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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!!!!

MONKEY

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