Thursday, July 27, 2017

Post Vegas Blues....

Losing sucks. It really sucks. In fact...nothing really compares in this life, not for a person who is competitive, at least. You compete, you want to win. Period. Anything less than winning....blows. And that, my friends who read this poker blog, is why it is SO hard being a poker player, either professionally OR recreationally. 

Sitting in my living room watching four or five of the biggest buffoons as they posed and slapped high-fives with their future stake-mooching buddies on their way to winning millions was especially aggravating. Watching the guy from France (Salas) or Argentina or wherever the fuck he's from as he took 15-20 seconds every hand to ponder what to do with hands like Q3, 5-9 and J4 against raises (even re-raises and all ins) had most of the logical-thinking poker world ready to wish for the overhead (and extremely heavy) display monitors to break free from their supports and land directly on that tanking fucker's head.

But wasn't it a joyous moment...when Scotty Blumfat hit that magical three outer deuce on the river against the tightest, and possibly worst heads up player in the history of WSOP final table poker (had that two not hit, and the chip stacks drawn almost dead even...does ANYONE not think the Lady's Man from Meth-avania wouldn't have won the thing?) and ran back to where his throng of supporters was gathered...leaped into their adoring arms...and displayed that mouth-watering, hair-dominated back and ensuing gut shot as the camera swung around to treat us to a better view of the new World Champion!!!??? I don't know about you'all...but it's the image that was frozen in MY mind...as I attempted to get to sleep that night.

But I digress.

Losing. Yeah. Wow, how it sucks.

Even worse...watching those you KNOW you are better than, WIN. And win big. These kind of moments don't happen in REAL sports. You know...sports that require actual athletic ability? Only poker. And I insist this is the reason for so much rampant drug, alcohol and prescription pill abuse in the game of poker. Nobody can really wrap their minds around the shit they experience at the tables...and so they turn to the bottle for answers. Makes pretty good sense, right? I can only imagine how some of the AA meetings go...or NA for that matter. Someone trying to explain their story to a poker player....then its the poker player's turn....nobody can relate. Nobody. Certainly not some asshole who's an addict because his job, or wife, or kids stress him out. Buddy...try walking a mile in OUR shoes as a poker player...then you can come back to this meeting. But for now? Quit being an asshole!!!!! 

So I decided to let our WSOP investors in on a package, a package that included myself and one of our Grinders from the team, Christian Iacobellis. He made it out of Day 1 with 38k. Me? Not so lucky. I busted with about half an hour left in the night. I was pretty pissed. But it was made a little better when I ventured over to my honey hole on this trip to Vegas....the Wynn/Encore Omaha game. The first night I played the game...I hit it hard (+4550). This trip wasn't a whole lot different. I cashed out with a $3800 profit in about 6 hours. During that time...I decided I would put another bullet up for sale. Why? Easy!

This guy named Ryan LePlante...as was explained to me by long time friend and current Venetian Tournament Coordinator Thomas Larosa, came up with a very interesting and experimental structure for this event. They had (I forgot now) either 3 or 4 levels that just repeated themselves. Why? Simple. To extend the structures out so that if you decided to rebuy...your 25k stack wouldn't be at a huge disadvantage. Simply put...the last level of Day 1 was 300-600 with a 75 ante. The first level of Day 2? Same! So as I busted at 300-600...I re-entered with 25k chips (41 bbs) and the same blind level. 

A lot of tournaments have presented opportunities to buy in on Day 2...but you are almost always coming back in with 10-15BB's...which basically means you get to play 2, maximum three hands, needing to win one pretty quickly...or you're toast! Which makes it a bit of a crapshoot...and very difficult to get any sane investors to want to partake in. Frankly...I would never subject my investors to that kind of a rebuy scenario. If I were to rebuy into a 10-15BB deal like that...it would be with my own money. If I busted their first bullet...and went on to cash deep on my own second bullet...I would most likely throw them a bone as a gesture to basically make myself feel better about losing their money on the first go-around!!!
Javier Gomez...the eventual winner of the entire event.

