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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fun Times In Phoenix!

I now am the proud owner of TWO World Series' rings. One for poker, and one for baseball. Okay, okay, so it's not exactly the one that the Red Sox and Cardinals are currently vying for, but it still looks awesome...and is the result of an amazing run by our team out in Phoenix, that went unbeaten through the championship game...and then, trailing 15-9 in the final inning, scored 6 innings to tie it up, send it to extra innings, then win it in the bottom of the 10th! 

It was pretty amazing...and really topped off a great week, where I wreaked havoc on my 46 year old knees! I felt great while I was there, the anti-inflammatory the doctors gave me worked like a charm, along with the pain remedies that followed post game. Everything felt good all week, in fact, even my back. Then I got home. And it hit me the next day. Knees tightened up like a drum. Back pain returned. Oh boy.

In a full week of baseball I played in just about every game...the last two I caught 9 innings in both games. I got a lot of at bats, and actually hit pretty well the first few games...then I kind of slumped towards the end of the week. Not sure why...baseball, always frustrating! We had a great bunch of guys for this trip. Chad Brown wasn't able to make it, nor was Chris Bruno, my old roommate from my days living in NYC and struggling to be discovered in the acting business while pouring drinks and serving food for random strangers. 

One of the guys we had on the team was a guy named Sean Pamphilon. Name ring a bell? Probably not. Well, he is from New York, and now lives in my former hometown of Redmond, Washington where I went to middle school and High School. He was there to make a movie, called 'Never Was Been' about a guy who always wanted to play baseball but never did...and who got the chance to relive his childhood through our experience. It was pretty cool. He had cameras set up all over the field for all the games. I got to know him my first few days there and really got to like him....way before I  found out what his 'claim to fame' was. 

Remember 'Bounty Gate' with the Saints? Of course you do! Well Sean was the guy who was doing the story on Steve Gleason of the Saints...when he kind of stumbled into some sound bites regarding the business surrounding the scandal that eventually led to the numerous sanctions, fines and penalties that essentially destroyed the Saints season last year. In talking to him about it, it was clear that he hated the position that he was put into...but has no regrets about how he handled things on his end. I think any of you reading this who are diehard Saints fans are screaming at your screen right now....asking me what is wrong with me!!! But you know, every story has two sides to it...and to hear his story? It was really an eye-opener. But honestly, its 2013, the Saints are 6-1, with a nice two-game lead in their division,  and looking great. So why fixate on the past.

Another guy on our team...Brian Blakely, I  played with back in 2010 with this team.  Well, I  had no idea he was an anchorman on my local TV station back home in Seattle, KCPQ. Well, we just happened to be chatting in the dugout during one game, and this guy's name comes up. Bill Wixey! This guy Wixey, we went to Rose Hill Junior High together way back when. And now, he is the guy doing the sports at that station with Brian. Bill and I  have since caught up with each other on Facebook. Things like that make those kind of trips really special. I had a lot of great experiences like that all week, getting to know guys I would otherwise never have a chance to meet in life. One of the things I really, really miss about playing sports, baseball in particular,  is that great time you have in the dugout with the guys, talking about just ANYTHING...and all the good-natured laughing and ribbing of each other. It's like being a kid again. 

During the week, I had a visit from a buddy who lives out in Phoenix and deals at one of the casinos out there; Tony Dick. Tony is a good guy. I've known him for a number of years...and he even came out to watch us a couple years ago when I  was out there playing in the same tourney...the NABA over 45 World Series. Well, we had a night off, so Tony and I went out to eat, then went to a local casino to play some poker...The Walking Stick casino in Scottsdale. It was really nice. The poker room was massive. And the players were....well, they sucked. To my delight.

I sat in on a 3/5 game...and bought in for $200. They have some pretty goofy limits there but once you get used to it, it's no big deal. Well, it didn't take me long to run my $200 up to $600. Unfortunately, Tony was sitting in on a Omaha 8-or better table and couldn't win anything. After about 3 hours he'd had enough...and I told him I'd take a cab back  to my hotel and save him the hassle. Plus I was thinking,  the way things were going....I would very likely end up paying for my whole trip in one cash game session. Air fare, hotel and food for the week totaled about $1000 and I was about half way there already. 

Then...as it always does...it happened. It? You ask?  First came the guy with the European accent of some kind. And the dark glasses that sat on top of his head, until he raised...which was about 8 out of every 10 hands. Then he would pull them down. Then came the second guy. Covered in tattoos, most likely stoned, and dumb as a fucking post. I immediately got a bad vibe. For three hours, I had taken this table, and all the players, and molded them like a fine putty...and wrapped them around each of my fingers...taking one pot after another...not huge pots...but nice,  respectable, stack-building pots. 

The dynamic was perfect! As it has been in several other cash games I've been a part of, where  I  was running exceptionally well.

They destroyed it. Mostly with the ridiculous raises. Which always leads to all the players getting pissed off, they stop respecting (or fearing) the raises, and you get 7 or 8 way action for $21 or $35 (those were Euro dick's standard raise amounts) to the flop. Which is marvelous if you hit a flop and drag a couple of those pots. But as most of you know...these type situations in cash game almost always lead to unmitigated disaster. This would be no exception. Much to my dismay. But it was just like every damn thing  I ever seem to experience in poker, where it always seems destined to lead to disappointment and/or disgust.

On one particular hand...someone had straddled for $10 under the gun. Tattoo-stoner makes it $30...which gets called by about the whole table. I'm in the big blind and have 10-10. I make it $120 to go. Figure this might just take it down, or maybe thin the head to one. I am partially right. Tattoo boy calls, as does Euro Jerk. Great. The flop comes K-8-3. Fucking king. How does this guy not probably have AK?? I have $450 behind now...and any bet I  make, and he shoves all in, I can't really call. I decide to check and see what he does. He bets $125. Ugh. The other guy folds. I guess I  have to give him credit for the king, and I fold. I almost went over the top of him with an all in re-raise...and sure wish I had. But he'd just sat down like three orbits ago, and I really didn't have much to go on with him...so I decided I would just learn a little more first before doing anything crazy yet.

I fold my tens face up. And what does he do? He shows two sixes...then says "Ahhh I don't usually do that,  but I figured I had to rub this guys face in it." Huh? Did he really  just say that? I leaned forward and said to him..."You felt the need to rub my face in it? Why? Based on what? The last 6 minutes we played together? The only six minutes I've ever played with you in my life? And the first hand I've played with you heads up? That is what earned me the right to have my face rubbed in it with you showing the bluff? Okay...wow!"  And yeah...I have his picture. But I still haven't uploaded all those pictures from my phone and I don't really feel like doing it now. Maybe later.

So now I have one guy I want very badly to bust. But what was missing was the necessary angst. I  mean...I didn't even have history with this guy....of ANY kind...how am I supposed to allow myself to get 'worked up' enough to take him on? It was stupid.  He was stupid. So fuck it...I pulled my headphones back on and went back to watching NetFlix. 

Then came a monster hand that I should have stacked off the Euro jackwad with. I look  down at KK under the gun...and limp for $5. Someone two seats down makes it $15. Sweet. Maybe. I hope. Everyone calls. Euro-douche re-raises to $45...which was NOT uncommon for  him. He was a chronic re-stealer. Well, I was going to make it hurt this time. I raise to $150...leaving $200 behind...yeah, I  was down to $350 now. Everyone else folds but this jerkoff. He calls. The flop comes 10-8-3...rainbow. He goes all in. I remind him that I'm first to act. He pretends to be surprised. Idiot. 

I check. He goes all in. Fuck it...whatever...I call. Do I  even need to tell you what he had? Yeah...10-8 off suit. For $150 preflop. It holds. I wanted to puke. It went on this way for two more hours.  I would win every once in awhile, lose even more often. He continued to play like a stupid asshole...while his stack  would fluctuate between $100 and $1200. And I'm just sitting there asking myself...when I KNEW it was one of these GUYS...and it was about to become one of these situations, why...oh why...did I not get up,  rack up my chips...and move to another table of guppies that I could abuse for a couple more hours, cash out with 800-1000 probably, and leave with a good taste in my mouth? 

