Thursday, August 20, 2015

We are in the Midst of a Revolution

Got lots of shit on my mind to talk about today. Lots! And very little of it has to do with poker. If you want that, go read Jonathan Little's blog, where you can listen to him break down hand history for an entire cash session or tournament until your eyes bleed.

As for my poker...I have played about 4 cash sessions over at IP since I last posted. It's been a lot  of ups and downs. And the players have mostly been good guys who are nice to play with...mixed in with the occasional annoying player, and the mentally unstable once or twice, which was a real adventure. I knew as I was sitting there that I could write a very long blog post about each cash session, but somehow, as a couple days go by, they just don't seem that newsworthy.

My 'staking operation' which has taken on the look of a new occupation, continues with the WSOP-Baltimore event...which starts this week. Hoping my guy Mike Bratovich can keep up the good work. I'm also considering staking a player I won't name in the upcoming event at the Beau Rivage. As for me, I have always wanted to play 'The River' event up at Win Star...but never have. There is an above-average chance that I will venture up there and give that a shot. Then in September, is I can talk Squirrel into it, and get her to get some time off of work (read about MGM Beau Rivage's latest 'slick move' later in this post) I have a guy who plays my pools and also invests in the Minions who owns a bunch of condos down in West Palm that has offered us a free place to stay if we come down and play. So I'm trying to get Mike's wife and kids and my family to stay at a beach condo and play that Palm Beach WSOP event while the girls and kids play! I'm really rooting for that to happen.

The Beau Rivage. They (from what I read) have moved the poker room this week to accommodate the high limit area while they remodel, and were closed for a couple days. I guess the poker room is going to be over there by the Coast nightclub. Nice and loud (and smoky) for those who enjoy a quiet poker experience! A couple weeks ago, Squirrel came home exasperated. She goes on to tell that they introduced a new machine...a robot basically, that makes the cocktails in the service bar. They have removed the bartender completely, and now the waitress not only takes the orders...but then gets to go back there, program the robot, set up all the drinks with glassware and ice...then essentially make the drink with the assistance of Robo-Tender. This led to long wait times (and even more bitching than normal) for the customers waiting for their drinks.

So, it was supposed to be a 'trial' period to see how it went. Pffft...sure sure...they spent all that money on that machine to 'see how it went!' Well, this week...the other two service bars were equipped with those machines! Of course...all the service bartenders, some who have worked there for years...are now unemployed! Isn't that awesome!??? So...if you are gambling over there, and your drinks seem to be taking a little longer than usual? Keep this story in mind, and take it easy on your waitress. She is just as frustrated, if not more, than you are! Meanwhile...lets hope all those unfairly laid off bartenders find another job somewhere right away.

Is there a conspiracy at play with Caesar's Entertainment? Since quite a few people know of my plight with the Evil Empire...they seem to enjoy sharing their stories with me, either finding comfort in sharing it with someone in their shoes, or thinking I will be able to provide some kind of a solution to their issue. This is rather eerie, but I have had FOUR...yeah...four people in the last 7 months, tell me about them getting 86'd from Caesar's properties. And 3 of those 4 didn't even really know why. ALL FOUR of those people? Are 7-Star members. You know what that means? It's their highest tier of card holders...and to achieve that status you have to play and spend a lot in their casinos. In exchange, they receive a lot of benefits that make spending all that money worth it. Why would it benefit them to ban those people from their property? Well, when your company is currently mired in debt and several forms of bankruptcy with your various casinos, it would benefit a LOT, if you weren't having to give away tons of goodies to people who had earned it one way or the other. Right? And as we all know, casinos have this magical power of simply 86'ing you with little to no reason and you have almost zero recourse. Slimy? Oh yeah...super slimy. And I know there are 'two sides to every story' blah blah blah...but some of these stories I'm hearing are just ridiculous. I feel like something slimy is taking place in the Evil Empire. Just my opinion.

Meanwhile, speaking of top-tier card levels...you STILL can't wrangle a Red Bull from the waitresses at IP unless you have an Emerald level card or something like that. Rock Star only!!! Ridiculous. Can't even PAY for one. I will never understand how some of these Beverage Supervisors keep their jobs.

Can anyone remember the last time we had a hurricane on the Gulf Coast? I can't. And frankly...I'm ready for another one. I am a big fan of storms, and hurricanes are something I find to be very exciting. Watching them develop out in the Atlantic...it's just fun to me. So as I say this...we finally have something brewing out in the Atlantic...moving very slowly, and I'm gonna watch anxiously and hope we get something to get everyone a little excited next week!

Carley is growing up way too damn fast. She started dance class this week. We bought her a tutu a few weeks ago, and her dance shoes last week, and she's been putting them on constantly, excited to get started. And she did great, and had fun. Her best buddie, Pressley, from her daycare class...is also there. I had that proud feeling I guess you get when you see your kid doing something like dance, or piano, or little league, or whatever. I love being a daddy.

Which leads me to another topic. Pedophiles. How any man could ever bring oneself to have sex with a child is beyond me. In fact...just the mere thought of it makes my blood boil. So with today's news that Jared from Subway was discovered to have 3400+ videos of kiddy porn on his computer, and had been paying children to have sex with him while out of town...I just scratch my head and wonder, where does it all end? As I watched the news develop further on his case, I noticed he had a charity that was supposed to benefit children. Interesting. I believe that scumbag Jerry Sandusky also had a similar charity set up. So what...were they just setting up places where they could prey on kids?

Earlier this week, I was responding on a thread on Facebook that talked about how a certain cross-section on Muslims in the Middle East take their little boys, dress them up as girls, and sexually abuse them. Somewhere during the thread, someone (Arab, I believe) decided to toss in Protestant and Catholic priests and compare the two as equals. Kind of a reach, I thought, but still....sufficiently fucked up. A while back, it was the actor from 'Seventh Heaven' Stephen Collins being taken down by pedophilia charges. And don't let me forget that douchebag Josh Duggar...who was molesting his own fucking sisters. And in a rather amusing twist of fate, he was named today in the most recent computer hacking drama: the Ashley Madison kerfuffle! Yeah! He was a registered user and just got outed on there as well. So not just a child molester before he married his wife...but now a guy looking to cheat on his wife as well! Solid guy there, real straight shooter!!!

I just do NOT get it. I really don't. Is that only because I'm not wired that way that I can't understand it? How many people ARE wired this way? It freaks me out as I try to raise my beautiful little girl, and shield her from all the evil in the world. I'm hopeful that living in a place like we do will help...but man, I don't know...maybe we need to move to somewhere like Montana or Wyoming. Because what we have been dealing with lately, all the racial strife, has me equally concerned.

Doesn't it seem like anytime you log onto Facebook...lately especially, all you see are inflammatory posts that are related to bad cops, Black Lives Matter shenanigans, or why everything that has happened in the last 8 years that is bad is because of Barack Obama? This country is a mess. And I don't see anything getting any better. Is this a simple problem with leadership at the top levels? Or is it just tensions that are simmering to a breaking point? I don't know. I know living in the south, you see a lot more racial tension than living on the West Coast...or in the Pacific Northwest, where I grew up. Is the election of a new president next year going to help (or hurt!!!) matters any?


And this is where the post title comes from. We are in the midst, absolutely, of a political revolution. Fortunately not quite as severe as the Arab Spring of the Middle East a couple years ago which led to bloody coups. What we are undergoing is something that is incredibly intriguing, and a direct result of all the years of frustration of voters in our country from the collective shit storm of politicians and their modus operandi. The lobbyists, the special interest groups, the lying, the stealing, the corruption. People are fed up...the smart ones, the stupid ones, the informed ones, the ill-informed ones. It has led to something that is nothing more than fascinating. I'd love to be a college student right now sitting in on some of the lectures that the Political Science professors are giving around this nation's campuses. 

