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Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Finalists for Monkey's 2014 WSOP Main Event Grinders!

Originally...the plan was to recruit my candidates, then raise the money for three players...then discuss and decide with the input of the investment group, who our three Grinders would be.

A couple of things got in the way. First...to do this...I should have started this in about April instead of May. Granted...your investors/backers usually don't get in until its close to 'go time.' Just like with all the pools I run...the majority of the people come hard late.

Next...I was bogged down by the last month of grinding my face off playing my own summer schedule out here...and admittedly did not give enough time and attention to making this come to fruition. I can honestly say that if I were running decently...which as most of you know, I haven't been...I'd have been able to take more days off from poker, and give it a little more time.  Instead I keep going back...again and again...to get pummeled.

With my time in Vegas running down...just three more days for me to play something and hope to make a score before returning home to my family, I've allowed myself to focus now on this project before its too late. I'm pretty confident...I say about 95%...that we will get to at least two players...as I am almost at 80 shares sold. I'm a little less confident about getting three. 

So I decided to improvise and announce who my 6 Finalist are...why? Well, a lot of people have suggested they may be more inclined to buy in to the group if they knew who the players will be. I can certainly understand that. I just wanted to avoid getting a player's hopes up...only to later not select him...and leave a bad taste in his mouth. I certainly don't want to create any bitterness with these fellow players, some of whom are good friends of mine...so doing this is done with that in mind.

Over the past few days, I've also gotten some more shitty comments from the 2+2/Twitter/Markup Mafia twerps. One such guy...who I don't know personally...but who was at my table in a couple tourneys in (I think) South Florida, and who I was secretly taking pictures of to use later to express my disdain for...is Scott Baumstein. Just look at this exchange of Twitter messages with this buffoon.

Jun 24
why do you make the "share" prices so vague so as to not understand what markup you are paying? Irresponsible at a minimum

I know you from playing with you Scott...and understand you're part of that Markup Mafia...so I can see why this is so HARD

No, I'm just for transparency. I don't really care what you charge but you shouldn't take advantage of people.

WTF are you talking about??? Transparency? Please...oh mighty one...shed light on please on WHO is being taken advantage of!

excuse my poor sentence structure...but I think you understand my statement. Please feel free to call me....to discuss.

I deal with MUs all the time yet have no idea what youre charging. Can anyone else decipher this?

so you're confused, but suggesting that I'm doing something wrong, on Twitter no less...is fine?


it's quite simple. If you're selling action, then state a price. It shouldn't be a mystery. Can I be more clear?

Scott...did it ever occur to you that not everyone prescribes to your way of thinking? No probably not.

my way of thinking??? That you shouldn't scam people into buying your action who don't know what you're talking about?

how did you come to that conclusion?

65/35 split backer/horse. Backer putting up 100% of funds. 15,385 x .65 = $10,000 buyin.

I see, I wasn't understanding how many shares existed. Sounds absurd for some nameless random who is putting up zero!


Who is Scott Baumstein? Well, in fairness, he is a decent player. He has 2 wins, 48 cashes, and $1.1 million in career winnings. I personally hate his style of play and he's one of those guys you just want to smash in the face after about 9 orbits of play...he has this perma-smirk on his face all the time...whether he's winning a hand, losing a hand, or showing you a bluff just to be a dick. All that being said...I again reiterate, that he is a good player. And so, I tried to give him respect by inviting him to call me to discuss the details of this program. Did he? Naw. He just continued to rag on my program on social media (Twitter) like an asshole. So frankly...I have no problem ripping on the little shit head.

At one point a good friend of mine, and a guy I respect...John Zentner, was invited into the conversation (by Baumstein) to discuss the 'number' that Markup Boy was trying to arrive at. See, the whole 'angle' of the 'investigative sniping' by Scott was to find the ever-elusive markup price on my deal. He was implying that there were some nefarious attempts by me to hide that information. So John was nice enough to provide what that number was. Me? I don't get caught up in that crap with markup numbers...I think it's pointless. I base most of my package prices on the actual value of the event being played. But I know that guys like Scotty like to sleep with a bed full of Texas Instrument calculators that probably have cum stains all over them. (sorry...too gross?)



Well, John provided that number which as you can see up above was 1.54. Which of course, required Scott to ask how John how he arrived at that number. Once it was explained...his only response was that my idea is ABSURD! Why? Because we are investing in some 'nameless randoms!' Nameless? Well...I will let you decide if they are 'nameless randoms.' As for Scott...keep humping your calculator chump.

NOW...JUST TO CLARIFY...BECAUSE I DON'T WANT ANYYYYYONE THINKING THERE IS ANYTHING BUT TRANSPARENCY BEHIND MY STAKING PROGRAM...HERE ARE THE TERMS OF THE DEAL:  (and to be clear...I literally had NO idea who Scott was suggesting I was ripping off at first, the actual players themselves, or the backers/investors who were buying in to the group. I later figured out that I 'think' he was referring to the backers/investors. 

What makes that so hilarious to me...is that it's not me trying to get staking for MYSELF...so why would I ever be thinking about 'scamming' the investors? Especially when I myself am ONE OF the investors!!!??? There is literally no reason for me to do anything BUT make the investing opportunity itself as juicy as possible for the investor. But see...to understand that...you would need to possess some common sense, and not even that much. Just some. Which Scott obviously has zilch of. Oh well, luckily he hasn't been tasked to do anything really meaningful for mankind)

We are attempting to send THREE PLAYERS. Total buy ins...$10,000 x3 = $30,000
I  am selling shares at $200 a pop...a total (potentially) of 150 shares.  200x150 = $30,000

The players are playing under an agreement of a 35/65 percentage. They are ALL more than willing to do this. Even though all five players are very good players, and would never, under 'normal' circumstances, play for 35% only...the upside is what makes it an acceptable deal. Since the winner is guaranteed $10,000,000....it's a deal that has tremendous upside for ALL involved, both the players AND the investors. 

Also weighing heavy in my decision is the trust involved with handing a guy $10,000 and knowing he will not stiff you or even slightly rip you off after he cashes. I know these guys, I trust these guys...and would stake my reputation on all of them. Which...for those who really know me...know that this gives them comfort in making the investment themselves. 

If a player cashes in the tourney? The $10k investment comes immediately out of the winnings and returned to the investors in equal parts per share. The remaining amount is then split 65/35....and returned to the investors in the same equal amounts per share. 

IS THAT CONFUSING? If that is confusing...I don't know what to tell you. It's just about as easy, as cut and dry...as I would think you could POSSIBLY make it.  But if you STILL are confused? And require some kind of a calculator to figure it out...to make it make sense in your gerbil-like brain? Do me a favor...please...I beg you...NEVER EVER even possibly consider buying into one of my staking deals. 

