Friday, May 31, 2013

Report from Vegas...

Well I'm three days in and you haters will rejoice in knowing that I'm oh for three so far. Also lost a little bit in cash game...all of that hinging on one HUGE pot where I finally trapped the table psycho with a flop of 5-3-5, two diamonds...me holding Ad5c. But...as things seem to always go...the psycho pulled a rabbit out of his ass...as he held 10-7...of diamonds...and after betting out 100 on the flop...and me min-raising him to 200...he shoved all in...and caught a diamond on the river. Yes, it was annoying. More annoying was my wallet falling out of my back pocket, which I discovered when the taxi dropped me off at my hotel. Oh. Great. Good news. Called Venetian and they found it, and turned it into lost and found. Whew!

The weather has been marvelous. So much so that I am taking the afternoon off and catching some time at the pool and soaking in some desert sun...which I badly feel I need. My hair...as long as its been since I was in my early 20's...is free of the humidity out here...and not curly. I feel like Keith Urban...though my wife and a couple of her friends tell me I look awful, even stupid. I don't care. Carley likes pulling it...and last night, walking back to my hotel...with a breeze blowing...I actually felt the wind blowing my hair. It felt delightful. So ya know what? I don't care how bad it looks. 

I had a thought the other day. Everywhere you look out here there are tattoo parlors. And I don't think I go anywhere where you see more people with tattoos. I have NEVER had a tattoo in my life. I hate needles. But for some reason...I kind of have a desire to get a very low-profile, even hidden from public view...a tattoo to honor my daughter. Something really special. It's just a thought.

My flight out here was typically screwed up. Of all the airports I fly into and out of...I've never had more problems than I have at Gulfport/Biloxi. Its as though they take joy in dicking people around. From closing the gate early, to losing and/or damaging luggage, it never seems to end. And the TSA presence is such a joke. I have never counted fewer than NINE TSA agents in their tiny area... and this trip was no different, as there were TEN. It reminded me of that funny scene of the Keystone Cops in those silent movies...all running around really fast, getting nowhere fast and doing nothing slow. Or a bunch of monkeys fighting over a coconut.

All this happened after I missed my early morning flight. Oh I arrived in what should be plenty of time...40 minutes before my flight. But absent was the person at the ticket counter. Why? Oh...because they love to close the gate WAY before the flight leaves. And then they just vanish. So you are left standing there...asking someone, anyone for help...and they just look at you and shrug. Can't check your baggage...you can't fly. So it costs me $50 to change my flight to that evening. I arrive an hour and 15 minutes early. Check my bags. Go through TSA...which took 15-20 minutes as they decided they needed to scan, re-scan, then pilfer through my carry on.  Get to the gate at 6:15...for a 6:45 flight. Three minutes later...the guy gives the final boarding call. Huh? I look at the clock. Half an hour before departure? WTF? Guy asks me if I'm on the flight. "Yes, I am...do I not have 20 minutes or so to board? I really don't like standing in the jetway with all the other passengers."

"You have a couple minutes." And a couple minutes later...was ordered to get on the plane. Weird. Why say the flight leaves at 6:45 if you are going to close the gate at 6:25? This, in my opinion, is really fucked up. So as I'm about to board...the baggage lady at the end of the jet way grabs my carry on. Whoa! No you don't! First...I had a very short layover in Atlanta...like 30 minutes...which means taking that train to your other terminal and hoping like hell they don't leave before the posted time there! So checking my carry on bag? And risking the wait associated with waiting for it in ATL? Not worth it. Plus all the valuable shit I have in that bag? Secondly, I have two carry-ons...one that is border line too big for some overhead bins...and one that is MUCH smaller and fits in all of them. I know this for a fact. Yet...there are always these fuckers who TELL YOU that your bag won't fit...and that you HAVE to check it.

"Listen...I KNOW my bag fits. I have flown on this plane a LOT of times. I do not WANT to check this bag...I have a VERY small window to make my connection in Atlanta and can't risk it. Please let me keep my bag." Then the bitchy flight attendant got involved and ordered me to check it 'OR ELSE.' Well you know how much these assholes in the airlines industry have gotten in the past ten years. They have the quickest trigger finger when it comes to finding reasons to have people kicked off the plane. So I finally relented and let them take my bag. 

So I'm standing...with about 5 other passengers...and putting my small shoulder bag, my sweatshirt and a pillow in the overhead when 'The Bitch' starts hollering at everyone to sit down, that they need to get get this plane in the air! I look at the time. 6:30. I say to her..."Excuse me ma'am, the flight is scheduled to leave at 6:45...15 minutes from now...why are we being rushed so bad?"

She babbled incoherently some response that made no sense.  But the one thing she said that I DID understand made me realizing we had a little scene developing here that was reminiscent of the one in 'The Bridemaids' and I better switch it into super mellow Monkey Mode in a hurry. So when she says, "Are you going to be okay for the next hour? Or are we going to have a problem?" I slowly nodded to her that I would be fine...and calmly sat down...seething.