Add to the frustration that Americans feel with their politicians the rampant PC society we have cultivated over the last ten years. I personally feel that social media is about 99.7% to blame for this. Why? Because, before social media...what you said was only going to hurt you if it was said on camera...and played on TV. Now? Your words and actions are slapped right there on your Twitter or Facebook for the entire world to see, then scrutinize! A person misspeaks now and there is no, "oops, I didn't really mean that." Now its out there...and you are destroyed in a nano-second!  And with the advent of social media, the manifestation of political correctness has been a bi-product. It has led to an almost paranoia in people, where they will balk at saying something due to how it will be perceived by others. And when we are talking about politicians? It is magnified immensely, because not only do they have to avoid making that one, single fatal sound bite, but they have  to consider all the people they have in their back pockets! Where one statement about one thing, might offend one of those groups, even while appeasing the other. What can they possibly say that is 100% safe? When people ask the question: "Why can't this guy just answer the fucking question?" Well...that's WHY! Because they have too many people to answer to, and their responses are held to such scrutiny that they are forced to answer questions as vaguely and ambiguously as possible. You follow me?

Where am I going with this, you ask? I'm going here:


The Donald has been a part of our nation's culture for 3 decades now. He has been a lot of things, media mogul, blowhard, casino boss, bankrupt and disgraced, TV reality show sensation, husband of multiple gorgeous women...there are very few people on the planet that don't know the name Donald Trump. There have been teasings by him in past election years, 'threatening' to run for president. It was typically laughed off. 

But this time is different. He's ALL IN! (there you go, a poker term for you!) He's turned in his tax records. He has the website. He's selling t-shirts and those hideous hats. Every sound bite that the TV pundits thought would ruin him, have only made his approval rating climb higher. He was ambushed by America's media sweetheart, Megyn Kelly...and she came out looking like the villian. All the things that the political experts think are going to torpedo his campaign, are only making him stronger. This is incredible. 

Don't take this as me 'supporting' Donald Trump. I am not a big Trump guy. I think he is  pompous, egotistical, and lacks the ability to effectively negotiate with world leaders because of his massive ego. I also think he's too bombastic to hold the office, an office where he is the holder of the 'nuclear football' which gives me a little uneasiness. However...I am extremely excited by what he is doing to the political environment. He is his OWN MAN...with no one in his back pockets. No one to  answer to. No one to worry about cutting their donations. Political correctness? He has none. And what he is doing is exciting the silent majority in this country. The people who are sick and tired of having to worry about offending any and everyone with every word that comes out of their mouth. He has rallied a large base of people who are sick of politicians in their current form, and of talking heads on TV who profess to know who should be the candidate, and gear their coverage to steer us sheep into the voting lanes. 

What Trump is doing to the entire political process is starting a revolution in our entire political system. Even now, already...you can see some of the candidates taking cues from The Donald, being a little more 'risky' with their comments. Can Trump win? The election is still so far away from now...will one of his 'doozies' eventually sink him? Or just keep making him stronger?

Then you throw in Hilliary Clinton. It was thought to be a foregone conclusion that she was the Democratic-nominee in waiting. And even before all this email shit started, I was appalled by her as a presidential candidate. I've always thought she was a liar...and if you can't sit and watch her (especially as fellow poker players who are supposed to be able to spot tells!) recent Q&A with some media members over her knowledge of transmitting classified documents and not come away KNOWING she is full of shit...then I am seriously losing my faith in all humanity. Her and Bill are two of the dirtiest humans to ever splash around in the political swimming pool in our nation's history. The trail of scandal, of lies, and of dead people who either threatened them or posed a risk to their political aspirations, is long...verrrrry long, and well-documented. I have been shaking like a leaf at the thoughts of this demon winning the White House...but a full year from election time...it finally...FINALLY appears that the American public, as well as the media, is discovering just how awful and unequipped to be president this woman is. 

The other thing that Donald Trump has done, is get people as interested in the voting process as they ever have been, at least in my lifetime. When 24 million viewers tune in to see the FIRST presidential debate of the year...where 2.5m was the typical audience for such an event...you KNOW that Americans are standing up and taking notice. I've spent a little too much time on Facebook debating with or just observing the views that people have on the current candidates...and it is fascinating. To say the least. I don't have a clue who the eventual candidate will be, and I certainly wouldn't want to bet on it...so for those of you who keep challenging me to a wager, STOP IT...I'm not that stupid.  Nor am I close to being committed to any candidate on either side.

This brings up another angle. The dark, mysterious puppet masters who live behind  the scenes...kind of the Wizard of Oz's of the political system. We know a few of the members of this 'political mafia,' the infamous Koch Brothers and George Soros among the most easily recognized. Add to that the billionaires who are also members of that notoriously mysterious group called the Illuminati, who some argue are the real operators of our country, and our banking system especially. 

There are murmurings that they won't allow Donald Trump to become the eventual candidate for the GOP. Why? You can draw your own conclusions...but to anyone with half a brain, we realize that for decades now, the presidents who are elected to the top office have been helped, even steered...to that position by extremely powerful people. Once in that position, they have no choice but to answer to these people on a lot of things. A guy like Trump in the White House would most likely pose a huge threat to these people...as they would lose all of their influence...since The Donald answers to nobody but himself. Interesting concept, don't you think?

What do you think of the proposed 'deal' that our Commander-in-Chief and his lap dog John Kerry have made with the people in the Middle East who make a habit of chanting 'Death To America' and who's Premier Leader tells his followers "its one thing to say Death to America, and another to act on your words?" This might be the biggest joke I've ever seen about to be perpetuated on the American public in the history of our nation. I tried really hard...I really did, to see the possible wisdom in this deal when it was first hatched. I listened to Barack's speech in support of it, and tried really hard to find the positive in it. But then I dug...deep, and did some research, and listened to the opponents of the deal...loud and clear and without bias...and it just became more alarming, the more I heard. 

Mere days after the pact was announced (but not ratified-pending approval by our Congress) their military strongman, who was on a heavily enforced 'no-fly' list and branded a terrorist, just hopped on a plane and skipped off to Russian to negotiate an arms deal with Putin! Huh? WTF???? It barely made a ripple in the US...people were/are too busy wondering what Brucelyn Jenner is wearing to lunch, or which Kardashian is taking a selfie at a fashion show to notice. Are we really THAT fucking tuned out to what is going on right under our noses? Then it got more ludicrous this week...as the UN nuclear inspection people announced that the Iranians...yes, the FUCKING Iranians...would be responsible for conducting their OWN inspections of their most scrutinized nuclear site at Parchin! That isn't even 'questionable' that is a fucking joke of the highest magnitude! And what does Barack...who I'm becoming more and more convinced is a wolf in sheep's clothing who has done nothing but weaken us from the inside out (think Manchurian Candidate!) while he's been in office. It just defies logic, some of the stupid shit he has been responsible for. If this deal isn't voted down by Congress...I might...I don't know, now that I think of it...nothing with this administration would surprise me anymore. And even if it gets voted down...that jackass will likely just veto their decision.

In closing...I'd like to recognize Jimmy Carter for being a MAN! Sure...he wasn't a very good president, in fact, some have called him one of our worst. But since he has been out of office, that guy has spent his whole life doing great things for humanity. He could have simply slipped off into the sunset like some have done...but he didn't. He's been active in so many avenues of society. He's given so much of himself to advance our world. To find out he has cancer...and then find out it's spread to his brain, at 90 years old, you have to think his days are numbered. But he sits there talking about his diagnosis with a cheerful smile on his face, and an upbeat tone in his voice, speaking of all the great people who have called him to wish him well. That is how you are SUPPOSED to be when death is on your doorstep! Knowing that you have given all you have to give to your fellow man while on this Earth, and being prepared for the next life. It's similar to how Chad Brown...my good friend who passed last year...acted before he died. Courageous as hell! Zero fear! No regrets! It made it hard for me to cry when he died...because he made me believe that he was okay with it. I hope Jimmy Carter miraculously recovers from this cancer that has affected him...but if not, I'll be the first to salute him in death.


