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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Palm Beach Wrap Up....and What's Up Next!!??

I probably should have posted a blog last Monday, to report to you how Day 2 went in the Main Event at Palm Beach Kennel Club. Well, I figure most of you who truly care did enough limited research to discover that I finished 6th...which matches my highest finish in a WSOP Circuit Main Event. I also took 6th in Hammond back in 2010...in a gigantic field, at a table littered with great players like Kurt Jewell (winner), William Reynolds, Nick Jivkov and Bryan Devonshire.

This final table had the likes of Tristan Wade (winner), David 'Lefty' Diaz, Zohair 'BrownMagic) Karim,  and Chance Kornuth. I came into the day with a pretty small stack...but did what I'm best at, playing patiently. Eventually, my breaks would come...and I would amass enough chips to allow me to persevere long enough to get to the Final Table, which was my ultimate goal...well, okay, it was Hurdle #4 officially, with Hurdle #5 being WIN! I guess the good thing about waiting a week to write this is that I have pretty much forgotten about most of the hands...so you don't have to be bored with that.

I have some regrets. We got down to 6 players...and I was surging...having just topped a million chips. And I don't know what it is about being at a final table...but when you start surging like that...and winning every hand your in, you being to start feeling a little bulletproof. A sense of invincibility starts to set in. And this can either be incredibly powerful and lead to victory, or be falsely intoxicating and lead to your demise. I'd had a pretty rough run leading up to the Main Event...having gone out less than ten from the money three times and having zero cashes to show for my efforts. I'd determined that I  needed to finish 8th to break even for the trip. So once I cleared that hurdle...I was basically freerolling. Sort of. I mean, the idea when you leave for a poker trip is to come home with more money than you left with right? So 'freerolling' is probably not the correct term.

In 2010 in Chicago, I was on a similar tear at the final table. I had moved up from low stack to 2nd in chips. Then I made that one fatal error that cost me dearly. I  might not have won...but I surely would have probably finished at least 3rd...which meant the difference between $47,000 and $125,000. Quite a difference. In the case of PBKC...my actions on two back-to-back hands meant the difference between $20,000 and probably $60,000.

In Chicago, William Reynolds had opened on my big blind a lot, and everytime I'd woken up with a huge hand...3-bet him, got called, and got favorable flops to either lead on or check raise on...to which he folded every time. Then he raised me with KK...I  flatted with Q-10...flopped ten-high, and check raised him all in. Stupid. I had so many chips, and we were playing so deep,  that  I could have simply check called him...and  had plenty to work with on the turn and the river. His kings held, and I was crippled. 

In Palm Beach, Tom Midena...who was pretty unpredictable, but more or less a very tight player...raised behind me at cutoff, and I looked down at 88. At that stage of the tourney...and with him holding about 400k and me 1.1m...flatting a raise of 75k didn't seem like a smart move holding position and an almost 3-1 chip advantage. So I reraised him to 200k. He shoved. I had no price to fold now. Which sucked. ANd of course...he had KK...which held. Then on literally the NEXT hand...Zo Karim raised (again)...got re-raised by Tom...and I once again had 88. That would have been a great time to fold. And had I? I think things would have shaken out a whole lot differently. I fold, Zo calls with AJ...Tom's KK wins again, taking a large chunk out of Mr. BrownMagic...and really leveling the playing field. 

But nope, like an idiot, I shoved with 88..hoping I had the best hand...which wasn't the case. Zo calls with his AJ..and Tom again has KK. Incredible. And they held. I was busto..and Zo would end up, somehow...after having about half the chips in play when we were 6-handed, going out 5th. 

Nevertheless...it was my 3rd Main Event cash at PBKC in as many attempts...and first final table. My $20,200 for 6th got me out of the red for the trip, and also triggered a bonus for all 80 people who invested in either my summer package, or the one for the 'Monkey's Minions' that sent 4 players to the Main Event at Rio this summer. I had promised to pay out a total of 10% of my winnings to them if I were to make a cash over $20k....which was just barely what happened! So they all got a little stimulus check of $25. To their credit a lot of them have donated it to either Carley's College Fund...or Breast Cancer research. Still more are using their credit for the upcoming pool season...which is always a good/fun investment!

Congrats to Tristan Wade for winning the title over another guy I'm pretty good friends with, David 'Lefty' Diaz. Tristan sat there in the 1-seat...very quiet, very patient...in fact, it took me a couple hours to even realize it was him! We had met a few years back in a lounge in Vegas and my impression of him was very favorable. Incredibly nice young man. And great player. He waited, and found his spots...and next thing you know...with his family present (they are all from down there) shipped the thing for $106,000. Good for him!

I played the last event the next day...despite my insistence that you should NEVER play the day, or even the week, after making a decent score. Why? So you can actually enjoy it a little. But since it was the last event of the trip, and I figured their would be a small field and why not  take a shot at a ring and more freeroll points? So I bought  into the $365 Turbo event.