Instead, I lost the $200 I bought in with. Then discovered they didn't have actual 'cabs' out front...that I would have to take a 'town car' back to my hotel. Lovely.  $40! But in fairness, it was a nice car, the driver was nice...and there was zero traffic back to the hotel...which was about a half hour drive...so I guess $40 wasn't probably that bad. 

I haven't played poker since I've been home...which has been about three weeks now. What I have done, is buy Squirrel and I a new bed! And went ahead and financed a new couch and love seat...since I've been hating our furniture for years now. Rooms to Go...I  am now their bitch for the next two years! But I  am LOVING our new bed...and the couches are great! I've been spending a lot of time with Carley...and loving it. This week we put up some cool decorations for Halloween and I carved us a few pumpkins. I'm pretty excited to take her out trick-or-treating...although every time we try to  put her in her costume she freaks out...and wants no part of it! 

Seahawks, Saints and Alabama keep on winning...and that's been a lot of fun. Big game coming up next week vs. LSU...not as big as it MIGHT have been had LSU not lost at Ole Miss a couple weeks ago. And with that in mind, we are trying to decide which ONE game we want to go to this season....the LSU game, or the AUBURN game. Well, tickets for the Auburn game...AT Auburn, are a LOT cheaper than the LSU game in Tuscaloosa. We went to the LSU game in Baton Rouge last year...and Cheryl has never been to an Iron Bowl...so we are kind of leaning towards going to that game. If Auburn can get through the rest of their schedule, that game could be for the SEC East win and a berth in the SEC Championship Game. Damn, Auburn could come in 10-1...what an amazing turn around for them under first year coach Gus Malzahn. I mean, I'm a big 'Bama fan...but it's much nicer to see Auburn being good than sucking.

A long time blog reader of mine...and a guy who makes a comment once in a while on my Facebook, contacted me the other day about an opportunity coming up in February, the week of my birthday. It involves running a poker boot camp on a cruise ship. Basically, I  would be tasked with running the boot camp for 3 or 4 days probably during this 7-day cruise, and in return, I would get to bring my wife and Carley...for no charge! Neither of us have ever been on a cruise, and when I told Squirrel about it, she was very excited. So, I hope that ends up panning out. I think it would be a lot of fun, and a good experience. Frankly, I was extremely flattered to be asked, or even considered to do something of that nature.  Anyway, I'll keep y'all posted on the details of this...and if it happens, get you the information if you want to take part in the cruise, which will feature cash game tables all throughout the cruise,  and culminate with a big tourney near the end of the cruise.

That's probably enough for now....right?  Time to get some dinner, then take my nightly bath with my little buddy...who loves the baths almost as much as her daddy!

MONKEY


Monday, October 14, 2013

The Heighth of Pathetic

Sometimes, things happen that render you speechless. Literally, speechless. I mean, for a guy like me, who has little difficulty finding something to say about almost anything, to be left in a state of utter, dumbfounded silence is shocking to even myself.  Yeah, well..it happened last night.

I get a text message sometime around the 8th inning of the Red Sox game...after they had just hit an improbable grand slam...after being no-hit into the sixth inning for the 2nd night in a row...to tie the game at 5, a game they later won, thanks to Prince Fielder being a lousy infielder.

The text message read:  "It's pretty lame when Scotty wants to blast u in his blog and he has to go back in time and use some other asshole to try and do it."

Well, I hadn't read whatever 'God' had posted about me. See, I have other things I consider more important in my life than keeping tabs on what Scott Clark's up to in his 'ruining my life' mission of his. Things like...oh, breathing. Eating. And sleeping. But out of curiosity, I decided to take a look to see what depths his royal lowness had sunk to now.

I had kind of a feeling what I was about to read. Much to my surprise, I was totally wrong. I guess that the 'one' I was thinking of, he has decided to keep in his 'bag' to use at a later time. He actually threatened me with 'that one' a month or so ago. And when he did it, all I could do was laugh at what a joke he had turned his little self-created war against me into. 

There is a guy named Tim Vance. I guess he is from 'God's' (as he likes to refer to himself) neck of the woods...that being the St. Louis area. I don't have exact dates...but we will call it five years ago, I was in New Orleans...and was having a pretty good year in poker. It was May. It was late one night in SNG-land. This mouthy little guy was bragging about how great he was..and since I'd had a few cocktails, I fell into the trap of engaging him. At some point, I made a bet with him that would lead to a long, drawn out dispute with this guy. I bet him $5k that I would finish the year with more P.O.Y. points than him.  Later that night I discovered he had luck-boxed his way to a win in the Main Event in Copenhagen, Denmark...in an EPT event...which gave him a ton of points. But regardless, I elected not to back out of the bet...feeling confident enough about how my year was going. ( I think I was trailing him like 2400 to 1800 at that point)

With all the people running around out there who owe me money for side bets made with me...that for one reason or another, have decided to welch out on their obligation, I can honestly say I've never welched out on a bet in my life. I also don't owe anyone money. Granted, it's become a full time job trying to collect from those who owe ME money, for one thing or another. My little poker club closed down three months ago...and I am STILL trying to collect almost $1000 from various people who KNOW they owe me money. Some of these are people I THOUGHT were pretty good friends, who have just torched me with one lame excuse after another. There is something about someone owing you money...that after a certain time...I think they just assume you will either forget about it, or get tired of asking them for it. And also, once you get to about the 5th or 6th time of asking them for it...you almost start to feel guilty asking. At some point, you almost feel like YOU OWE THEM the money. I've become convinced there are some people who have mastered the fine art of not paying people back the money they owe them. 

If anyone has a secret to getting people to pay you money...that doesn't involve bodily harm or destruction of someone's reputation (to an extent), I'm all ears.

So back to this bet with Tim Vance. Like I said, I was fully on board with trying to win this bet with this guy. And then I get ambushed. Yeah this must have been 2008, because it was the year I won the All Around at Venetian that summer. I had just won an event there, and had all that bullshit happen at Caesar's, because of that schmuck from Austin, Texas...who went running like a little bitch for since-fired Jim Pedulla, when he stirred up shit with me then freaked out when I invited him to go 'off property' after we'd bagged up our chips for the night and I had one foot out the door to settle whatever 'issues' he had with me. A pre-existing 'situation' with Jim Pedulla, where he loathed me because of my bashing of his event (structures, scheduled time of events, etc) in my blog led to him using this as an excuse to disqualify me from the event with 18 players remaining and me 3rd in chips coming back. 

To make it worse, he called over to Jeffrey Pollack at WSOP and painted a picture of this raving maniac Will Souther, who needed to be banned from all WSOP events until further notice. They took the bait. And my summer of chasing big scores ended. That also cut me off from all circuit events after the summer as well. No need to rehash that nightmare. It's just another in the long line of horseshit I've experienced at the hands of those wonderful folks who never investigate both sides of anything.

I see Tim Vance somewhere in the future, can't for a second remember where it was. But he mentions the bet. And I just tell him, point blank. "Tim, I was booted from WSOP for some bullshit, and am 86'd from all their properties. I'm also not permitted to play at the Beau Rivage...so my available venues to compete and try to beat you in POY points has been reduced to nearly nothing. So, I'm not going to be able to continue with this bet. Sorry." This is where most people/players I know would react like I would.

"Monkey...that sucks man. What a bunch of pricks. Yeah...no big deal on the bet...I pretty much thought it was in good fun anyway. But even if you were totally serious about it...I can't possibly hold you to it now. Hope that shit gets cleared up...good luck."  And that would have been the end of it.

Oh no. It wasn't. He flips out. Then tells me I should pay him like $1000 to back out of the bet. What? I tell him he's being ridiculous. We argue some more about it. And finally I basically tell him to go fuck himself. 

