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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

New Hobbies Never Suck!

Greetings my poker (mostly) friends. It's been quite a year so far. We saw the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history last month...or the greatest choke job, depending upon your point of view and who you root for (or against). We've seen the most controversial president in the history of our nation slog through his first 100 days with a wholly divided nation hinging on every action and every word that comes out of the White House. 




We saw an Academy Awards end with a Steve Harvey-esque conclusion...throwing chaos into an event that was already being watched closely by the Conservatives...as they waited for another Liberal Hollywood personality use their pulpit as a place to preach politics. Chet...the older brother in 'Weird Science' who couldn't cut Wyatt and Gary a break in their pursuit of building the perfect woman (and at that time, Kelly Le Brock WAS the perfect woman) just passed away. We had a lot of famous people die last year...and in fairness, most of them had reached their end naturally. But Bill Paxson...only 61? All these actors and musicians who I grew up with in my childhood, dropping left and right...has put a whole new perspective on my own mortality. 




On February 16th, I hit the half century mark. Ask me twenty years ago if I considered 50 to be old...and I would have enthusiastically replied, "Hell yeah it is!!!" Then you get to 50...and things really change. Little changes in your subconscious...you don't see yourself as being old. Even looking in the mirror, you still see that guy you saw in High School and College. It's not until you go to Dollar General and that little acne-faced teenager addresses you as "Sir" that you even feel a little bit older. Funny thing...when I was younger...much younger, I wasn't one of those asshole kids who made fun of old people. And I think that it was mainly due to my grandfather who passed away when I was about 15. Before he died, we had some of the greatest chats. He taught me so much about life, and about people, and shared so many experiences with me of his amazing life. I took a lot of what he said to heart...and have tried to live the fullest life I possibly can. I've traveled the world. I've dabbled in numerous career fields. I think I can safely say, I left it all out on the field! And whenever I encounter someone I consider elderly...I'm left wondering to myself, "Hmm...I wonder if they are happy with the life they've led? I wonder if they have regrets? Things they wished they'd done? 

We get older...and friends and family members die. The older we get...the more frequent it gets. It gets harder and harder to process. But then....I wonder...do we just get numb to it? Does it become such a regular thing that it doesn't phase us after awhile? Do we just wait for our turn to arrive? And while we are getting older and older...we have these little jerkoffs...they are currently called 'The Millennials' in most circles, who think they know SO much...and have such little regard for anyone outside of their generation. 




They will be replaced by my daughter's generation...no telling what they will be called. And so it goes....on and on and on some more. Ask me when I was 10, "Do you think America is an old country?" And I would have reacted by saying "Oh yeah! Really old! 200 years!!!" But then you live 50 years...and it all seems to go by so fast...and you realize...damn! 50 years is but 25% the age of our nation!  (older now, of course) So no...I think our country is nothing but an infant. Isn't that weird? This...what you have just read? Is what I would call one of my classic sidebars! Now back to my originally intended blog post! 

Shall we talk a little about poker? Especially considering this is a poker blog on a poker website? Sure...why not. I also assume there are a handful of people checking in periodically to see if I am taking on comers for this coming summer's team of grinders...to venture out to the desert in pursuit of millions. Well...I will, indeed be getting that ball in motion soon...very soon. Let me just say...I have about two or three people in mind for this year's team already...if, of course, they are equally interested in being on the team. As for all others? The process...is that I take applications...with (hopefully) an impressive cover letter. And one thing that I would impress upon potential applicants? Have some impressive scores on your resume. Try to keep in mind...its not just ME who is investing. In fact, I am but a mere partial investor. I just happen to be the choreographer of the whole shebang. So, while I may very much be impressed with your skills at the poker table...remember that there will always be 100-125 people who I must convince that this person I have chosen is legitimately qualified to take our $10,000 and make a run deep into the most famous poker tournament on the planet. Because when I select someone? And they fall on their face? Guess who gets second-guessed and criticized? Yup! This guy!!!!

