Saturday, June 25, 2016


I am often amazed at the power that networking combined with a little integrity and reputation are able to produce! Two days ago, we were stuck on 237 shares sold, but I hadn't really been very aggressive (this month) about drumming up support for this summers Vegas Grinders. 

One blog post and one email to my 2000+ list of people I've built up over the past 15-20 years...and here, at 10pm on Saturday night, I just sold my 300th share! At 50 shares needed per player...we have now raised the full $60,000 needed to send SIX players to shoot for the $10,000,000 first prize! As well as a ton of other cash prizes just to get deep! I'm feeling pretty damn satisfied, sitting here knowing the hard part is now DONE...a full two weeks before the tournament kicks off. 

And with the shares about 80-85% paid for...I likely don't even have to worry about that, either. But just to be safe, I will take names, put them on a wait list...and anyone who doesn't pay by the set deadline, or maybe someone decides to give up a share for whatever reason...I will get them a spot on the investment team. As it stands, we will have a record number of investors this summer...with 107 people purchasing one or more shares. Now THAT...will make for one hell of a rooting section in the Penn & Teller theater should one or more of our players reach the Final Table in November! That would be truly awesome. 

Oh, and PS: to the couple of guys lacking the testicular fortitude to sign your names to your shitty comments? You know, you Captain Anonymous winners you!!!! There is nothing, absolutely NOTHING you can say that is going to cast any kind of a negative shadow on this whole experience. As long as you litter your comments with redundant foolishness, its impossible to take you seriously. IN fact, really...anyone who can't 'man up' and sign their name to a comment...really doesn't even deserve to have it read in the first place. I know how much it must hurt...being one of those people who never has anything good happen to or for you in your life. The bitterness and envy you experience on a daily basis must really be tough to endure. I don't profess to comprehend what your goal is in sending me your shitty comments. It's just ...well...pointless. I would like to say though...that even though I don't know who you are, and I'm sure you will never show your face...should one of these six players...and god forbid the one you won't shut up about...happen to simply cash-let alone run deep...please be sure to revisit my comments section, and offer up your apology for being such a classless piece of shit. Yeah...I know...I won't hold my breath! Instead, you can just curl back up into the fetal position, and slither back down into your feces-infested hole that you reside in a majority of the time. 


Friday, June 24, 2016

The Main Event Draws Near!

I'm back from Wisconsin! And I have to say...if there was a way to pack more into 5 days I do not know HOW it could be done. We went to do two or three things and ended up doing about 5 or 6 things. Great trip! The weather was amazing. Didn't even KNOW there was a Kenny Chesney/Miranda Lambert concert at the baseball stadium there...saw it on my Facebook newsfeed, and immediately checked for tickets. BOOM! Front row! $165 per ticket. Dirt cheap by Southern Country concert standards. We took Carley...her first concert ever, and she loved it! Since the show started at 5...we thought it might be worth giving a shot. As always, the concert was fantastic. The ball park up there is beautiful. 

We went to a farm on Sunday, where the kids get to hold and feed various animals. Carley got to milk a cow! On Friday night we saw my sister's 8 year old perform in his dance recital. It was 2.5 hours long...but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the whole show, not just his parts. During the weekend my sister pulled out the slip and slide...and I got to be 12 again! As did Squirrel. It was a blast. Rode my sister's ATV (first time on a 4-wheeler) around her 10-acre property...that was cool. It was the first time seeing her new house out in the country outside of Milwaukee...wow! Have to say, I'm jealous of all the space in the house as well as the land. Before leaving, I pitched batting practice to the two boys to get them ready for their game later that day. The front yard is basically as big as a ball field.  Our flight home...well, of course, what would a trip on Delta that connects through Atlanta be without some kind of delay? We got it. Didn't get home Monday night until around midnight. But at least they didn't beat my brand new luggage to shit. Sure that will probably happen on our upcoming trip to Vegas. 