Sunday, August 9, 2015

My Astute and Sometimes Entertaining Observations

Lately, I have been spending an inordinate amount of time with Carley at the local water park....oddly named Gulf Islands Water Park. Odd, in that it is nowhere close to an island, in fact..it's a good 5 miles away from the Gulf of Mexico itself.

My kid loves the water park. And frankly, so do I. Mainly because in Biloxi, Mississippi, in the dead of summer...there are very few places where I can place myself where I feel comfortable, aside from indoors with the A/C cranking. The water park is one of those places. And seeing Carley smile is my crack. So when she wakes up...and decides she doesn't feel like going to school and hits me with "Water park, Daddy!??" It almost always results in a trip to the water park.

I have done some studying this month. Of people. And kids. I've made some conclusions based on what I've observed. First...and this kind of echoes a post that I just read from Nolan Dalla after his recent nightmare visit to the DMV out in Vegas...the appearance of tattoos on grown adults is at an all time high. Now...if you are some pervert going to the water park by yourself, sans child, this could be a very good thing for you...as a tattoo signals to you the fact that your subject is 18+ and you will likely evade charges of statutory rape. Yippee for you! But for the rest of us...it's just something for us to use to judge the worthiness of certain parents.

Now...I am not one to quickly assess someone based on their choice of body art. However...some make it awfully hard NOT to judge them. Occasionally, you will see some pretty attractive tattoos, ones that were clearly well planned out, and involved a lot of money to complete. Some carry what is a noticeable message, or tribute to someone. I can dig that. While tattoos aren't for me, and you won't find a single one on my body, I don't bemoan or belittle those who have happened upon what they deem a sound reason for adding the ink to the body God gave them. Some 'types' of people have long traditions of adding ink art to their bodies, members of the military, biker gangs, strippers, musicians, and of course...those serving time behind bars. But in this current decade, we have seen a rapid expansion of body art.

When I take a trip to Vegas, the percentage of body art is always higher at some hotels than others. Staying at a place like Venetian or the Wynn...you tend to see a lot less than if you stay at say...the old Riviera, or Golden Nugget, even Treasure Island. Basically, the hotels that charge more, attract less of the tattoo crowd, and the ones who charge less...you find more. Does this signal that 'poorer people' are more attracted to tattoos than 'richer people?' Make your own conclusions. Personally, I see a difference in 'white mamas' and 'minority mamas' while at the water park. The white mamas seem to have less, and the ones they have appear to be of a higher quality, and located in more common places, like the 'tramp stamp' area of the lower back, or the belly area, or back of the neck....with the increasingly more-frequent appearance in the arm and shoulder region. Once you start getting into your white-trashier girls...they start showing up on the thigh...which I deem to be about the un-sexiest place for a tattoo as it gets, aside from smack dab on their face.(or across their breast...which I don't care if it's Kate Upton, it's hideous)

When you turn to the 'minority mamas' it gets a little dicier. There seems to be no place on the body that is off guard. Where some of your nastier 'white mamas' who are likely strippers or the girl friends of meth dealers might also go for this look, it tends to be more of the minority mamas who are fond of tatting up their chest area.( I know, a revisit) I can't remember EVER seeing a gal, black or white...that can pull this off and make it look good. It simply always looks fucking repulsive. Minority mamas also seem not to care about where they place ink....all over the legs, all over the torso, anywhere on their arms...anything goes. And there is seemingly no limit to the amount of ink, either. And instead of pictures, you see a lot of just words...either names of people near and dear to them (or at least at one time) or phrases that mean something to them. Across the top of their breast...up and down the side of their torso, or leg...the shit is everywhere.

The best of course, are the people with tattoos you can tell came while in prison. Crude in appearance, and made from something other than standard ink...those are painful to look at. You wonder how they feel, I mean REALLY feel, about how they look. Do they delusionally (not a word I don't think but I'm using it anyway) walk around thinking those are some kind of badge of honor? I fear they do. Not fear, as in I am afraid of them...but fear as in, it scares me to think there are people who are stupid enough to think they look good.

Okay, enough about tattoos. But yeah, they freak me out...and I'm hoping this is the generation that thought to bring them back and try to make them popular, and that by the time Carley is 18 and older, it will have skipped a generation, HER generation, and I won't see my daughter running around with horrible tattoos all over her little body. Pray, pray pray!!!!

This leads me to kids...and where I think they are headed in life. Based on what I simply sit and observe. You wouldn't think it would be that easy to figure this out, so early in their lives...but I think it is, actually. I watch my daughter...how polite she is, how she waits patiently in line. How she waits until the bottom of the kiddy slide is clear, before she goes down it...avoiding wiping out some unsuspecting kid at the bottom...and risking injury to that other child and maybe herself. Once at the bottom, she quickly gets up and out of the way of the next kid. She plays with other kids. Bottom line...my wife and I have done a great job so far raising a good kid who is kind and considerate and who other kids like. That makes me SO incredibly proud...and emboldens me to continue giving 100% to make sure I raise a good human being and citizen of this planet.

So I sit and watch these other kids...and to be fair, most of them are pretty similar to Carley, and you see their parents there...and they seem (also) like good people and good parents, and we will usually have some kind of friendly conversation. But then...you have...THOSE kids. The ones who like to cut the line. The ones who like to shove the kids when they feel they are taking too long to go when it's their turn. The ones who think its okay to walk/run back UP the slide, instead of going around like everyone else. That kid who sits at the bottom of the slide...refusing to move. They are everywhere. I call them 'the little shit heads.' Not to their face of course...to myself, and to other 'good' parents occasionally. We will sit and watch them operate...shaking our heads...and wondering where in the hell their parents are?

So the longer I sit and watch these little shit heads, the more I start to rationalize in my head that I can see this kids future. You sometimes wonder, where do kids go wrong? Where do they go from being cute, loveable, innocent children, to being little assholes who are about to blossom into full-fledged losers in life...heading for a career of uncompleted education, of jobs he or she gets fired from, and of stints spent in and out of prison. It's easy to see. And in 99% of  the cases, it starts with the parenting. Carley goes to a pretty good daycare...most of the kids are really great kids and have nice parents. But there are those handful that DON'T. They are little assholes...and in the brief encounters I've had with their parents, it's obvious that their parents are big assholes. Big assholes, raising little assholes....it's the problem with this country.

So...memo to you parents? Don't be a big asshole raising a little asshole, please! Teach them manners! Hold them to it! Be involved enough in their lives to know what is going on with them. You are the absolute KEY to their future! Embrace that! Moving on....

My wife just celebrated another birthday...and yes, she shares her birthday with our President...Mr. Obama. Don't hold that against her. I gave her a beautiful diamond bracelet for her birthday...which I was pretty proud of. But then Carley decided to upstage me...and gave her mother a gift which I was never going to be able to top. Thanks Carley!

Cable news networks are driving me more and more insane. Is there back-to-back talking heads that are any more annoying than Gretchen Carlson followed by Shephard Smith? Then over on CNN you get that one-two punch to the face from the idiotic tandem of  Carol Costello and Ashleigh Banfield. Yeah yeah, I know what you're saying...how do I leave Nancy Grace off my list? Trust me, I don't...but I don't watch news during her time slot...by then I've gone into non-tv-watching mode. But yeah...Nancy Grace is the Queen of All Bitches  in the cable news/entertainment industry. Worse...you get the Facebook discussions that start out as healthy debates and end up in heated conflicts with the two very polarized groups...the FOX-hating liberals who are always quick to accuse the other side of being lemmings being led down the path of that which Fox wants them all to think. It gets to the point where you can't even deal with it anymore.