Then while doing her little speech on the intercom bumbled that badly as well, mispronouncing numerous words, stopping in mid sentence a bunch of times...claiming 'she lost her place' on the card. Rolling her eyes...as if she couldn't be more annoyed at having to do the passenger safety speech. She was a nightmare. The difference in her performance, and the crew on the flight from Atlanta to Las Vegas was night and day. Tell me this. Why....on one leg...is the form of payment accepted for goodies and drinks CASH ONLY...but then on the next leg...same airline...the only accepted form is DEBIT CARD ONLY? Can someone explain that to me? And answer me this: On the flight from Atlanta to Vegas...they break it to us that the WiFi will be unavailable for the flight due to technical issues. At what point does the airline owes us some kind of refund? I mean...they lose your damn luggage...and they give you a $50 voucher for toiletries. Oh boy. But almost all of us now, when booking our flights, choose the flights that include WiFi on them. I sure know I do...and will pay a little extra for that flight. So, having paid that extra amount, then being deprived of it...do they NOT owe us a refund? Pisses me off.

Well we get to Atlanta...and thanks to them leaving GPT/BIL earlier than posted...my carry on bag taking 20 damn minutes to come up from the baggage hold didn't cause me to miss my connecting flight...which was two terminals over...and which, when I got there was in final boarding call. If I haven't mentioned it lately...and I know I have...I will reiterate it again...I HATE FLYING COMMERCIAL AIRLINES!!!! When and if this oil land of our family's in North Dakota every starts producing on a grand scale...I swear to god...I am taking a lease on a private jet and never flying commercial again as long as I and the rest of my family live!!!!

First tourney I played...$400 Omaha 8 or Better. Drew a really tough table...which to me is fine, you seem to avoid some of the donk play when that happens. But as some of the good players were knocked out, they were replaced by 'those guys.' One of my investors came to see me, and pay for his shares...and while there watched me go on a monster heater...to where I took the chiplead at the table. We were also into the later stages, where the blinds start to mean something and everyone isn't playing every hand. Well...I would get into a hand with KKA4...five way action...and flopped K-2-10. Rainbow. What possessed the guy to call with 3-5-Q-8 to even play this hand, I have no idea. I guess cuz his 5-8 were suited. :).  I bet the flop. He calls...and two others. Turn is a jack....of diamonds...putting two of those out there now. Only hand I can see beating me is AQ but its hard to put someone on that...calling a bet with a gutshot, in OMAHA. I was right. No one had AQ. But this guy now decides...even though there has no been a bet...and ME raising...to call with his 8-high flush draw (and no possible low hand)..and getting called by the other guy...now making for the biggest pot of the tourney to this point...we were now at 400/800. The river is a nine. I was glad to see there wasn't a low out there...but now I'm looking at the board...and as this guy bets...I start wondering if he has the straight. I have to pay him off. Yep...gutterballed me. Shit. Huge pot. Other way. Instead of having a massive table chiplead I fell to below the average of 12k. 

It only got worse. Same dealer. It's weird how things can be going so smooth all tourney...and ONE dealer shows up and just ruins you. I know it's not their 'fault' and all that. But it's happened to most of us, and I know most of you can relate. And it just pisses you off. Well, this guy did, in fact ruin me. Two consecutive river beats in a row...one where I had flopped a set, turned a boat..only to lose to a bigger boat on the river (holding an overpair...then bink!) It was really disheartening...as I already had 8 hours invested and was excited about starting the trip on a positive note. I busted around 8 and played cash for several hours then returned to my hotel. Minus one wallet.

Yesterday...I played the noon $400 NL...which was the second of two flights...the first coming on Wednesday and getting 180 players. We got 251 yesterday. The first hand I played was aces. And I lost a third of my stack. Folding to the guy's river shove after calling a flop and turn bet and a board of 10-10-5-Q-9. Felt like either KJ....K10...or a stone bluff...and I just didn't feel like being out 15 minutes after sitting down. Who knows? After the way the day would go from there...I kind of wish I had made the call and hoped it was good.

I had a table that was very irritating. One young kid...in his ridiculous glasses that were two sizes too big for his face, and two shades too dark to see anything...pulling them down anytime someone re-raised him to see how much it was. He became that kid I hated. He was a twerp. Had these long bony fingers...this sharp Ichabod Crane-like nose, and these beady little eyes, to go along with dorky hair cut like a smashed down brillo pad. (I know I know...who am I to talk about hair right now!) He was a pest. Raising my button EVERY single time he had the option to do so. He was raising with a lot of really crap hands. Getting lucky a lot. And of course...had a lot of chips. The whole end of his table was aggressive as hell...and my cards all day were total shit. Which...with their aggressiveness, made for a toxic combination. I mean, I like to use my super tight image to at least pick up some blinds once in awhile when I'm card dead and blinding off my stack. But these dicks made it hard as they were constantly 3 and 4-betting behind me when I'm looking at hands like Q-J, A-9 or small pairs like 5's or 6's. You know the drill. I chose instead to be patient...knowing that once I got into the 500/1000 and up levels I could catch up really quick with a few decent hands and avoiding bad luck.