All interested/potential candidates should email me at ThePokerMonkey1@aol.com for consideration.

How have I been running? Well...first I drove over to New Orleans...then drove a little longer. Got lost a couple times...but eventually found my way to Boomtown, who was running a semi-big tourney for the folks from Heartland Poker Tour. It was a good field, and had a good structure. I had only committed to firing one bullet, and wasn't all that excited about it....because their Day 2 would be played on Super Bowl Sunday...and they didn't have any kind of set up to be able to watch the game from the tournament area. It was also situated in a very poor location, smack dab in the middle of the slot area. So it was noisy as hell, and smoky as a mother. I'd been warned about the smoke by others...so picked up some surgical masks on my way over there. 




I made the dinner break...and that was the highlight...because, while the service at Pier 41 was dreadful....just lousy....the food coming out of the kitchen was amazing. I sat at the bar and feasted on a ribeye steak that was incredible. Then I returned to the tourney and busted....don't even know when. But I didn't bag, so what does it matter? The following day...having returned to Biloxi, I posted on my Facebook that I'd been fantasizing about that steak all day and would happily pay someone to bring me the same exact meal I had enjoyed the night before. Well, no sooner did I post that, than Charlie Gelvin messaged me that he'd take me up on my offer. I was like...."Whoa, what?? Really!??? Okay!!!" And about two hours later I was sitting at my kitchen table eating that same meal and drinking one of my better bottles of Pinot Noir! Bliss!!!



Know what I forgot? I forgot that after busting the Main there...I made my way to their poker room...just to see if it was as much of a joke as I'd heard it was. To my surprise...there was a big 1-2 game going. Yes...I said 'A big 1-2 game going.' I know, some of you are snickering! Well...by the time I got into the game...bought up to the biggest stack ($1800) and played for about an hour...there had to be $15-$20k on that table. We had railbirds...probably 10-15 just sweating this game. It was nuts. Completely nuts. Had I caught even a couple of breaks, and had even a few hands hold up as they should have...I would most likely have cruised out of there with about a $3500-$4000 profit. Instead...I lost $2700. So...a nice little -$3800 road trip. Ugh. 

Next up on the poker agenda...was a trip to West Palm...aka Palm Beach Kennel Club. I flew down this time, instead of driving. And for the first time, I became a UBER user...which I was more or less impressed with. The one hiccup being the day I got a Cuban lady who spoke NO English at all and took me on a ridiculous maze-like adventure all over South Florida! If you follow me on Facebook...you might have enjoyed that exciting adventure! Well, I also decided to treat myself...since it was the week of my BIG FIVE OH...and booked myself at PGA National Country Club in Palm Gardens. It was incredible. Maybe not exactly worth what I paid for it...but it was peak season...and they did have the Honda Classic coming in the next week, so it was a very electric environment. While I was there I got a chance to play three rounds of golf and loved every second of it. Before I went down there...I got with a local golf pro to work on some of the holes in my game...mainly with my irons, and seemed to have worked through the major issues. Thank god...because the last thing I wanted to do was embarrass myself in such good 'golf company.' Turns out I played fairly well...well enough at least to convince my playing partners that I knew what I was doing!

The day I flew in, I got to the hotel, checked in, and returned to the Kennel Club to play that day's Omaha 8 or Better tourney. Getting there late was probably a good thing. I got deep...and then ran like crap. I don't remember exactly, but I think I busted about 15 from the money. I was just in time to hop into the 4pm Turbo tourney...and got deep in that one too....but busted 8 from the money in that one. Sigh.......

The next day I played the 6-max at noon...a tourney I've never cashed in my career. I've been close many many times...but never a single cash. Well...that ended, finally. 188 played...and I busted 11th...just missing the final table...but happy to finally have a 6-max cash on my resume. The only downside to that day...was that the 4pm tourney was an 8-max...which seemed to me to be the PERFECT tourney! The ideal amount of leg and elbow room...and not too speedy or geared for super-aggro players. So I didn't get to play that. 

