto when all it is, is rice?

I have very little time today. Being late for this event is not an option. Three days ago...I showed up on time. On the third hand, I limped with Ac9s. An OMRGwTP (new classification...Old Man Run Good with Tooth Pick) made it 300 (at 50/100) I called. Flop came all clubs...with a board of 9-4-5. Lovely. I checked. OMRGwTP bet 750. I raised to 1850. Welcome to Venetian. Four-bets are an endangered species. Despite having 12,000 chips....his next move as SHHHHHOOOVVVEEE. I called. He turned over two red aces. Nice hand sir. Turned a club. Bye Bye. Three hands later, I raise to 250 with AA. I get re-raised to 750, by a guy I know...a guy who is pretty aggressive and who takes photographs of constellations for entertainment. Back to me. I re-raise...to 2200. Boom. SHHHHOOOOVVVEEEEE. I call (duh). He has QQ. He loses. I now have 36k. In the 20 minutes of the event.

I knew this was trouble. It always is when I start like that at a Venetian event. This time, it was 'The Ukranian.' Can someone please tell me what the deal is with 'Russians' taking such offense at being called Russian when they are from one of the former Soviet republics? Last month, it was our friend from Belarus. Hell, it even has part of the word RUSSIA in that country. Well this guy...he was from Ukraine, and took great exception at being called Russian. Well...anyway, this fucker was my nemesis all day. He had no ability to fold. I'm not even going to bore you...I will just tell you I didn't even make the dinner break. I got down to 10 BB's...and this putz raised my BB...like he'd been doing ALL DAY. I called with A5. Flop comes A-4-7. Rainbow. I know he will c-bet, so I check. He does. He bets 2700 into a 4500 pot. I shove all in for 8800...or 6100 more. He calls....with KJ. Yep. KJ. Turn brings a ten...and I start that uneasy squirming in my seat before seeing the Q on the river. You.....gotta.....be.....fucking.....kidding.....me!!!! I didn't say anything. I got the glance of disgust from a few of the players...and that idiot with his embarrassed smirk.

I lost JUST in time to get into the 3pm $200 Big Bounty tourney. Literally was the last one let in. Got in at 200/400. Arrive at my table to find 'The World's Oldest Teenager' carrying on like a complete jackass. I have no idea what this guy's deal was...but he had a ton of chips. He was raising just about every hand...to amounts like 3000...and 5000. If there was a raise...to say 1200...and one or two callers...he would just move all in. It was ridiculous. So you had a lot of people simply flatting him for those huge amounts. Wasn't sure how the hell I end up at these tables. Any woman at the table, player, dealer, or massage girl...or cocktail waitress...was subject to his painful flirting. If you ever watched the sitcom 'Three's Company' then you may recall that bar they hung out at...'The Regal Beagle.?' This is the guy you might see hanging out there hitting on Janet and Chrissy.

I chose not to engage this guy...just observing...and praying for him to go down in flames. He would. I would help him with that...taking a stand with 99...in all in against him and another guy with QJc. Oh he was in great shape against my 99 with 7c8c...but after the flop brought a 7 and two clubs...he and the other guy somehow missed. I now had a massive stack. I would take the chiplead with 4 tables left (paying 13) and Mr. Smarmy would bust...well short of the money. I kept the chiplead til we got to 14 and were on the bubble. This is when...oh screw the description...we'll just call him, the 'Guy With No Brain'...who, let me just tell you...he thought 'Case Ace' was the name for AK. So a guy raises UTG...I re-raise with 10-10...and he decides, at bubble time...that 6-6 is the best hand. He shoves all in. I call....clean flop, clean turn...fucking 6 on the river.


That is where I left off two or three days ago. This blog has been sitting there unfinished. And I have been on a sleep marathon fueled by depression, the depression supplied by the gut-wrenching run of bad luck I'm having out here.  Mix in the game on Saturday where Alabama fell to Texas A&M, which spawned every Crimson Tide-hating football jerkoff to let loose with their venomous rants as their wet dreams were realized, the mighty elephant had been defeated by Johnny Football. How I fall asleep at 9pm on Sunday night....at the conclusion of the most unbelievably lousy game I've ever watched between two 7-1 teams...and sleep until 11am the following day is beyond me. 

While I was sleeping I had the most bizarre dream of all time. Well, one of the most bizarre dreams. I was in Seattle for some reason. I took my dog, Jasper...my father...and friend who now I can't remember, to the water front. I guess we were there the day before...because now there was a current, requiring an anchor for the row boat  was taking just 20 feet off shore so I could fish. I didn't stay at the water long. But I left my friend and Dad and Jasper as I went for a walk. I end up at a mall. Working in that mall, is my ex-girlfriend, who was now a lawyer. There was a three-office collection of lawyer's offices, and one of them was hers. I stuck my head in the door and said 'Hi.' She dropped everything...got up...went and grabbed something, and came out into the open area of the mall area...carrying about 8 or 9 records, one of them being Prince's 'Purple Rain' album. What the?