So yeah...I sold out the 50 shares in about an hour....got about 5-6 good hours of sleep and came back with a full resolve to make a nice run. Side note: The eventual winner? Javier Gomez? He was at my Day 1a table most of the day...and made some of the most unusual plays. After about two levels I was investigating who he was...noticing he had some big scores to his credit. He was from Spain...and once I finally engaged him in conversation, discovered he was a pretty nice fella. Well...I almost busted him with 10-10 vs A-7...only to see him river an ace. But then he DID finally bust...in about Level 4. So how did he win? Duh....he rebought. Ran his 25k up to 38k...bagged the same as Christian. Then won the damn thing for $655k or whatever first was.

Anyway: I hadn't seen pocket AA since my friggin plane landed. Probably 500 hands of tournament poker without seeing them. I also hadn't seen KK, QQ or JJ until the day before, when I saw each of them twice. But still no AA. Well...here we are in the first level of the day (300-600) and there are two limps...and this guy who turned out to be a complete lunatic (as evidenced later by NUMEROUS heads up battles with Barry Hutter) raises it to 2200 in late position. I look down at....TADA!!!! Aces on the button!!! Wow! What a great way to start my Day 2!!! What are the chances I can double up here? Wouldn't that be marvelous to double up and have nearly the average!????

Fuck that. None of that happened. What do you suppose a good raise would be there? I mean there is now about 4300 plus antes (750) in the pot....5050? I would think that a raise of 6300 should be sufficient to at least shake the limpers off the limp...unless one of them limped with AK, KK or QQ...in which case it could get VERY interesting!!! Well I make it 6300. Those two fold. And this guy starts eye-balling my stack. Him...he started the hand with around 22.5. He calls. The flop comes 7-9-3 rainbow. I feel like I'm in pretty good shape. He leads for 6000 and I immediately think he's betting into me thinking I have AK and I will sheepishly fold. I min-raise him to 12000 thinking that should send the message I don't have AK like he thought. Wait what? He's all in? Kind of hard to fold now. I call. Ohhhhh...he has pocket sevens? That's it? How fucking convenient is THAT? Kill me! Dealer? Maybe you could peel me off an ace here? No? Okay thanks. SHIT!!!! And just like that...three hands in, and I'm sitting on 2200....or uh....yeah! 3.5 BB's. 

Very next hand? I get AKcc. Well...that doesn't suck. Guy raises. Two others call. I ship. They all call. Flop A-10-7. That's gotta be pretty good, yeah? Turn a jack...guy bets the farm. Oh shit!!! KQ???? They all fold. OH! Nice. He only has a set of fucking jacks. Arnold Spee...a longtime poker friend from California, looks at me with his little half smirk and says "Well, all you need is a Queen" and just like that...queen on the river. 

Whoa! I quadruple up. Later...much later in fact....like 50 from the money to be exact (125th paying 72 in a field of 688) Arnold woke up with AK when I was forced to move all in with my Q10...sitting on 8 BBs and having been card dead as fuck for 7 or 8 orbits. He busted me...and was incredibly apologetic about it.  (side note) He would come back the next day and take a horrible beat himself and bust 20 from the money. Ugh. Well...in retrospect..instead of running that 2200 up to a peak of 45k...with a real shot at cashing? I almost wish I hadn't hit that Q on the river. On the other hand...it would have really left a stale taste in the mouths of the people who ponied up another chunk of money on my 2nd bullet if I had been busted mere minutes after buying in. At least this way...via all my Facebook updates, they got to witness me scratch, claw, kick, scream and eye-gouge my way into contention...before taking the quick knockout punch to my spleen in the last level of the night.

Well that sealed my fate in Vegas...as I promised my wife and Carley that as soon as I busted...I would find a flight and get my ass back home. I walked to my hotel room...opened up my computer...and much to my shock, found a 1st class one-way fare home the next day at noon (on Delta)...for only $450! The coach fare for the same flight was $380!!!! I would love to meet the person who would have chosen that coach fare over the 1st class one.  Sent her a screen shot of that info...and headed for Wynn...I mean...the Honey Hole...to try to go out a winner in the cash game, at least. 