That was the extent of my tourney play that week. I took the rest of the week off to focus on R&R at my resort and playing golf. On Thursday night...I went with Tim Burt to where he was staying, the Hard Rock...and played some cash game. It was my birthday...and it would only stand to reason that I would run like a....well, actually, I didn't really RUN GOOD....I just had all my hands hold up. And got paid off on them. I bought in for $300...and in only about 2 hours...cashed out with $2450. A very nice little session! Earlier that night...Tim and I had dinner in my hotel lobby...and they were having a big benefit raffle. We both bought a good amount of tickets, and I ended up winning the Grand Prize...which was a 3-day/3-night stay at PGA National along with golf for two on the Champions course ($420 value per round!). I don't think I've ever won a raffle in my life before that!  So yeah...my birthday was somewhat memorable!!!


I came home from South Florida...and got together with my best friend...who I've decided to enter into with as partners on a bar and restaurant in St Thomas, Virgin Islands. As we sat eating sushi, I forked over the second LARGE certified check in the last calendar year (the first being for our house!) for a major purchase/investment. I used to own a bar in Atlanta with, ahem...SIX other guys...big mistake, and I said I would never do a bar venture with multiple partners again. That bar was incredibly popular and successful...and I've always kind of missed that business. Well, my friend is the ONLY person I would EVER be partners with in this kind of thing again...and he's done an amazing job securing the location, the lease, and all the other components necessary to get a place like that opened. We look to open the place in about a month. So I will most likely be taking some trips down to St Thomas in the coming year. Hopefully I don't lose my shirt! But I feel good about it overall, and think we will be really successful! 

Finally...last week, I decided to play the Beau's Friday $130 tourney...my first tourney there (not counting the Million Dollar Heater) since I'd had my five-year ban lifted in January. It got a decent turnout of 54 players. The nice thing about playing a little hundred dollar tourney...is that there is very little that can happen that is going to get me irritated. So early in the game...when I was losing to some of the shittiest hands...I just bit my tongue and laughed. To myself, of course. Overall...it was a nice day of poker. And after my hands started holding up...I started building a pretty nice stack. It was only paying 9...and when we went from 34 down to 17 all of a sudden..I started thinking how nice it would be to win my first weekly tourney since I returned. But I've been in those spots so many times...and every time you start thinking you have a pretty good shot to win....something almost always seems to derail your plans! So I just kept waiting for it to happen.

We combined at 10 players...and they all started chirping about taking $15 out of pocket to pay the bubble. Well, I am now...at this stage in my poker career, heavily ANTI chop. And I don't give a crap about the bubble...whether its me, or someone else. I mean...seriously? Is that $150 really going to change your life that much? Luckily, there was another guy at the table who said 'No' so I didn't have to be the lone voice of dissent. Which was nice...I hate being the bad guy if I don't have to be. 

So we played on. Eventually we lost that 10th person. Then we got down to 6...I was still 1st or 2nd in chips. They started up with the chop talk again. I politely declined. They offered me 'a little more' than the others. Again...I told them, "Guys, no offense, I don't like to play all day so I can quit when we get down to 6, or 4, or 3, or 2. Sorry, I like playing final tables. It's not a money thing for me." And that was it. Well...we get four handed...the blinds are 6000/12000 and a very interesting play happens. This guy limps on the button with 9-10 off. The guy in the SB...who was extremely 'squirrely' all day...meaning...mmmm....I don't know how to explain it, very twitchy or something. Made very erratic plays. Well he completed for 12k with what turned out to be A10 off. Well, if I'm in the big blind with something like QJ suited? And they have both limped at THOSE levels? And I have them both covered by a good amount? To me...that's just them telling me..."Hey Monkey...you want this pot of $36,000??? (with antes)" And I'm like..."Of Course I do! I'm all in!" (for about 30 bb's) Well, before the button can act on his hand...the SB acts out of turn and stands up (like he'd been doing often) and declares he calls. In my mind I'm alternating between..."what the fuck?" and "whoops...fucked that one up, I guess" and ...."Sure hope I suck out!!!!" 