Is anyone else excited for this first GOP debate on Friday night? (Yes I wrote this a few days ago) I don't think there has EVER been a presidential debate that has been so wildly anticipated as this one. Donald Trump has turned this election into a wild and crazy affair...and I think everyone is beyond curious to see what transpires in this first debate. I know I can't wait !(and for the most part..it delivered, and was the most-watched debate in political history. Thanks Donald!)

Almost as much as I couldn't wait for the latest Ronda Rousey fight. That bitch from Brazil went to great extremes to make herself incredibly unlikeable. Mission accomplished. And as a big Rousey fan...I loved the way she conducted herself leading up to the fight. I mosied on over to Buffalo Wild Wings, refusing to pay $60 for what I assumed would be a fight that lasted less than five minutes. It did. It lasted 34 seconds. I was hoping that Ronda would have tried to stretch out the fight...and systematically destroy this skank...but alas, she didn't. But unlike most of her fights, that seem to end in a painful armbar for he loser, she knocked this bitch out with a punch to the earhole. Night night Betch...you bitch! Welcome back to obscurity!

Okay...it's now Sunday...and its like a steam bath outside. It's a good thing the cost of living in Biloxi is SO good, because if it wasn't for that...I'd think I was in hell! Have a nice day.


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

August Starts with a BANG!!!

When I last wrote, I was about to start the $5k Main Event at Venetian, which, given my run of bad luck in July, I decided to sell off to investors. It almost worked out for them. I had a pretty smooth Day One...bagging up an above average stack of 55k, which was one more than my buddy David Nicholson, who ended with 54k. Earlier in the day...Dave texted me, asking me if I wanted to buy 10% of his action. I was concerned about when he would actually arrive to participate, since it was level 2 and he was still in bed. Finally I relented, knowing him to be a good gamble. So I told him to come to my table and I'd give him enough for 5%. He never showed. I saw him on break...him telling me he already sold his last 10%. Great. Maybe I'll be glad. Nope. I wasn't. He finished 5th for $135,000. More July misery. (on a side note, we eventually had a mini-sweat with each other...and I ended up getting $500 from his win...which he quickly wired me the next day...so not a total loss!)

Myself, I got knocked out fairly early in Day Two. I played the first two levels incredibly tentatively...folding a few hands I never should have folded, not re-raising a guy when I should have with AK....then making a call that could have gone either way...a solid player either putting pressure on me to fold because he knew I was the kind of player who COULD fold AK on a flop of K-3-6...or because he actually had a set like the little bird on my shoulder was telling me he had. I'd been folding too much...and was getting too low, and had too much in the pot. I had to hope that he was bluffing me...or had a king with a worse kicker. None of that was right....the little birdie was right. Set of sixes. I was out. 

I then played the last event...a $400 bounty tourney. 233 players started...and when we got close to the money I was sitting at 70k, well above the average stack, and hoping for a strong finish to wrap up my trip. That didn't happen either. I  lost a couple rough hands...then got it all in with 77 vs AQ and was clean til the river...when he hit a queen...busting me 5 from the money. My Vegas trip was over.  I flew home the next day...and on my connecting flight in Atlanta, I decided to do something to try and make me feel better about myself, and gave up my 1st class seat to a young man in military uniform. It did make me feel better. And what a wonderful young man he was...waiting at the gate until I boarded (last because I always wait to get off) to shake my hand and thank me. I really love and respect our military. The flight attendant who I asked via a written note to find me a military person to give my seat to...came back and offered me free drinks in coach, and thanked me...telling me 'almost nobody does that anymore...and it made me so happy to see you do it.' Well...I did it to make myself feel better about myself...so I guess you could actually call me selfish! 

When I got home...and walked out to the curb...Squirrel was there waiting for me...and there was Carley...with her window rolled down, and her eyes had this incredible sparkle in them...a smile beaming on her face. I raced over and let her wrap her arms around my head...and she didn't want to to let me go. It made my eyes water. I was so happy to be home. I rode home in the back seat with her...she never stopped staring at me with that big smile on her face. I held her hand the whole way home. It was a fantastic home coming. Since I've been home...I've taken her to the water park about 4 times. We have had all kinds of quality time together. She is at this great age (3+) where almost everything she does is either cute or funny. She is talking so much...but in that broken language where you have to try really hard to interpret what she's saying.

So after being home about 5 days...I get the email from the guy I've been staking most of this year. I  had already told Mike (Bratovich) that I would go ahead and stake him for the events sandwiched around the WSOP National Championship Freeroll that he qualified for, and that I had 50% of. But after my brutal trip to Vegas...I was kind of lamenting having to ship off another $4k for backing. But my word is my word...so I transferred him the  money for  that trip. He started off with a min cash in the first event....not a bad way to start out.

But then he proceeded to brick everything leading up to the Freeroll...which was fine, no big deal. We were both SO excited for the freeroll...and he even took the day off before the event, to spend with his wife and kids and clear his mind of anything negative. I like that strategy a lot! One thing about Mike...he makes the decision to back him really easy...as he constantly provides updates, sends me a picture of his registration every time...and plays pretty similar to the way I do. And on top of it...he's just a really nice kid, with a great attitude. 

The Freeroll...that was eventually won by long time circuit player Loni Harwood...was not what we both hoped it would be. He ended up busting out of it about the same place I did when I played it in 2010...middle of the pack. And like my experience, he just couldn't ever seem to catch a break...or get that critical double up when he needed it. It was a bummer, and I'm sure he was just as disappointed (probably more) than I was.

So we had a few more chances to come out of the trip with a profit. Brick....brick....and yet another brick. Damn. We were down to one more event...the $1125. What happened? Well...he bagged 125k on Day One...which put him in the top 5 in chip counts. And when he came back the next day...he had, basically...a cake walk. The only hiccup I think was when he had a big stack and lost AA vs KK to knock him down to 13 BB's. But he quickly recovered...and by the time they were at the Final Table, he had 20% of the chips in play. It was a pretty fast final table...they got down to 3 pretty quickly. Then, when he knocked out 2013 Main Event champion Ryan Reiss...he was heads up for the win...which was good for 81k! Since there were no online updates available, I was sitting at my computer, playing online on Bovada (I would end up with a 2nd in a 45pp sit n go, and two min cashes in $20 tourneys- a smashing success for me on that god forsaken site!) and waiting for updates from him.

They played heads up for about an hour...the structure got steeper...and Mikes lead had eroded away some. He consulted me on chop options...which I also appreciated. When we came up with something we both felt good about, he hatched out a deal with the other guy...with Mike taking 70k and the other guy taking 61k. So, with me having 60% of Mike's action, it translated to a $42,000 night for me! And no...I don't charge Mike makeup on spent buy ins...so I didn't charge for the $2000+ buy ins that he bricked. Some of you out there probably think I'm stupid for that...that's okay. I've been called stupid a lot. It's nothing new, I'm used to it!  

As he always has done...Mike was incredibly humble in victory...and went out of his way to thank me for being behind him in his efforts. Again, like I said...it makes a guy really enjoy staking a player when they act like this guy acts. And furthermore...when he races to the bank the next day to  deposit my share...instead of stretching it out for days or weeks like some players in the poker community have been notorious for, that also makes it really easy to stake him! It was nice logging on to my computer yesterday and seeing that little bump to my checking account!