Screw that. A new player at the table...a total buffoon...in an ill-fitting track suit and like the troll next to him, ridiculously over-sized and over-darkened shades...raised under the gun with A5 off for 2200. I shoved all in for 5300 with AK. It folded back to him. He snap called. And the dealer rewarded his excellent play with a five on the flop that held. And I was out...75th of 251 players...after a very torturous afternoon. Just in time for the 7pm tourney.

Very first hand of the tourney...I get...shocker...AK! But, astonishingly...after raising and getting called...I won the hand..and a decent pot. Nice start. Couple hands later I win with JJ. It was a $300 Survivor tourney...with each winner getting $2500...rewarding 10% of the field. Winning this would be nice...and get us back up over our starting number of $7500. Well, I had a couple hands blow up in my face...first, calling a 250 raise (at 50/100) in the BB with El Diablo suited. (K10c) Flop comes Q-9-5, two clubs. Nice. I check, he bets 500. I raise to 1100. He just calls. Hmmm. Turn is a king. Whoa. Top pair. Flush draw. Straight draw. How am I going to lose THIS hand? I bet 1500. He just calls again. Hmmm...okayyyyyy. River is a total brick, unless my king is good. I decide to check and see what he does. He bets another 1500. I can't really fold. I call. He has two aces. Ouch! Nice hand sir......

A short while later...I limp with Js10s...and there is this old...yes...we will call him an OMRG....who has been over-jamming constantly, and I will say it, the structure on this tourney was, uh...really speedy. Starting stack 12k. Blinds 30 minutes. But 50/100.....100/200....150/300...yeah...but level three you are already at just 40 BB's. Speedy. So geezer got down to 7k and decided it was shovefest time. Well he raises to 1200. Two others call...noticing what a fish he appeared to be and wanting to take a shot at him. Well, I did too, so I called. Check out THIS flop!!!

As-Qs-8d  Yahtzee! Royal Flush draw. Two straight draws. Second nut flush draw. Looking for the King of spades...or just the king. Or a nine. Or any spade. 15 outs....by my count. I'm planning to check raise him...but when he bombs out a c-bet of 2500 and I now have 6200 in my stack it kind of takes away that move....knowing he obviously will never fold...so I shove. He does call and turns over the mighty A-10 offsuit. I would miss 15 outs twice...and be down to 300 chips. Fabulous.

Well...I go on a bit of a miracle heater...and have that 300 chips up to 8900 at 200/400 when this guy...who is REALLY aggressive, and who was the same guy who rivered that diamond on me in the cash game the night before...raises at cutoff against my small blind. I look at 10-10...and decide to play it coy. I call. BB folds. Flop comes A-10-3. Sweet. I check...he lifts up his glasses to count my chips or just try to make me nervous like some players do. Between you and I? When another player gives out that classic line:

"How much you playing there?"  It tells me right away that they have air...and are trying to intimidate you. It has stood the test of time and proven itself to be a valid theory. He doesn't ask this..but he's one of those guys who likes to motion with his hands to get the other player to lift up and back away from their stack to give a clear view of their stack. I hate those idiots. There are times I wish they would give us all a dry erase board and require us to keep our chip count updated and written on this board. That way..it would be just like playing online where you always know exactly how many chips the other player has. And it would take that stupid 'move' out of the game.

So....he eyeballs my chips and says those two magic words I was hoping he would say.

"I'm all in!"

Yeah...I call. He had AK. You can almost predict whats coming right? Turn is a queen...and that uncomfortable squirming in the seat starts....and then watching the dealer...staring at the last card...as it comes out...upside down and not visible...then almost like in slow motion....flipping over to first reveal the bright colors of a face card...causing the initial jolt of shock...then the finishing move when you see that it is the Broadway-completing Jack of clubs. Eyes close...breath is exhaled...chair is pushed back...goodbye and good lucks are issued...and I disappeared into the night...walking back to my hotel. Oh and three.

In conclusion...poker is a very difficult way to make a living. And it's been further complicated by the fact that players are all getting better...to a point where they have evolved over the past few years to a point that the playing field is really pretty level now. Which makes it SO much harder to win. The dead money, the total sucktards...are fewer and farther between. Really, all you can do, is play solid, try to get inside the top 15% of the field...and hope things just break your way...either through getting great cards, or just hitting every damn flop...or god forbid, having a table that folds to all your bluffs! I walk around and talk to so many different players, players all with differing styles of play...and they almost all agree with this line of thinking. That it's just TOUGHER now than it was 2 and 3 years ago. 

A lot of players...and a lot of money...are going to be coming to this town in the next month and a half. The big winners are going to be the casinos, and a shockingly small percentage of those players. To be one of those players? Well, that is why we are here, isn't it? But it's tough...brutally tough some days...and the hours and hours you commit to chasing that goal is tiresome. Which makes taking an occasional day off to clear your head of all that pain you've been enduring. So I'm hoping 3 or 4 hours out at the pool will help to get my batteries recharged today in time for the tourney at 4pm. Tomorrow is the first of two flights in a weekend $400 NL tourney...which I suspect will draw close to 1000 players total. Be a good one to run good in.