He goes on to talk shit about me for I don't know how long. I get a call from a friend a year or two ago that there is some 'little fucker who looks like he could be the mascot for Notre Dame talking shit about' me at Borgata. He asks me the story. I tell him verbatim. And he goes back and tells Vance if he says another cross word about me at the table he's going to pull him off the table and beat the shit out of him. I guess he stopped. 

So when Scotty 'God' Clark opines several weeks ago that he was going to 'introduce Tim Vance to the club members' all I could do was chuckle. And when I got this text message from my friend last night, who had seen idiot's blog...I just assumed he had unleashed 'The Mighty Vance' on the world to further sully my pristine reputation. (yes I am saying this with dripping sarcasm, for those stupid enough to think I THINK I have a pristine reputation)

Shockingly, I was wrong. What I saw...instead, resulted in me being...as I mentioned at the start of this blog post...SPEECHLESS. You know that look you get on your face? Where you squint your eyes, the skin wrinkles a little on your forehead...your eyes dart back and forth a little bit...maybe you scratch your chin? That was me. 

This is where Scott dipped down to for his latest 'attack on Will Souther.' I don't have an exact date. Scotty obviously does, since he had to scroll back through all 700+ of my blog posts to find it...which in and of itself, I find pretty disturbing that ANYONE has that kind of time on their hands...but just to ball park it we will say this occurred 3 or 4 years ago. 

It all involved a guy named Gary Bolden. Gary and I really got off on the wrong foot. For a good while, I hated the guy. And I'm pretty sure he hated me. It was a mutual dislike we had for each other. I wrote a post about the guy. I actually said complimentary things about his poker game. But also suggested he was a racist. He's black. I was probably wrong. As I've gotten to know Gary, I've learned that he dated and had a child with a white waitress I know quite well at the Venetian. Something else occurred a couple years ago, at the height of my disdain for Gary. I was suffering from a kidney stone, and at one point, I had to get up from the table and find a place to lay down on the floor, writhing in pain. Gary came over to check on me. That said a lot about the guy. Later, we would have some of those moments that poker players can only understand...those non-verbal 'conversations' you have with each other at the table that usually result from there being something funny or stupid at the table that you both find amusing.

Bottom line? I wouldn't say Gary and I would ever go on a camping adventure together...but were push to come to shove, I think we would likely have each other's back. A lot of people I am friends with in the poker world, I started out thinking they were a piece of shit. That's just life. Sometimes, there are people who we are more alike then we would like to think we are.Gary is one of those guys.  So whatever...what Scott's purpose was/is for dredging this up, I can't even begin to comprehend. Scott does and says a lot of things that defy any semblance of logic. This would be one of those examples. 

My problems with Scott have for the most part been resolved. There are things that have transpired in the past two weeks that I am not at liberty to share or discuss with the public, but lets just say, anything Scott does to endanger me or my family, whether it be in writing, or in actual acts of aggression, will end badly for him, from a legal standpoint. Pretty much everything he is doing now is under observation. But knowing him like I've come to know him...and thinking he exists on a level that is WAY above the rest of us mortals...he will do or say something stupid, that will end up blowing up in his face. I sure hope so...I'm counting on it. Nothing would make me sleep better at night knowing that lunatic is sitting in an 8x6 cell eating three horrible meals a day while dodging a guy named Bubba's sexual advances.

More about the Phoenix trip in my next post. Me and Squirrel have decided we can't sleep another night on this horrible mattress. Sick and tired of waking up with an aching back. For a week in Arizona I woke up with NO back pain whatsoever...and as soon as I get home...BOOM! It's back again. And since its Columbus Day (I just found out!) maybe we will luck into a sale of some kind!

MONKEY

Monday, October 7, 2013

Oh the Joys of Flying Commercial!!!

What would a trip be without first being threatened with getting thrown off the plane? Pretty typical, I guess. I've just about HAD IT with these angry, old, bitter flight attendants and their attitudes. You would never know we actually PAID for our seats. I feel sometimes, more like a holocaust victim being loaded onto the cattle train to be shipped off to Auschwitz then I do a paying customer who paid an upgrade for extra leg room. (too much?)

So...I get to GPT a FULL hour early. I started out the trip by making the flight on time. An improvement over my last trip OUT of GPT...the worst, slowest airport on the planet. Got through TSA and their three-times-more-than-humanly-necessary screening process with no issues. Hmmm...two for two so far, hard part out of the way, I think. Board the flight. And oh boy...there she is. Oh we need a picture for this one, don't we? Bear with me. Yeah okay...here's the witch.




Let's discuss carry-on luggage. There are LARGE carry-ons, that WILL fit on most airplanes. However, there are times when, due to a large number of passengers, they will frequently order you to check it with the plane side valet, then give it to you once the plane lands. In my carry-on, I usually pack my laptop and a bunch of other things I need to have for my trips. The main reason I hate checking that bag...is three-fold. (1) I once had them LOSE my bag during that 'simple procedure.' (2) I once had someone take my bag instead of theirs on accident, leading to me missing my connecting flight. And (3) I've been the victim of missing my connecting flight on THREE separate occasions because I was stuck standing there in the jetway waiting on my carry on. So...understandably, or it SHOULD be...I'm very hesitant to use that method.

Then you have SMALL carry-ons. I own one of each of these. The small one is REALLY small...but sometimes, it is suitable. And if I know that I have a small window to make my connection, I don't want to risk it, so I take the little one. This is what occurred on this trip. So the last thing I'd have an issue with, was THAT. I was wrong. Witch Helga here...as soon as she sees my bag, barks at me that I have to check it because it's too big. We (for the record, for you aviation enthusiasts, are on a CRJ-200 Bombadier) are flying on a plane that is MORE than half empty....so storage space is NOT an issue. I look at her, tell her I have a short window to connect in Dallas, and really need to KEEP my bag with me...that my bag fits just fine, and that the plane is half empty or more.




Now she changes her story. Oh! Now it's a matter of weight...that the balance of the airplane is the big factor. You gotta be kidding me. I inform her that my carry-on only weighs 17lbs. (I weighed it when I was checking my baggage, in case I needed to move some stuff into it if I was over 50lbs on the other bag) She then got this evil look on her face...and asked me if I would like to take the next flight? Since I was at the front of the plane, and the cockpit door was open, I turned to my left and asked the pilots if this was really a legitimate case she was making for why I couldn't bring my carry on with me? One of them turned to me, and simply asked me to please check my bag. I wasn't winning against this bitch. Fuck it. I gave it up. And predictably, when we got to Dallas, it took forever to retrieve.

I take my seat. Actually, I don't, someone else is IN my seat. I had paid extra for an emergency exit row seat. More leg room. I told the guys not to worry about it...I didn't want to upset the bitch, and really just wanted to sit down. But him and the guy next to him realized they had sat one row back too far...so insisted they let me have my exit seat. Thanks guys. I moved. Oh...well she saw this and came racing back to see what all the 'shenanigans' were about. They told her they were in my seat. I ignored her. Then she asks to see my ticket. I showed it to her. While glaring at her. She seemed angrier...knowing I would be 'allowed' to fly to Dallas in relative comfort. 

A few moments later...a guy who was jammed into his seat with a large fat guy next to him, tried to move up to one of the (I counted them) 26 empty seats in front of row 10. TWENTY SIX empty seats! She ambushes him. Tells him he has to take his assigned seat! Claims that she will 'ask the captain if he can move after we take off.' He sits back in his seat looking like a 5th grader who'd just been sent to the principal's office. My whole section of the plane was now cracking jokes about her...calling her 'The Dictator' and other nice things.

She comes back to address us passengers in the exit rows....demanding we give her a verbal answer to each question. You know the drill. If the plane goes down in a fireball, will you stay here and be willing to open the exit door. Will you assist your fellow passengers who are missing body parts get off the plane? Will you take those who are on fire and roll them down the escape slide in hopes that their burning body stops, drops and rolls effectively? To each question I stared straight ahead and served up a very monotone, "YES." That pissed her off. I think waking up in the morning has to piss this lady off. "Fucking sun! Again!??? Arghhhh!!!!"