Speaking of payouts...Wild Bill also quickly sent me the check for the investors shares when he returned from Vegas...and I had every single investor paid out within five days. Over 80 of them!!! Yeah...that took some time! Needless to say, all this investing...all of this money entering and  then leaving my account? I am having to make some new alterations to how my accountant does my taxes, so as not to sound off any alarms with the IRS. Fortunately I keep great records of everything! Then on top of it...you have my pools...which I just activated today, incidentally....where I will have $100k+ of other people's money sitting in my checking account all football season from all my various pools and fantasy leagues...until it comes time to pay all the winners. I can only imagine the perplexed look that a future IRS agent might have on their face when looking at the banking history on my accounts!!!

As for me? I am contemplating taking a quick trip down to South Florida next week and playing the $5k Main Event at the Hollywood Hard Rock Poker Open...that has a $5m guarantee. It is one of my favorite tournaments because its got a great structure, is in a great tournament room that is incredibly roomy, and attracts great players...which I always feel I fare better against than these wild, maniacal players that seem like they have a money tree growing in their back yard. Also...they changed it this year...so you are limited  to ONE entry...which means you don't have deep-pocketed players gambling on crazy draws knowing they can go rebuy if they miss. Really makes every play a lot more critical, and I like that too.  As for Mike,  he is really being smart. He is resisting the temptation to play in these bigger tourneys to stick to his plan/strategy of getting the most bang for his buck....a contribution of $3500-$4000 covers him for an entire circuit event...and also gives him a chance to qualify for the National Championship again...which he is very motivated to do. I love it. Smart kid.

I have so many random things I want to write about. But I don't want this post to be too  long...so I guess I will save it all for my next post. I just kind of wanted to share Mike's (and my!) great news from the felt, how I went out in Vegas (for anyone who cared) and what I have on my possible plate this month. Since I am leasing my new Tahoe...and the miles are already a little high...I won't drive down to South Florida if I go...choosing instead to fly, rent a car and find somewhere affordable to sleep. If I do decide to go...I will be sure to post about it! As for selling a package for it? Not sure. But probably will buy in and play for 100%, especially given the stroke of good luck from Mike this week!


Monday, July 13, 2015

Poker Is a Cruel, Cruel Bitch!

Happy Monday! What's so 'happy' about it? Well...I don't have the foggiest idea. For me, it's looking out my hotel window, seeing blue skies, and knowing that I have TWO more days here in the desert to 'make a splash' as we poker players like to call it, before heading home to resume my duties as a husband, a daddy, and a pool operator as football season looms.

Yesterday was virtually a carbon copy of Saturday. On Saturday, I played the 2pm Mega into the $5k Main Event at Venetian. I lost. Sitting on a decent stack...I raised UTG with JJ...had three callers, which is always fun, then watched as the big blind squirmed around in his seat...read his body language, became aware of his 'Euro-ness' and before I could even get the words out ("Go ahead, squeeze you clown!") he jammed his stack all in. I was sitting at about 25k with the blinds 400/800 and had raised to 2200. He moved all in for 8500. I did what any smart poker player would do, and I 'iso-raised' by moving all in. The first two guys folded and the last guy insta-called. Huh? 

Oh, lovely..he has QQ. The punk in the BB has 88. He would turn a set. I would turn a straight. A fourth club would hit the river...me holding the Jack of clubs, guy on the button holding the Queen of clubs. Game over Monkey. Go cash in growing stack of buy in tickets for food comps. Go to Grand Lux...sit with Nick Jivkov, eat, and talk about stupid poker players. Listen to Cali girl on my right (we are seated at the bar) and her mom "Oh my god, Oh my god" their way through their meal and wine. Walk back to poker room. Buy in for the 7pm Mega. 

Play 7pm Mega. Start well. Again. 158 started. Level 10 arrives, structure goes to shit. Once healthy stack, now a stack in perpetual peril. Get KK. No action. Get QQ next hand. No Action. Not good. Blind down. Level 12, level 13....need a double up. 10 to the seat....8 to the seat....shove all in with KJ...no call...survival chips. Down to 6 from the seat. Look at clock. 3am. Tired. On 5th cup of coffee. Average stack now is 8 BB's. I have 7. Please don't let me not win this seat. Playing since 2pm...13 hours in...I gotta nail this down. Three orbits of nothing...down to 5 BB's now. Four from the seat...and I look down at AJ on the button. Nice! ALL IN! Called by SB with A5. Anddddddd.....ace five wins. I stand. I face the wall...I pound my face into wall several times, then gather my bag, and shuffle off to the Treasure Island across the street. Stumble into the coffee shop, order a grilled cheese sandwich, which is served with an amazing tomato florentine soup. Then to my cocoon of darkness, curtains drawn, TV extinguished, and proceed to sleep until 11:48 am. 

I awaken, and realize this could be a day that heals all wounds inflicted on this trip. Wild Bill is heading back for Day Five...with a short stack, but an amazing ability to sit patiently waiting on the hand that would get him back into contention, and/or at the very least, chipping him up long enough  to allow him to penetrate the Top 100 and 'real' money. I fire up the laptop...tune into 'live updates' which have been painfully shitty since the WSOP decided to save the money they used to pay PokerNews, who did a fantastic job with their Live Reporting, and do the job themselves with their own in-house staff (a common complaint this summer from all poker players). 

We quickly lose 12 players and make a pay jump, from $34k to $40k. That's a good start to the day. Then...all of a sudden, while hitting refresh, I see a post to our Facebook Group page that causes my stomach to clench. Oh no! Nooooooo! Not again! Those who know my history, know a couple things about me. #1 I'm a Seahawks fan. #2 I fucking hate the Dallas Cowboys. and #3 I have been RUINED by  pocket kings so many times I can't count...the most painful being my punch out by Elisabeth Hille at the 2012 WSOP Main Event...when, with 175 players left, I picked up KK for the first time in the whole tourney. I raised. She re-raised me with 10-10...and I shoved all in for about a half a million...with her reluctantly calling. Flop 10....with three hearts however and me holding the King of hearts. No help on the turn...QUAD TENS ON THE RIVER! ESPN was nice enough to film the whole painful debacle...and provided me with pain over and over and over again for the next year. Then of course, I  got to hear from everyone who had seen it. "Hey Monkey, I saw your out hand on ESPN the other night....wow, that was rough!" Yeah. No shit.

Last summer, Bill was our deepest-running Grinder...making it to Day 3. His day ended when he picked up KK. Cowboys. Fucking Cowboys. Yesterday? Same damn deal. Kings again. Raises in early position. Guy re-raises him with AQ...Bill ships, called, Ace on the river. End of the ride. 223rd place. Lots of proud investors. Lots of atta-boys, but that same horrible feeling that kings always seem to deliver. I had barely finished grieving when I see our good buddy Kenny Milam had been eliminated 5 players later with KK! His was even worse. His opponent had QJ. Everything got all in on the flop...when it came jack high. The dealer was kind enough to put another jack on the turn...and Kenny's dream had died as well. Holy crap, poker gods. Are you seriously that much of a fuck face?

I went to the pool. Invited Bill to  come join me. He never made it. I can understand why. He probably went to his room and reflected on the last week. Maybe cried a little. Maybe broke a hotel lamp. Or...Bill being Bill...maybe he just sat there like a lizard on a rock out in the desert...staring listlessly at nothing in particular, blinking once every 4 or 5 minutes. No idea. But I sat at the pool, watching  people hula hoop, dance (most badly) and fill the pool with so many humans you needed to just find an empty spot and stand there. I was seated near a family from some Scandinavian country who had three gorgeous daughters...all in their teens. It was fun to watch when they went to the pool...knowing that some creeper would inevitably come hit on them. They would approach, and all I needed to do was watch the body language, the early level of confidence, followed by the 'shrinking violet' demeanor, as the shoulders sagged, that sheepish smile on their face...concluding with the guy crawfishing away trying to retain some modicum of coolness. Free entertainment.

