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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 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 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.  

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 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 spending the day at Kings Beach in North Lake 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 do you think that's going to  make him feel later? It's irritating that I have to even explain some 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 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 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, 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 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 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 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 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  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 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 nose is producing clumps of dried blood like a Ford assembly line. Not very pleasant. 

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



Anonymous said...

Thanks for the blog. Now have some run good at poker.

Kelly (Notre dame fan from

Tickets Ole said...

Very nice post!!!

Hangar18 said...

Monkey I have told you before you need to buy "saline nasal spray" no chemicals - just salt and water are the ingredients.
Use it 3-4 times a day every day out there and you will never come home with a cold and your nose will never dry out when you are in LV.
Go to a pharmacy and buy it asap. You will thank me on your next blog.