We get in the air. She comes back and tells the guy the captain declined his desire to move to a seat where he would actually be comfortable. More mumbo jumbo about the weight balancing of the plane. You'd have thought we were flying in a hang glider!

She gets on the microphone to start another one of her stupid in-flight speeches, this time about her fabulous beverage service that we have to look forward to. Then it hit me. Oh My God! This old hag is a frustrated wanna-be news caster. It was all she ever wanted to be in life...was an on-air newscaster. But her ugly, rotten apple face prevented any program manager from every scaring the American public and causing him/her to lose their own job when ratings fell through the floor. Every accent, every final word of each sentence, the proper inflexion of heightened pitch to her voice on the appropriate words. Oh...this was like Broadcast Journalism 101 class all over again! I was cringing every time she got on that damn thing. Lady! Please...no one is going to discover you working on this flight...or any other. Just talk into the mic like the miserable human you are, who hates her job. Oh, she thought it would be so awesome, and glamorous when she joined up with the airlines. She didn't care that the pay sucked...the travel, the glamour, the famous people she would meet...it would all be worth it...just watch!!!! AND...AND!!! She'd be discovered!!!

Ha! I lived with an apartment building FULL of American flight attendants when I first moved to NYC back in 1989. I had three as roommates. It was hilarious listening to these people every day. What they THOUGHT they were getting into, and what they ACTUALLY were getting into. They were some of the unhappiest people I've ever experienced. Always bitching. 

Here comes the beverage cart. I knew when she arrived in my neighborhood, I'd be the last one she waited on. That's fine. Didn't really care. My turn! I request a LARGE cup FULL of ice (they never give you enough, and the soda is always warm, so the ice always melts before you've finished- I recommend always asking for a FULL CUP of ICE!) and a full UNOPENED can of Coke. This is how you guarantee getting a whole can. Hey! I paid $450 for this ticket...I feel I'm within my rights as a paying customer to get a full can of coke instead of a half empty can of coke. Well, bitch from hell informs me she doesn't 'have anymore full cans of Coke, only two half empty ones)...which I'm 95% positive was a fucking lie. Coke is the most popular beverage on that cart. And she was only half way through her service...on a HALF EMPTY plane! Who is fooling who here? Fuck it. Since I'm looking at 6 full cans of Sprite, or Sierra Mist (whatever!) I ask instead for a Sprite. Besides, you've all seen the video of how horrible Coke is for you...so whenever I'm moved to choose something else, it's actually a bit of a victory. (WHY SODA IS BAD FOR YOU....click)



"We don't CARRY SPRITE!!!!" Yes, of course, then please give me a Sierra Mist. She got this look on her face like I had just defeated her in 'Battleship'...sinking the last ship in her fleet. Oh she was PISSSSSSED! Ha ha!  I sat back and enjoyed my Sprite (whatevvvvver), one delightful sip at a time...then started thinking to myself, "Hmmm...wonder what the chances are she will have cops waiting for me when we land in Dallas?" I could see it happening. I decided to put some odds on it. 14/86. 14% that I was going down. It didn't happen. I escaped the clutches of injustice.

Ironically, my next leg...from Dallas to Phoenix? Wonderful flight crew. Could not have been nicer. I told them, while waiting on the bathroom, about my previous experience with 'Debbie!' They both agreed that the women working on the American Eagle side of things tended to be a little grumpy. Understatement of the Year right there! I arrive in Phoenix to gorgeous 77 degree with a slight breeze blowing at 4pm. Five of my baseball teammates arrived moments later, and we shuttled it to our hotel. A hotel that is already on my nerves. The internet doesn't work worth a damn...the water faucets both deliver scalding hot water...which is great for brushing your teeth. My A/C didn't work. One of my teammates TV didn't work. They over-charged my credit card...then I had to go Accounting 101 with them to get it resolved. Sigh. But...it could be worse, I guess. (honestly, not sure how)

We had two games yesterday, one at noon, that we won 6-2 and one at 4pm that we won 10-0. All the batting practice I put in last week really paid off. I beat out an infield fielders choice in my first at-bat, with a sharp grounder to short..then hit a long double to left in my next at bat. In my 3rd at bat...I struck out...going after a pretty nice slider this guy threw me on a full count. He broke my bat on the previous pitch, an inside fastball that I fought off. On my fourth and final at bat of the day...again on a full count I hit a line drive to right that the guy managed to make a nice catch on...and I stranded a runner at 3rd. All in all, I felt great with how I swung the bat...the first game at bats I've had in two years, since I was here playing with the same team, and a lot of the same guys. I was really hoping Chad Brown was going to make it out here again...and he still might. He might just come and not play...which would be fine...just hanging out with him would make the trip worth it. My ex-roommate in NYC 20 years ago, Chris Bruno, who is a working actor in Hollywood, also played on our old 'National Network' team when we played in NYC over 20 years ago. He didn't make it here two years ago...and now it looks like he won't make it again. Sucks. Jim Davidson, also an actor, who starred on Pacific Blue a few years back, and lands a lot of other roles in things...and is just a really, really great guy...who when he was here two years ago, was fighting a serious health issue in his neck. Well, he beat it. And is back to the old 'Jimmy D' I always knew and looked up to. He is here..and played great yesterday. Like always. 

We have a great bunch of guys here again. I'm sure we will have a good shot at winning the whole thing. The winning teams get these really nice rings. I mean, they look like World Series rings. I guess that would be pretty cool! We are scheduled to play something between 14-16 games in 7 days! So playing time shouldn't be a problem. My knees....well, I went to see my doctor the day before I left, and he prescribed me a 6-day anti-inflammatory thing...take 3 pills on Day 1...then another 3 that day....2 and 2 the next day (today) then 1 and 1...then its done. My knees the past two days have felt GREAT! And my back isn't even bothering me too much (yet) right now...so maybe I'll get through this week unscathed!

Well, Squirrel and I are no longer undefeated on our rooting interest football side of things. Well, she is I suppose, more of a diehard Saints and Crimson Tide fan then a Seahawks and Husky fan. The Huskies and Seahawks both lost in the final minutes, to take their first loss. I was pretty bummed...but the Dawgs only fell one spot in the Top 20...which means they obviously won a lot of respect. But I'd have sure been a lot happier with the win...propelling us to about 8th probably, heading into a HUGE home game vs. Oregon this week. Seahawks should go to 5-1 at home against Tennessee. 

Has anyone watched the new show on NBC? 'Blacklist?' What do you think of it? Here is my take. It's a combination of the Hannibal Lecture trilogy and Homeland. You have the slightly troubled female agent...who the subject insists on working with...kind of like Hannibal did with Jodi Foster. The Reddington character, played by James Spader is at times entertaining...but I find him to be way smirky, and too much of a smart ass and know it all. I think anyone, in the real world, who carried his kind of personality, wouldn 't last three days in the convert ops world. And for him to have all this information about ALL these terrorists? Never happen. It's impossible. It's almost insulting to the intelligence. And perhaps its because I've read too many Tom Clancy (rest in peace Tom Clancy, he died last week) novels, and Vince Flynn, as well as Stephen Coonts and a few others. It's very amateurish to me and farfetched to really enjoy it. And Spader's character is just not one that I'm going to be able to tolerate for much more than two or three episodes before I have to cut it loose.