TAX IMPLICATIONS? Pretty simple...well unless you are a gerbil. For any player that wins $20k-$50k...they will be permitted to withhold 20% if they elect to take on 100% of the tax burden. If not...they will be issued an affidavit (by me, as the leader of the investment group) which they can provide for the IRS...with ALL investors information...including SS#'s. This affidavit will be issued to each investor as well...so that when that taxable amount is submitted to the IRS...it will be clear what each person won. For any player that wins $51k or MORE...that amount will inflate to 30% with the same options. Pretty simple..and frankly...I hope it becomes a problem to deal with!!!!!

THE SIX FINALISTS FOR MONKEY'S 2014 WSOP GRINDERS (in no particular order)

CHRISTIAN 'DA PROFESSIONAL' IACOBELLIS:  a bit of an online legend. Once won 3 MTT's on Full Tilt in one DAY! Got me to thinking he was a cheater. This was before I met him. Then...one day at the 'hooker bar' at Rio...I was told 'that guy' who I'd blogged about was sitting right behind me! We met, we chatted, and he's become a great friend. I've also watched him put up some very impressive scores both live and online. We took a percentage swap the year Dwight Pilgrim won the Borgatta Open...and I finished 45th while he took 10th...in a final table of 10 that played for 3 hours before losing a player. A couple years ago he got into the money in the Main...so I know he has the skills to do it again. Here is the link to his Cardplayer profile with cashes and career winnings. 




B.J. McBRAYER:  One of the nicest guys in poker, and a friend for almost as long as I've been playing poker. BJ lives in Tuscaloosa and already gets the nod from me as a Bama lifer! He understands the game as well as any player I've ever known....and that means a lot. His game is unwavering. Unemotional, he handles the swings in poker as good or better than anyone I know. BJ has put up a LOT of great results...and would likely have cashed two or three times as many as he has if he put in nearly a fraction of the playing time that a lot of regular tourney grinders do. He also is a fellow labrador retriever owner...sorry but that's huge!!! Here is BJ's Cardplayer profile, which is skewed because as they often do...they don't merge names...so you can find Billy McBrayer AND BJ McBrayer...kind of annoying:

http://www.cardplayer.com/poker-players/9543-b-j-mcbrayer

http://www.cardplayer.com/poker-players/243606-billy-mcbrayer


'WILD BILL' PHILLIPS: No bias here, promise. Bill is a guy I've know for 8 years...and like me, is a family guy with 3 kids and doesn't play as much as he'd like to. But when he plays...he almost always gets deep. He has a style similar to mine...which is highly conducive to getting deep in a tourney like the Main Event. He also happens to be the co-owner of the website that I blog for, www.GulfCoastPoker.net. He's always been incredibly supportive of me, and that to me is something I can't put a price on. He's one of those guys who I know could do it...and who I would love to see do it. Some players out there...and seriously...there is a lot of them...I would cringe to see them make a WSOP Final Table. 




KAI LANDRY:  My longtime buddy, and occasional travel partner...Kai has had to significantly cut back his playing schedule to be a better father. And I certainly get that. Another reason to cut back may have been his need to regain some sanity that playing full time can take away from you! Kai comes with a very interesting style...both the way he plays, as well as the way he dresses and acts. He excels at putting his table on tilt with his antics and getting them to destroy their chipstacks. Hmmm...sound like anyone else you know!??? (wink wink) Kai cashes main events with deep structures at a respectable 45% clip. Here is the Cardplayer line for Kai....





JOHNATHAN 'UFPOKERSTAR' WESTRA: I got to know John back in 2006...when he came out of his bedroom....where he'd been locked up playing online for a few years. His online success translated well to the live game. A polar opposite of me in personality...quiet, reserved, a bit introverted...it only worked to make us friends. He has gotten off the full-time circuit the past few years to do the unthinkable, start his own successful business!!!! But he still possesses a love for the game, and the dream of chasing after $10 milly...just not willing to put up 10k to do it. That's what happens when you become mature and responsible...you don't throw 10k around! Here is John's Cardplayer profile link:





JOSHUA REICHARD:  Who? Yeah...maybe you haven't heard of this kid. Well...take notice! He just started playing a few years ago...and already has 4 wins and 23 cashes...and very few min-cashes. I had heard of him...but wasn't sure who he was. Without telling his son...his father shot me an email about a month ago...trumpeting all the reasons I should pick his kid. That alone kind of endeared me to this guy. Then I had him at my table in the Venetian's $1100 event that was hosted by MSPT...and watched him play some incredible poker, including folding KK to me when I had AA and he had already put in a 4-bet huge re-raise...very few players are EVER folding in that spot. He did...and it was the right move. That to me tells me that this kid is a solid pick to do something special. We aren't good friends, yet...we have friended each other on Twitter and Facebook, but I can see us being buddies in the poker world. If you haven't heard of this guy yet...I promise you....YOU WILL! Here is his Cardplayer line:




How will our 'Grinders' be selected? Trust me...it's not going to be easy. AT ALL! Especially if I only raise enough to send TWO players instead of the desired three. Hell...if I could send all six of them...I would LOVE TO! Any of you big ballers out there wanting to reach DEEP into your pockets to make that happen...BRING IT ON!!!??? That, obviously would be my dream! Well...that and having all of them make the final table...and when getting cashed out request the presence of a certain Tourney Director for the WSOP...and let him know that if he'd like to rescind my ridiculous ban/86 that they'd be happy to leave a very generous tip for the staff. Blackmail? Ha! No worse than what he's been doing by keeping me on the outside looking in!!!!!

I have created a POLL! Look to the right margin...I am asking YOU...the poker fan, the reader of my blog...to maybe HELP ME in making the right decision! Click on who you think should go play the Main on my backing group's dime this year! And don't think for one second that this isn't about to become an annual affair with me! And next year...it will be even BETTER organized, with more time to plan and recruit! 

IF YOU WANT TO INVEST...shoot me an email. ThePokerMonkey1@aol.com. Easiest way to pay is WF SurePay or Chase Quick Pay. If you are a 'checks in the mail' guy...I will need to really know who you are and can trust that method. Keep in mind...in about a week, I have to present these guys with a $10,000 cashiers check...and that has to actually come from somewhere...my checking account!  So obviously...that money needs to get to me! And yes...ALL PLAYERS will send me a picture of their registration receipt as soon as they buy in....for those of you conspiracy theorists who think you might be smelling a scam!!!!  (you people scare me, by the way...hope you enjoy that rubber room in 5 or 10 years!)

MONKEY

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Back to the Grind...After a Week Off.

Okay Vegas,...lets try this again, you whore!

It's true that misery loves company...and I can't tell you how many good players who I'm friendly with that I've run across this summer, who when I've asked "have you had any luck this summer" have answered with a resounding "No...none, been running like crap."


