A BIG KITTY!!!! [click the logo]

Monday, July 8, 2013

Back from Vacation...Back to Grinding Online

Vacation is over. We are unpacked. Bills are paid. WSOP is winding down...actually the Main Event starts today...which has put kind of a bitter taste in my mouth. Last year at this time, I was just getting started on a decent 5-day run that ended a little sooner than I'd have liked, but which left me feeling that sense of having nearly come home a millionaire. I've resisted the temptation...actually haven't even thought about it check all the event winners and final table participants. I finally looked today, mostly out of boredom. And to see if there was anyone I needed to congratulate.

I've been going over the upcoming schedule of tourneys for this summer and trying to decide what I want to go and play. I'm also trying to decide if I want to raise backing again...or just go and play for 100% all on my own dime. There are certainly strong arguments for both. On one hand...I'm finally in a place (financially) where I can definitely afford to go play an event on my own. And playing for 100% of yourself certainly is desirable. On the other poker, it's always a pretty good policy to avoid as much maximum exposure as possible when it comes to overhead. And with travel, hotel and food already a pretty significant expense...why further burden yourself with 100% of the buy ins if you don't have to? I might only be playing for 50% or less...but if the fields are big enough, and you aren't greedy...then any score that comes 1st-18th is usually a pretty okay hit.'s also kind of fun to have a lot (29 this summer) of people behind you, giving you encouragement. I wouldn't say it makes me play better, or keeps me more focused...but I do know that when I hit bad patches, the nice things they say to you can really help pull me out of the abyss sometimes.

So...I'm still juggling that option. As well as where I want to go and where I want to play. I usually go to events and play them from beginning to end. With my exclusion from the WSOP, well...any Caesar's owned properties at least...until something changes in their hierarchy...or common sense finally just wins out (not holding my breath on that one) it really doesn't matter to me now how much of an event I long as I'm around for the Main Event. I can't stand being away from Carley...and that 20-day trip to Vegas was really tough. And right now...she is at the cutest stage...talking, I know, is just around the corner. Her little personality is developing so fast...she just marches all over the house...and there is now pretty well-established give and take with her in how we communicate. We had so much fun together in Washington State. I took her into the semi-cold lake with me...she liked it. Squirrel took her in the intertube with her behind the boat...she loved it. Then last night...we took her to the Barnum & Bailey Circus here in Biloxi...not knowing what to expect...and she loved it. She mainly loved the animals and their tricks...giggling every time they came out. She really loves animals...which makes me happy. I have always loved maybe she got that from me...or maybe just being around our two dogs since birth has made her love them. Not sure.

Anyway...the point is...I can't stand being away from her for very long. And if I am away from her...I damn well better be winning...because if I'm not...I really hate that I'm away from her. I was talking to my friend Kai Landry about it the other day when Carley and I went over to his house for lunch while Squirrel was at work. He mentioned (he has 3 little girls) how he used to hate leaving on a poker trip...and I remember now...didn't pay it all that much attention when it was happening...but now I guess I identify a lot more with it. Talked about how if we went somewhere, and he was running bad, it was like a double whammy...running bad, and being away from his girls. Yeah. No kidding. Makes so much sense to me now. I am so thankful that I am in a situation of being self-employed and not having to go grind out a 9-5 desk job everyday...only to come home, see my girl for a few hours before she goes to bed...then go back and do it all over again the next day...five days a week. Ugh! This will probably be my only shot at a child...and its great that I get to spend nearly every day with her for 10 hours or more. (til she goes to bed every night)

Sorry....I probably talk about Carley too much. Well...she's kind of the center of my universe, so....

So coming up in a couple weeks, we have the event up in Choctaw. I made my first trek up there a few months ago, and really liked what I saw. Great facility. Good staff, good dealers...and big fields. I said it then, I would like to go back. So I can't find a good reason to NOT go play that event this month. On top of it all, they have pretty fat guarantees on all their events...which isn't ever that much of a draw to me like it is some players (I call it the moth to the light marketing strategy) because I rarely see events that pay out an overlay. (although there have been a bunch of them on Lock Poker lately!!!) But the one good thing about guarantee tourneys? You can almost always expect them to draw well. Brings all those moths out of the closet!

The other event I am now 100% committed to going to play, mainly because I agreed to room with New Orleans native (and 2nd place finisher in the Main Event WSOP-C this year) Joseph Hebert...who is also a recent daddy, is the big event down at the Hard Rock Seminole in South Florida. Ton of events. And they always draw well down there. He is flying down on the 16th...which is a week after that event starts...and booked the room for 10 days...which would allow us to make the Main Event. So...I guess if I go to Choctaw a few days after it starts...and stay through their Main Event...then come home...that would give me a couple weeks (instead of just a few days) to be home with Carley and Squirrel and get all my affairs in order...before driving down for that other event.  Yes drive. I like driving down there. It's always nice to have a car down there...and to rent them they are really expensive down there for some damn reason.