I  flop trip nines....on flop of A-9-9 holding J-9h. It checks around to me. I make it 500. Only one guy calls. The guy with 33. Good call sir. He turns a three. I lose a bunch. Same guy....limps with QQ. I call in SB with A3h. I flop four to the flush. Call his bet. I turn a flush. Check raise the crap out of him. He calls. Why not? He  has a set of queens. River pairs the board. Ugh. I check call his bet. Wonderful. I got down to 900 chips are was thinking about the beach...as it was only noon, still. I jam JJ. No callers. I jam AK no callers. Then get KK utg. Limp. Get 6 callers, no raisers. Ugh. Guess this is how I'm going out. Nope. Q-high flop...guy in BB bets. I ship. He calls with Q-10. Doesn't improve. Then I ship on the button behind an UTG raise and four calls, holding AK. Get called by JJ. Flop a king and it holds. Back in the game. Before I know it...I have the table chip lead with 23k. Will this be an amazing story on the final event?

I'm in the SB with QQ. Cutoff raises to 1000. An OMRG chewing on a toothpick (always a double whammy for me) makes it 2500 on the button with AJ off. I make it 5500 in SB. He announces "Oh what the hell, I'm going to the beach (I can respect that sentiment)" and calls off with AJ. No sweat. He hits his ace. Sigh. Then it was just a shit storm from there. Same guy would beat me two  or three more times...and for my final act, I shoved 11 BB's in early position with 99...and got overshoved on by a  lady with A10. Nice hand. No help to her on the flop...or turn...but sure enough...tenball on the river and my Palm Beach trip was a wrap.

I went downstairs, where I'd  had  mixed results the whole two weeks I was down there...and this time picked up $525 in my final cash session. A nice going away gift. Went to Dicks and bought a new pair of sunglasses to replace the ones that got stolen at the beach while I was in the water snorkeling. Driving home would require them. Picked up 5 movies from Redbox, and some KFC....then went and packed...and got on the road. I made it home in a record 9 hours,  stopping only three times for gas and nothing else. It was about 8am when I walked in, and Carley heard me...shrieked, and came running into the kitchen to greet me. It was awesome. I got the biggest hug! 



It gets harder and harder to leave my little sweetie. But at least this time the trip was worth it, since I came home profitable. But it sure doesn't make me miss her any less. We have been connected at the hip all week. This weekend we did her favorite thing...playing on her slide and pool in the backyard...while throwing Jasper his ball. Whatever it takes!

I only have three more days with Carley and Mama Squirrel...then I have to leave for Seattle. I have no real idea on how long I will be there. I wrestled with revealing the reason for my trip on this blog...as I really didn't feel like dealing with the asshole haters who leave their snotty comments...and any negative comment on this subject would put me in a state of mind  I really don't want to deal with. But since I guess the majority of you who read my blog are actually kind, caring human beings...you'd probably be a lot more understanding. Just a few weeks ago, we found out that my mother has breast cancer...and that the doctor wanted to perform surgery right away. So she made an appointment originally for August 12th...which made me think I would be leaving Palm Beach...getting home, doing laundry, and getting right back on a plane.

But then she rescheduled it for August 22nd, this coming Friday...which came as a bit of good news...so I get home, get caught up on...well, life...spend some valuable time with my girls, and then head out there for her mastectomy surgery, and after-care for as long as she needs me. My sister is also going out, coming from Milwaukee. Some of you know of my involvement in the past with causes for Breast Cancer...and of the tragic loss of our friend Cincere Mason,  who beat Breast Cancer twice, before dying of a strange bacterial infection after helping a friend after flooding in Pensacola. And you certainly know of my painful loss of my good friend Chad Brown this summer, also to cancer. So it really kind of hit us all right smack in the face when my mom called us and shared the news with us.

I know my mom is scared, despite acting very brave. Cancer is a scary, scary thing...to be certain. But one bit of good news that we got was that after they did the biopsy and scan and all that...they determined that the cancer had not spread to the lymph nodes...which in my limited knowledge of breast cancer, is for sure good news.  So we are crossing our fingers that after her surgery, they will have eradicated all of the cancer from her body and not have to get into all the chemo and radiation. I will keep you all informed as I learn more.

As for future poker events? Well, while I was in Florida, I received the letter from the IP in Biloxi informing me that I am no longer 86'd from their place. So that opens the door for me to play the WSOP Circuit Event there from Sept 4th-14th. I fully expect to play that event IF I am home from Seattle. If not...then so be it. Anything beyond that event I have no idea on. Hopefully, my Mom's surgery goes well...I come home and play what I hope is a well-attended WSOP event here in Biloxi, and make a couple cashes. Then if I need to go back to Seattle, I can do that.

Football season is right on our doorstep...and I am SO glad! It feels like its been the longest offseason ever! I am so excited to see if my Seahawks can make a good defense of their Super Bowl title. To see if my Washington Huskies are better under Boise State's former coach. To see how strong Alabama is, and if their new QB can handle the task. And of course, all four of my pools and my four fantasy leagues...which are just about full with a few openings still available. I just LOVE September! The weather gets tolerable...the playoff stretch run in baseball....hockey starting...and of course FOOTBALL! IF you aren't on my pool distro list and have any interest in getting on it, shoot me an email at ThePoolMonkey@aol.com and I will make sure you are involved!

Well...this seems like a good place to end. Thanks to  those who threw me their support during the Main Event run...I always appreciate that, as I'm sure most players do! It was a very fun event...and I honestly left town with a very good taste in my mouth! Thanks again to the staff of WSOP and the people from the Kennel Club's poker room for their hospitality! 

Monkey

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