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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 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 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 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, 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 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 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!! 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. 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 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. 


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