Went back to coffee shop. Tried the turkey sandwich this time. Not as good. Sat on the rail...watching people walk by. It's always amusing watching the luggage-toters, those who are coming, and those who are leaving. Reading their faces, you can spot the ones who won, and the ones who lost...the ones who feuded with their significant others and the ones who are still in love. My attention was suddenly grabbed by a sight that made my skin crawl. Two twin sisters, both in their 50's, and both anorexic, were both speed-walking in and out of traffic, pulling their suitcase...one about 8 feet ahead of the other, zig-zagging in between casino patrons in their race to get to their room so they could, I assume, look in the full length mirror and lament how fat they look in their travel attire. 

Meal finished, I changed clothes, and made my way back to the Venetian, to again play the $600 satellite. I was shocked to discover that in Flight A (of three flights) the Main Event had only attracted 60 players. What the???? That's the bad news. The good news? There is a $2.5 million guarantee! So an overlay is for sure a possibility, but anyone who knows anything about poker tourneys knows that Flight A is always the smallest field. They also know that anytime an overlay possibility exists, there is a Twitter storm/alert letting all of the poker community know whats going on, which usually leads to a massive avalanche of players showing up. So I'm not getting my hopes up.

I end up getting Nick seated on my right. After getting rid of some dead weight, we add Chris 'Armenian Express' Gregorian, Tommy Vu, and Tommy Vedes to our table. It was a good table. Good poker was being played. It was a refreshing change from earlier in the week, when every table I sat down at was a literal shit show of horrendous poker. I felt like my game was spot on. I carried an above average stack all throughout the first ten levels. I started to once again allow myself to get optimistic about securing my seat in the $5k Main. Then it became like a repeat of the night before. Instead of 158 players with 16 getting a seat, we had 211 with 22 getting a seat. We quickly went from 40 down to 30...and I was once again getting very low. 

Then we were down to 27...my stack size dwindling..needing badly to at least pick up a round  of blinds and antes. I picked up 77 in late position and shoved all in for 31k with the blinds at 3k/6k and got called by AQ. Yuk. I weathered the flop...and turn...and as soon as I ask the dealer to let me hold...he slaps a queen on the river. Son of a bitch! Look at my watch...3:20am! Fuck....me! Two nights in a row. Same exact scenario.  Win that hand, and I'm at around 80k...and probably lock up the seat. One freaking card on the river. Cancels out 8 hours of play. Sickening. This time I wander off to my hotel, and instead of eating, sit down at a $10 blackjack table to have a soul-soothing coffee with baileys and kahlua before going to my room.

Joining me at the table...or rather, already seated, was a couple in their 60's...a delightful woman from Canada, and a juvenile-acting man from Marin County, California who saw my Mariners jersey and started harping on the Seahawks. (are ALL 49'er fans pricks, or does it just seem like it?) Seated to their right was a younger couple, who I learned live in Orlando and were somehow related, with the young man working at Disney. He was an incredible tool bag. I was in no mood to speak to strangers but tried to be as polite as possible. Dork boy from Disney kept trying to make witty comments directed at me. I was in my dry, expressionless and somewhat sarcastic mode...responding with replies that lacked any emotion. The two women thought I was funny, as I was making both men look like jackasses (not difficult). 

It's funny how easy it is to make most men, especially the ones who are trying and failing miserably to impress the women they are with, look like complete buffoons without hardly even trying.  I consider it a bit of a sport. Eventually, they decided to get the fuck out of there. I remained...and won a couple hundred dollars...and as they were bringing in the 'Asian closer' like they always seem to do if I've been lucky enough to win anything in blackjack...I stood up, colored up, and left. In bed by 4:30...asleep by 4:32...then at 5:25 my Facetime started ringing. Carley, at home...up and getting ready for school and wanting to see and talk to daddy. There is nothing in the world that will ever keep me from taking that call. I miss that little monkey so much. And in a few days after I return home...her and I start swim lessons. Four days a week, an hour a day, for two solid weeks. 

I've been up a couple hours. It's sunny out. I thought there were only two flights in the Main Event...but found out last night there are three. Which means there is also another 7pm $600 satellite. I'd already told my list of 88 investors that I've decided that if I didn't win last night's Mega that I would sell 50 shares for $100 a share...and play for 40%. For those in the markup mafia, I think that equates to 1.2% markup. I have already had a bunch of people request shares if I didn't win last night. Well...now I need to decide, should I just go ahead and sell 50 shares, commit to play tomorrow rested and relaxed, and just frolic around the pool today, and skip the 7pm mega that I keep ALMOST winning every freaking night? Or should I play it again...in hopes of finally winning that damn thing, and playing for 100% of myself in a contest that I like my chances of cashing in? Kind of a tough call. 

I guess I'll figure it out in a few hours or so. Thanks for listening. I only have two more pair of clean boxer shorts. 


Saturday, July 11, 2015

Monkey's Minion Marches on to Day Four

And this...is why I put this all together! Taking the negative of my own ridiculous situation with the WSOP, one person specifically, and making (somehow) a positive out of it. To perhaps cast a national spotlight on the absurdity of it, of one man's infantile actions to keep one player out of the competition due to a personal vendetta...and making him answer to people he would never in a million years be able to satisfy with his foolish response. You can't ignore the  Minions. They are very clearly marked! People ask questions. Cameras will capture the photos, even the moving images. It will start with questions...lead to rumors, whispers will make the rounds. Finally that curious journalist looking for a scoop will get motivated to start asking the 'tough questions.' And then...my master plan will have fallen into place. This is the day I have dreamed about for two years. Not the potential money...don't get me wrong, that would also be nice...but this was my primary motivation last year when I started this ball rolling.

I had exhausted my list of options to get my ban lifted in Hammond. But orders from a higher power had intervened, demanding that they not, under any circumstances, lift my ban. Despite receiving a letter from the dealer who initiated the mess, pleading with them to let me back in, that it was merely a misunderstanding on her part. That I never should have been kicked out for what was labeled 'making sexually harassing comments to one of the dealers' when, after cashing in the first event; a huge field where we were asked to remain at the table until we were joined by an off-duty dealer and escorted to the pay out area. I stood at my table, awkwardly waiting for someone to arrive...before finally wandering over to the area where they were assembled, asking the first girl in line if she was "the person who is escorting me to get my $1000?" The snotty look left me confused, before the guy behind her intervened, saying "I got ya Monkey..." and took me back to get my $986 min-cash. This led to a chat in the employee lounge later, where she shared with Aaron Lashley, who I have come to regard as the Judas of all poker dealers. He encouraged the female dealer from Belarus to file a complaint against me with her supervisor. For what had been interpreted by her as "Do you want to be my escort for $1000?" (because as any player knows, after busting out for $986 in a tourney paying $150,000 for first, your first thoughts are always to offer a poker dealer your winnings for sex!)

Next thing I knew...two days later, I was surrounded by 6 Indiana Gaming Commission tough guys, which wasn't humiliating at all...and removed from that day's event, which I'd already tripled my stack in. No, I wasn't given a refund of my buy in. I wasn't even really given a reason. I had to find that out later through the rumor mill, and the dealer actually telling a fellow player about the exchange, while threatening to have him kicked out for bumping her foot under the table. On my way to the airport, my phone rang. It was Mr. Effel himself...as him and I have had a long history of personal incidents. It was his moment to gloat. Having had to swallow his pride and make the phone call to me in 2010 letting me know that I'd been un-86'd by the Caesar's legal department due to a few of his shady acts against me...this was the moment he had dreamed about for the past two years. Any slip up of any kind by me, and he was circling like a buzzard, waiting to swoop down and peck away at my vulnerable carcass. I wasn't surprised by his phone call. And it was typical Jack Effel, expressing his 'sincere regret' at hearing the news, and hoping I could clear things up. Bah! Comical. All I could do, as I was in my cab heading to the airport, listening to him talk, was picture him in his office out in Vegas dancing around while trying not to crack up laughing. 

This dealer and I worked things out between us. She couldn't have felt worse about her actions that led to my getting 86'd. She was only too willing to write letters to whoever it needed to be taken up with. I gave her the names and addresses of 5 people to send it to. She did. Then I sent a letter to Hammond requesting reinstatement. I got a response. That too was comical. It was the same rejection letter they sent me two years prior. The SAME EXACT LETTER...with the name of the since-departed security manager's name on the bottom, the same date of the original letter, Feb 9th 2013...despite me having received that letter in September 2014. I mean...make just a LITTLE effort to NOT make it so obvious guys! 

So....with that shit show seemingly at a place where I can no longer do anything to help myself, and also finding out from an inside source that a phone call was placed from headquarters in Las Vegas to the head of table games up there in Hammond that a 'Mr Souther would be making a request to be reinstated at their casino, and that it would be appreciated if he NOT be allowed to return to Hammond under any circumstances.' Some people call this conspiracy. The shitty thing about it? In the casino industry, this crap goes on all the time. And they manage to get away with it. You have no rights. If they simply don't like you, for whatever reason...they can fuck you any way they want, and you just have to take it. Sucks, huh? Pretty much all you can do is hope that karma serves that person or persons a big heaping plate of steaming shit in the future, and forces him to eat it.

So my last ditch hope, my 'plan' was to 'assemble the Minions' in an act that would not only work to hopefully serve me, and bring attention to my case, but to also provide a great opportunity for some deserving players who wouldn't otherwise get a chance to play the greatest poker tournament on Earth. And since I have a rather large distribution list from doing my various sports pools over the past 20 years...it was something I thought I could pull off with relative ease. I was right. We sent four last summer...and since I started it a little too last minute, I didn't have time to put together 'Grinders Gear' for them all to wear. And sadly, none of them cashed, despite all of them being rock solid players. This spring, I got started a lot sooner...and by having our players selected by May...I gave myself ample time to get them all outfitted properly in gear we all felt good about. The money was all collected in adequate time. And I brought my ass out here to Vegas to run bad for a week myself, get my wife pissed off at me for an unacceptably long visit to the Spearmint Rhino, get my rental car keyed, fall in the shower and suffer a concussion,  entertain my father for four days on his first visit to Sin City, and be here to get my Team all set up and taken care of. 

And now...we head to Day Four. And last year's longest-lasting Minion, invited back based on that accomplishment...and because he may or may not hold some incriminating photos of me and a farm animal, starts his march in a few mere moments having made the money last night. Wild Bill Phillips comes back with a very healthy stack of 298k and the blinds at 2500/5000, almost 60 big blinds. His table draw is devoid of any 'big names' that the investors who don't know much about poker would get excited about. But there are two or three excellent players who I know of. In fact, he has a very similar table draw to the one I had back in 2012 on Day Five when I went on my deep run. A lot of investors are hoping he gets on TV. I've had to tell them...unless he is in the top ten of chip leaders, or has some 'big names' at his table, it likely won't happen. Trust me...nothing would get me more geeked than to see our Team Monkey gear-wearing hero featured on ESPN today. But I also know the big picture stipulates that Bill playing well, and getting to Day Five tomorrow will just about guarantee that happening. Patience, grasshoppers! 

Meanwhile, I fired my third bullet yesterday in what turned out to be the biggest field I've ever seen at the Venetian. I arrived on time to find a line all the way out to the slot machines. 25 minutes later I sat at a table full of complete jacktards. One level in I was down 5k and feeling hopeless. I couldn't believe the hand play I was seeing. It was as if I was playing in a bar league...where there is no buy in, and everyone is playing for a drink tab. There ended up being 1235 players...adding that to the 1000 or so who had played in Flights A and B which I had bricked both of. First place is going to be in the neighborhood of $350k. With me sitting at around 9k and 10k in the pot holding K9 in the BB...I checked to the initial raiser who I'd already had a share of futile battles with. After having bet 2500 on a flop of K-J-7...and the guy on the button calling, me as well, he checked the turn...after another Jack hit. The guy on the button, who I'd already determined to be a bit of a reckless bluffer...fired out 3500. I did a little deep-thinking...deciding that I was putting him on Q-10, and hoping to take the pot down with his bet. So I shipped it for my last 9k. The original guy folded...placing his cards to the side for the dealer to share with us later (two queens) and the second guy tanked like a scuba diver...then tried to pick my brain before the dealer jumped him about 'talking in the hand.' He finally folded, and I showed him a king.

Things got even better. Seats 2, 3 and 4 were three of the most ridiculously wild players I'd seen in a while, so any raise from them meant almost nothing...and if you re-raised them it was never NOT getting called...which had me feeling very nervous about the prospects of ever getting AA or KK...the two hands I convince myself to feel good and comfortable about (usually) when playing tournaments, even cash game sometimes. So with two limps of 200...maniac #1 makes it 800...followed by a call from maniac #2....it folds to me on the button and I look at, voila!....AA. Typically in this spot, I'd make it about 1800...wanting at least one call, and wanting to make sure I get some value out of the #1 starting hand. But since I knew their ceiling for folding after raising was exceptionally high, I made it 2500 to go. No sweat, both maniacs called. Ugh.  That sick feeling hit my stomach...as I'd already watched AA and KK go down to these idiots with hands that never should have seen a flop.

Dealer delivers 4-4-2, rainbow. That seems harmless enough. They both check. I bet 3500. Maniac #1 folds. Shocker. Not #2. And I'd just watched him beat a guy with AK after a four-bet re-raise...holding, ahem....2-4. So that was obviously fresh in my mind. The turn was a ten. He checked again. I bet 5000. He finally relented and folded. Nice pot! On the VERY NEXT HAND...I get 99. Maniac #1 raises to 550. Someone else called. And I just called, at cutoff. The flop was pretty good. 9-2-2. Yahtzee. Nobody bet the flop...so I checked too. Turn was an 8...no bettors again. I checked again. River is a queen. They all check again. Better try to bet something!!!??  I bet 1500. I get a call from the guy who rivered a queen! Another decent pot. Surging now. And on the NEXT HAND...I get AJ...and call another raise of 550 from one of the maniacs. This is when the guy in the 10-seat, who had earned the title of 'Table's Tightest Player' made it 2500. Shit. I can't conceivably call 2500 with AJ offsuit, right? Kill all my positive momentum? The maniac called. I begrudgingly folded. Something sucks about folding when you're on a heater, right? You just feel like you are supposed to ride it until it ends. I allowed it to end prematurely. 

The flop comes Ace high. Ugh! And after they both checked I was certain I let a 6k pot get away. When a jack hit the turn I was really steaming. Then behind a check, Mr Tighty bets out...freak-a-zoid folds...and he shows AK. Hells bells. I could have shot up to around 50k. I proceeded to sit there card dead for about two hours. Then after raising with KQs...getting called by 'The Tight Guy'...and getting a flop of 10s-8s-Jh...I c-bet the flop. He goes all in. Huh?? But its only another 8k to call behind my bet of 3100 and a pot of around 11k. Open ended flush draw? Easy call. He shows 10-8 off suit. Mr Tight? Time to come up with a new name for this guy. I brick the turn AND the river. Shit.