I would like to extend my congratulations to two very good friends of mine who became the proud parents of new babies this month. Jennifer Gay and Stephen Pique welcomed their baby boy, Carter to the world...and our webmaster and friend 'Wild Bill' Phillips and his wife Jessica also welcomed a little boy...who wasn't named upon arrival, but I think has taken on the moniker of Landon. I could be wrong...but I think that's right. The huge list of my friends that have been having a baby since Squirrel and I had Carley is astounding...or maybe you just pay attention to those things more once you have one of your own. Joe Cutler, Jason Young, Josh Brikis...whoa...all guys with names starting wtih a 'J'...and then Jenn Gay. Okay now its getting weird. Oh hell's bells...add another one, my Florida roomie, Joe Hebert...who also had a boy after we did. That's five J's. Who did I miss? Oh, I can break the string...my friend Weronika Starr had a baby boy this year too. Baby here, baby there...babies everywhere! And my 'little' Carley is approaching a year and a half...and she is in the top 99% of babies her age for height. She is going to be very tall. I hope not Amazon tall, though. She is getting so funny...she cracks me up every day. Leaving her was SO hard this time. And she is walking all over the house looking for me I'm told. We tried to Facetime yesterday, and she refused to look at me. She's mad at me. Cute I guess. Sort of.  :(

I have played NO POKER in over two weeks. And it feels awesome! I don't know what's going ON in the poker world, and I could care less. Sorry, to those who live, breathe, eat and sleep poker and only care about poker. Then again...most of those who are poker junkies don't read my blog anyway...so big whoop!

This little mess, this uh, character assassination that is uh, well that I touched upon in my last post? That I promised a 'mini-series' breaking it down and explaining 'my side' of the story? Well, I followed up as I mentioned I was going to do...contacting my local field office of the FBI, to see if there was anything I could do to protect myself and my family from this maniac. Never realized just HOW many offices they have. I had the choice of Mobile, New Orleans, or Jackson, MS. Or speak to the office in St Louis. (GO PIRATES...by the way!) 

Then I get out here to Phoenix, and find out one of my teammates, works for the FBI! How ironic is that? Well...it's been expressed to me that I not put the details of what's going on with this person who most of you know...on my blog. For a variety of reasons. Trust me...there is a side to me that REALLY wants to set the record straight, and turn the tables on this asshole. But there is always the argument that karma will catch up to him eventually. Karma or Federal charges...one or the other. I just don't want to defy their advice to release as little information about this as possible. So to those of you expecting to read about all this BS with this jerk...I'm sorry.

I will tell you this. He has a bit of a God Complex. He literally refers to himself in a recent blog of his...that just MIGHT appear on this site that I blog for (that just MIGHT be the third listed blog down on the left hand side) ...wherein he declares himself  "Like a God, I am the Grand Architect of it All, The Final Word!" When I think of this person...there is only really one word that consistently comes to mind.  R-E-P-U-G-N-A-N-T.




Okay...it is now 9:30am. We are leaving for our game at 11:30. And I want to get loose by swimming some laps in the pool that is right outside my room. Nice chatting with ya!

MONKEY

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Synopsis: Hard Rock Main Event

I promised you a conclusion to the carrot-dangling I left you with in my last post. I can tell you one thing, after I get THIS post out of the way...I'm about to hit you with some scandal that should get my 'hits-per-day' graph going haywire like it's accustomed to doing. Why? Some of you know. Still others have a hunch. Let's just say, I was willing to 'let it go' with a certain individual, taking care of 'my end' of the loose ties that were involved in a business 'deal' we had made with each other. Unfortunately, the guy I'm dealing with...is fu**ing insane. I don't use that word lightly. I know it's common to hear a guy talk about his ex-girlfriend and decorate her memory by calling her names like 'crazy bitch' or 'psycho.' This is normal. Almost always over-exaggerated, but normal.

Well, this is a situation where the person on the other end of this 'mess' is certifiably insane. I have saved every piece of correspondence I've had with him...be it text messages or emails...and had several others forwarded to me from other people...and it is not even a question as to whether this guy is 3 quarters short of a buck. Well, like I said, I took care of 'my end' of things...and thought it was over. My wife was glad to be rid of the guy from our lives. And to be honest, the last two weeks, not hearing a peep from his crazy ass...and just being able to spend time with my family, watch great football games, and just 'chill' before I take my pilgrimage out to Arizona to play in the big baseball tourney next week...has been a delight.

Then yesterday...here he comes again. And finally...I decided I'd had enough. It's one thing to have someone tell you something like...."Hey man, blah blah blah-ba-dee-bah...I'm gonna kill you man!" It's another all together to have a guy tell you that no matter what you do, he is going to go to the end of the Earth to see that your world is detroyed, that he is going to 'light your world on fire.' Then tells you he is going to introduce you to 'for hire m.f'ers' to solve his dispute with you? Well, I think there reaches a limit to the things I can simply ignore. Maybe before I had Carley, I would just roll the dice, and assume that the guy was just a blowhard...and just look the other way.

But now, I have a lot more at stake. I have a girl who's life I want to see go places, and with me in it. I want to be around to provide for her, to protect her, to teach her things...and to derive pleasure from her life in the twilight of mine. And to have some delusional psychopath interfere with those plans? By acting out on some vendetta he allowed himself to dredge up against me for what reason I still haven't figured out? No. Not going to happen. Yes, I have life insurance...and for a good amount...should anything happen to me. And in that regard, I would have Carley 'taken care of.' But leaving Carley's life when she's not even two yet? No...that's not an option I want to deal with. So on Monday, maybe Tuesday, since Monday is a pretty busy day for me, and Carley goes to her sitter on Tuesdays...I plan on making a trip to the local field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with my laptop in tow...and a record of all interactions with this maniac, and press charges against him, while also requesting a restraining order that makes it illegal for him to be within a certain distance from me. Why bother with this? For a person who lives in St. Louis? For one reason only. He claims to be making a 'full effort' this year to attend a lot of poker tourneys. Well...if I should happen to decide to attend one of these events, I want to make sure he isn't able to enjoy his experience there tormenting me. I will simply pull out the piece of paper, and let security escort his ass off the property.

I know, I've probably already told you too much. If you played in my poker club on Pokerstars...then you know EXACTLY what I'm talking about. If you didn't, I have unfairly teased you, and I'm sorry. For the record, I no longer HAVE a poker club on Pokerstars. The reasons are numerous. All players who played with me...ALL OF THEM...have been refunded ALL the money they had on account with me. Meanwhile, there are still 11 players who owe me money...a fair amount too, almost $1000. I have yet to threaten to kill any of these people, or taken to slander to get them to pay...nor try to assassinate their character. I simply email them about every five days and politely ask them to please pay me the money they owe. It's how I've always chosen to do business with people who owe me money. Something about attracting more flies with honey...or however that old saying goes.



In the next few posts, I will share a LOT of information with you people. Why? Well, the death threats for one. But more importantly, I know some people in poker don't 'like me.' And that's fine. I'm not easy to like for some people. So I'm okay with that. But one thing no one has ever said about me...is that I'm someone who is a thief, or a scam artist, a crook, whatever. With the possible exclusion of some of you who think my 'staking deals' are overly criminal. You guys will just not be budged on your views of the poker staking rules, and I'm not about to even TRY changing your views.

Well, this person, who I will introduce you to...a lot of you either know him, or know OF him...has decided, and I honestly, 100% don't know why...to ruin me. To paint the ugliest picture of me to anyone who will listen. Running around telling people I owe him money (which I don't) that I ripped people off (I didn't) that I am broke (I'm certainly not) and a variety of other stories. He told me that even 'if I got right with the money' (as it pertained to the club members who I required 7-10 day to refund) with everyone, it didn't matter, he would spend 20 years if necessary to 'light my world on fire.' So here is a guy who despite TRYING to deal with rationally, decided, again...for reasons I can't begin to comprehend, to declare Jihad on me. He has already been skipping around the tournament circuit talking shit about me. Now, granted, there are quite a few 'actual losers' in the poker community who I could really give two shits less what they think of me. And the guys who 'really' know me, would never believe any thing that comes vomiting from this guys mouth. So from a certain point of view, I don't really care TOO MUCH about his attempts to ruin my reputation. After all, we are talking about a reputation in a world, or rather, a cross section of the world...where more unsavory individuals reside than any I've ever taken part in as long as I've walked this planet. 