Game was full. Sat in 2/5...and for the 3rd time playing 2/5 there...cashed out a winning session....$515 in about an hour and a half. Before I sat down at the 1/2 PLO game...one of the floor supervisors pulled me aside and essentially jinxed me I think, "Monkey...I gotta ask you...you must just lick your lips when you come in here and sit at the Omaha games!?? I've been watching you destroy this game all week!"  ME: "Well...I don't want to sound over confident...but yeah, I kind of do! Where I live...the Omaha players are...well..they're good. I won't even say 'better' because these people here are simply awful. But no...I don't even bother playing back home in Biloxi because those guys? I have zero edge against them. In fact, I can probably name 10 guys at least who are WAY better than me in Omaha. But here? At the Wynn? Hahahahah...its like Thanksgiving for an Ethiopian every night!!!!

Well...ever have a conversation like that and immediately get that crappy, sinking feeling in your gut? I just knew something didn't feel right. But that feeling was alleviated somewhat when I won my first few hands...and quickly turned my $500 buy-in into a stack of 1700+. At that point, I was merely thinking, "Yay! Here we go again!!!" Right about that time...the table went to shit. Sitting on the other side of the table...were all the super lousy players, and on my side...the not-quite-as-lousy players. The next four hours were a roller coaster. When guys are getting it in with anything? Your quality/superior hands are very vulnerable. When guys who like to pot everything preflop? It limits the hands you can see after the flop. Sure...you might call that initial pot. But if you are between 8-17 outs from a made hand on the flop...and keep calling pot bets of 500 or more? You are going to lose a LOT of hands, and a LOT of money. So folding in those spots and bricking out was comforting....but hitting the hand after folding was a cause to scream.

All Omaha players have been on these kind of tables. Up, down...Up, down...all I wanted to do...was hit a massive pot, as I was beginning to get tired...and get out of there with a nice fat bulge in my front pocket (hold the comments!!!) and a good final taste in my mouth. 

Somewhere around 3am...this...oh gawd, I don't even know what to call this guy? He sat there in the 5 seat folding all night. Literally played maybe one hand every three orbits. He was big, out of shape (okay a fat turd), a big shaggy beard, and was playing fucking World of Warcraft. I truly didn't comprehend his existence in the game. Well I was sober as a judge...and really only talking to the guy on my right, so when I caught him making snide comments about me and my level of intellect, I stopped him in his tracks. One of the incidents was me trying to understand what my English friend on my right was saying about the cocktail waitress. It wasn't that I didn't get WHAT he was saying...it was his accent...and the quickness with which he spoke...I didn't know WHAT he said. So when I said "Huh" a couple times, this fat turd blurts out "next level thinking is wasted on this guy!" I was ready to knock him out of his chair. But I did nothing. I was more shocked than anything.

IF you look closely, you can see this guy NERDIN' It UP on his phone!

 But then...and I don't even know what motivated THIS comment...I hear him saying (with his head turned from me) to the other side of the table something about me being illiterate. That's when I lost my shit. I went off on the guy. And the three floor people...who I had built up a nice relationship with during the week quickly came to the table and asked what had happened. I calmly explained my version to them...the dealer nodded in agreement, and they took fatty from the table to talk to him about 20 feet from the table. I could overhear him spinning some total BS story...which only made me want to sabotage his seat with rusty nails for his return...but I knew the floor people weren't buying his tale. And when he returned, I just completely ignored him the rest of the night...but oh MAN...every time that shitball raised (which wasn't very often, and you ALWAYS knew where he was in the hand!) I was in there trying to bust his ass. I finally did bust his ass too, with some total garbage hand against...duh....his AA xx hand. He pitched a little bitch fit then bought back in for (hee hee) another 150! 

The night dragged on. I continued to win some, lose some. It was approaching 5am. Something had to give. So here comes this tattoo-covered guy from the UK...a very pleasant guy actually. But he was ACTION JACKSON...raising every hand. And it got old pretty quick. Especially when I was calling and missing every damn time. So I'm sitting at about 2500. The other guy on the "other side of the table" has about 3500...and after watching him play bad and run worse for the other three nights I'd played there...he was running uncharacteristically good that night. So....here we go...the hand that could have sent me out on Cloud Nine! Mr. 3500 raises to 25. Mr. UK Tatt-Axtion raises pot to 115. I look at Q388 double suited. I know. Garbage. But every time I folded garbage..it hit. And I was sick of folding. Fuck it. I call the 115. Well now the other guy? Pots it AGAIN! Oh and by the way? He has a worse hand than I do! I believe he made it 600. UK guy only has 450. He calls. I call. Nice pot. 

