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!