Now this is where it gets tricky. I am already missing a WSOP-C event in August that I am allowed to a casino I've never played, but have been trying to play for years. Foxwoods. I don't know when I will EVER finally get up to Connecticut to play at Foxwoods...some day I'm sure. Just not this go around. But the other event I've been trying to play for 'The River' event at Win Star casino in Oklahoma...just a hop, skip and jump from Dallas, and Choctaw as well. Their Main Event happens a few days after Hard Rock I've kind of decided that if I have an above average trip to Choctaw and/or Hard Rock...that I will hop a plane (out of Miami) to Dallas, fly there, rent a car...and drive to Win Star and play that sucker....then when done, fly back to Miami...and drive home...hopefully with a nice bundle of cash! I'm sure a lot of you out there would like to have that little plan come into focus too, right? Well....can't do it if you don't give yourself a shot at doing it, right?

We (Cheryl and I) have a fantastic set up with Carley for when I do go out of town. Her babysitter is the greatest...and has a house like a daycare center. The cost is great. And she gets so much more specialized care. She usually has one or two other kids Carley is getting to interact with other kids...which I think is really important to her growth. And her babysitter just adores her. We got lucky. For sure. She took care of Squirrel's best friend's kids for a long she came really highly recommended. So at least when I am out of town...I know she is in great hands...and usually is having an awesome time...and its not too much of a burden on my wife.

Now I just need to decide (a) when I'm going to go for sure and (b) if I want to play backed or not. Maybe play one event backed and one not backed? Hmmm... tough call really. Probably should just play it safe, keep my expenses low...and give some people a chance to climb on my back and maybe make a little money again. I have no doubt I would sell out whatever package I put together pretty quick. I always seem to. And itself, is a blessing that I am truly thankful for. But I've done a lot to cultivate that. With my pools, and my history of never screwing people over. Had a pretty long conversation this morning with a guy in my poker club on Pokerstars...and we got to talking about how incredibly 'douchey' some poker players are about 'selling packages' and then screwing over their investors with nickel and dime kind of shit.

Like deducting tips (I cover all my own tips out of my share) when they never even tipped. Like saying they played one event (bigger buy in) when they waited and played a smaller one..and pocketing the extra money. Wow. Well, my investors ALWAYS get a spreadsheet with each event...and are always entitled to a photo of my buy in receipt. I've heard players claim to not 'save' their buy in receipts. Huh? You're being backed and you don't keep your buy in receipt? Unreal. Players who get into 'chop spots' and report a completely different payment structure to their investors. Douchey. Just plain douchey. If you believe in karma...and know that what comes around, goes around...then you just know that this is no way to deal with investors. Ever. Not just in poker, but in business too. I just like to think that the best way to deal with investors, pure and how you would want to be treated if YOU were the investor.

On Saturday morning, after logging off on Friday night with zero computer wouldn't start up. Oh it would turn on...but Windows wouldn't initiate. After running through every test imaginable, I called Dell. After running all their was determined that my hard disk had crashed. Oh no effing way! Well, guess who didn't back up their hard drive? You know it! In 20+ years of owning laptops...I've never had that happen, so I guess I was kind of feeling bulletproof. I am sick to my stomach. All my pictures, hundreds of documents, letters, etc. All my downloaded music. I lost pretty much everything vital to my business that I run out of my house. There is still an outside shot that I can take the hard drive into the Geek Squad or someone like that, and they can extract all the data from it. Dell is coming to replace the hard drive in the next day or two. Unreal!

My poker club is going great....and finally, after a pretty dismal June...the numbers are starting to pick back up, after a lot of people are returning from Vegas. The most popular tourney going now are the bounty of course I replaced some struggling tourneys with bounty tourneys to turn things around in those time slots. This month...starting on the first of the month....I killed my existing club on Stars...which was four months old. Why? Simple. It was named after me. I have some haters out there who would like to see me NOT be successful, in anything, really...and some former players who we had to get rid of for one reason or another, and it seemed like a good idea to 'rebrand' our product and get the dogs off our scent trail. What that has resulted in...fortunately for me, is that only 72 of the 100 members have made the move over to the new club...and the 28 who haven't are players who just weren't playing hardly at all. So now I have the wonderful opportunity to welcome in new players who are psyched about getting on Pokerstars and playing some online poker. Of course...I'm not letting ANYONE in that I don't know at least a little bit...or who presents themselves in a way that I won't have to worry about them being a evil weasel out to harm me. This club has been great, for me, for Squirrel...and for a lot of players who are loving playing online on Pokerstars again. So if you think you'd like to get on board...feel free to shoot me an email and I'll see if I have a spot for you.