I guess the last time we saw each other she had borrowed (or just taken?) a bunch of my records? Does anyone still own a record player? We barely talked. She was pleasant. All grown up. It was a very awkward conversation. What do you say when you are happily married and have nothing but bad memories of her? I sat there or awhile...on the bench. Not sure what I was doing. But I was slowly forgetting that I had left my father and friend (and dog) down at the water. I wander around the mall..and find a poker game. Huh? Yeah. I poker game.

It was my worst nightmare. I would sit down at a table with 6 players...and suddenly it would fill up...and up and up and up. They didn't play 9-handed. It was more like...11, then 12...and then 14-handed. People were like, on top of me. I was losing my fucking mind. One black guy sat on my left..with one of those big puffy jackets on...and he takes 50 chips out of my stack. "What are you doing? You just took 50 of my chips?"  Yeah! I'm buying some chips from you. Huh? Where is your $50? How do you want it? Huh? What do you mean 'how do I want it?' I mean how do you want me to pay you? "How bout giving me fifty fucking dollars?" Never mind...just give me my $50 in chips back. Then I got up..and moved to another table...one with only 5 players. "Anyone want to make it a 2/5 game?" Two players try to explain it to the others...then they agree. Suddenly there was a crowd of 40 watching the game....and every seat filled again. Crowding me. I moved to the other side of the table...sitting next to a girl who looked like Elisha Cuthbert. Who turned out to be an undercover cop (I think) trying to entrap me for inappropriate behavior. 

I get into a hand that is raised to $10 and called by 4 players. I look down at QQ and make it $65 to go. I get called by the whole table. The flop comes A-Q-4. I can barely see the flop though because there are so many people standing around the table, and I'm being pushed and shoved out of my seat. The betting never even gets to me...and I see a turn card of K...I try to protest, telling the dealer I never even got a chance to bet...when the second player goes all in...and after TWO players say fold...she pushes him the pot...and takes everyone's cards...except mine...which are still in my hand. I freak out. The dealer goes to the next table. What the hell!??? I call for the floor. Their is no floor. Its just a three-table mall game that is managed by the 3 or 4 dealers. And they don't care. Every time I try to complain to someone they just keep telling me I need to calm down.

It happens again, this time with A5 after I flop a wheel and try to slow play it. The dealer pushes the pot to the player on the turn...after I finally bet and the other player goes all in. I'm sitting there holding my cards. I try to plead my case. Sorry. You lose. I decide to take a walk. Elisha-look-a-like follows me. I find my stuff sitting on a bench, and suddenly realize I forgot about my friend and father. But its now 7. Holy shit. I try to call them, get no answer. And now when I get back to the table...they are doing a drag net...literally a net-dragging arrest of people...I thought it was a joke. Two undercover cops and a really hot looking blonde in fishnet stockings and high heels. Then when she tried to drop the net over me, I playfully laughed and told her I was flattered but was happily married. She told me she was arresting me for placing my hands on another woman. What?

I ripped the net off of me...and started to run away...grabbing all my shit...with Elisha Cuthbert girl telling me I better not try to run...that they would get me. What are you talking about? Fuck this place...and fuck you..and fuck this poker room. You people are all fucking nuts! I get away...running through the streets of Seattle (I think). I make it back to my house. Where my Dad and Dog are...and I see my friend across the street, taking stuff out of an SUV that he had obviously called to come get him and my dog and father. He wouldn't talk to me. I understood. Then I woke up. And on the TV...was...OMG...Elisha Cuthbert, in some movie on TBS.

Weird shit man...weird. And now...I have to go play the nooner at Venetian. It's safe to say I'm well rested. I don't even have time to tell you about the hour upon hour of poker tourneys I've played in the past 3 or 4 days only to go down in defeat at the hands of....'THAT PERSON.' Even played the Main Event at the Palms for the Heartland Poker Tour...at one of the toughest tables I've ever played at in my life...taking out Layne Flack and Sorrel Mizzi...while building my 25k stack up to 75k with only one level left in the night..before 'she' showed up.