Well now the button limper...who actually had plenty of chips to just get out of the way...especially knowing that the SB had already announced his intention. Now...as a logical thinking human...I'm thinking...WOW...this guy just did me the biggest favor ever! Hopefully he can cripple Monkey...then we can finish him off...and do a three-way chop deal! Right? Nope. Not this guy. He stands up...and says..."Well, shit...since this guy isn't going to do a chop deal....I might as well just get it all in, what the hell...." Um...okay then! So we are all three all in...and the flop comes A-Q-7. Well...I got outs! The turn is an 8...giving this guy a straight draw...and killing my Jack as an out...shit. The river...BOOM! I spike a queen! And I take them both out!  Heads up!

Now this other guy starts asking about some kind of deal. I have him about 5 to 1. I repeat my speech....he respects it...and we prepare to play. At this point...his wife...who had been observing for awhile...situates herself right over his left shoulder. And he is showing her every hand.

Okay first of all? I've never seen that happen where the floor doesn't make that person leave. Frankly...I couldn't care less if someone wants their lady friend to sit and watch. In fact, I'm all for it...it certainly makes things more interesting for them! In such a boring game, otherwise. I just was surprised, that's all. 

Secondly? Boys and girls...word to the wise here: If you get heads up with a player that is above average in skill level? And has demonstrated an ability to pick up physical tells from other players over the past decade and a half? It is probably not in your best interest to have someone sitting over your shoulder, who's face is in clear view of your opponent, looking at your hole cards. Because what that does...well, I don't think I need to spell it out for you, right?

Lets just say...it was a nice advantage to have...when I would look at his wife's face after looking at his cards...and know if he had a big hand, or a shit hand. Because if I was on the button, and I was fairly certain he had a shit hand...I would just raise 2.5x and take down the pot.  Hopefully the guy I played against will read this, and not let that happen again. Not that I don't think I would have or could have beaten him anyway....it just might not have been quite so easy. 

He almost had me, actually. It was down to 4 to 1...and when I raised with AJ suited...only to have to call his all in with 99...I flopped two pair only to get turned by a nine and ship him a very large portion of my stack. Then he caught a bunch of good hands to get me down to where he had me now about 5 to 1. But I turned it around...and got super aggressive against him. Finally, I raised with A6 suited...and called his all in...with KQ. I caught a dream flop....a 6-5-4 flop with two spades. Nice. I held...and it was over. I don't usually ask for a 'Victory Shot' in a tourney like that (daily) but given the circumstances, I felt it was both necessary, and appropriate. It felt good to win again. Anything...but especially to win at the Beau Rivage. It had been a long time....on the outside looking in. It was a win for $1570...no big deal. It was a great feeling to just sit there...with all the chips. Its one of the very rare feelings in poker that still get me excited. Right up there with making that hero call...when you are counting on your reads to be right...and they are! 


I left a generous tip...and went to meet the girls who were already at Chili's. Carley gave me a card protector for my birthday, that has her picture on both sides of it. The first thing she asked me: "Daddy! Did you use your coin today for poker!???" I love it. "I sure did! Don't you know that's why Daddy won!!!???" 



That's the last poker I've played...last week. I don't have anything else planned right now. Me and Squirrel are taking a little 4 day/night trip to Punta Cana next week...her birthday gift to me. Carley is staying home with her Mimi...its an all-inclusive, adults-only resort...so it should be a nice weekend. Not something we get to do very often. She's been on a rampage lately in the gym and with her diet...trying to get down to her 'playing weight' for this summer! The Elliptical I bought her about 3 years ago...that she largely ignored and used for a place to stash the extra pillows from the bed...has finally been getting a great workout this month! After that? Well...as you know...I run sports pools...and here comes March Madness! I don't really follow or care that much about hoops...but March Madness is always pretty exciting. So that will keep me busy through April I guess. After that? Not sure! Guess we'll have to wait and see!!!! 