FLOP? OH I just flop a flush...with top pair! Yeah...Q-2-4...all diamonds. The UK guy is standing up. I mouth to him..."Do you have any diamonds?"  Him: "No! Shit do you have a flush?"  Me: "Yep!" I bet 400 on the flop...into the side pot. And donkey boy goes all in...with two pair....Q-4. Of course I call. Can I just tell you how many outs he had to win that pot of 5500? You might already know. He had ONE FUCKING OUT! The last Queen in the deck! Turn? QUEEN. And he flips out. I'm drawing to an 8 on the river to win with a bigger full house. Nope. I lose it all. Granted...it only amounted to a total session loss of $500. But.....BUT....I was ONE MOTHERFUCKING OUT away from leaving with a profit of $6000!!!!!! I calmly rose from my seat...picked up my bag...thanked the floor people for their hospitality all week...and bid them adieu. I returned to my hotel room, packed, and fell asleep for three hours before getting to the airport on time with plenty to spare for my flight home. ZERO incidents on the way home. 

Oh...but there were a couple of interesting sites to be seen. My favorite...and I wish I had gotten more video on this guy...was the gate agent who was obviously auditioning to be a game show host and just waiting to be discovered. I was wondering how long he must have been doing this job...because he REALLY loves/loved what he is doing! He's either really new...or he's on something. No one has that much damn glee!

Then there was this couple. You know the type...if you get out much, anyway. They think for some damn reason, that they are the most interesting and fabulous married couple on the planet. Everything they talk about, EVERYONE wants to hear. They even threw us all a little wrinkle by coming up with one of those playful little lover's quarrels. Ugh. I was ready to kick both of them in the face...as I assumed the 20 or 30 people within earshot of them were, as well. My two hour layover in ATL meant I had to endure these two fucktards for an uncomfortable amount of time. 

Some other fun things to report on from Vegas. At about midnight...while playing cash at the Encore my last night...a disturbance from the craps area caught our attention...followed by the screams of "STOP HIM!!!" and five or six purple-coated (some in terrible shape) security people chasing after a very speedy African American gentleman who (I later found out) had made the clever move of walking by a craps table, grabbing $150 worth of chips (big balla!) and making a run for the exit. Fortunately for the much-slower pursuers, they had radios and friends up ahead at the exits. Things didn't end well for not-so-speedy Gonzales.

On the Fashion Side of things...the poker landscape has really started incorporating some interesting characters. And lets be honest...in a world awash in what appear to be drones who rolled off a "Poker Player Standard Look" assembly line? You know...hoodies, jeans that need to be washed, straight-billed ball cap with stickers still on them, toting back packs, blah blah blah....you know the look. It was almost a nice break from the monotony to see some of these guys who were more than happy to pose for a photo for me. One guy, frankly? He looked like Jesus. I took to calling him Jesus...as he was seated at a table behind me on both Day 1 and Day 2 of the Main. He seemed like a very kind-spirited guy. He also busted before I did, both days. So I guess he can walk on water, but can't run like God! Bu dum bummmmm!

Another guy...at my table on Day 2...came looking like I hear Kai Landry is going to dress up as during the Gulf Coast Poker Championship coming up here next month at the Beau. The saggy, but oh-so-soft pants...resplendently decked out with kitty cats (he claimed to have a pair just like them but with dogs)...man bun on the head...full-on beard...and what appeared to be a cashmere shawl. Also a very nice guy. I assume he lives in California and gives out lots of hugs. He was also a fairly capable player.  I am anxious to see what Kai might have in store for us this coming month...and he has suggested I go with a 'trendy' look myself. I'm contemplating it. You know...for shits and giggles. (think: Romper for Males) Gotta keep the people laughing!