'She' was described to me later, by one of the dealers of the tourney....as 'that' player who all the other players were trying to take out when she had dealt to her earlier. She looked like she could have been friends with Breeze Zuckerman. She looked every bit like Russ Hamilton had dressed in drag and snuck into the tourney, trying to get the flavor of big tournament poker back in his mouth. My table image was immaculate. I rarely got action after the flop. Most of my raises were met with folds. I even managed somehow to pull off a bluff for a 30k pot when I knew my 99 was no good on a board with an ace and a king. But now I was up against the female version of Jabba the Hut...and yes, I took her picture...but I won't put it on here. Text or email me...and I will send it to you.

I raise with pocket jacks under the gun. Jabba the Her calls on the button. Ugh. Already hate it. But the flop brings a fairly harmless 4s-2c-5s. I bet 11,000 into a pot of 15k. It calls. Flush draw? Likely. The turn brings the 4 of clubs. Two flush draws now. Two pair now. Could she have a set? Not likely. I have her firmly on something like A10s. So she is sitting on about 55k in her stack now. I bet 31k. She flats! And leaves 20 to 25k'ish in her stack. I now have just about the same...and the blinds at 1k/2k. Begging for a jack on the river. But no! The dealer lays a 3 out there. Fuck NO WAY!  Any shitty ace is now good. I check. And of course...she declares all in. I fold my jacks face up. The others at the table are like..."Oh wow...no way dude...that sucks." And I watch Fatzilla stack up all my chips...taking her to over 130k...and leaving me stuck on 10 bb's. I go card dead for two orbits...never getting one place to make a move...then with 5 minutes left in the night...I get Kc9c on the button and shove all in...getting a walk. Great. On the next hand...at cutoff, I get Qd10d and move in again...for 14k. I get called by the current chipleader...a guy named Terry who played like a maniac all day....with J8. Oh! He just flops J-8-J. And I'm out. 

That one hit me hard. I walk out of the dimly-lit room they were holding the tourney in, with the 1987-esque TV's that were hung about 30 feet in the air and gave everyone a sore neck and ruined their eyes while trying to watch it all day....and into the sportsbook area where their cash tables are. The first thing I hear is the asshole who spots my Alabama shirt and blurts out "Ohhh yeahhhh....hey hey...Roll Tide!!!!"  Why, sometimes, can't it be legal...to just pick up a two by four with nails coming out the other end of it, and just smack someone in the face when they really deserve it? Doesn't that seem fair?

This came on the heels of the previous day...while playing in the $1100 at Venetian...when...with only 24 players left, and my day going perfectly smooth (just like this one was) I call a small raise by the ultra-aggressive Asian guy who liked to celebrate each winning hand with a "that's what I'm talking about" expression...holding 55. The flop comes 4-6-7. Nice. He C-bets to an amount I can't remember now. I raise him about three times his bet. To which he hesitates, then calls. The turn is an annoying Q. He checks again. I bet very large again. He calls again...this time even faster. Shit. The river? A very satisfying (I thought) 8...giving me the straight. He checks to me. Damn (I think). I bet a pretty small amount now. He does what he's done several other times...goes all in. The move that is supposed to scare everyone off the pot. But I'm not folding. No way. I finally caught this prick. Didn't I? What? I didn't? He turns over....oh my fucking god...9-10. I literally threw up in my mouth. 

"You called my huge re-raise on the flop with a gut shot?" "Hell yeah! You bet I did!!! Yesssss!" I had nothing left to say. I just took my stuff over to an empty table, sat there for awhile and thought about how much I hate poker. Hate playing 11 hours only to lose like THAT! How I should have WON the Bounty tourney the day before that...going away...but couldn't beat 66 with my 10-10...couldn't hold with AQ vs. A4...getting wheeled...then losing with AK against 77...to end up finishing an annoying 6th for $900 when a win would have been good for $5000.

And now, I look at the clock and its noon. Damn. Which means I'm taking a cab. I guess. The one good thing about this trip is I am living on almost NO food, and drinking copious amounts of water, so I should have probably lost close to at least 10 lbs by now. I'm eating almost nothing but vegetables. The exercise had been nice...those 2.2 mile walks to the Venetian are definitely a workout. My Seahawks and Huskies...and even the Saints all won...taking the sting out of the Bama loss. And besides all that...Bama only fell to #4. A loss by ND to USC, a loss by Kansas State to the suddenly hot Texas Longhorns...and maybe Oregon falls to Stanford, Oregon St and either UCLA or USC in an upset...and guess who is back in the BCS title game? So all is not lost. And this damn poker trip isn't over yet either. And as I dialed up the Heartland website, and looked to see who made the money, and the final table...no where to be found was that giant lump of goo who took me out. I will look ANYWHERE to find joy in this thankless profession.

That's it. I'm finally leaving my room. Have a nice day everyone.