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Friday, December 27, 2013

Happy Holidays Poker Friends

Well, Christmas has come and gone...and now we have the New Year to look forward to. Since I last posted, quite a bit has happened in my little corner of the universe. Not much of it related to poker, however.

Squirrel and I, along with my sister who was visiting from Milwaukee for Thanksgiving, traveled to Auburn to take in the Iron Bowl. In what has now become one of the most talked about Iron Bowl's in history...it left us feeling pretty deflated, and just shocked. It was, without a doubt, the quietest 281 mile road trip I've ever experienced coming home. I always have a bad feeling in my gut going into games against Auburn and LSU...but for some reason, I really wasn't fearing them this year. I really thought Bama would go into Auburn, and get the job done in convincing fashion. If anything, I had a bigger fear of what Missouri might have to offer.

We all know what happened. No need to rehash things. The next two weeks were spent dealing with all the media BS regarding whether or not Nick Saban would leave for Texas...who as of this moment, STILL doesn't have a new coach. Well, luckily, Nick is sticking around Tuscaloosa. My friend Barth, who's Dad works for the Sugar Bowl committee, was able to fulfill our order for 7 tickets for the Sugar Bowl...in great seats, all at face value...so a nice contingency of us will be heading to New Orleans next week for the game vs. Oklahoma, to see off AJ McCarron and several other guys headed to the NFL...and hopefully kick some ass and finish 13-1 and the #2 team in the nation. Bitter as it may be.

A couple weeks ago, I got a last minute call from Barth, wanting to know if I wanted to come to Sunday Night Football between the Saints and the Panthers. Hell yes! So I hot-footed it over there, and was surprised by the appearance of David Nicholson and Ashly Butler,  who are now living in Barth's sprawling estate in Metairie! It was a great game...and of course, we had great seats. The Saints won in convincing fashion...to the team they turned around and lost to this past week...and now they  need to win this  Sunday and get some help from the lowly Falcons to win the division, or they will be getting in as Wild Cards...not what they had in mind a month ago when there were sporting a 8-1 record.

We ended up leaving the game early to go play cash game at Harrah's. Yes,  that place that I am supposedly not allow to play. Hell, I don't know...maybe there is only a ban on me when it comes to WSOP events in venues owned in Caesar's-owned properties. Since I walked in and everyone was very friendly to me, including the poker room manager, who I chatted with for about ten minutes,  and who invited me to come over and play the Bayou Winter Classic last week.

Well, what was going to be a session of maybe 2 or 3 hours turned into a marathon session of 24 instead. Why? I have no idea. It just did. Part of me really missed playing poker. And I was having my way with the table. It was almost too easy. For about 6-7 hours my stack was sitting between $1900-$2200...I was avoiding those horrendous 'runs from hell' much to my surprise. I had a pretty good feeling that I could get to $3000 and then call it a day. But I was also getting to the point where Squirrel was getting increasingly annoyed that  I wasn't home yet. Understandable. Well...things were going great, until Troy Gibson showed up. Troy is a great guy...from Atlanta, and I've known him quite a long time. He's a big businessman up there...has a pretty good amount of scratch. And so when he sat down, hammered, at our 1-2 table that I'd been destroying...I knew the shit was about to hit the fan.

I was right. He announced that he was all in, in the dark...before he even got in his seat...and we learned from the chiprunner...that he was in for $849. Yeah. That was the number...as he was fumbling ones and fives from his pockets. So that is how things started. Great. The once predictable fabric that I had managed to weave into this table had been suddenly upended. Total chaos ensued. And as I sat eyeballing my stack of $2100...it dawned on me...this is what always happens in these situations. 'That Guy' whether he be a complete dickhead, or a friend of mine who is shit-faced and just 'wants to have some fun' shows up...and everything goes to hell in a hand basket. 

What to do. On one hand,  Troy is always entertaining...and I always like seeing him. So I kind of wanted to watch the show. On the other hand...I didn't want me and my stack to get caught up in the crossfire. And I didn't want to be a pussy....you know, folding hands 10-10 and/or better...but you and I both know, it takes very little to beat ANY hand..even aces...which, by  the way, he did...as well as KK...with garbage hands he hadn't even looked at. Oh, don't get me wrong....he wasn't winning them all. Him and his $849 quickly became $2500...before falling down to $340...he'd win some, lose some...then eventually have to reload. 