Getting out of town for a week, and seeing my girls...as well as my whole family, was nice. I flew Squirrel and Carley into, well..that's another story. It was supposed to be San Jose...and they were supposed to get in around 7:30pm...but after United dicked around with delays, cancellations and gate changes...they didn't get into what turned into San Francisco...until 3:30am. Of course, their luggage ended up in San Jose. It didn't get much better on their way home...as they dealt with the same thing in Atlanta with Delta...getting them home five hours later than they were supposed to.

I don't  know how these airlines can keep doing this shit. Fares go up...and service doesn't just go down, its off the charts shitty. I paid $1675 total ($800+ for both of them) to fly within our own US borders...which is the MOST I've ever paid for a domestic plane trip. Someone gave me the website of someone who supposedly goes after the airlines for this kind of bullshit. Whether they are legit and get results or not I'm not sure...but I'm sure as hell going to give it a try.

http://www.getairhelp.com/us  

This is the website, it's called AirHelp. If you are fed up with the airlines..and experiencing this same horseshit...give this a shot! If you end up getting money back through the claim process...be sure to give me a shout out!!!!

At any rate...we had two days in San Ramon with my brother,  his family...and my Mom and sister (and her two boys) who drove down from Seattle earlier. On our 2nd day there, I took Carley and Squirrel into San Francisco to sight see and ride the Cable Cars..which is something Cheryl has wanted to do her whole life. It was a nice day...and my girls both had a good time.






Later that day we drove up to Truckee/Lake Tahoe to meet the family who'd driven up earlier that day. We stayed for 5 days and did something fun every day. From rafting down the Truckee River, to taking a Tram up Squaw Valley and seeing the beautiful views...to spending the day at Kings Beach in North Lake Tahoe...it was a great trip...very relaxing and just a great chance to get caught up with everyone. The only downside was not having cable and/or internet access...as I was hoping to use that time to follow up with my 'Monkey's WSOP Grinders' staking program and do a little blogging both here and on my 'other' blog site in Europe. But not having that I  guess made me more available to my family! So that was probably a positive. 



On the day we were set to leave...I was awoken at 6am by the shouts of..."Come out here!!!! Everyone!!! There is a bear out front, in Troy's pickup truck!!" Yeah well, that sure woke ME up! I picked up Carley who slept attached to my hip the whole 6 days I was with her...and carried her out to the front of the house...but we were too late, the bear had already ran off when my brother went outside. See...bears are a rare site since they started requiring all residents in the Lake Tahoe area to lock up their garbage in 'bear boxes.' In fact, my brother and sister-in-law...who've been going to that cabin for 20 years almost claim to have NEVER seen a bear! Well...we got lucky...the bear came back...and I managed to capture 20 seconds of him before he wandered off...and literally lumbered along down the road before slipping off into the woods.


My daughter has obviously inherited from me her love for animals. Since day 1 when we introduced the dogs to her after we brought her home from the hospital, she has been drawn to animals of all types. She saw the bear and just giggled, it was so cute. Earlier in our trip...during the rafting trip...we came upon some ducks..and later a whole family of Canadian Geese...a mom and dad...and their four newborn chicks. We fed them and they followed us down the river  for about a mile. At one point, Carley got out of the raft, and into the frigid waters to feed them. She was absolutely tickled by it all. There is nothing that warms a parents heart more, I think...to see their baby connect with animals. 



 As most of you know...I love animals tremendously, always have...and just watching her interact with them makes me so proud. I just know Carley Grace is going to  grow up to be the most amazing little girl, and woman. Some boy out there is going to get so lucky when he marries my little girl. Just as I did when I married her mama. The circle of life, its magical..and I  just hope I get to see it come around in full. Because we are getting pretty old, Squirrel and I...we will have to hope she marries a couple years out of college and has a family at a young age...so we can enjoy the wonderment of being grandparents. 



Dropping off the girls at Sacramento airport on Saturday was really rough...tougher on me as it turned out. Carley didn't freak out like I thought she might. In fact...she was saying "Home...home...." for the past couple days...and mentioning the names of our dogs...and her friend Abbey...leading us to speculate that she was really ready to get home. So she smiled...said 'Bye Bye Dada' and waved goodbye to me...and threw me a kiss. I walked away fighting back tears...then I  got to my car..and saw the Happy Anniversary (5 years) card that  Cheryl had sneakily left on my car seat...and after reading it, was sitting there in my car bawling like a fool. Cheryl and I have had our ups and downs...most of the downs brought on by my acts of idiocy, but since we've had Carley...our marriage, and relationship...have never been better. My bond with both of them is impenetrable.  There is absolutely nothing that can come between us...and nothing I  wouldn't do for either one of them.  

So they eventually made it home...Cheryl sent me pictures of Carley embracing her dogs, and my Mom and Janae made it back to Seattle. I opted to NOT take the fast way...and instead drive through Yosemite Park..which I've wanted to see my whole life. Wow! What a great idea that was! I grew up as a little kid in Kalispell, Montana, just outside of Glacier Park...and always thought it was the most amazing thing nature could offer. Well, I was wrong. Yosemite is incredible. 


First of all, the remnants of last year's forest fire...the worst in the history of the State of California...were very prevalent. It was sad...seeing the thousands of acres of scorched forest land...but you could see the recovery in place. That's the thing about Mother Nature...she is very resilient. During the very long drive through the park I must have seen 200 deer. I even had one experience where I got out of my car for one of the 30 or so times I pulled over and got out to take pictures, and while taking the photo of this really cool pond...something caught my eye to the left..and it was a deer who was just standing there checking me out. It was really neat. 


My only regret was that Squirrel and Carley weren't with me to enjoy it. But it's something I can put on our bucket list of things to do later...and Carley will enjoy it even more as she gets older. I finally made it out of the park...and got to see something else I'd always kind of wanted to experience, Death Valley. In a different sort of way, it was also beautiful in its own way. And I discovered while driving through it...that I'd love to get together with a friend and rent two really fast cars...like a Ferrari or a Lamborghini or something in Vegas, for a day...and take them out there and open them up. There were zero cops...and it was nothing but straight ahead driving. I literally locked my cruise control on 110...and covered 300 miles in right at 3 hours. Once I slowed down to 70...it felt like I was standing still! Oh the thrill it would be to drive through that desert at 200+ miles per hour! Yes...I like driving fast! As long as I'm not endangering myself or anyone else.



Most of you know I don't like talking about poker too much on here. Well, I mean...especially when it comes to getting into hand detail. I'm pretty much like..."who cares!??" I try to stay away from that stuff.

I've met a lot of new people this summer...and told them about my blog, of course. So for those checking me and it out for the first time...sorry that I haven't been writing much about poker, and that I've done more reporting on my personal life lately. I know that has to be pretty boring to most. For those who have been with me here for the 4-6 years I've been writing on this site...you might enjoy posts like this a little more than most. And I really appreciate you folks. 