Does it suck to not be able to play at WSOP? Mmmm yes and no. Yes, because I miss a lot of my buddies who I know are over there. Yes, because it sucks to be forbidden to go ANYWHERE...especially when you didn't do anything to deserve it. It's just irritating, and frustrating. But no, in the way it relates to my poker bankroll and the type of games I like to play. As for SNG's? The WSOP sng's have horrible structures...while Venetians are fantastic. And when it comes to tourneys...the only tourney I would be playing over there would probably be their 2pm Deepstack tourney...that draws HUGE fields and has a better structure. But the bracelet events? Those buy ins are way too high for my budget...and I'm not down with those miniscule starting stacks. The only bracelet event I would ever just HAVE to play...is the Main Event...which is the greatest structure in the biggest tourney in the world. Missing that...will sting. But overall, I'm very happy and content to be out here...fully backed...and playing in good tourneys with good fields. And I do wish TONS OF LUCK to all my friends and blog readers who are playing in the WSOP events. I would love to see one of them win a bracelet and a truck load of money.

Okay...that's it for today. That was probably more than I planned to write...and I actually left out quite a bit. But I will leave that for later. One thing about Vegas...you KNOW there is NEVER going to be a shortage of things to write about when you're out here!!!


Monday, May 27, 2013

24 Hours til Vegas...No Expectations

I know, its been awhile, again...since I blogged. It's been a, well...it's not been the best of months. And poker had nothing to do with any of it. 

Every time I click on this bookmark, to make a blog, the first thing I see is any new comments I've received. These comments...whether I choose to publish them or not...have stopped posting to the actual blog page. I don't know why. Google always returns an error message when I try to re-add it. So the only one who sees your comments, is me. 

Well, there is one...it might be two...guys who have taken to pretty much coming up with the most personally offensive things they can think of to say to me. Of course they never sign their name to their comments. A lot of their comments are based on posts they see on my Facebook...which is useless in trying to figure out who they are (not like it matters, really) since my posts on Facebook are viewable to anyone, not just my F/B friends. 

I've gotten a lot more thick-skinned the past five years...due in large part to a lot of the bullshit I've endured while playing poker for a living. So a lot of these comments I read, don't really stick to me like they might have in the past. Sometimes when someone says something about you, you have the urge to lash out and defend yourself to those who say things about you. I think its human nature. 

Well, I'd be lacking any human emotion whatsoever if I said that these comments didn't at least upset me a tiny bit. Of course they do. I don't like that people just sit there waiting for me to make a blog post a Facebook post, so they can fire off their latest mean comment. What inspires and motivates them to do that? Are they so devoid of things in their own life to focus their energies on that they need to turn to upsetting mine? I guess so. The common thread in these person(s) slams against me are my frequent sharing of information, personal information...that this person feels is an attempt on my part to garner sympathy. 

Hmmm. So I thought about that for awhile. I mean...seriously, really thought about it. Do I do this? Am I looking for sympathy? And I came to a rather unanimous conclusion. Hell no. See, I share...probably TOO much, with you...my readers, when I write my blog. Most people are really averse to letting what amounts to total strangers into their life too much. They will let you know only what you need to know. And I admit, I'm guilty of letting people see too much of the show behind the curtain. And it isn't always pretty. Admittedly. 

But I thought about it, long and hard. Sympathy? I think to be seeking sympathy, you first need to feel sorry for YOURSELF...is that not true? And I know that no matter how low I've gotten..whether it be in a pit of depression, or a financial hole...that I rarely have spent much (if any) time feeling sorry for myself. In fact, I browse Facebook on occasion and almost punch my computer screen at the number of those people who ARE on there...that their cry for pity is so patently clear. But I don't leave them a snarky comment, bashing them for their pleas for sympathy. I just move on. So when I read this person(s) comments instead of getting defensive and/or mad..I just took a look inward, at myself, to ask if I'm guilty of this. And like I said, concluded that its not even open for discussion.

When I get low, or broke, or frustrated, the last thing I do is seek others to make it better. Know why? Because I've lived 46 years on the planet, and I've figured out that the percentage of people who really, truly care...about your bad run of luck, about your plight in life, about your current financial status? Is a very small number. Oh...I might talk about it. But talking about something...and only to those you feel you can...and whining/bitching about it...are two totally different things.

So...two weeks ago tomorrow...something very tragic happened in our home. Right in front of me, my wife, and our 1 year old daughter. Right in our living room, on our couch. It will forever change my wife and I...hopefully Carley was too young for it to impact her. Five days after this happened, whoever this asshole commenter is...posted a comment in here, suggesting how 'excited' I must have been to post about what happened on my Facebook. People that are cut from this fiber...are truly the lowest form of human life...and have a special place carved out for them in hell, I think. 