So I got home just in time to play the 25k Guarantee at the Beau....$245 buy in. My first irritation is sitting down at a 10-handed table...after playing 9-handed all week. (yesterday I noticed famed tourney TD Matt Savage posted a question on Facebook: Would you rather play 10-handed, 9-handed, or 8-handed? The responses were epic, and of course I contributed my thoughts on the subject!) My second irritation was that I was in the 10-seat...a seat that I loathe like no other...and on my right was a heavy set gal who had NO interest in moving over. But at least she talked non-stop in every hand. She had me on life tilt in minutes. So of course when I was in the BB with 10-2...and a limped pot (5-way) produced a flop of 10-2-5 rainbow...all my chips ended up going in against her...her holding 10-5 (nice!) and just like that? I had a $245 table change! I bought in again. I busted almost as fast. Don't even remember how. I bought in a THIRD time...and this time it went a little better. Well...for a while anyway.

Then Donkey Fuck Luck took over. When I limped for 200 with K10 suited...got four callers...and the old guy in the BB makes it 400 (always a comical play) I was fairly certain he had AA...of course I'm going to call and know all the rest are too. Because this guy's thinking is that AA is automatic...and he is never folding no matter what! This was very obvious when the flop came K-10-Q...and he led out for 3000. Oh yeah...he's not folding. I raise it to 9000. The others fold. He makes that kind of unsettling grunting noise that all OMRG's make...right before he shoves the rest of his stack in. Yup. Aces. River? No problem. JACK! Hey it's all good...I didn't want to be sitting on 55k at the break! Instead it was 33k. Rebuy period over. 

It did nothing but get worse. Bluffs called by guys with top pair and shitty kicker. Good hands, shitty flops. Good hands vs better hands. Rivered another time. One casual observation I was able to make. No, TWO! First, I sat in Vegas all week, playing in an $1100 tourney...then a $5000 tourney...with some of the game's best players. I counted 9 out of 9 players who were either actively on a cell phone, or an iPad...and the dealers not ONCE said a word about it...unless they were slowing down the game. Which was infrequent. At the time, I was thinking to myself..."Wow, how refreshing! They are treating us like adults!" Well...now I'm in a $245 tourney...and suddenly, any interaction whatsoever with the phone was a MASSIVE indiscretion. Not that I protested or argued about it or anything. It was just disappointing...after a full week of not having to be bothered by that.

The other observation? The level of play. Whoa. When you go from playing with high-caliber players...to playing with incredibly BAD players...it's really aggravating. And I'm not just talking about the quality of the hand being played. Hell, at Venetian's 5k guys were opening in early position with 6-8 suited, getting repopped by 9-7 suited...and playing the hands to showdown. It was a marvel to watch. But you know how many times someone limped? I mean...JUST LIMPED....first to act? Twice! Twice all damn day! Every hand...it was initiated with a raise. And the raises? Almost always 2.5x....unless there was a raise first, then maybe 4 to 5x re-raising...taking into account the pot. In other words...GOOD POKER. I can't tell you how many times I watched this bullshit unfold in my brief, 3-bullet experience at the Beau last weekend. 

Blinds 75-150.  Early position limps. FIVE callers for 150! One time...I attempt to just end it there and take down the pot with AQh. Nawwwwww...that's not happening. I make it 2200!!!! Guess how many calls I get!?? Wait...even easier, guess how many FOLDS I got?  ONE! Out of 7 players. Felt pretty good when I flopped an ace. I bet 3000. And this guy (holding Ac10c) calls the 3000...and leaves 2500 behind!!!! I'm like...is this guy for real? Turn is another club...I put him all in. He calls. Rivers a flush. Unreal. Saw this shit all day. Limp in....call a ridiculous raise. Did I miss something? Did they make 4-betting illegal in Mississippi card rooms when I wasn't looking?

Whatever. What are you gonna do? I was contemplating going to Choctaw this coming Friday and playing their WPT Main Event there, that has a $3700 buy in and always draws a huge field. But the wife tells me Carley's first day of kindergarten is Friday...and how do I not want to be a part of that? I'm not winning that argument, so I didn't even bother trying. So it looks like I'm going to take an Attivan (similar to Xanax) and go plop down my $345 (hopefully just once...or twice...okay,maximum three times) and play the 75k Guaranteed (bumped up from the usual 50k at the end/beginning of the month) tourney at the Beau...and just pray that the same band of goofballs finds something else to do with their weekend then play tournament poker at my table. All I want is a table full of competent players...because despite what ANYONE with half a clue about poker will tell you? Your chances of winning increase exponentially with the quality of the players at your table. The worse the player is? The worse your chances of winning. Period. 