The fact that I've decided I am pretty sick of poker, in general...kind of makes this almost a moot point. But, I think about things like..."Hmm...suppose me not going to play much anymore will cause people to hear these maniac-generated rumors and conclude that I went broke, tried to rip people off, failed, went into a desperate pit of despair, and just vanished!?? Will there be people naive and gullible enough to fall for that kind of a BS tale, spun by a guy who has been kicked out of and banned from more casinos than even I have!!??"  The answer to that question?  PROBABLY! I mean, we are talking about poker players here. Who really seem to thrive on drama and controversy, whether its true or not. 



No. I'm tired of poker. I'm tired of travel. I miss my daughter when I'm gone. Too much. I hate the people at the table. I hate what the game has turned into. Can't stand SO much about poker, that it's just not fun anymore. And it's too hard to make a living doing it. Too many idiots ruining the game. I often think it might just be easier to make a profit playing roulette or blackjack nowadays. The only thing I have any desire whatsoever to do in poker? Show up for events and play the last 5 days. The last event, usually a $1k, maybe a $1500...before the Main. Play the mega satellites. Then play the Main. Then leave when that is over. Period. Go for big scores. Screw all the prelims. Screw all the grinding, the 10-12 hour tourneys only to lose to a guy who will play any two cards in any level and not give a shit if he loses. Fuck that. At least in Main Events, there is a semblance of 'actual' poker being played. And I will talk about why I enjoyed the Main Event down in Hollywood so much...why it left me with just a smidgeon of a desire to keep playing this game. And not just quit cold turkey.

Back to this prick. I used to care a LOT more about my reputation. I have always had a lot of pride. And I am proud to say there are things about me I have never had to defend. And for someone to try and dismantle me by attacking those things? Well, there is a limit to my ability to 'look the other way.' While I might not really CARE what a lot of the people in the poker community think about me? I do CARE that people at least get a chance to hear MY SIDE of certain allegations that might cause them to carry an overly negative impression of me, and of who I am, or what I represent. So....there you go, you have THAT to look forward to in a future post...probably this upcoming week. As I mentioned, I am going out to Arizona, to play in a 40+ baseball tourney, the same one I played in two years ago with Chad Brown and a bunch of other guys I played with 20+ years ago while living in NYC. Chad is a last-minute decision on whether he is going to make it due to some health concerns. I'm really rooting for him to make it. We play 2 games a day for 6 days...all on fields used by MLB teams in spring training. It's a blast! I found a batting cage (finally) here in Biloxi and have been working on my swing all week. I'm seeing the ball well, and making great contact...so I'm pretty fired up about playing for a week! I just hope my banged up knees and bad back stay away for 7 days!







Okay...time for my Main Event story from Hollywood? Even though it was what? About a month ago!!?? Hey time flies when you've spent the whole month rooting and watching you and your wife's four favorite football teams improve to 4-0...my Seattle Seahawks...on the heels of today's incredible 20-3 comeback to win in overtime against Houston, our local Saints, who just POUNDED previously unbeaten Miami on MNF...my UW Huskies improving to 4-0 against Arizona...and of course, the Crimson Tide...taking care of 'that team with all the weapons from Oxford' this weekend to also go to 4-0. Now...I don't expect this to hold up. My Seahawks should have lost probably Sunday...and next week they have to play AT Indy...so maybe we lose there. Any my Huskies? Well, our next three opponents are Stanford, Oregon, and Arizona State. We will be fortunate to win ONE of those. Winning two will be AWESOME. All three? Highly unlikely. But winning all three would likely put us into the Top 5 in the nation. Hey...ya never know! The Saints, they have to go on the road to Chicago and New England, ouch! Bama, on the other hand...has four games they should win by three TD's or more coming up before they play LSU at home. I don't know, Arkansas might be tough. They almost caught Texas A&M yesterday. But LSU...that will be a war...and 'Bama better get their offensive woes figured out in October. But a 16-0 September!??? Nice!


________________________________________________________________











(warning: this is about to fairly long! Sorry....to those who can't handle it, I suggest you simply leave now!)  
Sorry...got sidetracked! Hollywood, Florida. The Main Event: having satellited my way in the previous night, took a gigantic amount of pressure off me personally. I had a punishing trip to Choctaw on my previous trip, all on my own dime. For Hollywood, I sold a package, and the trip had been as bad or worse than Choctaw. It was really disappointing to, because there were so many positives about the trip. A great tourney room. Excellent structures. Great turnout. Good dealers and floor staff. I mean, it was a recipe to run good, and I just hadn't run good at all. 

Well, the Main Event started out great. For the most part. My table draw was pretty soft. There were two good players, one of them Joey Kuether, who I chopped a $550 Venetian event with a couple years ago. Guy is a really good player. So when he got into a raise, re-raise...RE-raise, all in matchup with the biggest donkey at the table...Joey sporting (duh!) pocket aces, and the donkey holding (standard) pocket jacks...it would only stand to reason that the poker gods would allow for the two-outer to hit. Stupid. But to be honest, I would rather the fish have those chips than the beast. But I still felt bad for JK.

                  



The Fish: This guy was horrible. I mean, just horrible. And what was hilarious, was that all the good players kept trying to bluff the guy. At one point, I even said, "I can't believe you guys keep trying to bluff him!" But I said it in a playful, non-offensive way...why? Because, I was busy trying to be his buddy...crediting him when he made horrendous plays. Why? Because I just knew there would come a time when I would need that 'buddy love' with him to get him to fold some ridiculous hand where he ends up sucking out on the river. Ugh. Remember that. Meanwhile...he was putting one brutal blow after another on players who started out with much superior hands. It was both amazing, and painful to watch. 

Have you ever had one of those players at your table who just defied logic and/or common sense? Where you were dying to be able to get inside of someone's brain to see just what in the hell they are/were thinking? How they come about making the decisions they do? This was this guy...times ten. I can't remember ALL the plays now, as a month has passed...but it was just mind-boggling. 



One such hand was against this little bitch. And I don't really like (these days at least) to light into opposing players too much from a personal sense, but this girl was really, really, really, really an asshole. And she possessed every annoying habit you could ever fathom. The gum-chewing, the chip riffling, the long tanks in between each betting street, the eye-glare at her adversary. Oh I hated her...and pretty much the whole table hated her. The worst thing about her though? Was the way she made her bets. She would literally THROW her chips out. In a rapid-fire process. My whole side of the table would groan and cringe every time she put chips in play. By about the 3rd or 4th orbit at our table (she took the place of a player the fish busted) I was ready to cut off her hands.

Her and I would end up getting into a verbal spat. It started with something real simple, the coloring up of the green chips. I had the most, and was asked to handle buying up the other players' greens. Typical, as I like to build as large of stacks as possible for what I consider a psychological edge. She was the last person at the table, and was taking her sweet time getting around to it. She only had 4 chips. And instead of stacking them and politely handing them to me, she instead spray-fires all of them in my direction. I just sat there, looking at the chips, and staring at her. Pretty sure she got the message, unless she was mentally challenged to the point of just not getting what a rude little bitch she was. She got up and walked away to enjoy her break, which I'm sure consisted of her killing a puppy, or stealing a baby.

I don't even remember what the 'spat' was about. Whatever it was...it made me extra delighted when I watched her donk away half her stack trying to bluff The Fish...after he somehow got into a hand with Q5 suited...flopped a queen...and would never fold, on the flop, the turn or the river when she blasted a HUGE bet on the river...he says the word 'call' and she rifled her cards at the dealer and starts huffing and puffing. I covered my mouth and started giggling to myself like a little girl. 