I've heard from some people who have told me that over at Rio and the WSOP there are a lot of rumors floating around that my good buddy Chad Brown is close to death...as he is fighting cancer, as most of you know. They text me, knowing that he and I  are close...assuming I know the answer to the rumors. The truth is...Chad flew to Mexico a few weeks ago, to undergo an experimental treatment...as a bit of a last resort/last ditch attempt to beat the cancer that came back and has been ravaging his body. I promised him that I would fly down to Mexico to be with him if he thought his number was up. But Chad being Chad...I never got that call. He's been back in NYC...and over the course of the last two weeks, through our text messages, he remains as positive and upbeat as he has always been..never wanting to talk about Chad...always asking how I'm doing..as if that really matters. That's Chad....always has been. I can't believe I'm about to lose this wonderful person, a guy who has made SO many friends, not just in the poker community, but in so many  other communities as well.  



About two weeks ago, I was playing HORSE at the Venetian,  in cash game...and there were these two elderly players at the table who somehow brought up Chad's name...as they both lived in the LA area. When I told them he was a friend of mine...they both perked up. Of course they had heard of his cancer...and asked how he was doing. They both had glowingly positive things to say about him, citing the numerous times they'd played with him when Chad was living in LA. I told them as much as I knew...which honestly isn't much...and just let them know what great spirits he was in, and how positive his overall  outlook was. And they knew him well enough to respond with..."Yup, that's the Chad I know." 

I mean...how are you supposed to feel when your friend is like that? Doesn't part of you just want him to call you up, and break down in tears...and come clean that he is scared of dying? Show some sign of emotional vulnerability? But that just isn't who Chad is. It's unreal. It keeps me humble. It makes me enjoy life so much more. It makes the bad beats and the run-bad insignificant. I focus now more on my health and my family. Yes...when I'm playing poker...I'm 100% dialed in, and as the competitor I am...trying like hell to emerge victorious...but when/if I bust out short of my goal, I don't go around moping and feeling sorry for myself. I shake it off, and come back the next time ready to try again. And sometimes...in the middle of all that, I think about Chad...and ask myself "What would Chad do, how would he act...after that 1-outer?" And the answer is always the same.

I've come to terms with the fact that I  am probably going to  lose my friend...maybe even this week, or next week. Maybe in a month. Of course I and hundreds maybe thousands of other are praying for a miracle. But I've been around 47  years....I've seen the pictures of Chad recently. It's more likely that I'm going to be attending his funeral. And after he passes I will be as active as I possibly can in helping to  organize and promote what will surely be a plethora of tourneys to honor the memory of Chad Brown, probably annual tourneys for him...where proceeds benefit the Cancer Society. I know that the memory of Chad will live on in people's hearts and minds. He will have left this Earth a better place for having been here...and made a lot of people better humans, myself included. His courage throughout all this is mind-boggling...and an inspiration. I'm pretty sure I will need to be on the VIP list in heaven to even get a chance to see him once I die...because God surely has a kick ass private suite waiting on him. 

So yesterday I took the day off from poker, to get caught up on all of my personal business, like pools, my marketing business...and the attempts to get THREE players into this year's $10k Main Event at Rio. As that stands I have sold 68 of 150 shares. It's looking possibly like I may only get two players into the show...but hey...that's cool. I have narrowed the list of candidates to FIVE...and all five of them are excellent players. Getting the list to three, or even two...is going to be VERY VERY difficult, and one thing I hope is that I don't upset or alienate those who don't get selected. Once we get close to either 100 or 150 (optimistically) shares sold...I will send out an email to everyone who has committed to shares, giving them the short list of players...and their qualifications. Most of them will probably already be pretty well known to most of the investors...so that will help. But I will solicit advice or feedback from the backing group on who we think our final choices should be. 

I've gotten a couple of messages on Twitter and Facebook that were a little snarky in nature. It never, ever ceases to amaze me just how naturally negative and pessimistic poker players tend to be. A few were people asking who the players were...and when I told them I wasn't releasing their names yet because I was respecting the actual candidates. Why have their names flying around for public consumption? I mean...if I tell someone who hasn't even committed to shares...the five names I've narrowed the list to...and he goes and tells everyone, then one of those guys doesn't get picked...how do you think that's going to  make him feel later? It's irritating that I have to even explain some things...as most would understand because they have common sense enough to figure it out on their own. People have called me 'stupid' for thinking that ANYONE would invest in a package deal without even knowing who the players are. 


Well...what can I say? I must know a LOT of really stupid people! Because as of this writing I have sold 68 shares...for a total of $13,600. See...without sounding too cocky, I think what it is...is that these people understand and respect the fact that I've been on the live tournament circuit for 10 years now. I've gotten to know close to everyone there is to know in the poker world. Having had some success myself, I think they think...that it qualifies me to be able to effectively spot talent. That whoever I choose, would certainly be more than capable of going deep or even all the way in the main event. Most of what I'm basing my selection process on is the structure they will be playing. Long levels, and every blind level, along with 30k in starting chips...make a perfect blueprint for a certain kind of player. 




The other thing they've been barking about...and this (once again) is coming from the Markup Mafia members, as usual. "Why are you so vague about what the markup is!??" My poker friend Jason Stern...a great player himself, was kind enough to message me on Facebook this morning telling me that number they were looking for is 1.54. I assume it's right...Jason is pretty sharp. But I have no idea...I'm not a guy who spends time jerking off on my calculator like the Markup Mafia does. It's funny because their insinuation is always that I'm screwing someone...whether its my OWN personal staking package...or  one that I am proposing and actually buying into myself! I mean...I'm taking 5 $200 shares myself...for $1000 investment. If I'm doing something wrong...well I'm also fucking myself. So I guess that makes me stupid too!!!

It's really a pretty basic, and I thought, easy model to understand. If I send one player...it will be 50 shares sold. If I send two players...we will have sold 100 shares. And if we reach our goal of three players....150 shares, at $200 per share...will have been sold. The investors will get 65% of the winnings...the players 35%. The 'winnings' will constitute anything OVER the $10,000 buy in...which should the player cash, would be removed and refunded to the investors in equal parts.  Say two of three players cash...and the total they win is $150,000? Pretty simple. $20,000 is immediately taken out...the buy ins...and refunded back. This leaves $130,000. The 'players' would be receiving $45,500...paid out accordingly to however they finished. The 'investors' would receive $84,500....as well as the $20,000 in buy in refunds....for a total of $104,500. IF 3 players were staked...then that amount would be divided by 150....and represent a value of $697 per share...a profit of $497 per share. Why is this so hard for these Markup Boys to compute?