Donald Trump has had a very, very, very...ridiculously bad week this week.  No, I do NOT, nor will I ever, regret NOT voting for Hillary...or Killary the Hun as I like to call her. There simply was only one choice. But...this week sure is making it hard to function on social media. The liberals are already big enough assholes...but for them to ALWAYS be wrong to the point of laughable...and then get fed a week like this to poke us with? It's painfully uncomfortable. Donald? Please man....cut the shit. The speech to the Boy Scouts? Ugh. Ever have that Drunken Uncle who stands up at a semi-formal event and tries to sound poetic? Yeah...that was Donnie. The constant throwing-under-the-bus of Jeff Sessions, who he spoke so glowingly of before naming him to his Cabinet? What the hell? That's inexcusable. A good leader...take Bobby Cox of the successful-era Braves for example, always keeps that negative shit in the clubhouse! Not Donnie...its all over fucking Twitter. Geezuz. Then last but not least? This Transgenders can't serve in the military shit storm...check that...TWEET storm. Even worse. Why? Just why? Who cares? If a tranny wants to go into the military, and be summarily bullied and beaten by a bunch of Alpha Males, its their choice. Why stir the Liberal pot? Maybe it's a sly way of getting the media to shut the fuck up about Russia? Is that it? If so...kudos? Even then...maybe not. And what in God's name is going on with Health Care? I've literally given up on watching ALL cable news. It all aggravates me to the core. I give up! Which is good...you know why? Because here comes football season!!!!!!! The greatest time of the year!!!!! 

I'm putting this to bed...before my computer's battery dies. Talk soon!


Monday, July 17, 2017



I'm sitting here in my hotel room at Treasure Island...flew in yesterday morning, on United! Flew COACH! (granted, I paid an extra $150 to get an exit row) Couldn't get anything at the last minute on Delta for less than $1700. Yikes! And Venetian was sold out, so I'm saving about $120 a night to stay across the street. This feels a bit like the old days when I stayed at Riviera. Played and bricked the noon $600 Mega satellite, not once but twice. Then walked over to the Wynn, Encore actually, and played their 1-day $1100 tourney...great turnout of 539 players. Busted out of that around 10pm in 94th place (paying 54) so was instantly $2300 in the hole on the day. 

No need to fear....CASH GAME IS HERE! Now I think I might get what Robert Harwell was chirping about all summer. I won't give you the number he claimed to have made playing 5/10 PLO at Rio this summer, but it was in 6-figures. Thing about playing Omaha in Biloxi? Everyone is good. There is almost no edge for anyone. A lot of swapping money 7-days a week. But Vegas? Whoaaaaa Nelly! I've never seen such a collectively bad skill set in a game. Yes...there are going to be some hands where you lose to a guy who should NEVER have been in there in the first place...but skill wins out. I sat down...asked what the max buy was, seeing a lot of chips on the table. $2500, I was told. $2500 it is. No need to give a bunch of details. I cashed out for $6280 at about 5am. So an eventual profit of $1480 on the day. I'll take it. 

Sidebar: Remember Tony Big Charles? Anyone? Kind of a legendary figure in poker...for a lot of bizarre reasons. At some point in the action...I heard his hard to miss, and unmistakable voice coming from behind me. But now? It had kind of a...how do I say this? Without sounding too mean or ugly? You know how gay guys who are super feminine talk? "Queenie" I think some call it? That is how he was talking. So I turn to look...and YUP! There he is...and he is wearing these reading glasses (I think) that have the multi-color support arms and frames...I think they call that style "Birthday Cake" and I only know that because I have a 5-year old daughter! He was wearing khaki pants that he had pulled up nearly to his chest. Hair all disheveled, beard needing a trim. And there he was...same old Tony...ripping into people. Then came the racially sensitive talk. Oh no, Tony...don't do it!!!! I never engaged him in conversation...for fear of where it might lead. Good to know 'ol Tony is still out here, alive (for the most part) and kicking! 