So, with all the travel, and various other 'stuff' going on, I've kind of hit a lull in the whole 'Selling of the Minions' operation. Until last night. I got the merchandise order finalized and turned into our lady who is handling that. I ordered a couple extra in each size category for people who decide later they would like a t-shirt or a hat. And then today around noon, I sent out an update to our present investment group, as well as all the people who have invested at some point in the past. And just like THAT....BOOM! We were sold out! Even OVER SOLD. 250 shares was what we needed to hit to send all five players to Vegas. So that is DONE. Oh! You are asking, "Monkey, who are the OTHER TWO Minions? Did I miss something???" No, no you didn't. My bad. I did announce it on the Facebook Group Page, as well as via email to the investment group...so they know. But this blog will basically serve as the unveiling of our Minions #4 and #5...and who our ON DECK Minion is anxiously hoping I can now propel us to 300 shares sold, and 6 players sent to play in the Main Event!

As I have the first two years I did this, I have gotten the usual snarky emails/comments from the typical assholes. One thing about an asshole behind a keyboard, they never sign their name to anything they write. I wonder why that is? I don't think I have ever left an anonymous comment in my life, anywhere. I feel good about that. And that is probably the reason I don't let comments from anonymous people get me to worked up. I suspect some of the people who criticize the process, are people who wish themselves that they could be going to play in the Main Event. So I chalk that up to bitterness. Then you have some who want to poke fun at the players who are going. That's fine. Don't care. I'm not trying to assemble an All-Star team. I want great players, don't get me wrong. But I'm not going out of my way to just offer up free buy ins for players who I KNOW have the ability to sell their own package. Plus...there are a lot of great players who wouldn't want to play for only 35% of themselves. They don't need or want to. I mean...if your bankroll for poker is $75-$100k...why would you EVER play for only 35% in a $10k, the biggest $10k, in poker? It would be dumb. Well...there are a lot of really good players who just don't HAVE that kind of bankroll, or network of poker acquaintances, to make it happen. And that is where I come in.

One person commented that I only do this because I can't play at the WSOP myself. Um...well, that is no mystery. At least I didn't think it was! I consider that tournament to be the best tournament, structure-wise and prize pool-wise, on Earth, so of course I wish I was able to play. And yeah...being a part of someone who DID win...would give me a tremendous thrill. Why should that come as a shock? I'm always kind of amazed at the collective IQ that some of these people have who leave comments on my blog. To be totally honest? If I found out tomorrow that I am getting my ridiculous 86 lifted at Hammond Indiana, and subsequently at all other Caesar's properties, and was now allowed to play all WSOP events? I would in fact play. But I would ALSO continue putting as many people into it as I could. Why? Well...a couple reasons. I am and have always been, someone who really likes to pull for the underdog. And that is what my team is...a bunch of underdogs. So hell, I would just be taking up another spot on the team! 

I have a pretty extensive list of people who play in my various pools, and have for almost 20 years now. They've even been around staking some of my packages in the past decade. The ones I got massacred for on 2+2 by those losers who think they are the Department of Finance in the poker industry. What they seem to not comprehend...is that some people? They actually have followings...followings that were developed through years of networking, and years of demonstrating integrity and credibility through other ventures. They have experienced the excitement of getting paid just DAYS after something ends, whether it be the March Madness Pool, a football survivor pool, or a poker tournament. So for me to sell poker packages, the way I do? It's really not that difficult. So sure, I would love to be able to play the Main again. But until that happens? I will continue to give myself, and a whole bunch of other people, a chance to observe the action, with a rooting interest! These people don't care about 'markup' and all the +EV, -EV bullshit talk that seems to consume a lot of poker dorks. They don't care. I don't care. I take NOTHING in the way of a fee for doing this, and never will. Currently, I am the biggest investor...at 15 shares currently. A total of $3000. So if you want to say I am 'ripping off my investors' like a dipshit? Hey! Just know then that means I am ripping MYSELF off!!!! 