Most of you know what happened two weeks ago. Cheryl's father, Sonny...who was staying with us while he recovered from one of the most serious operations you can ever have...something called the 'Whipple Procedure', and which was later told to us by the coroner that it carries one of the highest rates of mortality of any operation known to the medical practice...suffered a heart attack, which we assume was related to the recovery process, since he had never had any history of heart trouble. We gave him the aspirin he requested. I immediately and calmly called 911 and the fire department medics were here in 2-3 minutes to stabilize him. He continued to slip deeper into pain, difficulty breathing...and you could see and hear the pain and fear on his face and in his voice. Cheryl was trembling and crying and freaking out. Carley sat...ominously quiet...just staring at 'grandaddy.' I kept trying to figure out something I could do to help...but the 3 medics seemed to have things in control. They were waiting for the ambulance...to take him to the ER.

It must have been 10 minutes before the ambulance arrived...but it felt like an hour. They got him on a gurney and rolled him out to the ambulance...where we all watched him put inside...with his eyes open...but in visible pain, and the fear in his eyes was obvious. Cheryl followed the ambulance in her car...as I tried to contact our babysitter...which I did...despite it being 10:30 at night. She showed up in minutes...I gave Carley to her...and sped off to the hospital. When I arrived, the personnel from the ambulance was still in the carport..and when I approached them to talk, I could already tell by the look on their face that the news was bad. I found Cheryl in the waiting room, bawling. It was a nightmare. I didn't know what to do, or say...so I just held her. 

I texted one of her friends...knowing that in a time like that...it would help to have a girl friend there. I was right. Within ten minutes two of them showed up. And I could tell it meant a lot to her. The four of us were allowed in to see her father...who they had laid in hospital bed. I'd never witnessed death before. This was new territory. And this was my wife's father...who she adored. Later (Friday), on a drive home (to N. Alabama) to conduct his service...I would start a conversation with Cheryl about her daddy...wanting to know more. In the 12 years we have been together...I never really had a great relationship with Sonny. It wasn't bad...not at all. It just was never great. I probably didn't make enough of an effort to get to know him...and I felt kind of bad about that now.

A few days before Sonny died, he said something that really touched me. I can't remember him ever paying me a compliment...I mean, aside from something trivial...a real compliment. He was on the couch watching me feed Carley while Cheryl was at work one day...and just out of nowhere says....

"You know Will, I wasn't sure how good of a father you would be...but you really are a great dad. I'm surprised."

That comment is what I will always remember about Sonny. That and the things Cheryl shared with me on that drive home...we had such a good talk...that I completely missed the exit to her brother's house! And she didn't notice that I'd missed it either. In 12 years together, it might have been our best conversation ever. 

It just so happened that Cheryl's grandmother, Sonny's Mom...had a family reunion planned for last weekend...so a lot of people were in town for that. So they kind of had to rush the service...which was held at his mom's church. I was amazed by the turnout...close to 100 people...and the amount of flowers that were sent was truly impressive. I was happy to see that the Beau Rivage had sent flowers. That was a classy move by them. The service was nice...with a picture slide show that Cheryl and her brother's wife put together the night before.  A lot of tears were shed...Cheryl was incredibly courageous...not just during the service but the whole week leading up to it...and since. 

Sonny had a lot of debt,  and his life insurance had expired two months before he passed...and since his health was so bad, they wouldn't write him a new policy. So a lot of things were left to her brother and her to take care of. I felt so bad for them. I mean...you just lost your father...and now you have to deal with things involving money? It's just an insult. I mean...you would think when your loved one dies...you would at least get a little time to mourn the loss before being hit in the face with bills. But I guess it's just a reality of life. So we took care of the funeral home's bill...and the rest will be dealt with later, somehow. But watching Scott (her brother) and her deal with all this that whole week was just absolutely inspiring. Scott and I had a talk out in his driveway when we arrived that Friday night...about God, and faith, and a lot of beliefs that his dad had about it. We talked about the importance of family and friends, and our health. It was another good talk...in a day of great talks, and understanding of the people who are closest to me. 

I don't know if I could have shown the strength that her and Scott showed that week. Scott loaded up his three boys and wife on Wednesday night...and made the 6-hour drive down here just so he could sit with his father and pray with him...before he was cremated (per his request), then stayed the night with us...and we all drove back up to Huntsville the next morning. He said that seeing his dad made him feel a lot better.  My respect for Scott...never before even in question...just continues to grow all the time. He is an amazing father, a great husband...and just one of the best people I know. Having been around him for the past ten years made me nervous to have a child, not thinking I could ever be even CLOSE to the type of dad he is. My hope is that I can just be close.

So Sonny has left us. He was a member of my poker club. A lot of people said a lot of really nice things about him. When his surgery was over...and they determined he didn't have cancer (which several doctors thought he did have) it was a great moment for all of us. He got back on and was playing poker while he was here staying with us. He collected a few wins...but mostly had a lot of frustrating results. Yeah...I know the pain...in the month of May...out of 152 games played...I have bubbled 41...FORTY ONE...times. It's been insane. Whatever. So when Sonny passed, he left me with a negative balance that was pretty significant. I wasn't upset about it. It is what it is. As was the bill for the funeral arrangements. It's life. It's family. 