I should also add that I am not taking ANY percentage or FEE for organizing all this. I am totally on the hook for up to $30,000, and the collecting of all potential winnings...and its distribution, as well as possible tax implications. Why am I doing this? Oh...don't think my wife hasn't asked me that question!!! Well, because I am still not able to play the WSOP events. And I want to have SOME reason to watch it. I also recognize the amazing potential and the value that this event presents. I also feel I am at an advantage in KNOWING who some great players are that simply don't have the 10k to pony up...but who should absolutely 100% be playing that damn event! And since I don't personally have $30,000 to put up myself (I'm buying 5 shares for $1000) I have decided to make it a group effort. The ensuing Twitter and Facebook updates over the 7-10 days...as well as the utilization of the 'MyStack' app that the WSOP uses to let players self report their chip count...will make it a very entertaining (and hopefully lucrative) run for all of us! Obviously I'm not considering any players that I don't trust to carry our $10,000 to the window and buy in with it...or to skate on me/us when/if they cash the event. Any player with even a hint of shadiness wouldn't even be considered for one second. 

I'm very excited about this...and hope like hell we can get ALL THREE players into the Main...that starts pretty soon...on July 5th...with three starting days. If you are someone who would like to get in on this...just shoot me an email at ThePokerMonkey1@aol.com and we will hammer out the details and payment.

So...on the poker front? I  played Sunday in the $240 PLO8 tourney at the Nugget. I got off to a pretty good start...then had 'the orbit from hell'....that saw me go from double the starting stack to the felt in like 30 minutes. The kill shot was delivered when I raised with AAJ3...flopped J-3-3...and somehow found a way to  lose to the guy who called my raise with A-4-J-5. How did I possible lose? easy....running fours. Beautiful, and yeah, it busted me. I was still eligible (it was Level 5...rebuys for six levels) to re-enter/rebuy. Which I did. I quickly built my stack. For most of the next four levels I had double the average stack. Then we got to 800/1600 and the heat was turned up immensely. I had a guy on my left, Vladimir...from Ukraine..who was a real pest. We got into a major hand...the biggest of the tourney...and with 40k in the pot...and with me now down to 40k...and 20k of my stack sitting in the middle, I caved, and folded to his pot-sized bet on the turn when I was pretty positive I was good. Well, he was 'nice enough' to show me the bluff after I folded. 

That hand was the crippler. It made it hard for me to fold the next big hand about 5 hands later...when I raised a limper with A2K4. The guy checked the flop...which wasn't real favorable to my hand....A-2-9....and I bombed it...he went all in for an amount I had to call. He had A-2-3-Q....yikes. He not only was ahead, but had a much better draw. I couldn't improve and just like that, I was out. And pretty bummed...as I had mentally convinced myself all day that I was going to come back to Vegas...sit down at that tourney...and destroy the competition...and walk away with the $8495 for first.Well, it didn't happen. 

I then walked over to Binions and played the $100 7pm tourney...which didn't attract much of a field. I got down to 17 players before being eliminated. Raising with A8d in middle position...I was flatted by a pretty decent player, and the two blinds. The flop came 6-2-8...with two spades. I thought about check-raising, but lately my  check raise attempts have been blowing up in my face. And since the blinds were pretty high...and my stack was at about average...I needed to win that hand. So I simply shoved the flop. The guy tanked for a long time...and in doing so revealed to me that he had an overpair...uh oh...please fold! Nope, he called. With a pair of tens. Ahhhhh...nice hand sir, good call. I didn't improve and was eliminated. The stuffed monkey that I had bought on break...as I always do when I play a Binions tourney from their gift shop...where the regular price of $20 has been marked down to $5...was now up for grabs for everyone else. The floor guy told me that the last one I played, and did that, a couple weeks ago...resulted in quite a lot of excitement at the final table...and the winner gleefully posing with a shot of him and the monkey after winning. I had a good time...and was bummed to have busted out. I then proceeded to go play cash game at the Nugget for the next 6-7 hours...and ran like I've been running all summer...very very unlucky. No need to go into details. It just was a bummer. 

We had a very fun, animated table...and at one point,  the floor guy pulled me aside to let me know he had a few players at another table who had come to him to complain about the noise level at our table, specifically me...and demanded that we quiet down. Wow. Two in the morning on a Sunday night and the old geezers at the 4/8 table were all aflutter because we were having too good of a time. If murder were legal...I'd have run out and rented a wood chipper...and fed each one of those miserable old fuckers into it, feet first...one  at a time...for everyone's entertainment. And of course...the 'out' side of the chipper would have been pointed at the jerkoffs waiting in line to be shredded. Okay..that was kind of a sicko thought there, I apologize. I just hate people that are THAT miserable in life.

Today there are two choices. The 30k Guarantee $300 buy in at the Wynn...or the $1100 event at Venetian. And since the payroll is suffering...and since I tend to run pretty good at the Wynn...I'm going to give that a whirl today. If I crash and burn in that...there are lots of other things I can play...at 2pm or at 5pm...but hopefully the Wynn tourney will be the  only one I  play today. And since it is currently only 10am...I think I will go down and get about an hours worth of sun, do some reading...and swim some laps to get myself ready. 

The first 8 or 9 days I was here...while I was doing the Advocare 24-day challenge and working on my weight and my overall physique...I was doing 50 pushups every morning. On about the 7th day  I guess...I felt a slight tinge in my left shoulder. I ignored it. Well...I think the next 3 or 4 days I probably aggravated whatever 'it' was....because it got so bad that I had to stop my daily routine. And for the past two weeks my left should constantly aches. In addition to that, 'desert nose' has returned once again. I'm confused...because my last trip out here...and the first three weeks of my trip...I had NO hint of desert nose..and it was great. Well...ever since returning from Tahoe...my nose is producing clumps of dried blood like a Ford assembly line. Not very pleasant. 

Okay....I'm off!!!!

MONKEY


Sunday, June 8, 2014

THE WELL REMAINS DRY

Nothing good to report from the felt. Busted yesterday's nooner in Level 6...which was shockingly early for me on this trip. Then watched California Chrome NOT win the Triple Crown...then listened to Wilford Brimley bitch about the way other horses who were fresher, were allowed to show up and run the Belmont on fresh legs. That they 'ganged up on' 'ol Chromy. Well...36 years now and counting.

Then I watched my New York Rangers in Game 2...getting out to a 2-0 lead...getting tied...then going out to a 4-2 lead...taking that into the 3rd period..where they were 22-0 when leading by two goals going into the 3rd period this year. LA got one free goal when the ref decided that it was okay for an LA player to be on top of our goalie while a shot was unleashed into the net. They tied it...sent it to overtime...and won in the 2nd OT...taking a 2 games to none lead going back to New York. The worst part of the loss was that I was wearing my Mark Messier #11 old-school Ranger jersey..and got to listen to taunting from all the fake-ass Kings fans the rest of the night. Losers.

For those of you who are interested in backing a good player in the Main Event this summer...I am rapidly gathering the backing group for this venture..which I've labeled Monkey's 2014 WSOP Grinders! There are a total (potentially) of 150 shares...each priced at $200 per share. This is going to send THREE solid players to play the Main Event this year. The backing group (us) will get 65% of anything won. The player...will receive 35% of anything over $10,000. That 10k would be refunded to the investors off the top...if our player(s) should make the money. The money usually starts at around $19,500. I haven't done a tally in the past few days...but I think I am somewhere close to 60 shares sold. As for who I am sending if we get the full funding for all three players? I have numerous candidates...and feel really good about all of them. If you are interested in getting into this...shoot me an email at ThePokerMonkey1@aol.com.  Investors only, please. I am way overwhelmed with people wanting to be the 'Monkey Grinder!'

I played cash all night last night...and about the most interesting thing I can say about it was the guy in the 8-seat, who looked a lot like Mickey Roarke's character in the wrestler. The guy never said  a word...and only played one hand an hour. It was always funny when he played a hand...knowing he had a top five hand. He bought in for $100. At one point he got down to $54...and gave the dealer $46 to make it $100. Weird. Sitting behind him...watching his every move...was this old lady...how old? Um....I would post their picture here...but I really don't need the heat right now...and I think he is the type that might bring it. But she had to be at least 75. He might have been 50. Maybe. She was real petite...but was carrying around these fake tits...that just made her look horribly awkward. It was the craziest damn thing. Every new player that came to the table was like...."um....what the fuck!???"  And since I was in the 1-seat...and they were in the 8-seat...it made it easier to hide.

It was a pretty weird table..as most have been this summer. I basically sat there spinning my wheels for 6 hours...breaking even. The only thing I gained I guess was the $2 per hour I made from friend at Venetian!

For those, by the way...spreading rumors that the Venetian banned the Poker News from covering the event that the MSPT sponsored last week? Not the case. What really happened, was that every venue (casino) has to pay them a fee to cover their events. And it wasn't that the fee was anything significant enough to cause them to say 'no thanks.' Nope, the real issue was the fact that the Venetian has very limited seating this summer...for the reasons I spelled out in my last post. And by having the Poker News cover it with live coverage, it would have created a lot more visibility for the event...and brought a lot more players to the event. And since they have already been dealing with overflow this summer...and pissing off players because of it...they were just trying to avoid a scenario where a TON of players showed up to play that event and were forced to either wait an eternity or were just turned away. If you think about it...that makes total sense. 

Today is Flight A of the big $2100 at the Venetian. I thought they were running a satellite into that event, but I haven't seen when or where. Would really like to try and play that and save  a couple grand...since I've been running so wonderfully this past two weeks. Also contemplated playing the $225 PLO/8 at Nugget today at noon...but it's too late now.  They also have smaller events with decent guarantees attached to them...one at the Wynn...and one at the Planet Hollywood. My buddy BJ McBrayer was trying to get me to go over there yesterday...where they had a $250 buy in with a 25k guarantee..but they ended up getting a huge turnout of 800 players...and first place was $100,000! BJ got deep but went out 69th when he ran QQ into AQ and of course got 3-outed. Poker. It  sucks!  Another fun beat...told to me by Barth about an hour ago...as he is playing in today's event at WSOP: Barth 3-bets a raiser with QQ....gets flatted by some donkey with J7...the flop comes J-Q-J....and the clown ends up rivering quads. The other day...another buddy had AA. He raised. Got called by 88. Fair enough. Flop comes A-10-10. Guy with 88 checks. Buddy bets. Other guy jams...with 88. Turn 8. River 8. Thanks for coming out!!!!! Oh...I see bad beats all day...as I scroll the Facebook  updates...but those two just kind of stand out over all the others. 

In six more days...I fly my girls into San Jose...where I will be there to pick them up after driving all day from Vegas. My mom and sister are driving down from Seattle and we are all meeting at my brother's house in San Ramon. Then on Monday...we are all driving up to Lake Tahoe for the week. I miss my girls so much. One thing...about being away from them...if I'm running good...it makes it a lot easier to be gone. Mainly because I know I am helping my family. But to be running like crap? It sucks..because I'm not helping us...and I'm lonely and sad missing them. Carley sees me on Facetime and gets mad that I'm not there for her to grab onto me. Kills me. So  I just hope I can finish up this week strong...and knock something down...get all my investors a little money back..and get out of here with a profit after two weeks of misery. The thing is...and this is one of the things that is just crazy about poker...you just need ONE day where your hands finally hold...where no disasters plague you...and BOOM...everything is good again. All those buy ins have been covered. You've got money in your pocket again. Your confidence is restored. People actually respect your game again. People want to hang out with you...want to go to clubs. That's poker. Peak vs. Valley. All the time. No one just kind of always runs 'so so.' Doesn't happen. You're either hot...on fire!!!! Or you are cold...cold as fuck. No in between. No middle ground. It sucks. 

I'm looking at the schedule..and it would appear that the 5pm $225 at Venetian today must be a satellite into tomorrow's $2100 tourney. So I will go down...spend some hours at the pool, swim some laps...get recharged! Then go play that sucker..win a seat into tomorrow's $300k Guarantee...then go final table that bitch!

MONKEY

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Okay...Sorry...The Conclusion to My Previous Post...and Other Stupid Shit!

It's 4am. I have returned to my hotel. The TV is on...and it's on Fox News. And what are they talking about? What else? This effing Bergdahl piece of shit. The only thing more completely fucked up about that shitbox...and his dad...is how Obama is trying to turn this into 'the Republicans trying to whip up controversy' all while openly discrediting the men and women who served with his dumb ass...and whom the majority have testified that the guy was a flake who went off seeking the Taliban and who was ashamed of being an American..and certainly a member of the US military. 

So the three of them are sitting on an outdoor set in Manhattan. It started with nobody behind them...then here wanders in a couple of people who...OH! Realize there is a TV show going on. Hey! Let's stand here so we can get on TV. These are some of the humans I consider to be right up there with moths. Oh! Light....a light!!!! Then the crowd gets a little bigger. They can't hear the show. Can't see the hosts...only their backs. But dammit...there is a good reason to stand there, looking stupid.  Isn't there? You've seen the newcasters out on the street doing a report....and some dipshit comes up behind and starts waving or mouthing something? These people? I have no use for them. 

My long time friend, who I played baseball with in NYC 20+ years ago...the same team that I played on with Chad Brown....lives in LA, and has a possible connection for LA Kings tickets. In the next few hours...I will get a message from him letting me know if there are tickets for me waiting at Will Call for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals. If so...I will be spared another day of torture at the poker table. If not...well...bring the pain. More pain. 

The $1100 the other day...and how I went out in that...has been replaced as 'most frustrating punch out of the summer' by today's $600 tourney....flight B...after busting yesterday's flight A...when on the last hand before dinner break...I raised and got called with AKc...and flopped Qc-4-c-5h. The guy led into me...and I raised...he shipped, and I'm never folding. He had AQ off...and he held. 

So today...I woke up early. I went to the pool, swam some laps...came back to my room and did some pushups...took a nice long shower, and just generally had a really good feeling about today. Put all the bad run of the past 15 days in the rear-view mirror. Today was going to be the day. Time to end the skid...time to get off the schneid. Time to get the damn monkey off my back. Time to make a 5-figure score dammit!!!!

You know what really, truly sucks about being a tournament poker player? And this was something I was pondering as I was playing cash game for four hours after busting tonight...just sitting there and reliving all the hands over that 12 hours. Remembering all the various players, the stories, the ups and downs. The thing about a tourney is its a bit like a story, a book...even a movie. There are the opening credits...then you get to know the characters a little...then a lot. Some die early. Some rise to prominence. As time goes on...the plot thickens, a history among players develops. Tensions may rise among certain players. Alliances are sometimes formed. 

Unlike cash game...where players come and go....where all hands can win or lose, where a bad beat is met with a simple rebuy...a tourney comes with a finite number of chips. You don't get nine lives. You get one. Every move is critical. You plod along...showing patience, studying your opponents, learning their tells, filing away all their little nuances,  their betting patterns...all things that will hopefully help you get deeper and deeper. 

And in my case...on this summer trip...I have literally....in ten years of playing tournament poker...NEVER gotten deep SO many times in tourneys as I have this summer. And I have ONE freaking cash to show for it. ONE! I would bet my family that there is not ONE SINGLE player at the Venetian this year...or probably any other...who has played as many tourneys as I have...only to bust in Level 11, 12 (mainly) or 13....in the top 15% of the field...but missing the money. It's absurd. I'm not sure who I feel worse for...myself, my wife...or my backers. I mean...almost every day its the same thing. 1st break....good start, double the average. 2nd break...still a good stack. 3rd break....still above average. Dinner break...almost always above average. Still cruising in levels 8 and 9, even 10...then...the shit hits the fan. 

Its nothing I'm doing 'wrong' as some might think. It's just a horrible collection of circumstances that keep undoing me. Today...I literally saw Level 12 approach, looked down at 112k in chips with the average stack 72k..and I really considered sitting out Level 12. But I was super positive today, not even allowing myself to get engaged in a dispute with the absolutely idiotic waitress we  had. Nope...I started calling it 'No Conflict Friday.' So sitting out Level 12 would just be a defeatist thing to do. 

Everything had gone right up til then. I sat down at 50/100 (yes, almost on time!) and on my first hand...picked up AA. Swear. Two black aces! I love it! Raise to 250. The pest (he would become a major pest) on my left re-raised to 750. Okay okay...guy is thinking 'who is this jagoff who just shows up and starts raising? I'll show his ass!' Wrong, you  frog (he was French Canadian)...you're getting re-raised. Made it 1700. He folded. Boooo!!! I'm now 2 for 12 with aces this trip. And I never got them again all day. I did however get KK three times...and won with them every time.

I even managed to beat AQ with AK for a change. Raised, again at a new table...I was moved FIVE times today....and this dork with mirrored glasses on the button reraises me a substantial amount. Pretty sure he had that same 'who the fuck is this jerk..coming in here raising!???' complex. I had about 60k at the time, and just grabbed 25k and raised him all in. No sweat. He snap calls with AQ. Idiot. I managed to fade the queen for a change. Bye bye donkey. Now I had a monster stack. 

Got moved to yet another table...and it was soft. I had the most chips. I got little action on my raises...or on my post flop bets....and I just kept adding to my stack. Then they brought a new player who had a decent stack. He then lucked into a huge pot, two-outing this guy...and became the only player who had me covered. He then got super aggressive after that. I just sat back taking it easy...knowing that 110k was plenty...that it would get me to Day 2...that I would definitely make the money...and could then get after a deep run. That was certainly the plan.

I get 66 at 1200/2400. I raise to 5100. It folds around to this guy in the BB. He eyeballs me and my stack...then raises to 12,500. Almost a min raise. I decide to call. Had a good feeling about my sixes. The flop comes J-9-2. Boo! But he checks. Hell,  okay...I check. Turn...BINGO! Six!!!! And I started getting excited. He bets out 17,500. Thank you! I just flat. And on the river...an ace. He bets 37,000. Oh god! What are  the odds this guy has friggin aces? More likely, I thought...he had AJ. I had 61k total...and as long as there was a hand that could beat me..it didn't make sense to go all in. I simply called. He turns over AA. I buried my head on the table's bumper and just cringed. Not again....look up and see 4 minutes left in Level 12. Fucking Level 12...again. Shit. On the other hand..I had 32k left...as opposed to zero if I had  raised him on the turn...which would have led to him putting me all in, me snap calling...and me getting rivered to bust me. So  at least I had a shot....

My hopes didn't last long. Tried raising  with KJ suited only to  get raised all in by this  old guy who looked like the worlds most interesting man. I folded..leaving me with 25k. With 22k in the BB...the same guy who crippled me with the aces...raises my big blind. I look down at an ace...my pulse quickens...and the other card...KING! Yes! I shove all in. He calls,  turns over 77...and I feel pretty confident. The flop comes 2-3-5. Wow! More outs! Come  on dealer! Turn is a jack. Ugh....come on man....ace, king or a four...COME ON!!!!! River is a brick...7 or something. And I was out.  And just wanted to puke. 

And as I mentioned...I slithered over to a cash table...only to get owned by some of the goofiest players I've ever seen in a 1/2 game. The most hilarious was the guy who spoke no English...and had zero idea of the rules. Kept taking his cards off the table. Kept betting out of turn. Dude would check out...about every time he was in the big blind and everyone limped. He would bet ten...someone might raise to 25. And it  would confuse him. He would put out ten more...then another ten...then fifty....before the dealer would stop and correct him. His beast of a wife who was wearing what looked like either a bath robe or a dress or something in between...kept coming back demanding more money for the slots...and he would try to hand her money off the table...before being told by the dealer, and other players...that this doesn't fly. It was hilarious, and every new player who came along was like..."is this guy for real?" And we would have to tell them..."Yes...it is VERY much for real." 

This guy was supposed to  save my session. No such luck. He had this habit of just putting 20 out there...with anything. So we all started calling him. Anytime I would hit a flop...he would check...and I never got anything out of him. It was so frustrating. All he did was beat me. Our table was made up of mostly clowns...total clowns...and all they did was make me look like a super clown. And as they finally posted the payouts for the tourney...and I just sat there looking at the numbers..mainly the one  on top....$85,000...I'm thinking to myself...I'm a river card away from bagging well over 200k...and playing for a five figure score tomorrow, and have been deep in 9 of 12 tourneys I've played the last two weeks...and I can't for the life of me beat these fucking morons.  Think maybe that is a little frustrating!!?!??

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Today is the running of the 146th Belmont Stakes...and once again...we have a horse who has won the first two legs of the Triple Crown...and is one win away from achieving something that hasn't been done since I was 11. Since Affirmed followed Seattle Slew...and Secretariat a few years before that all in winning the Triple Crown. Will California Chrome make it happen? I hope so. I have run a pool for all three legs of the Triple Crown. No idea how many entries we will end up getting in this last one...but the interest in this race has to be an all-time high I would think.

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BAD TIMES AT VENETIAN FOR POKER TOURNAMENT PLAYERS in 2014

I dropped a hint in my last post that I was going to address the effect that 'bottom line economics' are having on tournament poker..specifically this summer's events at the Venetian, which has long been my favorite venue in poker. 

Well, here is the skinny. In year's past...they have always had spillover seating...or satellite seating. Whatever you want to call it..they had about 40-50 extra tables. What this meant...was that you would get fields of 500-800...and no one had to wait to get in. They would run a noon tourney...a 3 or 4pm tourney...and then a 7pm tourney. They would also run SNG's all day and night in a separate, dedicated SNG area...or as I liked to call it...Sit N Go Land. And while all that was going on...they had a bustling cash room always full.

Recently, the Venetian got new management at the top. I had a long chat with a couple of the tournament supervisors...and came away feeling really, really bad for all of them. Why? Because they are the point men, the lightening rod for all the negative feedback this summer that has been pouring from the players. And it's not their fault one bit. The poker room is basically treated as a separate entity in the casino. That over flow area? They were required to pay for that. This summer, they weren't even given the option. Maybe play in the Sands Convention area? Nope...Hewlett-Packard made that impossible for leasing out the entire Convention center for a whole week. 

On top of all that...management has put an emphasis on the rake being collected in cash games as opposed to the rake that is being charged for tourneys...which by the way...is steep. On a $400 buy in....$60 is held out. Ouch! 

So what has occurred is that they have a very limited number of tables to work with. Alternates have become a standard thing for every tourney. Then...in the late tourney...they are limited to FIVE tables. Yeah...five! If you don't register early...you are basically screwed. For the Omaha tourney this week...I showed up on time...only to find that I was going to be about the 75th alternate. Huh? Wow. Omaha players by nature  are some pretty feisty folks...and they were ready to stage a riot.

As for SNG's? They have been non-existent. Oh...they have a banner up...touting a certain area to be the SNG area...but anyone who knows anything about how SNG's flourish know that the way to run SNG's is to have dealers at an empty table...with 10 stacks in front of them...a sign saying what the SNG is...and seat cards there to be chosen from. You set it up like that...and they fill up quickly. But simply put a 'sign up sheet' for those interested? Sorry...that has never worked and will never work. But I think that too was by design...I don't think they really have any interest in staging them...because they don't have the tables for them. 

The grumbling among players has been pretty much all the same sentiment....why are we standing here waiting for up to two hours to play? Why can't they close a few cash tables...and reopen them later after the tables in the tourney break...which they always do in a pretty reasonable amount of time...especially as bad as most of these ghouls play poker? Why? Well...because management doesn't want those cash games getting shut down.

I know there was a huge movement by some people in the poker industry to boycott Venetian because of the views of their owner, Sheldon Adelson. Has the boycott had an effect? I would say no. Oh there is, I'm sure, a lot of people not playing there because of that boycott...but not enough to make a noticeable difference. And frankly, anyone boycotting the Venetian, is just helping keep the number of alternates down. 

Where I have a major problem, is that while I respect the casino's desire to make as much money as possible, in ways they have determined is the way to run their operation? I think they need to respect, to some degree, the tournament poker players...who have been loyal customers to Venetian, some of us for an entire decade since they started running these tournaments. They need to realize that summer is the time of year when the tournament players descend upon Vegas. They have all of July through May to put their emphasis on the cash games. For two months out of the year...they should be making a concerted effort to accommodate the tourney players.

The end result for the players...is that the prize pools are  severely affected. Who wants to play a tournament where they cap the number of players? The only reason some of the tourneys have gotten some decent numbers is because they are running multiple flights. The 5/6pm tourneys...they aren't getting more than 120 players. This just kills the value. You're going to pay $600 for some of those tourneys...and the return on investment just isn't going to justify paying that much. It really is a bad deal.

I encourage all of you who are pissed off about this, to not direct your anger to the floor staff,  the dealers and/or the tournament supervisors. I get the feeling that they all think it sucks...and wish they could have things like they used to be. But their hands are tied...and they have to keep that happy face on and keep saying all the right things. I hate it for them. 

In a time when poker rooms are disappearing all over the country...the Goldstrike in Tunica...once the Meca for tourneys in North Mississippi...the entire closure of Harrah's Tunica! Several casinos out here in Vegas that once had poker rooms no longer do. Casinos like Harrah's and Caesar's, who had dedicated rooms simply for poker..have been forced to give up those rooms and moved out to the pit area of the casino...and had their number of tables severely reduced. It's like poker has become a sideshow in a lot of these  places. Why? What the hell is going on!??? Is poker losing its popularity?

I think the simple answer is: No! Poker is not losing popularity at all. One problem is that there is a severe over-saturation of poker rooms across the country.  All these dog tracks, all these new casinos in every state...it's no longer safe to say that places like Vegas, Atlantic City and Mississippi are destinations to go and play poker. So the result has been places closing, or downsizing. And a lot of this has been done because the casino management has finally had enough with the poker rooms generating nowhere near enough income to justify the amount of space they take up in the casino. 

Did they just figure this out? Hell no. They always knew poker was a financial 'dog' for the casino. But poker was the shiny new toy in the closet. It was glamorous....it was all over the TV. Any casino that DIDN'T have a poker room in it was looked at as not being 'with it.' You simply had to have a poker room to keep up with everyone else. I mean...there were some casinos that had some really stupid poker rooms in them...Hooters Casino comes to mind. But dammit...poker was red hot...and you HAD to have one! Well...that shiny luster on poker has worn off. The glamour is gone. The number crunchers in accounting have finally made their pitch stick with the various Table Games Managers around the country...that poker needs to take a back seat to the real revenue producers...slot machines mainly.

Is poker going to die? No...I don't think it will die, per se. But the big casinos, and the big poker rooms...are going to start changing drastically. Hell...here at the Venetian...they moved in a bank of slot machines right into the poker room...presumably for players waiting to get on a table, giving them something to jam their money into, instead of just sitting around waiting on their table. Get that money...GET THAT MONEY...get it all!!!!

So  yeah...I'm saddened by what is going on at the Venetian right now. It sucks. And a lot of players are talking about it. One of the sentiments of course, is that why should they come and support Venetian, and overlook the controversial views of Sheldon Adelson...when once they get here they are forced to wait, and wait, and wait to get into the tourney? It's a question that is certainly tough to ignore or dismiss. 

I'm tired...it's been another very long, frustrating day. And if I don't score tickets to the Stanley Cup Game 2....I will push the reset button once again....head over to the Venetian at noon...post my $400....and start all over again on my quest to make a decent score and turn this lousy summer around.

MONKEY