For those who like to sit there, look up the players in Hendon Mob, then weigh in with your opinion of my selections? Do me a favor? Don't waste your time. I'm quite aware of each players' accomplishments, contrary to what you might think. Like I've said before....this isn't a collection of the Top Ten in the Cardplayer Points that you will see playing for TEAM MONKEY! This is a lot of people with real lives. With jobs. With families. With limited bank rolls to play the bigger buy ins. But they all have a high degree of talent. They are all more than capable of cashing, and even running deep in the biggest, baddest poker tournament on the planet. So save your criticisms. No one, aside from you, and maybe your dork friends, are interested. The only opinions I care about? Are the people who are putting up $200 a share. So if NONE OF THEM echo concern? Why should I give two shits about your worthless comments?

Okay...I feel like I've been rambling long enough...and I have no idea how much more time I have before Carley (who has stayed home from daycare/school for a 5th day in a row!) has one of her epic meltdowns brought on by the lack of a nap. In addition to that looming threat, I am taking the Squirrel to dinner at BR Prime tonight (where I have requested Kai to be our server) followed by a show at IP featuring one of my favorite comedians, Brian Regan. So I want to get this 'in the can' and keep this ball rolling in my mAxImUm EfFoRtS to get to 300 shares sold, so we/I can send SIX players to Vegas to try and snag that paltry sum of $10,000,000!!!!!


#1  STEVEN PIQUE. I have already given you the lo-down on Steven...who is currently hard at work running the poker room at Aria, a place I truly love! He is married to the omnipresent Jennifer Gay...who done a tremendous job of promoting him and the whole process! Steven has a great set of poker skills that are perfectly suited to the structure of the Main Event. He is very quiet, unassuming, and humble...which makes him a really good guy to root for to succeed. I mean...lets face it, when watching a show like American Idol, don't you always tend to root for that sweet kid from middle America from a good family, who has no idea just HOW good he or she is? This guy Steven? He's like one of 'them!'

#2  WILD BILL PHILLIPS!  Due to popular demand...and due even more to his two consecutive years of being the 'Most Successful Minion in the History of the Minions' Bill is back for his third trip to the Main Event carrying our banner! He didn't cash the first year, but made it the longest out of the four we sent. Then last year...he DID break through, finishing 223rd for around $45,000. Had his KK managed to beat JJ...he would have doubled up BIG...and most likely finished in the top 100 with ease. It was a bad beat I am ALL TOO familiar with, personally! Some of you know what I'm referring to. It hurts too much to even type! Bill is one of my favorite guys in poker. A tremendous family man with a whole gaggle of kids! He, like Steven is very low-key and mellow. But before you try to figure out how Bill and a guy like me could EVER have become friends? We have a very similar sense of humor, which as far as I'm concerned is the best quality a person I decide to be friends with can possess. The ability to 'get' me!!!! He is brilliant, if you've never read his blog...you should. Some of the stuff he comes up with is simply fantastic! Monkey likes intelligent people. And Bill is a smart cookie! Oh...and he's a pretty good poker player too!

#3  DR. LAURA LANGLEY-CRAFTON.  Now if there IS a wild card on this team, this is her! I can't sit here and tell you about all of Laura's qualities, either as a person, or a card player. Because I just don't KNOW! And I don't like to make things up! But hey! She sent in her application for consideration a couple months ago. I'll be honest, she wrote a GREAT cover letter! Enough so, that when we decided to hold our special 'play in' Wild Card tournament at Sir Kai's house last month, she was one of the 20 invited to play. Eventually, we got a total of 11 players, who each ponied up $400 each...which made them ALL the holders of 2 shares of the eventual team right off the bat...but would ALSO award the 3rd spot to the winner of the tournament. And with all the well-known talent that we had playing in that tourney? She bested all of them. So she earned her spot fair and square! And beating that field was no easy task...so she is clearly doing something right! And its great to have a woman representing the team for the second year in a row. You might be surprised at just HOW much support we get from investors for the simple fact that we have a lady participating! So whatever it takes to get a well-rounded team with a full compliment of investors, I'm committed to making it happen!