It did give me a little perspective on my future though. Me and Cheryl. No more eating bad, and not exercising. I don't want my child having to bury me at a relatively early age.  Also made me glad I took out a good life insurance policy for me and Cheryl last year...so that if something does happen to one or both of us...everything we leave will be taken care of, bills, daughter...and family. It has changed my whole outlook on this trip I am taking to Vegas tomorrow too. Now that I have a solid little business going with the poker club...that is doing wonders for me and Squirrel's bills, as well as our relationship...in addition to my other side business, an online marketing business...that is doing great since I made a few changes in April...I finally have the opportunity to go to Vegas not HAVING to win. 

I sold out my 50-share package in just a few days...and will play for 38% of myself this summer...on my 20-day poker trip that will have me playing primarily at Venetian. I have a total of 26 investors. They are in for 62% of EVERYTHING I play...sit n gos, satellites, and tourneys...all of em. And they will get as close to daily updates as possible. The number...which will start out at $7500...and just go from there. If it ends on $7500...they all get their money back. So for you wizards with your snappy markup math that you like to do....save it. It doesn't work with this game plan. It's real simple...if I cash....I get 38% of what I cash..and the rest goes in the bankroll. At the end of the 20 days...whatever that figure is...gets chopped up and paid out. I predict I will probably play about 25-30K worth of tourneys and sng's. Pretty good action for $150 a share...and I don't have too many investors who have ever felt like they didn't get their money's worth. Or at least not that I know of. 

Back to Sonny. Whether you believe in God or not...there are things that happen that sometimes are very hard to explain. Well, last Sunday night...we were up Killen, Alabama at Cheryl's mom's house. Cheryl had spent the day at her Daddy's house going through all his stuff, trying to get his affairs in order...and I was at her mom's house. I logged on to Lock..which I hadn't played on in a while...at least a month. I bought into the $20 MTT and their $10k Guarantee $109 buy in. I started great in the 20 and terrible in the 100. I would final table the $100 and not cash the $20. Once at the final table...I was 7th out of 9. Then the breaks started coming. One suckout after another. What is going on? This NEVER happens to me on Lock. EVER! Then I got heads up. And with me trailing 9 to 1...fought my way back slowly...got it to even...then lost a huge pot to fall back to down 6 to 1....I was feeling hopeless, but still good about winning $2200 for 2nd....when all of a sudden, I raised with 99...got re-raised....put in a fourth raise...and had him shove on me. Had to call. I was up against AA. Ooops. 

The board ran out dry until the river...when a nine hit! Holy cow! No way! I took down a huge pot, momentum swung my way...and before I knew it, I had him on the ropes and finished him when we both flopped two pair...mine better than his. I had won. $3200. Biggest score ever on Lock. And for a moment I looked around...and wondered if Sonny had maybe had something to do with it. That his guilt that he maybe was feeling over leaving us with his burden had been lifted by steering a few breaks my way. I would like to think that is exactly what happened. I know Sonny had a rough last decade. But he was a good man. And his kids loved him unconditionally. And despite being a great student of religion in his earlier years...before losing his confidence in the lord, and before losing most of his confidence in a lot of things...I feel that our father in heaven has invited Sonny into his haven and provided comfort to him.  And that we will all be reunited with him one day. 

So me sharing this with you? Is this me wanting sympathy? As this jerk who leaves these comments would suggest? I don't understand how. Why would I expect anyone to feel sorry for me? That's stupid. My life, I think...was made better by having experienced this. I want to think that something positive has resulted from this terrible tragedy. I know what a good wife I have in Cheryl, what a tremendous person she is. How caring she is. And I know that my daughter will always be in the best care...whether its from me, my wife...or members of our family. 

As I get ready to leave for Vegas...the most important things in life, in my life...are solid. Bills are paid. Home is secure. Child is healthy. Wife is still recovering, but surrounded by a loving family. I am not leaving tomorrow with any feelings of desperation. I know I'm a good enough player to win something decent. I also know that no matter how good you play, sometimes...you can't fade bad luck. If I play good enough to get deep, and put myself in position to win a good amount of money...that is all I can really control. The rest will be up to the Poker Gods. Because no matter what anyone tries to tell you....you can only get it in good so many times...and if it doesn't hold, you aren't going to win. AA always beats 77 preflop. But once those five cards come out? Anything can happen. What I can't, and WON'T do...is let the bad beats eat me up.Yea...it's frustrating...it truly is, and anyone who does what we full-time poker players choose to do for a living is going to experience it. More than we care to believe we ever thought we would. You have to have some major intestinal fortitude to survive it, if you plan on being successful in poker.

So...tomorrow, at around noon, I will leave my beautiful wife...my baby Carley Grace...who has changed my whole world....and I go in pursuit of something that will simply make our lives more easy to live. My goal? Win enough to get us out of this rental house...and into our OWN home...big enough for Carley to grow into...an even bigger yard for our dogs to run free in. That's all I really want. Our own house. In Biloxi. And maybe someday move closer to Cheryl's family in North Alabama...so Carley can grow up surrounded by the amazing love of her family. Because I don't care where I live. It doesn't matter. Now...its just all for my family.


