Saturday, September 14, 2013

Monkey Emerges from The Cage

I am quickly becoming the worst blogger in poker, I am aware of this. I left you hanging, what? Two weeks ago? Longer? I won the Mega satellite to get me into the Main Event down in Hollywood at the Hard Rock and that is where I left you. Granted, I was playing either way, since I'd sold the package to my investors and was on the hook to play either way....it just saved me from a trip to the local Wells Fargo to withdraw $5300. Big sigh of relief there.

I know some of you have seen that I am posting a new blog, and are excited to see if it includes a detailed report of the nightmare I've been exposed to this past week, with a certain poker player from a city I loathe and have loathed for over four years now. Regrettably, there will be nothing in the blog post about this frighteningly manic individual. I can't see that anything positive could possibly come from it. But lets just say I absorbed another 'life lesson' this past week about involving yourself in a business deal with someone who you already have doubts about going in. I'll leave it at that.

In about 5 hours...Squirrel and I and all the other 'Bama fans will sit down and watch as the Tide try to avenge their only loss of the season last year. It's a huge game. The Tide are currently favored by 7.5 pts...but there is a good chance that number will swell before kickoff. Prior to the first game of the season, I posted my score prediction on my Facebook. It was shockingly close. I called the final score being 34-10 Alabama. The final score? Alabama 35 Va Tech 10. This isn't the first time I've nearly nailed the final score. I've been with a couple points on three of the past five Super Bowls. I know...it's kind of creepy. Well, I've been getting besieged by guys wanting my prediction for today's game. Okay...I responded on my Facebook  wall...and here, for those of you who think I have 'The Gift' when it comes to picking games is my call for today's game.  


I had a very, very irritating night of sleep. First, Carley refused to sleep in her own bed...after we finally got her to spend the whole night in there the night before...sleeping from 9pm to 8am uninterrupted. It was like paradise. I took a percocet for my back and knee...and never woke up till she did. But not last night. We watched 'Breaking Bad' (up to Season 2 episode 7 now) until I passed out. She put Carley in bed...which lasted an hour. The crying started, and back came Carley. So we have Me, Squirrel, Carley, Jasper and Mollie all in our bed...and Carley is a wiggle-worm...I slept very little. Then the raging heartburn started...and search/hunt was on for a Prilosec, the only thing that works for em. Finally found one in the bottom of my poker bag. Yahtzee!!! And like always, it worked, in just 20-30 minutes. I fell asleep.

Only to get trapped in the horrifying dream, one I have been trapped in before. In fact, it's shocking how a dream can re-occur like that. But this one has to do with me having spent like 10 days in a city for a poker tourney...and on the day it's time to leave, I'm running late, and not really quite ready to leave yet, so I extend my trip a day. Mega hassles ensue in that department, as the hotel is full, and I have to end up staying with someone I met while playing there. Chicago was the city. Parking is scarce. On while I was sleeping, the rental car was towed. I started this dream with 3 bags. By the end of the dream, I had none of them. 

After a long time on the phone with the rental car company it was determined the car was towed and not stolen. I concluded that I wasn't retrieving the car. It was going to be costly. Whatever. It's a damn dream. I make it to the airport. The TSA agent is taking forever...and talking about her personal life to no end. Finally its my turn. I place my bags on the belt...and right as the first one reaches the scanner it's turned off. Both TSA agents leave, claiming they are now closed. The metal chain fence comes down. Huh? WTF??? I mistakenly call the women a flight attendant when asking what I'm supposed to do. She flips out. "I'm not a damn flight attendant! Do you see wings on my shirt!???" And refuses to help me.