#4 ROBERT HARWELL.  Robert is a guy who I have known, from playing poker, for over a decade. Like the others, he isn't flamboyant at all. Very quiet, Very stealthy...is the way I've always considered him at the table. Hidden behind his glasses, giving away very little...a difficult player to get an effective read on. Another family man...who like me, has taken his tournament play down a notch to be at home with his family more. Also like me, Robert has wrestled with terrible back pain over the years, his much more severe than mine...and mine is bad. He has endured a lot of surgeries to try and overcome his pain. In the recent tourney at Kai's place...he was cruising along, looking like he would win the tourney, but then took two incredibly brutal beats that derailed him. I know just HOW deflated he was, he had come in very confident, and very excited to represent my investment group. But he handled his defeat so professionally, just like I've watched him handle every rough beat as long as I've ever known and played with him. I know that he will represent us well in Vegas...and I am excited to see just how deep of a run he can put together. 

And our final player......

#5 CHRISTIAN IACOBELLIS.  If you played on Full Tilt back in the heyday of online poker, you may remember the player known as 'DaProfessional.' It's funny how we met. I was playing a slate of tourneys on Sunday like I used to always do back in the mid-2000's...and one day, this guy won THREE big tourneys, in ONE day! It was sick. It was crazy. It was, simply...unbelievable! And I was of the opinion that whoever it was HAD to be cheating somehow. I wrote a blog about it, even. Well...a couple years later, that 'guy' just happened to be sitting on a barstool behind me at the center bar at Rio, where I was currently playing the WSOP back when I was allowed to play there. Whoever I was talking to says: "Hey Monkey...remember that guy you accused of cheating on Full Tilt in your blog? He's sitting right behind you!" Huh!??? But I didn't act like a weasel and flee. Or try to back out of my comments. I turned around in my stool, introduced myself, and we have been friends ever since. He has gone through a LOT since then. One of the highlights was the year we both played the Main Event at Borgata and swapped a piece with each other, the year Dwight Pilgrim won the thing. I finished 45th, and Christian made the 10 person final table...which they played for something like 3 long hours before losing their first player...who unfortunately, WAS Christian. But it was still a really nice score for him.

Since then he has had a massive issue with Full Tilt, who was holding a rather large amount of his money when Black Friday hit. He has continued to fight back and forth with them and with banks ever since. I do NOT envy that complete shitstorm that he has had to endure. I met him in Vegas last summer...while I was playing at Venetian, and he had brought his new girlfriend with him, who he credits with helping to change his life for the better. He is still with her...which makes me very happy for him. Though he is an East Coast guy...he has been living in Pasadena for the past year or so. Once a pretty great ice hockey player, he has continued playing hockey...which I DO envy! There is literally NOWHERE down here in South Mississippi to play recreational hockey, and I really miss playing a lot! The final hurdle in naming Christian to the team, after he'd been applying to be on the team for the first two years, was getting the stamp of approval from his girlfriend. She gave the green light last week finally, and I was happy to welcome him to our team.  

I don't remember what year it was, but it was a year that I was running pretty good at Venetian. Christian was in the midst of a deep run in the Main Event. We went out one night to celebrate his good run...as he had a day off in between days. I either had already bought a piece of his action, or he just gave me a piece, I don't even remember...but the point is, he cashed. So he HAS been to this rodeo before, and has results to show. In fact...as results go...this guy is definitely our 'go to guy' if you are a Hendon Mob junkie! More than anything...I am pulling for him to do well because I know what it would do for his life! I find it really hard to root for people who are already either rich, or who will never run out of people to back them. It was one of the reasons I really enjoyed my time as Mike Bratovich's primary backer. Because he had been let go from his job, and had an uncertain future, with a wife and kids. I like knowing that if I can help them realize success that makes it possible for them to have a better life? That almost makes me happier than from whatever money they have won for me. 

