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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!!!!!

2016 TEAM MONKEY GRINDERS!!!!!

#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!!!!!

MONKEY


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