I finally got sick of folding good hands for $150 preflop...and moved to the only other table playing 1/2 at that hour. It was a pretty shitty table. Not much happened there for two hours, and finally I returned to the other one. I would, in fact, end up having my 'hour from hell' where I was losing hands in the most incredible fashion....good hands...up against, you know the drill, shitball hands...and was doing my damnedest to bite my tongue. But when I got down to $700 I was kind of coming apart at the seams. I put together a late rally about the time that Squirrel was DEMANDING I get my ass home and 'rejoin my family!' I go it back up to $1300...then cashed out. Went and had lunch...then drove home.

I was back in New Orleans last week...giving Barth a check for my Sugar Bowl tickets...and going to see a friend of his, who is a diamond broker. I figured it had been 3 or 4 years since Cheryl lost her engagement ring I bought her into the Gulf of Mexico...and I was tired of looking at my wife without a ring on her finger...so Carley and I took the drive over there...and we bought 'Mommy' a new ring for Christmas. It looked almost identical to the one she lost, only the quality was about 3 times better...since this one didn't come from Zales, who I've learned, sells a rather inferior product for what they charge. Never, ever, will I shop at Zales again!

Cheryl took charge of the whole Santa operation for Carley....after we drove 7 hours from Florence (North Alabama) on Christmas Eve, we arrived home at 3am...completely beat. But I took Carley to bed, and Cheryl did all the work, and when Carley woke up and walked into the living room, she squealed and came running into our bedroom all excited. It was pretty special. I got out the video camera and started recording. I tell you...before Carley came along, the holidays were all pretty much dead to me. I could really have cared less about them. But now, with Carley,  they are magical. I decorated our front of the house for Halloween, and for Christmas put up the best light display in the neighborhood, which required a lot of crawling around on our steep roof. Not easy stuff. But seeing Carley's face, when those lights went on...made it all worth it. 

So it's been like 3 months now since I played a live poker tourney. Part of me is itching to get out there and compete. But another part of me has really, really enjoyed being home, and just taking care of Carley, and being a good dad and husband. We have been able to do so much together...and my other businesses have been going really great this fall...so I haven't had any pressure to go out and play. Which is fantastic. I have sort of a desire to go and play Choctaw in January, and maybe the LA Poker Classic in Commerce and/or possible the Venetian Deepstacks out in Vegas in February. But I don't know...like yesterday, I simply went to run some errands, and Carley just freaked out that I was leaving. And I think, what will she do when I leave for 10 days to play poker?

The thing about having something at home that you love so much...is if you leave, you have GOT to be winning, otherwise, you are just ten times more miserable and depressed than you would be under the normal circumstances when you are playing and running bad. I mean, I won't miss her any less if I'm winning, but at least I can justify it by knowing that what I'm doing is going to benefit us in the mission to get us a house...which continues to be...and probably will until it happens, my primary goal from here on out. We have got to get out of this stupid rental situation. Meanwhile...my rental house in Pensacola is again vacant, as the Marine that was living there got 'his orders' and had to vacate in November. So once again....no rent coming in from there. Sucks. Hopefully, my leasing manager over there gets someone in there by the new year.

I've been keeping my eye on what's been going on in poker. I see who is winning. Some of the same people. I scan all the Facebook posts, and see all the close calls, and the bad beats...and the same old stuff that you always hear about when and where poker is concerned. I miss very little of that. I no longer consider myself a 'professional poker circuit grinder.' I would say what I am now...is a stay-at-home-dad...who occasionally will venture out to play some poker...and hope to get lucky! Some people think you need to be constantly playing to be successful. I even used to think that was the case. I have changed my way of thinking on that. Poker is NOT that complicated a game. Once you know all of the major fundamentals...it really becomes a lot more about patience, and plodding, and knowing your opponent...and there is no amount of time that I can take off that is going to make any of those skills diminish. In fact, if anything, the time away might actually make me a better player, in anything. I guess we'll find out when I decide what, if any, tournament, I decide to travel to and play.

I hope you all had a great Christmas...and that the Holiday season in general has been good to you and your families. Everyone stay safe this New Year's Eve...don't drink and drive! And good luck to you, whatever it is you do...in 2014!!!

MONKEY