SO THAT IS OUR CURRENT GANG OF FIVE! And...in the on-deck circle...and who I've just notified a short time ago that he was my final cut...but who there may be a shot at getting on the team if we can get to 300 shares sold:

POTENTIAL #6.  GENE DUDEK!  Gene is a pretty trippy guy! I've known him and Wild Bill for an equal amount of time, as they are the co-owners of the website that I post my blog on...www.GulfCoastPoker.net. I've had some pretty memorable experiences with Gene, both at the table and away from the table. He comes off as a guy who says very little. But get a few drinks in him...and OHHHH how the colorful personality come out!!! But where the important thing comes in to play...the poker? He is a bit of a genius. I've had him at my table enough times to recognize his ability to exercise incredible pot control, who has a full comprehension of position in hands...and who can make great laydowns at the most critical times. Don't quote me but I'm pretty sure he won the overall casino championship at a WSOP circuit event at IP a couple or few years ago and punched a ticket in the WSOP National Championship. I remember that during that week he was just on a massive tear like I hadn't seen too many times before. We have similar styles, and that makes me realize that in a long, drawn out structure like the one at the WSOP Main Event? Which JUST this year has increased the starting chip stack from 30k to 50k???!!!! This has GENE DUDEK written all over it! I can't lie...I went back and forth for two weeks on my final two picks on this team...with Gene being right there. If I can't sell the shares to get Gene on this year's squad...he is for sure going to play on our team NEXT summer. But I am hopeful that we can get him on this summer!

Alright! So...there you go! Your long-over-due blog post giving you all the details of our FINALIZED roster of FIVE! With one on deck eagerly awaiting your support to get him on the squad! If you want a piece of this team...in a year the Chinese have deemed THE YEAR OF THE MONKEY...then all you need to do is shoot me an email at ThePokerMonkey1 at AOL. The cost per share is $200. The player/investor split is 35/65. It's a very easy formula for how both get paid out. I've detailed it in past blog posts...and Jenn Gay has laid it out as well. I'm not going to regurgitate all that info here...this post has been long enough already! Just come find me if you are interested...otherwise, just sit back, wait for July to arrive...and watch the magic unfold!!!! Because I have no doubt...this summer is going to be memorable...and Carley is going to get that boat she keeps hounding me for!!!!!


Tuesday, June 7, 2016


Yeah, I know...get OFF me! It's been 8 days since this was determined. Hey! The people who absolutely wanted to know-KNOW! The rest of you curiosity seekers just aren't very good at digging, obviously.

I've been busy. Yesterday, in fact, I was getting an eye exam, my eyes dilated; to see if I am a candidate for Lasik surgery. Had that done? It's very aggravating, as you walk around for 24 hours unable to focus on anything, nor able to go into the bright light. So we'll consider yesterday a lost day.

Hillary, or Killary as I call her (Yes, I have a special group page on Facebook, dedicated solely to ripping Cruela Deville II. It's called KILLARY WEARS PRADA-feel free to request inclusion, it's really quite fun) has apparently clinched the nomination overnight. Over night? This is where I giggle at how stupid, and manipulative our politicians are. Anyone realize that the final primaries just happen to be, ahem, TODAY? With the largest, and perhaps most influential being held in California? And with Bernie Sanders surging in popularity, and the rumors of a big win in the Golden State being talked about as a crippling loss for Killary heading into November, is it really any HUGE mystery as to how this transpired???

Okay. I will spell it out for those of you who are THAT stupid. See, the people with the power to do it, release a statement saying Killary has Klinched. Therefore, they hope (and pray) that a bunch of voters who had intended to vote for Bernie, are deflated, and choose to stay home. What this results in, hopefully for the Wicked Witch of The White House, a victory in California for her...avoiding political embarrassment. It's really not that hard. This whole game...it's so easy to understand, if you just try. (PS: Anyone seen Ted Cruz lately?)

The Gorilla is dead. That all seems to have calmed down. Next hot topic, the swimmer from Stanford. With the delusional father who seems to think his kid, and his future, are more important than the entire life of a girl who his sweet little boy decided to make his fuck doll for the night, hoping no one would notice them behind a dumpster. I mean...when I harken back to my sexual conquests in my younger years...none stand out quite as glamorously as the ones that took place next to a garbage bin. This world...good gawd.

