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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


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