MONKEY

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Happy New Year...Back in the Beau.

Well, here it is January 22nd, Sunday. Later today...4 of the best QB's in the NFL today take the field in the NFC and AFC Championship games. Sadly...my Seahawks will not be there for the 2nd year in a row after a run of consecutive Super Bowl appearances. Even sadder, was last Monday night...watching Alabama control Clemson most of the night only to get 'Vince Young'd' at the end and having their 17th National Title snared away from them by the hungry Tigers. Our home was in mourning for a few days. (yeah so...I finished this post a little bit later. We now know our two Super Bowl opponents are New England and Atlanta. Should be good)

This weekend, we celebrated...well, half of America did anyway, the Inauguration of our 45th; and easily the most polarizing and controversial, President of the United States...The Donald. The Trumpster. Or all the names the liberal folks decided to label him. It went smoothly, no terrorist attacks. Madonna didn't blow up the White House, despite threats to do so. There was bickering about crowd sizes, about the talent level of the concert performers...and of course, what event in the new USA wouldn't be complete without some good 'ol fashioned rioting and looting!!! Even more ironic was watching these collective group of asshole Millennial's as they threw a garbage can through the window of their iconic gathering place...Starbuck's. If that didn't make you laugh...well, that's just impossible! Then Saturday...we had a march...a march that was originally planned to be a 'I'm With Her' victory march for Hillary Clinton...as she was completely expected by everyone to be taking the oath this weekend. But just like all that money that was spend on fireworks that were never used, the champagne on ice that was never popped...this parade turned out to NOT be a victory celebration, but instead, a part to protest Trump's being elected. Oh sure...some tried to put a pretty shine on it, saying it was just 'an expression by woman to voice their concerns about their human rights' etc etc etc? It just came up sounding lame...especially when women who voted for Trump were kept OUT of the proceedings, as if they don't have the same needs and concerns as women who voted for Clinton. This was simply another reason to scream, yell and stomp their feet in anger and frustration that their party wasnt good enough, or their candidate strong enough...to beat what was easily the biggest joker the GOP has ever put up on the ticket! Sorry...but knowing what I know now about liberals? That just cracks me up even further!!!!

So the event, the Million Dollar Heater, has just concluded at the Beau Rivage. I had mixed results in my week there. In the first multi-day, multi-flight event...I somehow, miraculously managed to play just ONE bullet...and bag a good amount of chips. After a day off I came back for Day 2. I didn't play very long...it's been over a week so I've forgotten what occurred...but I lost early, finished somewhere around 200th place...for an eerie amount of prize money, $666 in my first tourney back to the Beau after five years.

The next event I played was the Omaha 8 or Better. I started pretty bad...but once I gathered momentum...I pretty much cruised to the Final Table. I came into the final table with the chiplead...but then it ended up being ONE OF THOSE final tables....all good hands went up in smoke. If I flopped a great hand with outs to get better...I'd miss all those outs...while they would hit some crazy miracle card. Or if I was behind but only needed 17-23 outs...I seemed to miss them...every time. And at those blind levels...that can't happen very often before you are out of chips. I ended up busting a disappointing 6th place for $1500. But hey...at least I was 2 for 2 so far.

The week would just go downhill from there. I played deep in the Monster...only to bust on Day 2 in...if I recall...45th? Something like 9 from the money if I recall? Then basically the same thing happened in the Mini-Monster. Can't remember how many it was paying...or where I went out...but it was within 10. Another bag up for Day 2, only to come back and bust. I had a run with AA over Friday and Saturday where I went 0 for 6 at one point....and finished that run 10 for 12...that's LOSING with aces, 10 out of 12 times that I had them. It was pretty sickening. I kept losing...of all hands, to KQ.