Earlier in the day, I had another famous character at my table. If by now you aren't familiar with William Kassouf? Well, you aren't following poker very closely!!! Here is a video above to click for just a dose of what he brought to the table! By the end of my time at the table...and with him having dusted off a huge stack and getting down to only 7 BB's (soon to bust after me) he had sent me a friend request on Facebook, and was reading and liking all the comments about him on my wall. We had a very entertaining exchange that the table was loving. He might be an annoying guy...but he is truly a brilliant poker player. I guess him and I have a little in common, well...at least Monkey circa 2005-2009. Maybe not so much these days. But lets just say I can identify the strategy in his approach! 

So about 4am, I was coming back from the restroom, and there he is...and he's buzzard-hawking Cliff Josephy aka JohnnyBax...who is down to the final 5 in that day's tourney. I said something to Will...and Cliff looks at me with these "Please help me Monkey!!!" look on his face! He places me from a final table we made together in Aruba ten years ago. "Monkey...wow, long time no see! Will you PLEASE do me a favor and get this maniac away from me!!!!?" "Sorry Cliff...you're on your own buddy!!! Hahahaha." Kassouf...he's a trip!!!!

So its a little after 1pm. The intention today is to do nothing but lay out at the pool...then eat a nice dinner tonight...and be razor sharp and rested tomorrow in the Venetian 5K Main Event. Today is flight 1a, tomorrow is 1b. I chose not to play in what tends to be a much looser, wild early flight and risk lighting another 5k on fire tomorrow. One bullet. That's enough for me. Christian Iacobellis...my friend, and two-time (twice cashing) Grinder/Minion, is on his way over here from the Rio to join me...and will be playing tomorrow as well. I put up a package with my investors, to get 50/50 action on the two of us. It sold out in...well...about an hour. 

Before I wrote this blog I had to go and look on WSOP.com to see who the final 27 players are. So...out of 27 players...17 are from other countries besides the USA. The rest of the world is catching up with us folks! There is ONE lonely player in there who I have the slightest inkling to care about...and that is our well-known Gulf Coaster Jake Bazeley, who has the absolute smallest chip stack, but is guaranteed of a whopping $263k right now. Sweet! OH! Well what'dya know, just clicked refresh and he is busto...out 25th for the aforementioned amount. Congrats to him. But lets be honest...what serious player is EVER happy to make it that far and go out short of the Final Table? None of us!!!! So I now officially don't care about the Main Event.

How did we do? Well before I talk about that...let me address the elephant in the room. I have one or two serial haters who religiously read this blog (which is kind of amusing, as a hater) and leave incredibly pathetic comments that I never approve and publish to be seen. He's been ripping on my WSOP Summer Team every year now since we started. It doesn't bother me. But it's been my secret wish for one or more of our players to go really deep...just to see what drivel he would spew. Would he finally be silenced? Or would he desperately find SOMETHING to hate on? The guy who hides behind his computer and rants on and on against someone who's life he could only DREAM of trading places with? What kind of loser is this? He's (not lately) made death threats in the past...against me, my wife, even my child. Threatening to shoot me from my backyard...claiming to know where I live. That's a pretty sick fuck. 

So there you go, dickhead...I just gave you the 15 seconds you SO yearn for! The correct modus operandi is to ignore shitbirds like you...and you will fly away. But you? You don't even have wings. So I guess that's impossible. I'm sorry your life sucks so bad that you have to live in envy of mine. Do you need a hug? Did your mommy not give you enough love? Did you catch your only girlfriend in life cheating on you with the family pet? Did Daddy leave you and your mother to join the circus? I get it...life's been rough on you. You can't even sign your name to a comment. Why? You scared? Keyboard Muscles only? 

Moving on. But speaking of assholes. Awhile back...I alerted the world of degenerates that on July 1st I was going to post a blog...complete with photos, and the whole story....about all the assholes in the gambling world...who owe me large, even minimal sums...of money for various things. Mostly pools of mine they have played in. So sure enough...a couple days before that deadline arrived...I get the "I've sent you a check today" (that check still hasn't arrived-shocker) and "Hey Monk...I don't plan on stiffing you...I will pay you, just need a little more time." That's after not responding at ALL for months! And then didn't respond to my reply to that comment. So its pretty obvious it was an attempt to keep from being "posterized" by Monkey. I mean...how fucking stupid do you guys think I am? Just so you know? My middle name isn't DENSE. 