So yeah. We have reached THREE Grinders, AKA Minions in the March to WSOP 2016. And by the end of this week...I will have named the final two...bringing us to 5. The only thing left to do then...is sell out the rest of the shares (currently at 190 of 250 needed to sell) and order all the players' schwag...which I initiated this week. Just need to get all the proper sizing now. Which requires all five players. Funny, how that works, right??


Okay look. I do not usually do this. And I am NOT hard up for money. I promise! But I said, that if I tried this, and it actually worked, then I would mention something about it...and invite people to get into the program under me...which in turn would place them in the 'downstream' of someone I would really like to help out! So...well, its been 4 months now, since I started using products from Le-Vel, with the main one being THRIVE! I'm sure a lot of you have heard about Thrive. The patches are popping up on everyone, lately. So, I will keep it brief. Someone read here (or maybe on Facebook) that I was trying to "get down to my former playing weight" and no, not playing poker! But sports! Which would be 225-230. I somehow...no idea how, really, managed to balloon up to 275 this spring, though I've never really had anyone (except a few haters, but never to my face, of course) call me 'fat' per se. But I know that 275 on a 6'3 frame is not healthy...no matter HOW wide my frame is! So I immediately got started, and a week later, heard from a good friend who was on the program, encouraging me to give it a try. I was told after my first order, that I could become a Promoter, get just two people under me, and never have to pay for my products.


Nope! I refused to do that. Why? Because over the years, I've had a LOT of people approach me about getting into their 'downstream' in an obvious attempt to tap into my network of people. I've tried several of them...without any success at all. I've formed a pretty cynical opinion about most of them. So I told this friend, let me try it for 2 or 3 months first, and see what I think. Well, I've lost 20 lbs so far, and am shooting for 20 more to reach my goal. But in addition to the weight loss...I just feel better. More energy, sharper mentally, sleep better at night, and its caused me to eat a lot healthier...mainly because I am just focused on my diet and well-being. Okay...so I want to make this quick and easy. They have many products. You can go look at them. I take the morning pills, two of them. Then I apply my new daily patch...or DFT (derma-fusion technology) to my chosen area that day. Then half an hour later, I rip open my packet of either vanilla, chocolate or strawberry powdered mix, and either make it with milk...or I whip up a smoothie. I've gotten almost addicted to the morning smoothies. Go to Wal-Mart...and in the frozen section, they sell bags of frozen assorted fruit. Very affordable. Much cheaper than buying actual fresh fruit weekly. In fact, in an article my wife found, frozen fruit is reported to actually be healthier, believe it or not! And that is it! Nothing to do later in the day! The patch works to curb your appetite during the day. You can also drink the mixed drink in the afternoon too, if you want. Whatever your schedule dictates.


Hey! This is all about YOU! No pressure! What's in it for me? Honestly? I do not even know! For real. I guess I will just watch and either say "Hmm..meh!" or "Wow...for real???" Either way? I don't care. The finances are great right now! Knock on wood! I am actually just thinking..."Hmm...mostly poker players read this. I know a lot of FAT and UNHEALTHY poker players. Know what would make me feel pretty good? Helping someone that later comes up and thanks me for the tip! Or? Maybe someone who is struggling financially...and having this serve as a way to open up a solid revenue stream to help them make ends meet. Bottom line? I have used it, I like it, and I think and believe that is IS a legit product. That's it. WARNING: This product is NOT cheap! I spend $200 a month...for a month's worth of morning pills, DFT patches and shake/smoothie mix packets. HOWEVER...once you get just TWO people to join under you? All your products are free! I haven't realized that goal yet! I've paid $200 three times. Because I wanted to trust it before I tried to sell it. 

MOVING ON! And I apologize for that little commercial break...but I've intended to write that for a couple weeks now...and with the summer arriving...the timing is perfect! No one wants to go to the beach looking 'not so hot!'