One bad player got busted out of the 4 seat, and in comes Olivier Busquet. Not familiar with that name? Most of you 'good' or 'experienced' players know who he is. He won the Borgata Open Main Event the year before Dwight Pilgrim, he's a host on one of the poker shows...I don't know which, I don't follow televised poker very closely. He has somewhere around $3m in career winnings, and is one of the players I literally fear and respect the most in poker. The year 'The Duke' won that Main Event at Borgata, I had one of my nastiest table draws of all time...with my good friend Christian Iacobellis, who would eventually make the Final Table (of 10) which played for 3 hours before losing a player (it would be Christian...who I had a 10% swap with)...four other really good players whose names I don't recall, and Olivier. 



If you've never played with this guy...well, it's quite an experience. So when he sat down at our table, and pulled out a receipt and his ID, I knew he was coming off a rebuy...which, if I was counting correctly, was at least his second. So I figured he would be in the mood to chip up quickly. Players like him don't like to sit around playing tight early in tourneys. And while it was Level 6 and not really 'early'...the fact that they were allowing rebuys up until the dinner break...and guys like him play with deep pockets, I knew he would come in firing.  I was right.

I had 6 hands against him. I won ALL six. The last one I took from him...I took all of his chips. I spent an entire day playing with this guy 3 years ago. Of learning from him. Of learning about him. It was literally, an experience that left me feeling totally overmatched and outclassed. I hated it that day...a day when I would min-cash for $9000...and could have, or probably WOULD have...gotten a lot deeper if I possessed the skill set that I have today than I did then. 

One hand that I remember specifically from that day? I was in the SB with AQ. A very active player raised utg+2. No surprise there. Another player called. It folded to Olivier...who 3-bet. It folded to me, and I just decided AQ was not where I wanted to be in between these two, who had already had numerous battles. I decided to let AQ go. Predictably, the original raiser...4-bet. This hand went on for about 10-15 minutes. And never saw a flop! It got to the 7th raise....when Oliver shoved all in...into a massive pot. The other guy finally folded, and Olivier showed QJ off suit. I remember wanting to throw up in my mouth. And feeling like a total pussy. That day, I just felt so inferior at the poker table. But...it taught me a lot. It made me a better player. I feel that as a poker player, you HAVE to have those kind of experiences to improve. 

So, back to the present. I pick up 10-10 in early position and raise. I am in the 2-seat by the way. Two seats over, Olivier re-pops it. No one calls, as it folds back around to me. 

THE SPOT: This is where Olivier excels. He finds the player at the table he feels like he can exploit. For whatever perceived weakness he feels they may possess. In my case, I think he had me painted as the 'tight guy' who can be three-bet on a regular basis, and who will cave in and fold. Good players have that skill...and they use it like masters to build their stack. I knew this about him. He could have anything there, literally ANY two cards. I wasn't backing down. Yes...I REALLY needed to cash this tournament...and try to at least salvage a horrible trip, but...if I sat there and let this guy bully me around all day, I was just going to hemorrhage away all my chips by raising only to fold. So I was forced to draw a line in the sand. This was where I needed to take my stand. 

I called the raise. The flop came all under cards. Something like 4-6-8. Which...honestly, could be right in his wheel house. I could totally envision him re-raising me there with 5-7 suited (the nuts!). But it was time to sack up. I felt like check-raising there was not the way I wanted to go...and since the pot was already juicy, felt like leading out, and possible taking down the pot right there...would be a substantial win for me at that point. So I did. I bet out...how much I can't remember now. It's not really important. 

Another thing about Olivier...his body language, his facial expressions...his eyes, they never deviate. He has very consistent mannerisms. Which make it incredibly hard to pick up any kind of tells or reads. Well, he went into his 'act' before using a little time to think, (this is one guy who does NOT tank like this fucktards who watch too much poker on TV) then he raises me. Fuck. How did I not KNOW that was coming?

Now it was my turn to squirm. To decide if he was making a move, putting pressure on...or if he actually had something. Something that was better than my over pair. Shit. We all know this feeling. It's pretty much do or die right there. And to be honest...it's ONE of the last vestiges of poker that I enjoy...from a pure competitive standpoint. And its why I still enjoy poker when I'm in a Main Event (usually, as the story about The Fish is still upcoming) because you get so many of these spots where you are simply matching wits against another equally or superior player. When you make the right play, and it works out...there is no bigger rush. It's like smacking a line drive double into the gap to clear the bases and give your team a lead in the 8th inning. Or crushing a bomb over the fence after striking out your first two at-bats against a guy who has been abusing you all game. It's that same feeling, and its what drives me in poker. 

I decided, if he actually had a monster there...knowing how he plays, knowing what I've learned about him...that he wouldn't go all in. He would simply re-raise me, build the pot a little bigger, hope I sacrificed that remainder of my chips to him in a losing cause. Yeah...that HAD to be right. He was just trying to make me fold, and drag a huge pot. I move ALL IN.

And unlike so many of these other little jackwads...who will sit there and bleed about 5 minutes off the clock while they go through the whole catalog of annoying rituals before they fold...this ISN'T that guy. He snap folds, tells me 'good hand' and that was it. Somehow I felt robbed. Wait. that was too fast. Nice hand? Fold? Well....okay. I showed my hand. He made that facial expression that says, "Hmm...okay." My stomach returned to its proper place, the blood went back to pumping through my body...and it was on to the next hand.

But he did something I don't see him do a lot. He questioned me about the hand. Did I really think 10-10 was good there? Did I not put him on a bigger hand? Admitted to having a "piece of the board, but didn't think my four was going to be any good!" which tells me he must have three-bet me with something like A4 maybe even 4-5. Who knows. But my answer to him either tilted him, or he was respectful of it. I hope the latter, because I respect that guy as much or more than anyone in poker. 

"Olivier, I had you at my table all day at Borgata a few years ago. And you taught me a lot about poker that day. About my weaknesses. And you pushed and bullied me around all day. When you sat down here, I made a decision that I wasn't letting that happen again. Trust me, I wasn't happy to see you here." I got some raised eyebrows from the other players. He didn't say anything...so I don't know how that was taken by him.

The hand that I eliminated him on...came when he min-raised my big blind...which he did frequently. I made an easy call with KQs. We were heads up. The flop brought a king and two rags. I checked...figuring he would bet. He did. I just called. 

Okay, some of you might ask: Why not raise there? Two answers. (1) Pot control. If I raise there, there is a great possibility that he will re-pop me. Which then means I am decision-making mode for my whole tourney. I'm not ready to do that with that hand. Not in that spot. (2) Knowing the player...I know he will generally three-barrel any hand where he was the original raiser...which means, I can get three streets of him barrel-bluffing into me...whereas, if I check raise the flop, I probably stand an equal chance of losing him. Because while I mentioned pot control, and his voracity to put pressure on me there by re-popping me if I led out, or even check raised...there is just a good of chance that he just goes away...having already lost his only other FIVE hands against me. He might just decide (as many of us often do) that I'm that 'one guy I just can't seem to beat today.'

SO yeah, I flatted his bet. The turn brought another under card. No flush out there. No real straight possibilities. I check again. He bets again. I snap call. I'm trying to figure out what he is putting me on that he keeps betting. But he never really gives much away...so he could just as likely have a small set there...but I don't think so. I think he is just bombing every street in hopes to make me fold. So when another rag hit the river, and he goes all in, for what I think was 22k...and I already had about 12k of my stack in there...it just felt like a desperation heave...with it being Level 8...the last level before the dinner break, which would also be the last chance to rebuy/re-enter. I called. He mucked his cards, looked at me, told me 'nice hand' and exited with grace and class. I felt AWESOME. My stack looked AWESOME. I just eliminated who I regarded as one of the best players in poker. Wow! 

Feelings like THOSE? Those feelings are what make poker fun...that make all the misery that goes with poker, worth it. And those moments are so few and far between. But for those fleeting moments when they DO occur? They're amazing.

The rest of Day One simply sucked balls. And was a return to all the things I hate about fuckheads in poker.