Then the wild goose chase begins. The airport is connected to a hotel...and every time I think I've found the right terminal it ends up being the lobby to a hotel or restaurant. I'm running all over the place, one eye on my watch, one on where I'm going. One wrong turn leads to another. Somehow, I end up taking a flight of stairs, with all these people...and this pathetic couple tries to cut in front of me...for some reason Squirrel is now with me. I curse the people out and cut back in front of them. I drop my bag over the side on accident. It falls about 6 stories to the ground. Shit! And it wasn't the right place anyway. By the time I got to the ground floor, my bag had been picked up. Asked where it was, and was told I had to go to the 'Red Room' in the restaurant to find it. Went to the Red Room, and was trying to locate it...when they got angry and turned the lights way down to prevent me from seeing into the area where the lost bags were kept. Then they rudely told me they didn't have it.

It just kept getting worse. At some point I was supposed to take a commuter train to the terminal. I mosied (moseyed? How the hell do you spell that word? I don't think I've ever used it in a sentence where I had to write the word. Wow) over to another part of the bus/train terminal...and I guess while I was on the other side, my train came. And my bag, the only other one I had that I wasn't carrying, got placed on that train. I guess I'll just take the next train. What? That was the last train of the night? Come on!!!! So then I tried taking a cab to catch up with the train. Failure. 

Long story short...I never did catch my flight, or any other flights. I lost everything. Tried to take a cab back to the house I had previously stayed the night before...but was told they were having a lesbian sleepover party that night, and the guy roommates were being forced to go stay somewhere else that night, and I obviously wouldn't be able to stay there. I was so pissed by now I kept waking up...but I would fall back to sleep and fall right back into the irritating dream. Finally....the next time I woke up, I got up OUT of my bed...and walked outside. That did the trick. Stupid dream.

Why did I have this dream? And why did I have one or two just like them in the past 6-12 months? I am pretty sure they are motivated by how sick I am of traveling to go play poker events. It really is, and has...become such a pain in the ass. I came to a pretty concrete decision as I was driving home from Hollywood. I am done with doing entire events. What's the point? Yeah...sometimes there are events like Hollywood, like Hammond...or Commerce and Borgata, where most of the prelims have a lot of huge value in them. But today's poker world is different. It is littered with degenerate, idiot gamblers who seem to have unlimited supplies of buy ins to burn. $300 to $500 tourneys have turned into what $100 tourneys used to play like. Fools. Chasing any draw. Calling to the river with over cards. Making dipshit hero moves with lousy hands at times when no one who raised is ever folding...giving you a lot of KK vs. J7 scenarios where the genius who shoved with his J7 making 'a move' gets rewarded by the deck and/or the dealer when he flops two sevens. Good player exits after having spent 10-12 hours playing solid, patient, tournament poker. 

There are only so many of those 10-12 hour poker sessions you can log that end that way before your mental health starts to take a beating. There is really no one you can talk to for support or understanding. Because...since it happens to almost all of us, no one is hearing anything unique, its just being packaged in a different color of wrapping. So you take the beat down...and crawl off to your favorite place to mope. For me, I either get the hell out of the casino as fast as I can...wishing to see or talk to nobody, or I go find an obscure row of slot machines...and just sit there...staring blankly at this modern piece of technology that so many lower-income losers frequent.

Yeah yeah...you know this song and dance...I've hit you with it numerous times...and yeah, my OUT hand on the trip to Hard Rock...pocket aces, left me in one of those conundrums. Only on that occasion there was no slot machine conference. I got up, and RAN out the door to my car...drove to my hotel, slept 10 hours...and drove home the next morning. It was their $150 tourney with a 50k guarantee. It had two flights. I was in the 2nd flight..and the turnout had been great, over 800 players. It was about 20 minutes from bag up time...and with the finishers the day before...we were now just 30 or 40 from the money...which wasn't dick to cash...like $270....but first place was an impressive $25,000.