So yeah...we had a 'gathering' at Lord Puddingworth's Manor last Sunday night. We had a grand total of 11 players. They were:


The structure, I am told, was great. The action started at 7:30 and took about 7 or 8 hours before we had arrived at a winner. Along the way, we had numerous chip leaders. There was a lot of very good play. I served as the Tournament Director, and fortunately only had to make about two or three judgement calls, and none were very difficult. We did have one player call clock! And it was on a hand where there was a 4-bet followed by a 5-bet...turned out to be AA vs KK...and the guy with KK folded preflop. Pretty sick fold. Another pretty sick play was when one player simply called the river bet...with a FULL HOUSE...on a not-so-obvious spot not to raise. I certainly raised my eyebrows at that one! We didn't even lose a player until (I believe) the 4th level. It might even have been Level 5. 

Kai and I had originally planned to make it typical of a poker tourney at Kai's house...with strobe light/dry ice intros, and pies in the face to the people who busted. But right away, you could sense that this was NOT the proper time for those shenanigans.  I mean...these folks were each paying $400 to try and win a $10,000 seat to the biggest tournament on the planet. It kind of called for a little more professional decorum, and we both mutually discovered that pretty early. So we kept it pretty clean. 
Your hosts for the evening affair!

I would love to tell you lots of stories about how crazy and out of hand things got. But they just simply didn't. About the only real excitement for me came when Barth Melius and I decided to play heads up with blinds of $25/$50 and starting stacks of $1250. Barth is a crafty Mo-Fo. I had him three to one twice...only to end up losing. I managed to beat only once in four games...so took it on the chin for $2500. Ugh. 

During the grind...we had chipleads by Kenny 'Trucker' Milam first. Then things shifted over to Scott Weinberg for awhile. Then it was Robert Harwell and Steve Bierman holding big leads. While all this was going on...Laura Langley-Crofton was just kind of hanging out in the weeds. But I wouldn't want that to paint the image of a squeaky tight player waiting on aces or kings. She opened a LOT of pots..as was confirmed for me by several players. She never had a massive stack...but never really got short either. 
Local Fan Favorite, Kenny 'Trucker' Milam

Wayne Solar...also known in the Facebook community as Louisiana Limit King...was also very quietly holding his own. Honestly....it was just a really well-played table. Now, understand, to those readers outside of the Gulf Coast area, you might not have heard of a lot of these players. That's fair. Most of them do most of their grinding locally....either at the Beau Rivage tourneys, or those in New Orleans at Harrah's...with some other things sprinkled in, like Coushatta, Tunica, and some of the dog tracks. I've known practically ALL of these players for quite some time...or at least known about their game and/or results. It wasn't like anyone just wandered in off the street! 

The Silent Assassin, Robert Harwell...with his early massive stack

The deal...was that our winner...so long as we had over 8 players...would clinch a spot on TEAM MONKEY this summer. So once we started with 11...it was on...and very intense! 
Laura Crafton...sizing up and Jedi Mind-tricking the guys out of their chips

Down to three-handed...Robert Harwell took an incredibly brutal beat...when his two pair were counterfeited, and he lost the biggest pot of the tourney to that point, to Steve Bierman. Robert concedes that this was the hand that really undid him. He, of course, took it like a champ, like he always has in the 10+ years that I've played with him. So now we were heads up with Steve and Laura...and I won't lie...I didn't watch much of the action. I know- that sounds horrible huh? But I was too busy trying to dig out of the hole I'd crafted playing heads up vs. Barth. 

Our Champion, and Winner of Kai's...uh...Trophy! Unique, indeed!

The action ended around 3am when Laura beat Steve Bierman to clinch the spot on the team. Congratulations again to Laura. So for the 2nd year in a row, we will have a woman representing us in Vegas. She joins returning 'veteran' Wild Bill Phillips, and Steven Pique, who's wife Jennifer Gay has been doing an incredible job of not just marketing her man...but getting others interested and coming on board as investors! They live in Las Vegas...so she has been adding a bit of a West Coast flavor to the team...which is fantastic! Now...for the final two players...I am currently mulling over the candidates...and spoken to a few of them to pick their brains a little. I feel compelled to come up with a couple players that carry with them some 'Carte Blanche' or name recognition, and with accomplishments that some of the more cynical investors can 'look up on Hendon Mob' and feel confident about investing in. 
Was it the Pinot Noir?? Or just a lack of skill? I'm going to blame the wine!