Then this guy Jimmy shows up in the five seat. I can't remember his last name. But he's Asian...and I have a 'mental contract hit' on him since he busted me out of the Main Event in Choctaw two years ago...having called my raise with KK holding 6-9 offsuit...calling my flop bet with a gut shot...then calling my all in on the turn with a gut shot and a pair of sixes...and mind you, he did NOT have the kind of stack that warranted that kind of action...and rivering a fucking straight. I wanted to kill him. I took his picture. Then I stood a few feet away from the table, glaring at him. Yeah, so he showed up at my table, dragging a short stack. I gave him his greeting, "Hello Mr 6-9....enjoy your stay here." Then he figured it out. Well...the poker gods were clearly not in the mood to let me get any payback against this garbage-pail kid. I raised his big blind with 9s-10s. He called with J10. We both checked the flop...having each flopped a piece. So when the turn brought me an open-ended straight flush draw...and he shoved all in for 12k...I snap called...seeing that he had two pair...with me holding one pair and needing to catch. I didn't. FUCK!

Then our table broke. I was in bad shape now...and needing a double up. At my new table I got it in with 66 against AK and flopped 4-5-3...an amazing flop...which usually results in a heartbreaking turn or river. But it didn't. I held, and was back to 21k with the blinds at 600-1200. One more double up and I was back in contention. Level 12...which I am famous for busting out in at the Venetian arrived. Sitting under the gun, I pick up AKs...nice...I open to 3500, with 14k behind. The euro in the 1-seat, who had already over-shoved with mediocre hands twice since I'd been there, did it again, this time with a pair  of 7's. Yeah, I'm raising under the gun, I'm sure there is no way I have two sevens beat. Whatever. I called. And I missed everything. And I was out. I glumly returned to my hotel room, and fired up my computer to follow along with Wild Bill's Adventure...which culminated with the bubble FINALLY popping around 10pm...then watched it til midnight or so, before falling asleep and waking up at 6am, turning to my right, and wondering who had been murdered in my bed.

HUH? If you have been following me for awhile, you know about 'desert nose!' Shockingly,  I haven't been as victimized by 'desert nose' as bad this summer as I have on most trips to Las Vegas. That all ended last night. When I looked at my pillow and the sheets around me, the only thing I was wondering was where the body was. It literally looks like a crime scene in my bed. Blood everywhere. I have no idea what I'm going to tell housekeeping. I thought about taking a picture and posting it...but somehow that seems like a very poor decision. It's pretty gross. And I know this is regarded as a 'family blog' so I will refrain!

Okay...enough. I am going to go to the pool for a few hours, try to cleanse my mind of yesterday's frustrating 8 hours of poker...then return to the torture chamber to try again in a newer, less lucrative tournament. Oh yeah...and check in with my hero, Bill Phillips, to see what kind of magical memories he can create for all of us today!!!!


Thursday, July 9, 2015

Hopes Pinned on One Lone Minion

Day One was unusually cruel to my team of 5 grinders...who have affectionately come to be called Monkey's Minions. They all played flight C on Tuesday, and when the dust had settled, we were left with the same guy who made it the furthest last summer, and the only returning team member. Wild Bill Phillips, the owner/operator of this website that I  blog for, used a high degree of patience to recover from earlier debacles to bag a healthy amount of chips and head to Day Two...which begins in a few minutes. We have 88 investors all pinning our hopes on his ability to navigate the remaining field of players.

At sometime near the dinner break, one of our investors...who read the 'out hand' from Seville Hale on our Facebook group page, decided he wasn't pleased with his effort, and furthered that by doing 'research' on all the players I'd selected and concluding that he had made a bad investment on my chosen team of players. This, of course, set off a firestorm on the group page...with the players themselves issuing up apologies (unnecessarily) to everyone for not making it out of Day 1, and the investors and supporters coming to their defense and attacking the judgement of the person making those negative posts. It got pretty hot and nasty...which really sucks. On the other hand, it was nice to see all the team members and all their supporters rally together and show their support. 

It's a tough game, poker. No one knows it better than I  do. Hell, I've been here for  a week, and finally got around to playing my first tourney yesterday...Flight A of the $1100 Venetian tourney. I'll be back for Flight B at noon today.  Admittedly I played bad yesterday. And I blame it on a concussion I suffered on Monday when I slipped and fell, smacking my face and head on the bathroom wall in my hotel room that knocked me senseless, and left me feeling nauseous and dizzy all day. I've had two or three in the past, and know the symptoms. During yesterday's tourney I was simply making bad decisions, and on a couple hands actually misread my hand, or the board. On others I was screwing up my bet amounts. It was embarrassing. So I played cash game most of the night...losing most of my buy in of 1k (in 2/5) when my AA lost not once, not twice, but three times.  Then I put up another 1k and rallied that back to 1750 before calling it a night with a mere -250 loss on the session.  I can accept that. Prior to that I'd  had 3 winning sessions out of 4 playing 2/5.

This is three days later...looking much better!
It's been a crazy week. I flew my father down for four days and I didn't play anything while he was here...taking him to Frank Kasella's 4th of July party...which was wild and crazy as always, and laden with poker pros like Mike Matusow, Gavin Smith, Brandon Cantu, Matt and Esther Brady, Karina Jett, Mike 'Grinder' Mizrachi, Rick Fuller, and the King of all Blogs himself, Nolan Dalla.  I'm sure there were others I can't remember. Frank has this gigantic 4000 lb gorilla in his back yard. Gavin thought it would be funny if I climbed up on the gorilla and rode the beast.  Yeah...it was funny when I didn't realize there was a chair on the other side of the gorilla that I could have used to crawl up the thing, but instead tried to mount it like a horse, tearing up my leg. Walking around the pool with blood pouring down my leg had a few people freaking out. No big deal!

The night before that I took him to the memorial cocktail party which followed with a charity tournament for my good friend Chad Brown who we all know passed away from cancer last summer. It was a nice event that they held at Planet Hollywood. After the cocktail party ended, I left with Jenn Gay and her husband Steve...then picked up Sara and Todd Elwood from the curb out front of The Wynn and headed for Fremont Street where we had an amazing dinner at one of Vegas' best-kept secrets, Hugo's Cellar, and reputable (and very expensive!) steakhouse in the basement of the 4 Queens casino. Todd and Sara are easily my favorite married couple in poker, and like me are huge wine aficionados. As a matter of fact, they are currently in the middle of investing in a vineyard out in California that I might get involved in with them. Our wine steward, John...had been working there for 31 years, and was your typical Englishman with a great sense of humor. The food and service were both incredible. 
Welcome to Vegas Dad!!!!
After dinner we went gambling. My dad wasn't much for playing blackjack, but dabbled in slots while Sara and I both played blackjack and Todd hung out at the craps pit. We stayed out pretty late...about 6 or 7, and my dad's first night (ever!) in Vegas was a kick in the pants! 
The Minions..minus our team's 'Black Sheep!'
There is  more...but I don't want to be late to today's tourney. Wild Bill also carries the hopes of our team into Day 2. GO BILL GO!!! Pictured above is the team photo for our Minions this  year. Yes, there is ONE player missing. That would be Seville. Why? Well, for some reason, he decided it would  be a good idea to play a one-day tourney on Monday at Venetian...and when he got deep, finishing 11th, it caused him to miss our team meeting at Rio at 8pm...where we passed out shirts, hats and hoodies, got contracts signed, got their money, registered, and got the team photo done. He did finally manage to join us at Maggiano's for our team dinner by around the team we were finishing dessert. 

At first I was ticked that he  did that, knowing what we had planned that night. But then, the more I talked to Seville, I just kind of came to the  conclusion that he is a bit of a dodo-bird, and marches to his own drummer. I don't think there was any disrespect meant on his behalf, I think he's just a bit aloof. No big deal. I did, however, tell him that due to his no-show, he was to be the ONLY Minion I'd be pissed at if he didn't cash in the Main. And so...as promised, I am PISSED at him...and when I see him I'm gonna beat his ass! Just kidding, but as an Army service member, I am going to order him to drop and give me 100!

More to follow later, hopefully some good and exciting news.