I won't even get into all the ugly details, because honestly, who really gives a shit? I mean, I don't, and I'm the one who experienced it, so I doubt you want to hear about it. But...there was THE one hand...where I was left feeling that sick, angry feeling of "Not again...not freaking again...am I going to play lights out poker, build a healthy stack, only to lose them all to the ONE idiot remaining at the table!!!"

The Fish limps...under the gun...with, I will just go ahead and tell you; Jack Ten off suit. I look down at KK. I raise. Obviously. I don't min-raise. I raise 3.25x. It folds back to my buddy in the 1-seat. He calls. Ugh...here we go. The flop comes Q-J-3. Good. No ace. He checks. I bet 8,000. (I don't remember what the blinds were at that point, just what I bet on every street). He calls. King Ten? Not THAT likely, since I have KK. KQ? Again not as likely. Two pair? No...he would have raised. Set of threes? Again..he would have raised. WTF!???? The turn is a five. Okay...good card (I think)...he checks, I bet 12,000! He calls AGAIN! Now I'm putting on the breaks. Even a king on the river worries me now. The river is a second jack. Surely I'm good NOW, right? Two pair? He checks...again! Fuck it...I'm not betting...there is a ton in that pot...and if I bet and he shoves, what do I do. I call that a 'zero-equity' spot to bet there. I check. Thank god. He turns over the jack ten and I just about lose my shit. That hand really, really fucked me up mentally. I got up from the table and took about a five-minute walk. 

About 20 minutes later...our table broke. Thank GOD! I arrive at my new table...and...holy shit, out of 44 tables in the room, guess who came with me to the new table?

Yep! Amazing. And the cycle of shit would continue. I discussed this guy with my end of the table, enough so that any dipshit with A5 on the button might have thought twice about raising when dodo limped in for 1600 from middle position...choosing to either fold, instead...or just smooth calling. But no...this moron raises. Forcing me to fold in the big blind with 7-8...which I would have loved to see a flop with. The Fish calls. Of course he does. He doesn't fold...his fold BUTTON is disabled. The flop comes...oh! How convenient, 8-7-2. @(*$#@*$^#

Check. Bet. Call. Yeah. This guy...the fish...called the flop bet with QJ off suit. Two overs. The turn? A queen! Check. Bet. Call. Just calls! Ha! River...3. He checks again. Bozo with A5 attempts what so many others have tried before him (unsuccessfully) and bets huge. Fish just calls...and tables his hand. I want to punch A5 boy in the face...for he just cost me...hell, I might have felted the fish on the hand. But instead, the Fish just chipped up big. It would get worse. The Fish was in the big blind...I look at AJ. The dork in the 1-seat (A5 kid) raises under the gun. I decide, since I'm at a new table...that I better let AJ go. It's such a weak hand out of position. The Fish calls in the big blind. The flop comes Jack high. Same story....lots of betting. Fish wins. I WOULD have won. Kill me!

I simply held on...made it through Day One...bagged up an annoying amount of chips....just above what I started the day with...and left feeling very irritated with the last two levels of the night, but happy to at least be coming back, some 300 or so away from the money in an event that started with over 2000 players.

DAY TWO:

Before my initial starting table broke, I sat there card dead, with someone always raising behind me when I had a hand and position to maybe pick up some blinds with a raise. Or I'd raise and someone who shove all in against me holding a hand I couldn't begin to think about calling with. It was looking bleak. I would finally pick up a real hand...TWICE...queens once and then kings...and got NO action. The numbers were dwindling though...and to cash was $7500...which would get my backers HALF of their investments back almost...which was obviously my first goal/hurdle. My table broke, and I got moved to a table that was swimming in chips. Good gawd. That is always a nightmare.

Barely speaking English...I thought he was from Spain, turns out he was from Switzerland, he managed to use his skill and bravado to cash in the Main Event for 3rd place. And I'm sorry, but I LOVE that scarf!!!


And when the guy you see pictured here, who would end up finishing third in this event for around half a million bucks, raised with K10 for like 5500...and called a short stacks all in for 34,000...that guy holding AQ....he hits a king (of course he does), wins the hand, eliminates the player...who stormed off screaming, and looks at me out of the corner of his eye, and mutters...."committed." No he wasn't saying he thought the guy who just left should be committed to a psyche ward, though maybe that was a possibility too. No..he was suggesting that he was pot committed to call the guy. And yeah...he had over 300k...and you can maybe make a case for him. I guess. But it was letting me know...that if I were about to make an all in play before we made the money...it better be a pretty good hand. That or I could sit there and fold my way to the money...then hope I can catch fire after getting into the money. 

I'll cut to the chase. I made the money. Phew! Then on the first hand after making the money...a guy I know real well from years of circuit grinding raises my BB from the button...with, ah! My favorite hand...K9. I can't fold A5 with 5 BB's. We get heads up all in preflop...and I win for a double up....and after winning a couple more hands, I was now in manageable shape to get at least a little deeper. I managed to get into the next pay level...and was hoping to get to the next one...

That is one of the things I do in Main Events. I call it 'clearing hurdles.' There are so many players that make the money and just start getting it in bad, happy to have made it that far. And then you have more who are hell bent on just running over the table and will get it in bad constantly to just try and bust everyone. I like to sit there and make money while people play stupid poker. Not that I'm going to cut loose a decent hand. But I'm never getting it in without at LEAST a Top 15-20 hand when I'm sitting at 15 BB's or less. 

So...with 303 showing on the board, players remaining that is....and the blinds at 2500/5000 and me sitting with 39,000 now...a little under 8 BB's...there is an early raise to 12,500 by a very active player. And because he is SO active, he gets two callers...since no one respects his raises much. It gets to me on the button, and I look down at 77. I would love to KNOW what each and every one of you would do in this spot. Flatting for a third of your chips, to me...is stupid. For what? To hit a 7.2 to 1 shot? I can see if your in the BB maybe paying the extra 7500...masking the strength of your hand...and hoping to flop gin. But in the BB...shoving all in there often looks like nothing but a steal...and regularly gets called by at least one player. And yeah...shoving on the button also looks pretty shady.

But I had a very good table image, a tight image...having only showed big hands in previous spots. So as soon as I moved all in, I could see by the body language that I was being given credit for a big hand. I was perfectly fine (obviously) with everyone folding...picking up a whopping 60k (almost twice my stack) and going to close to 100k and really being able to maneuver now. Or just get one call and win a heads up flip for an even bigger pot. I get called by two guys. It checks all the way to the river...and I really was thinking I might have just quadrupled up. But the first guy turns over A9...having hit the nine on the turn. Shit.

I was out. 303'rd I thought. But when I got to the payout desk, I was informed that I was the 300th finisher, which put me on the pay increase line...and I made an extra $1200...so that kind of eased the pain of being eliminated for the time being. 

It was a good run. It was a much needed run. All my backers got about half of their original investment back. All of them were quickly paid...except one guy...who I can't to respond to my emails! And I owe him like $560. Hopefully he is okay, health wise. 

This blog is already WAY WAY WAY to long...but I didn't want to half ass it. Oh! That's funny. Heard a guy yesterday, actually it was in an email...tell me he didn't want to 'half fast' it. It was in regards to our NHL Fantasy draft last night. Half Fast! I didn't have the heart to correct him. I thought it was hilarious.

So...it's now Tuesday. I took a little break while writing this monster post. As I mentioned earlier in this post...I have some things to take care of now...its around noon, Carley is at the babysitter today, and I need to get these things taken care of.

Also need to visit the batting cage, and the gym to work on some cardio. Stepped on the scale yesterday, while picking up my dogs from the vet...and couldn't believe my eyes! I was at 265 about 45 days ago, and really hating it. Yesterday...with 6 days till I fly to Phoenix for a week of hard ball in the desert....248 lbs!!! YES! So this whole week..its going to be cardio, cardio, and more cardio...lots of pushups and crunches, some swimming...and lots of water. If I can get to 235 before I leave...that would be incredible! Okay...240. That would be just as great. I'll probably lose another five pounds out there sweating my ass off for a week!!!

MONKEY