Then, after bubbling (or close to it) in the Little Monster, I directly bought into the Main, Flight A. What a freaking train wreck. I've tried to put it out of my memory. But I do know I lost with AA not once, not twice, but three times! I also flopped a straight and lost. Turned a flush and lost. Flopped a set and lost to a bigger set. Honestly...I have no idea how I made it to Level 5...but I did. I finally busted before the 2nd break...when in a blind vs blind situation, I moved in for 8k vs.Houston Carter...who literally puts an entire table on life-tilt in about 10 minutes no matter where he goes. Asks if I want a loose call...which pretty much ANY call he makes for more than 2.5x the blinds IS anyway. "Sure...give me a loose call....I need a double up." So he calls...with Q4. I flop a King...feeling pretty good...pretty safe. He turns a four...and rivers a four....and I just have to laugh.

I go play the 3pm $355 Mega Satellite. It would eventually end up paying 5 seats..with the 6th person getting $970. Care to predict where I finished? I'll just tell you. I finished 7th! I went from feeling relatively comfortable with my stack...to losing to a shortstack...me with ACES (again!) and them with 66. I blind down a few orbits...and am now in desperation mode...with 7 people left. This guy raises three hands in a row...and I look down at 55. I have to take a stand. Dammit. I shove all in vs. his raise. He tells me "You're going to be SO mad at me....I have to call." Oh. Just aces? That's it. How wonderful. I don't improve. Bubble boy!!!!

Bubble Boy decided to go play some cash game...and that did not go well either. I did, however enjoy my comped meal. That might as well have been the highlight...as I think I dropped about $800 in there that night. I like the new location of the poker room. More spacious, and a cool feeling to it with the brick walls and stuff. On the weekends, yes it's a little loud, with Coast being right next door...but oh well...bring your headphones if you don't like noise.

SO I show up the next morning ready to have a good run. Allen Kessler again ducks my Last Longer offer...which had kind of been blowing up all over Facebook. After he made some slapdick comment on his Facebook page, trying to sell pieces of himself for the BR Main...he mused about how 'soft' the field would be at the Beau. So I took exception with his claim...and took it up another notch by offering to play him for a $5000 last longer. But of course, Allen being Allen, he decides to make it all about math and a bunch of other factors that basically just added up to him being too scared to take me up on it. Once I busted on Day 1A...which he also played...he inaccurately ripped me on his wall..saying I had burned two bullets already...I guess when he saw me bust out of the Little Monster he assumed that was the Main. Then he tells his wall buddies I busted at 100/200...again, not true...close...but not true. It was 150-300! And he ends up busting not too long after me...so I had the thrill of having 'ComplainSaw' seated right over my left shoulder on Saturday for Flight B.

He would end up back at my table for the last level of the night...and I watched him go broke with his 55 vs 10-10 when he figured he might be good on a rag-infested board and a straight and flush draw. Other guy had the 10 of diamonds to counter his 10 of diamonds. And no cards came to help him make a straight, or a set...and Allen was busto. I'm not sure who's happier that he didn't take a last-longer bet with me...him or me! I know if I had won...he would have attempted to pay me with a plethora of free play and comps and other shit I had/have no use for!!!! That would have been sheer hell!!!

SO I end up bagging 143k that night. I came back with 58 players....paying 18. The day started pretty smooth. I won exactly ONE hand in the first level...K10...that I got to see in the big blind....betting top pair, getting called...then going runner runner 10-K and getting no more action. Bummer. Then I sat there card dead as a mofo, and not getting into any good spots where I could raise to steal some rounds of blinds. But we were also losing players pretty rapidly...as you always seem to do in those tourneys. When we got to about 30 players I finally started getting some hands. I picked up JJ...and after raising 2.5x...I get shoved on by TK Miles...with a semi-short stack...holding 66. It was a tough tough spot. But after having played with TK for years...I knew...that HE knew...that I was the one person he could most likely get to fold a hand that strong to his shove. I hated calling...but I did..and was thrilled to see an underpair...which didn't manage to hit a two-outer on me. Now I had some breathing room, finally.