While my primary objective in starting this project up three years ago, was to give an opportunity to players who wouldn't otherwise get a chance to compete, albeit, players who in my heart and mind I felt actually had a chance to make a deep run...I am also not so naive to think that I am dealing with results-oriented 'buyers' on the investment end of things...and that if I am to get over the top of shares that I need to sell to send five players to Vegas, I might just have to reach into my bag of tricks and pull out what some might deem a 'ringer.' But hey! Don't think there aren't some struggling 'ringers' out there too who aren't anywhere close to being able to come up with $10k for the chance to win $10m! Because there are! Lots of them, in fact!

So...we are heading into the home stretch! 60 more shares to sell, and my work...the main part anyway, is DONE! My wife just booked us (through her work at a nice discount!) for four days/nights at Mandalay Bay...where they have an AWESOME kid-friendly pool...and an aquarium and other neat stuff. It's connected by a sky bridge to Luxor and Excalibur...who also have some really fun things to entertain the kids. So all of us are going out for 4 days...NO POKER for me! But we will have our TEAM DAY on Friday, the day before the event starts! Disbursement of funds, signing of player/investor contracts, handing out of T-shirts, hats and hoodies, taking of the Team Photo in front of the snazzzy WSOP lighted sign...then a trek over to Maggiano's for a Team Dinner. I had so much fun doing that last year...I can't wait for it again. Then, I may or may not hang out until the end of the first 9 days of WSOP play...while playing in some tourneys myself at places like Aria, Venetian and The Wynn. Hopefully I can play the $5k Main at Venetian again this summer. I really wish Squirrel and Carley could stay the whole time...but she just doesn't have that many vacation days from the Beau. Plus we are traveling to Wisconsin for 5 days next week to visit my sister and mom in the new house they moved into last fall. We haven't been up there since 2010...the week after I won/chopped the Main Event at the Beau Rivage. That was a GREAT trip! The first time I ever took the necessary time OFF from poker after a big win...to actually enjoy it!!!

I miss playing big tournaments. I miss the thrill and exhilaration of competing against what is perceived to be the best players in the world. To play against those kind of players...and make final tables? That is what fuels my competitive fires. Squirrel can't quite understand it...especially since we aren't hurting for money anymore. But it's not so much about the money...although a big score is still something that I would relish. It's just the feeling of being at the Final Table. I love it. I crave it. And to win? Which is tough...wow. To just be sitting there, at the end, with ALL the chips? There just really isn't anything like it. I miss that. And I hope I get that chance this summer...at least for a week or so. 

Okay...that's a WRAP! If you are interested in joining the team of investors for this summer's team of Grinders...shoot me an email at ThePokerMonkey1 at AOL. The deal is this: Each share cost $200. When you invest in one, you invest in ALL of them. So any one cashes, you cash. The split is 65/35 in favor of the investor. The 10K buy in is REFUNDED to the investors from whatever winnings there are. So, player wins 35% of total left AFTER the buy in is taken out. The pay out process is as SIMPLE as PI. If we sell 250 shares...and send 5 players...then whatever is won...dollar amount? Is divided by 250. Whatever that number is? Is what EACH SHARE is worth. Doesn't get any less complicated than that! 100% transparency! I take not a nickel for doing this. In fact, my current pledged commitment is for 15 shares...for $3000. If no one cashes? I lose $3000. Plus whatever I come out of pocket for all the schwag!  There is a Facebook Group Page for all investors and players to chime in with whatever they want to share. If you want in on this annual shot at the BIG PRIZE...better hit me up quick...because we are about to put the bow on this year's package!