I was hoping to get two or three players who I could buy some action off of for this year's Main Event...but only ended up getting one. Our good friend Claudia Crawford. I took 5%. Well she drew an incredibly tough table...telling me that in Level 1. Her day concluded in the final level. She just never could catch a break or get any kind of momentum. Yeah, I was bummed about losing $500. But I am a lot more bummed for her. It would have been great to see her make another deep run. The girl who knocked me out last year, Elisabeth Hille...made it out of Day 1 with about 50k. I sent her a message on Facebook, telling her good job and good luck. We've been Facebook buddies ever since she busted me last year. She seems like a really nice girl. And humble. Good quality to have in poker.

Nice landing by that guy in San Francisco the other day, eh? All I could keep thinking about was I wished it had been the flight attendant working our flight back from Seattle who had been on that flight. And how much must it piss off the family of the two passengers who were killed when the media keeps saying....'there were ONLY two people killed in the crash!??' I don't think that would sit well with me.

Kai Landry...he of the poker tourney featuring the gigantic hubcap sitting on top...the one I somehow managed to win last year....before keeping my word and jogging around his neighborhood in my threatening to run that tournament again this summer. The dates seem to keep changing...which is annoying. He was thinking about doing it next weekend, but some conflict with his neighbor, wherein he had him arrested for something involving chickens I think...has Kai paranoid about the possibility of retaliation by his neighbor during the event. Anyway...stay tuned for details on that shenanigan-fest.

Speaking of planes. Does anyone really think they need to have that stupid, see-through curtain separating first class from coach?

Had a really funny thing happen this week. Had a guy who I never, ever thought wouldn't pay me the money he owes me....NOT PAY fact, pretty much disappear from the face of...well, Tuscaloosa. And a total twist of the bizarre...had a guy I never thought WOULD pay me...PAY ME. How has YOUR week been?

While we were in Seattle, some really wild things happened to my little sister (36 actually). First, on our first day there, we attended her graduation from her Masters Degree program...which was really cool, and which I'm extremely proud of her for. Then...on the way home from Chelan? And this is really a trip. See, Janae (my sister) and I have the same mom....not the same dad. Her dad, was pretty much my abusive tormentor for 8 years, and she has no relationship with him whatsoever. That ended after he left her high and dry while away on a school trip in London. Bottom line, he's a major POS, always has been. Has been married...4...or maybe its 5 now, times. Anyway...after leaving my mom, he re-married. They had two boys. One of whom I last saw when he was younger than Carley. Janae spent quite a bit of time with him...but hadn't seen him since he was 7.

We knew he owned his own Fishing Guide business out of Levenworth, Washington. I kind of tracked him down when my Grandmother was close to death last fall. Well...he had no relationship with Janae, and she thought it was maybe because her father had poisoned that well. Safe assumption.

So on the way home from Chelan....we see a truck, pulling a boat...with adds all over the side. Clearly a fishing boat. And with lots of seats. Hmmm. Interesting. I pull up along side the truck....trying to get a good look at the guy.

"Janae, what are the odds that this guy is Shane?"

Janae: "No way...that's not Shane."

Five minutes later we all pull off at a fruit stand to buy some fresh cherries. The truck and boat drive on. While sitting in the car...Janae opens up her Facebook and starts digging around. Then she sits there looking stunned...and hands me her cell phone. Whoa! The same exact boat! And the picture of him made it perfectly clear she had just seen her brother...on the open highway. Holy shit!

We get back in the car...and start to drive on. About five miles up the road, as we are getting off the highway to make a turn...we see his truck, coming from the other direction. No way! I kind of panic. Flash my lights...and pull in front of him so he can't continue on. He looks a little puzzled and shocked.

Well, we then had about a 30-minute family 'reunion' there on the side of the highway. It was amazing...and very surreal. And to all of our amazement...Shane seems to have turned out to be a really great guy. He invited all of us to come, anytime, and let him take us out for a big river fishing trip on the Columbia. (which would be awesome!!!) And promised to stay in touch with Janae. That night he sent her an incredibly touching message. My sister thanked me...telling me that if she had been driving, and not me...she would never have tried to stop him. That she has a bit of social anxiety. Cheryl was like..."No way! That did not just happen by accident! That was meant to happen! And then to see his truck HAD to stop him!" She was right.

Isn't life funny? So many things can pass us by when we just forget to pay them any attention. Think of all the wonderful things we probably miss out on. My sister and I have both dealt with a lot of really bad shit from our childhood. I might not have handled mine as well as she has...and for that, I am really proud of her. But now part of her life, her past, has fallen BACK into place. And it made that day, our last day in Seattle with my family, all the more special. It really was a fantastic trip. For a lot of reasons. You only have one family. And you only get one shot with them. You really have to make it count.



No comments: