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Saturday, March 1, 2014

MSPT in Baton Rouge...continued

I suggested that this would be a 3-part tale, but pressing news has caused me to rethink that promise and narrow the Baton Rouge trilogy to just a 2-part series. What pressing news, you ask? Well...seems our game of poker has recently been beset by a plague of chip-taking/chip-introducing scandals that have rocked the landscape of tournament poker...and as fate would have it? I have (why wouldn't I?) some pretty juicy insider intelligence about the 'culprit' in the Palm Beach Kennel Club debacle. You will have to just wait on that. Since I like to knock things down as they would appear on a 'to-do' list.

I guess mentioning my 'life-threatener' in one of my recent posts has brought him out of his cave. Not sure why it is he finds my writing so blasphemous, but boy...he sure does. Now, along with threatening to kill me...and my wife, he has decided to add my daughter to his hit list. Whoever you are, you sick bout you announce yourself, sign your name to your comments? No? Can't do that? Why? If you're this tough guy you claim to be...what do you have to fear? Maybe one of my readers out there, who happens to be sane...wouldn't mind running a little IP address check on this lunatic? Maybe he has a scrambler located between his mom's PC upstairs and the one in her basement? That could be a deal killer.

Someone pointed out to me yesterday, that a certain imbecile who I had a very interesting falling out with last summer, had separated from his significant other. Amazing. Could not EVER have predicted that would happen. I mean, how long can you live with, and depend on (for financial support) a person you aren't even married to, who is on disability, before they finally tell you to beat it? Over/under on that one had to be pretty low.

This same guy is posting stories about his trip to a place I just returned from. Hmm. How intriguing is that? I say intriguing, because I happen to know that this POS has been basically hiding from me all fall and winter,  knowing that one glimpse of him would lead to his needing a trip to the hospital. He was picking events that he knew I couldn't play. Smart. Very smart. He must have forgotten that Palm Beach Kennel Club isn't owned by Caesar's, and hence...offered no resistance to me going to play there. Well I was there for the 2nd week of their events...every day...and trust me...if that weasel were there, I would have seen him. And it would have ended badly for him. So the only thing I can assume, is he either caught wind that I was on my way...or heard that I was there, and got the hell out of there, because he sure as shit was nowhere near that property while I was there. 

My conclusion? All the talking shit about someone, and all the bad ass claims about himself...don't count for a hill of beans when I show up at your doorstep, and instead of handling me like you SAID you would, you turn and fast as you can. know who you are, you chicken shit. 

Finished the last episode of the 6th season of  'Sons of Anarchy.' About the same time, I happened upon some show on Discovery, called (I think) 'Devils Ride.' WTF? It's like 20 guys all sat around and watched 'SOA' about 10 times...all six seasons...and decided, "Hey! Let's start a motorcycle club!" It's the story of a bunch of 30-50  year old men who act about 7 or 8, and who  have incorporated every lame cliche from 'Sons' into their vernacular. Oh for SOA? It's just kind of gotten to be over the top with all the killing. This sleepy little town of Charming, CA has got to be the murder capital of the world, doesn't it? Who the hell would ever live in a town like that? And how do the boys of the MC get away with all the shit they get away with? Being in and out of penitentiaries as I have been my whole life (what? You didn't know!!!?) I've learned a thing or two about the justice system, and what this show's writers want us to believe (yes I'm talking to you Kurt Sutter) is just a little too much for someone with any shred of common sense or knowledge of the law to believe. That being said...I can't wait for Season 7 to get here.

Question: Does anyone think those stupid balls that hang from your trailer hitch are cool? Do any of you have them? What went in to the decision to purchase those? To impress the chicks? To tell the other fellas that your truck 'has balls'? I don't get it. Help me. To is one of the stupidest things I've ever seen on a car. Right up there with the fucking lights under the car that make you look like a UFO. Why?

It's almost March Madness. Who cares? In the last 22 years,  I've filled out probably an average of 30 brackets a my pool, Greg Pike's pool, and a few other guys' pools. Know how many times I've finished in the money? NONE! Yeah. ZERO! What is that? Like 600+ brackets probably? And I've never tasted the money once. Is that even mathematically possible? My team (UW Huskies) won't make the tourney this year. I've watched maybe 3 games all season. And yet...I  will once again run my pool, get over 500 entries again, enter another 25-30 losing brackets...and watch a bunch of assholes whose plan it was to play ONE year of college ball before turning pro, do just that. No...the only thing I can think about, or what I'm excited when does football season start? These next six months are going to go by VERY slowly.

The Second Bullet in Baton Rouge...and the End Result

When I last left you, I was making my way to the registration desk to purchase another entry into the MSPT Main (and only) Event in Baton Rouge. I'd just had my QQ snapped by the guy with J10 who made a hero call and hit his second pair on the river. So I was tinged with a hint of bitterness, to say the least.

I got my new seat assignment. Much better cast of characters on that table. Sort of. Had Kenny Milam to my left...who was busy mixing it up a lot. Kenny is funny. Sometimes he just loses a couple hands...and turns stubborn. Once that happens, the cards don't really matter much. He'll raise, get called almost always, and just try to impose his will on everyone. I've seen it work. It didn't work in Baton Rouge. Kenny was gone pretty quickly. I always hate to see him go, since we are pretty close friends. 

Getting moved to my table was the guy who busted my QQ...and with him came kind of (what felt like) the desire on his part to leave me alone. And respect my raises. Granted...I didn't go after him or anything. I wasn't even that mad at him. He made a read, it was wrong, and he got lucky. No big deal. Happens. And I didn't consider him a fish. So his  presence at the table really didn't matter much..other than he had 10k of my chips that I wouldn't mind getting back.

There isn't too much I remember about that night...especially since it was a week ago. I really just kind of had two huge hands that propelled me to bagging up 132k at the end of the night. The rest of the time....most of my hands never went to show down. I didn't bluff the obvious donkeys, I didn't play bad hands out of position. It was really just kind of an ABC poker night. But when I did get AA for the first time...I decided to play them stealthily, and hope to get total value out of them. Which I did.

This black guy on my right in the five seat...who was incredibly quiet...but also was very annoying, in that he was one of those spread-eagle players. One of my biggest pet peeves in poker. One of my knocks on this event...and yes, I voiced it regularly, was that they had us playing 10-handed on these tiny-ass stud tables...and that drives me batty. 

Let me say this, for the record. I got to know the guy who was behind the whole MSPT event...who travels with their circuit and puts on the events. Seemed like a really good guy.  And he has a lot of passion and energy and you can tell he really wants to make this thing succeed. I respect that. And one of the first questions I asked him...was 'have you ever been, or were you ever, a poker player by trade?' I think this is a very important question to ask a guy who is running a poker tournament...especially before you start to bash certain elements of his event. So when he told me "yes" well, that kind of made it easier to have the conversation that we had.

First...he never really could give me a good reason for why they play 10-handed, other than 'that's just the way we always do it.' Well, sorry, but that is a shitty answer. Playing 10-handed in a tourney, on anything over $ a bitch-slap in the face of any real tournament poker player. Playing 10-handed on a REGULAR regulation poker table? Is bad. Playing on a fucking stud table? Is like playing poker in a fucking Volkswagen with 10 fat guys. It's a joke. And very tilting. 

There really wasn't much else that I found irritating...oh wait, check that. Yes there was. So, first, lets just start with the property itself. The Belle of Baton Rouge. Hmmm. Why, I found myself (as did a majority of the other players) asking myself...with all the other casinos in the area, would these guys from the MSPT choose to bring their event to this dilapidated eyesore floating on the muddy shores of the Mississippi? You walk in...well...I should preface that walk the five miles...then into the casino area on the boat, and the first thing you are greeted with is cigarette smoke. Then you see all the tables, that look like they were pulled from a period-piece casino movie based in the 70's. Holy shit. The makeup of the patrons was like 85% black, 10% Hispanic, 4% Caucasian, and 1% homeless vagrant. It say the unfamiliar feeling. That was the main floor. You needed to go up a floor to get to the poker tourney area...which was surrounded by slot machines...that, whether they were being played or not, were belting out their annoying sounds that we all  know. 

Registration was a lady writing down your name on a piece of paper, and having you draw your seat assignment out of a basket. No computer generated receipt with table and seat number. For a receipt,  you had to request one...and got one of those things you would get from the guy who fixed your lawnmower. Now here is where my complaint comes in....none of this leading up to here has upset me. In fact, it was pretty much what I was expecting.

I am kind of cheating here, because I already knew that they were going to have a good staff of dealers at this event...since most of them are my friends on Facebook. In fact, one of them had given me a heads up while I was driving up...that they were about to close all the streets around the casino for a Mardi Gras parade. Wonderful. So...once I hit a wall of traffic about 7 miles from the casino on I-10, I exited off, and following along with the maps feature on my iPad, found a back way into the casino. I know, I'm pretty fuckin brilliant sometimes. When I pulled into the garage, I was accosted by a man with about 6 teeth, maybe 7...who wanted $10 from me?

"For what? I just drove 7 hours (okay, I fudged a little on the drive time) to play a poker tourney at this casino and I have to pay $10?"

"Yes sir, because it's for the parade."

"Well, I am not here for the parade...I'm here to play in a poker tourney. Does everyone going to the casino have to pay ten bucks?"

"Not if you have a player's card, do you have a player's card??"

"No, I've never been here before."

"Then you have to pay ten dollars."

Son of a bitch! So I gave him $10. And drove up what was easily, and it's not even CLOSE...the worst example of engineering in our country's history. I've never, in my life, felt like my life was in danger as much as I did driving to the 5th floor of this parking deck. Anyone coming around a corner at more than 10 mph? Was dead. Any car more than 20 feet in length? It was like parallel parking a tank. If I had to guess...there is easily 5 to 10 accidents a day in that parking garage. I would love to know how they ever got a permit to build that fucking nightmare. Oh wait...never mind, no I don't. It's Louisiana. The same state that awarded a contract to someone...I will go out on a limb and GUESS that the someone was somehow related to SOMEONE in place a mile marker sign...every TENTH of a mile. No BS. Barth and I noticed it as we were driving on our way to Oklahoma last month. Literally....a green mile marker sign....every tenth of a mile. Some asshole got rich off that scheme. 

So...yeah...after the 5-mile march to the casino, the trek through the smoky 70's-like table games, and my march up the stairs and into the poker room...where there were like 10 tables, but only about 50 players....I signed up, sat down, greeted my very familiar dealer and began playing poker in a tournament I never in a million years expected to cash in. And then it happened. After about five orbits. A floor call. Zoinks! Now...the dealer, a guy named David, who is very experienced and quite capable of running the game, had already made his de facto ruling, but for some damn reason, the guy in the SB...a random donkey, wanted the floor to confirm his decision. Oh boy. Here he comes. And from the second I put eyes on this guy...I knew it was about to be blog-worthy. 

Sometimes, you just get these rare moments in poker. They don't happen very often, as most of the places we full-timers choose to play at are generally run by guys who really do know what they are doing.....but  every so often, it happens. And I'll be honest. I find it to be a source of humor. And lord knows, I need humor in my life. This decision involved a bet that was made by the small blind...wherein, he pulled back a portion of his small blind, and replaced it with a 500 chip. The end result was the dealer calling it just a call. Because of the one-chip rule. Don't ask me to go into detail here...because I'm not going to. Out of my desire not to further bore the rest of you who I haven't already bored with this post.

Floor arrives.  Dealer explains the situation to him...and told in a very 'leading' manner, if you know what I mean? As in...he basically gave the guy the answer as he provided the scenario. Then I saw the look on the guys face, and I knew, right there....this guy has NO idea what to do. A part of me felt bad for the guy. I had a flashback to the 4th grade...where, once I'd taken my spot on the stage during the annual Christmas play, and was about to sing my part of 'Silent Night' I suddenly forgot the entire verse...was stricken with panic...and ran out the side door of the gym crying. My singing career was forever destroyed that cold December night in Montana.

Chilling. That moment when you simply have no answer. The tension, the awkwardness of the moment, had all the regulars at the table kind of squirming in their seat, all of us knowing that he was about to 'wing it.' And then...finally, he points to the table and proclaims, "Yeah, that's going to be the bet, right there." Well done sir. 

Wow. And this, this is my point, my bone of contention. If you want players to take your poker tour seriously? It's great that you thought to get good (even great, actually) dealers for your event. Smart move. Vital move.  But why on God's green earth would you not also bring in floor people who know what they are doing? No offense, the folks they had working there. They were plenty nice. But they were totally out of their league when it came to running a poker tournament. It was one thing after another, all night long. And frankly, I just started drinking the free Jack and Cokes, and tried to make the best of a weird order to not let it drive me crazy. I think I did a pretty good job of not letting things put me on life tilt, too. 

And finally...the other HUGE issue they need to correct. And I'm saying this despite it not affecting me. I played Friday night. And yeah, I bagged up 132k...fourth out of 18 remaining players. And I got to take Saturday off. But for those who played Saturday? They played till about 1am...maybe later..probably didn't get home, or to their hotel rooms, until 2:30 or so...and guess what time they had to be back to play the next day?

Well, that's kind of funny too. When we bagged up on Friday night...they told us we had to restart on Sunday at 10am. Huh!??? I about shit my pants. I've been playing for 10 years now, and not only have I never seen a tourney start that early...but a RESTART for Day 2??? That's insanity.  I later found out that they told us wrong. It was actually 10:30...which still, is a nightmare. Play til 2am, come back at 10:30am? Seriously? Well, I didn't have to do that, but I did have to get up at 7am in Biloxi, then make the drive. And thank god I bought new wiper blades the night before because it was a monsoon from the time I left my house till the time I pulled in to the casino and the worlds worst parking garage.

When I asked the guy in charge for MSPT about the time of the restart, he had a somewhat legitimate reason. When they started this tour, they did so with the 'working man' in mind, the guy who works 9-5 Monday through Friday. Hence, they didn't want to have a tourney last into Monday...and have the tourneys end on Sunday night. And while our Day 2 only returned 36 players...which, with that structure, was in no danger of ending any later than 7pm...most of their events draw a lot bigger fields. So I could make sense of his thinking on that. However, I think if you were to go around and ask 100 poker players with a 9-5 job that, "If you made the final table, and were going to make between $3,000 and $60,000 the next day, would you happily call out sick from your job, or even get permission from your boss to miss work that day?" You would most likely get about 95 of those guys saying "Hell yeah!!!" Trust me...I'm pretty sure about that one. I've decided this IS going to be a 3-part saga. Why? Well...I want to go play some cash game tonight at the Golden Nugget. That might be wiped off the table Claudia 'The Claw' Crawford was suddenly dumped by her gem of a boyfriend yesterday, ordered  to move out...which resulted in my wife and all her friends going to Baton Rouge, packing up all her shit in a UHaul, and drive home through 5 hours of Mardi Gras traffic, and one of the gnarliest accidents any of them had every seen involving a semi and a red truck that was now lodged in a fucking TREE! There is a good chance that I could actually be unloading that fucker in the dark for the next three hours or so. (which, after coming back and editing this later...I was!!!) Hope not. Hope we put it off til tomorrow. Cuz I'm really jonesing for some cash game for some stupid reason. Oh and, the obvious reason? This post has gotten way too long!

Is it too late to go back to those aces? Well, the black guy, I think his name was Lavon maybe...raised. I looked down at AsAh and just called. The guy on the button re-raises. Okay. That doesn't suck. The SB calls! Lavon calls! And I put in another raise...which all of them except the SB calls. The flop comes 9 high....ALL spades. Delightful. Lavon checks. I check. And the button bets. Lavon raises. I ship all in. Button folds, Lavon snap calls...and turns over JsJc. He turns a straight draw...shit...but bricks the river, and suddenly, I had a very healthy stack. 

I pretty much, like I said, just played ABC poker the rest of the night to stay above starting stack, and then...with about 15 minutes left in the night, I was handed a gift, again from my spread-eagled buddy in the five seat, who's elbows had become my nemesis. He raised and I looked down again at AA. I re-popped him. Someone else called...and when it got back to him he shoved. I called (obviously) and the other guy folded. He had JJ, again. He failed to hit a jack, or anything else, and my stack got enormous. He was left with just 8800...and made the announcement that he wasn't coming back with that small of a stack, that he wasn't driving all the way back up here to play that stack. When I asked where he drove up from he mumbled something and changed the subject. 

He goes all in dark and I look down at A4c and probably should have called. But you know how  those stupid coin flips work! You are almost always ahead there, but seemingly never win...and why take a 10k hit after just stacking up to 130k? Seemed kind of stupid. Well, he pulled that move three a walk every time, and then the night was over. He left a stack of 14,800 to die when we came back on Day 2. I know cuz his stack was on my table. Hell, he almost made the money!! I think his stack finally got blinded off with 23 left.

NEXT: Monkey's Run to the Final Table at the Fabulous Belle of Baton Rouge!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hard to defend against what you don't know is coming. That is the beauty of it. Your right, I am a sick fuck. A sick fuck with the last laugh.