I picked up another few pots and was now over 200k and really liking my chances...despite the field being incredibly stacked with talent. Frankly, I have always preferred to play against better players in big tourneys.

That is when the shit hit the fan. Tara Snow was sitting on about 15 big blinds. I will assume since she has never played against me...and doesn't know that I don't screw around on the button by raising with shitty cards...that she thought when she called my raise (and me holding KK) with her KJ that she was golden when the flop came J-8-4 rainbow. So she check raises me all in. I call of course...and when the dealer was kind enough to deliver a jack on the turn...she felt like a genius, I felt oh great...here we go again...and instead of being up to close to 400k...I was back down to 145k. Then our table breaks. We go to a table where she is seated next to a guy I've never liked. Aaron Massey. Why don't I like him? No special reason. I just find him annoying. He's short, and I never seem to click with most short men. And the way he acts in mid-hand is extremely irritating. Ive watched him play a lot, too...so nothing he does ever comes as a surprise. So of course...the festivities get started with me raising under the gun with AQ suited. I get a ridiculous 4 calls....from the table full of call stations...then it comes to him and he goes into his 'terrified ferret' act. The look at the cards. The shuffling in the seat. The eyes growing larger...the breathing unsettled...chest bowing up...eyes darting all over the table...oh for fucks sake, DeNiro...DO SOMETHING!!!!

He does...he re-raises the shit out of it. Well, I've seen this little act from this little shithead too many times to even WANT to give him credit for a hand. And since I have about 235k and he has only 105k...I think I can blow up his big plan by just moving all in on his ass. Which is what I do. The other four fold, of course...as I expect him to do. Only he doesnt. Nope. He snap calls and arrogantly turns over two kings. Hmmm...isn't that marvelous. The dealer and eye look into each others eyes...him being the guy who just gave the gal a two-outer jack on the other table to beat my hand not too long ago. I say to him...."throw me ace here and all is forgotten sir!" Naw. Why would he want to do THAT? Instead...the flop comes K-J-J! Oh...okay. How nice. Here you go, troll...take 105k off my stack.

Then I sit there, seething a little bit, and I hear him chit-chatting with Tara some more...and I'm not certain about what hes saying...but its annoying me, whatever it is. About this time...once again under the gun...and now down to about 28 players (paying 18....good for $4500'ish, with $150k going to 1st) I pick up AJ suited...and raise from 800/1600 to 5200. Again, I get two callers. And Tara is one of them.. Well? I have KJ smashed preflop!!! Then here comes the 'Terrified Ferret' again. Oh lord. Goes through the whole act again. And raises a bunch, again. I'm so tempted to shove. But decide I can wait for a better spot. I fold. Everyone folds. I hear the two of them talking...she says she almost re-raised...which he responds to by saying if she had re-raised, he would have folded. Huh? So your telling me I should have folded when I shoved...and I should have shoved when I folded? Yep...about what it felt and sounded like. SHIT!

So I go another couple orbits without anything to play. Then...finally...and once again under the gun...I get pocket jacks. And I'm not down to about 22 big blinds. I raise. I get two callers. And this time, SHE does the Massey-like re-raise...and after sitting and watching the two of them chat for the past hour...all I can think, is that she is basically getting tutored by the little troll..and he has taught her that move. So, that probably has as much to do with my move to ship back over the top as anything. That and I was just sick of getting pushed around by that end of the table. Maybe I could have folded there. I don't know. But this time? Of course...she has AA. Of course she does. And unlike her...I don't get any help from the dealer by handing me a jack or two. How nice that would have been.