I had just been moved to a new table, and my buddy from Atlanta, Gavin Arza was at the table...having gone on about a 1-hour heater to accrue a nice fat stack. I was dealing with about 15 big blinds...having folded QQ earlier when a woman I know quite well, who plays, or rather played...in my Pokerstars home game club....convinced me that she HAD to have either AA or KK.....only to show me JJ thinking she still had me beat. I fumed internally for several minutes...having just caked off about 30% of my stack on the 3-bet re-raise. I didn't say anything to her...I knew she wasn't being ugly, she most likely thought she really had me beat...she had been pounding martinis all night and don't think she was really dialed into what was going on too well. At any rate...I got moved about two hands after that, thankfully...to a table that broke 3 hands later. 

So at the new table, I pick up AA on the third hand. I hadn't even gotten settled in. With the blinds at 1k/2k and nursing 33k in chips...I raise to 5k. I get called by one guy...who Gavin later told me was horrendous, and who had been making one bad play after another and getting away with it. Great one of those guys. The flop came K-J-4. Innocent enough it would seem. I bet out 8k. Leaving myself with 20k. Should I have gone all in? Probably I guess. But on the other hand....I was trying to extract max value from a great starting hand. I was also kind of putting him on Q10...since there was no flush draw out there...and what other hands could he just flat there with? Is A-10 off in your wheel house of guesses? Well, it was in HIS wheelhouse. The turn card brought a damn queen...and I had to trust my read...worst case scenario was that he had KQ or maybe QJ and just got so damn lucky. But I wasn't folding either way so I just shipped all in. He snap calls and announces "I have it." Huh? I was NOT expecting to see A10 obviously...but that is what he had. 8k on a gutshot. Incredible. I needed a 10 on the river to chop. Forget it. Out. Busto. Bye bye South Florida.  That was how my trip ended.

But before that...yes, there was the Main Event. And there were, actually, some highlights in this event.

Oh and uh...think I got a little sidetracked there...when I started to talk about what my new 'plan' is going to be for playing poker tourneys. No more 2-week treks to play these damn things. From now on...if there is an event I want to play, I'm going for the last 4 or 5 days. Get in on the Thursday...play that last big tourney...usually a 1k event. Play the Mega the next day if I don't make Day 2 of the previous day's tourney. Then on Saturday, play the Main Event. Hopefully make Day 2 on Sunday...and the final table on either Monday or Tuesday. Then get the hell out of there. Only having to leave my best buddy, Carley Grace for a few days...and not losing my sanity in the process. And still getting to play a little poker and take a shot at a big score that can do use some good at home. Additionally, I really enjoy playing almost every Main Event...because the amount of the buy in kind of tempers the horrible, thrill-seeking, gamble-gamble style of play that is so prevalent in the lower buy in events. You also get a lot of excellent players...players who's styles I am familiar with, and they of mine. There is kind of mutual respect granted to players who know each other well. 

I find it ironic that poker is probably the only game/sport where you (at least me and several friends of mine who play poker feel this way) want to get to your table and see a LOT of good players...as opposed to a table full of faces you've never seen in your life...complete with that young guy with all the WSOP gear, dark glasses and Beats by Dr. Dre, the two old guys, the one fat guy, about 50 years old, with the shirt imprinted with various sports fish on them. The old lady with the gold chain connecting her glasses to her head and neck. And that one obvious bull dyke with the Lips Poker tour jacket and hat proclaiming her to be the greatest female player of all time...despite the fact you've never laid eyes on her before. Yeah...that is the 'Table From Hell' that when I get lucky enough to buy into, sends shivers down my spine...and nearly sends me back to the registration window to unregister and get my money back. Might as well...because defeating THAT table...is about as likely as the Western Carolina Catamounts beating Alabama in Tuscaloosa later this season!

So yeah, the moral of the story...is that I much prefer playing in Main Events,  with excellent poker...where you are required to make solid decisions all day. Where you need to be sharp with your reads. Where your hand selection is key. I know that at the end of any Day 1 in a Main Event, I am always extremely exhausted mentally. And every once in awhile, a Main Event leaves me feeling incredibly energetic about how I played that day. I had such an experience of Day 1 of the Main at Hard Rock.


.....coming soon