Monday, May 13, 2013

Long Time No Blog....

I think I have slowly, over the past couple of months eroded away into the landscape of bloggers...once a reliable source of...well, SOMETHING...I have been ensconced in fatherhood, and the operation of my poker club on Pokerstars...to the point that I just don't ever seem to have a reason, nor the time, to sit down and rip off a blog post.

A lot of people keep asking if I am playing the WSOP this summer. The answer? No. I'm not. Why? Because of that incredible, ridiculous, upper-management directed sham of an 86 placed on me in Hammond back in the fall, all over a sentence spoken to a Russian, excuse me, Belorussian, girl/dealer...who happened to mention it to a dealer seeking superstardom in the hierarchy of Harrah's/Caesar's...who then placed it into the hands of the guy who has been pining for me to 'slip up' since having to be forced to allow me back in to the WSOP two years ago....when I should have NEVER been 86'd in the first place. 

Yeah...I know...its all so hard to keep up with. Frankly, at some point you just have to stop giving a shit about things you have no control over. And when someone is so determined to see you kept out of something..so much so that they will pretty much stoop to any tactic to bring it about...well, you grow exhausted, and while I am a fighter, always have been...I just kind of lost the passion, the determination, and really...the interest, to keep fighting to right the wrong. There are some poker players, mainly haters, jealous assholes, who delight in my exclusion from the WSOP. But you know what? Losers? There are a LOT more important things in life than being able to play in a fucking poker tournament. It's taken me awhile to come to the conclusion that they needed ME a lot more than I needed them. And that might sound cocky...but if you really think about it...it's not. 

So yeah...long story short....no WSOP for me this summer. And I didn't play last summer either...aside from one week...where I managed to finish 175th in the Main Event...before my KK fell to the 10-10 of eventual final table bubbler Elizabeth Hille....her making $509k..me, $44k. Quite a difference it makes when you get two-outed in the biggest tournament on the planet. Such is life. 

A lot has happened since last year. Most of it good. Something very interesting happened this week. I opened my mailbox...and there was a check from the Harrison County (MS) Clerk. Hmm. I opened it up and immediately saw the part attached to the check...telling me what it was for...before seeing an amount. 'Harrison County vs. Jody Wheeler/Melissa Rivers' The two assholes who robbed our house ...wow...two? Was it three now? Years ago? I can't even remember. About a year ago, I got something from the County asking me to fill out...something for Victims Recovery something or other...and telling me that the two jerks were about to go to trial. That was the last I heard anything about the case. They broke in, stole a safe containing $35,000 in cash...and pillaged through all our drawers and found a VERY expensive engagement ring that Claudia Crawford had asked Cheryl to hold/hide for her after her first of several breakups with Gabe Costner. That ring was worth almost as much as the cash they took. There were some rumblings that the cops were going to negotiate a plea of some kind with them if they returned the ring. That Jody's skinny little skank girlfriend...who I knew from hanging around the poker scene as a model with Rounders Magazine...had been seen wearing the ring. I would have loved to see Claudia run into this girl and see her wearing it...there is a good chance she would have bit that bitches finger clean off!!!

Well, I pretty much resigned to ever seeing a penny from this nightmare. So when I stood out there in the street looking at this check....I was both cynical, and excited at the same time. What were the chances that I would turn this thing over and see a 5-figure payment? I know...slim. And I was right. I turned it over...and it said $410.21. Oh. Gee. Isn't that wonderful. Granted...it's $410.21 more than I thought I would ever see from these two slimeballs.  Well, I called the Clerk's office the next day to find out...was this a one-time payment? A payment of .65% of our total loss? Was it a partial payment? Did these two get out of jail? Why didn't I get a letter explaining something...anything about this payment, or what happened to these two? Well...good news. Maybe. I was told that this payment...is a MONTHLY payment....for as long as they are on probation...which right now is scheduled for 5-years.  Well...there is a lot that can go wrong with that scenario..one of them being that they get OFF of probation sooner. Should they stop paying...well that would be a probation violation, which could land them back in jail...so that one isn't too likely. Unless they had a special fondness for jail.

I will just root for them to stay on probation, and for me to get $4800 a year for the next five years.

Next piece of good news was my house in Pensacola FINALLY getting the sewer situation resolved...and for a reasonable cost. For $2500 a plumber came in, filled in (called 'abandoning') my old septic tank...then ran the necessary lines and tapped me into the cities newly completely sewer/water lines. Which means after sitting vacant for a YEAR without a tenant...costing me some $10,000 in rental income....I am finally able to get a tenant in there...which will happen after I get the yard looking good, and get it cleaned up and everything functioning properly. Can't wait! Hopefully get a tenant in there by June 1st.

My two favorite girls on Carley's birthday.

Me and my angel...dontcha love her little birthday outfit!??

Carley was covered from head to toe in frosting...as we let her devour her own portion of cake.

Carley Grace turned 1-year old a couple weeks ago. It was marked by a big party at...ugh...Chuck E. Cheese up in Florence, Alabama. We were supposed to go to this park where we had rented a big pavilion, but there was a 100% chance of rain that day...and yes, it DID rain in fact...so we had to move it. And boy did it leave a big, stinging red welt in my wallet...as over 25 kids ($12 per kid) showed up. Add in their fees, the automatic pizza charge...everything else,  and a $65 cake...and it was a $500 birthday party. But the most important part was that she had fun. She is just now starting to walk. It is the cutest damn thing ever. Watching her go from walking just two or three steps....then to five....and a couple days later...EIGHT...and she gets this big huge smile on her face, knowing she is accomplishing something amazing; it just makes me and Squirrel smile so much. On top of it all, she is really starting to develop quite the little personality. I wish I'd known 20 years ago how much raising a child was/is...I really do. I'm sure  would have 3 or 4 of them by now. It is, hands down..the greatest thing I've ever been a part of in my whole life.  For those of you who have kids you know EXACTLY what I'm talking about! For those who don't? Well, I suspect you are like I was before I had kids...and your thinking something like...."dude...please, this is boring, shut up about the baby thing." I understand...I do...that was me for 40 years!!!

So yeah...it's Mother's Day today. Happy Mother's Day to all you Moms out there...especially mine!

The Pokerstars Poker Club is going awesome. Though...I will say...it is also the daily source of monster frustration. We have a tourney next weekend, a freeroll, for the Top 15 players who bubbled the most last month. I was third...with 22 bubbles. I had 5 today. There really is nothing more annoying. And man, I have got some players in my club who are just...well, they, and some of the plays they make simply defy poker logic. Part of me feels like I should just NEVER play...and just make my money running the club. But I feel like, as the host...I should be in there playing. But my gawd...it reminds me of the days when Pokerstars was going strong here...play many many hours...get deep, and take some ridiculous beat to lose. It's so incredibly hard sometimes not to lash out in a rage...I mean, you all know how it is, if you play poker...the guy calling you with whatever...overs? Bottom pair. Gutshot. There is no one specific play you can settle on. It's just a collection of all of them. Over and over and over. But all these people playing? They are paying our bills right now. So I have to bite my tongue. To the point that I have holes in my tongue. 

Part of me feels like they all make these crazy, insane plays against me because they are just dying to knock me out. Why? Maybe its my imagination. But its either that or they can (a) see my cards and (b) know what is coming on the turn and river...and maybe even the flop. Guy calls a raise, and a RERAISE...with 48 spades....and beats my flopped set with a river flush in my highest buy in tourney today. Just left me shaking my head.

The schedule has gotten a lot better...the 5 and 10 buy in games are quickly fading off...replaced by more 30 and 50 games. Which draw a lot more players. I have currently got 5 openings in the club...and I have 10-15 players who are logging only 1-10 games a month. As soon as I find players who want to play the bigger buyins...and on a more regular basis...they are getting in. With only being able to have 100 members, I am striving to get as MANY of those 100 players playing a decent amount of games every month. I mean...summer is coming, and I know things will slow down quite a bit, with a lot of players playing events in Vegas, myself included. Which is why its really important/vital...that I get the back end of my club turned over and filled with active players. 

If you are interested in getting into my poker club...shoot me an email. I currently have 5 confirmed openings. ThePokerMonkey1@aol.com

I finally caved in and agreed to run some Mega Satellites for members of my club to win a seat to the WSOP Main Event. I really wanted no part of it...with the way they have treated me over this BS in Hammond. But then I thought about it...and I guess I can't let my issues with 'them' extend to my players. And hey...maybe one of my members will win the damn thing...and take on my cause as a way of showing their appreciation! Hey! I can dream!

Cheryl had a rough month. About five weeks ago...she comes into our room crying. Saying her daddy was told by doctors in Huntsville that he had less than a year to live. That he has what appeared to be a huge cancerous tumor in his stomach. She raced home to be with him. Then he was admitted into a special ward in Birmingham that specializes in the type of thing he was suffering from. Everything was pointing to cancer. Her brother came down from Huntsville...and she drove up from Biloxi. I took care of Carley on my own for 4 days then another 4 days. He had a major operation...where they removed parts of his pancreas, and two or three other internal organs...and rerouted his entire intestinal tract. Then...after 5 days of recovery, his biopsy report came back....NO CANCER! Wow...what a relief. Needless to say...it was a remarkable bit of news for the whole family. Well...she went up to get him and brought him back here...where he is staying with us for I don't know how long as he recovers. 

It's the NHL Playoffs and my Rangers won a very exciting Game 6 today...to extend the series to 7 games...which they have to play tomorrow night in DC against the pesky Caps. No road team has won yet in the series. But I have a really good feeling about my Rangers winning tomorrow night. 

Okay I'm tired and going to bed. See ya.

Oh...right. Almost forgot. I am going to go to Vegas and play 17 days worth of Venetian events. If you are interested in buying up some shares...again, send me an email....to ThePokerMonkey1@aol.com. Not sure how many I will have available to sell...as I already have quite a few guys wanting pieces of anything I have to sell. 

Bon Soire!