I was out. 25th. 7 from the money. I was feeling pretty bummed out. Thought about jumping into the last event...that 200 plus a bunch of juice tourney...but I knew in my head that I wouldn't be bringing anything resembling my 'A' game...so I just kept on walking out the door, and went home. I wanted to get as far away from that tourney as I could. As fate would have it...she would end up winning the whole tourney...and $150,000. I dont know if they made any kind of chop deal or not. She got heads up with Kyle Cartwright...and exceptional player who everyone expected would win....but the cards just really, really, REALLY went her way for the whole session. Seems it was her 'one time' to run good in a big tourney. I had a few pretty well known, good players tell me they had encountered her recently up at Pearl River...and that she was known for playing KJ really hard. Makes sense. I will assume it's her favorite hand.  Well...good for her. She does live in Tuscaloosa, so I can only assume she is an Alabama fan...so after our loss in the National Title game...I'm sure that money and that win helped ease her suffering as a Bama fan...as it would have mine!!!

But for me? Just another two-day deep run gone up in smoke. But...if you know anything about poker...you know that this is just how cruel the game can be to you. A lot! In fact...most of the time!!! So, now? Now that I don't play with the pressure of HAVING to win...or some bills might not get paid? It's mostly just the losing that irks me. Which I guess is a nice place to be, mentally, when playing the game. During the week I was able to have some fun, have some nice conversations with some people I actually missed seeing in poker. Also saw some very funny things. I wish I could have shared some photos, but I think we all know the history with me and posting pictures of people on my blog! One of my favorites of the week, though...had to be the guy who we ALL know...I mean...can I just say: If you are known to a large group of people? And you decide to go out and buy a toupee? Is that REALLY the group of people you want to try it out on!??? This guy walked by my table in the first weekend, during a sit n go...and I was look and am like...."isn't that...wait...whoa...what the...." and had a guy next to me finish the sentence for me, "yeah man....that's what you think it is! No idea who he thinks he's foolin!" I'll tell you what...if you are looking to be a huge millionaire? Come up with a toupee that isn't so painfully obvious that it's a...well...toupee! 

It's now Wednesday...and we are minutes away from leaving for...ugh...Orlando. Last year...we went to Disney the week before the Super Bowl...and apparently, my wife thought it was so wonderful, she decided she wanted me to take everyone back again. Only this time...we've flown my brother down from Seattle to join us. Jimmy. My special needs brother who basically sees through me and only sees my wife...or 'Seester' to him. Who he has an obvious crush on. So while his being handicapped status should move us up to the front of most lines...he will turn our journey through the theme parks into a crawl...as he putters around at a clip of about half a mile and hour. Its painful. But don't feel bad for me. I got all my pain pill prescriptions renewed, and refilled...AND...rented a motorized scooter for down there. Isn't there some kind of universal name for those things? Hover-round? Land Yacht? Is it motorized scooter? I assume you all know what I'm referring to. Anyway...because I'm sensitive about people looking at me with the stink eye when they see what on the outside looks like a perfectly healthy man...even though they have no idea what lurks beneath the skin with my two bad knees or my shot-to-hell lower back and the three bulging discs and two arthritic vertebrae, I feel compelled to slap a knee brace on my leg just to give them a sign that I've earned the right to pay $176 to rent this bitch for 4 days!!!! Hey...whatever it takes to cut down on the hate!!!! I can promise I will be feeling a LOT BETTER when I get home THIS year...than I did LAST YEAR!!!!

As for poker? I really entertained going up to Choctaw to play that Main Event. But I was too burnt out and tired from the event at the Beau...and didn't even bother with it. I know they have a pretty juicy (it would appear) coming up at Boomtown in New Orleans this coming weekend...but alas, since I will be in Orlando going heads-up with Mickey and his crew of Extortionists...I will have to miss that one too. Next on my possible hit list...despite the fact my mother would like me to come visit her and my sister in tropical Milwaukee for that WSOP event at a casino I can't pronounce....is West Palm Beach WSOP. I might have to package that request to my wife as it being my 50th birthday gift to myself. Hanging out with my boys and playing a little poker while betting on the doggies like a real old fucker! Picture it! So yeah...that is what I will be angling for! West Palm in the middle of February. This Monkey officially becomes an OMRG and eligible for OMRG events on February 16th. Beleeee-dat! It's freaking me out...I can't lie.

Okay...gotta pack, before this woman has an aneurysm. 

MONKEY