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.