So...the blog post about deadbeats...has been postponed to give these guys to step up and pay up! I actually got paid from three guys who were about to be featured. Good for them. Good move. Especially those guys who run around trying to get staking! Oh...speaking of that...anyone see the story about Maurice Hawkins and the lawyer in Florida who had the staking deal with him? Boy oh boy. That's all I'm gonna say about it. 

Watching Maury Povich right now for lack of anything else being on the TV...and there is this nasty-ass white trash chick on there trying to get her dipshit boyfriend to take a DNA test. You all know the drill. So check out these names she has given her offspring.  Kaydence and Khaos. WTF???

Has everyone heard how our TEAM MONKEY did this summer? I can't tell you how proud I am of this year's squad. EIGHT players survived DAY ONE! ALL of them! Then five out of eight made it out of Day Two. The three who lost all took unbelievably bad beats. But that's how this nasty game works. Sometimes you can only be SO good. Skill can only get you so far. You gotta fade the ugly beats. And when you don't? It doesn't mean you suck. Or made a mistake. It just wasn't meant to be. We lost three amazing players on Day Two.

So Day three arrived...and the excitement was building among our 130-something investors. Everyone was fired up! But with the top 15% getting paid now...and the really long structure (2-hr blind levels) and additional chipstacks (50k) it took a long time to get to the money. They played until they made the money...which...I'm not sure because I fell asleep, but am pretty sure it was into the next day.

When all was said and done...Wild Bill Phillips fell short on Day 3....then...only (I think) about 50 from the money...maybe less...the guy I was REALLY praying would cash, because he's had a really rough year...Kenny Milam busted out. Kenny, who I've known for about 12-15 years now, has to be one of the nicest guys in poker. When he was running great in life with his business, I saw him stake so many people, and mainly because he didn't have the heart to say no. He was an easy mark for some of the vultures in poker. I know a lot of people probably still owe him money. Kenny is a proud man. You'll never hear him whining too hard about a bad beat. Or life. If something controversial is being talked about...he isn't one to delve into the muck. He just kind of laughs that laugh of his and takes the high road. I really wanted Kenny to cash. After he busted...I even asked if any of the investors might feel like sending a portion of their winnings to Kenny. I am giving him 5% of mine. And...I haven't told anyone this...but I'm also going to pledge 5% of my Venetian Main Event winnings to him. Kenny would NEVER ask for help from anyone...but I know for a fact he needs a hand up. So if you love Kenny, or even like him a lot? Maybe help the guy out. 

At the end of Day Three...we had THREE players in the money! And all of them had relatively decent stacks, except Christian...who had a nightmare of a last level to finish with 60k. But at least he cashed!!!! 

Day 4 started...and everyone had their PokerGo up on their computers or devices...and we found out Christian was on the feature table. 888 gave all the feature table players $1000 to wear their patch! That was great news for Christian, who hasn't exactly been without his share of struggles too. And per our player contract...any player who happens to pick up some money from outside endorsements like that...its 100% theirs. 

Sadly...Christian wasn't on our screens long. He got it all in with A10...and got called by Jeffery Lisandro and his pocket 8's. Lisandro had already caused a lot of fireworks early, arguing with Jack Effel about his inability (or simply his refusal) to show his hole cards for the viewers at home. They got into a pretty ridiculous conversation about it away from the table. So...the 8's? They held up...and Christian was out in 1048th place for $15,000...exactly what he cashed for last year.

After that we lost David Chocheles. He cashed for $17,000 (806th). In the hand with QJ...he got all in on a flop of J-2-2. Gets called by the guy with 77, who then promptly turns a damn 7. Gross. 

Finally...our Minion playing on the secondary feature table...who got a little TV time...Chris Canan...was steaming along, picking up pots when he needed them. Got chopped in half with AK vs JJ...then doubled back up. I was feeling it. We were all feeling it. I got in the car...brought my iPad to watch when I could...and took the wife and kid to Hibachi. We had just ordered when Chris called me...and I could tell from the empty sadness in his voice that he had busted. Raised with pocket nines. Got called by a Euro with 9-7. Lovely. And proceeds to flop 10-7-7.. Chris felt he was good and got it in on the flop. Ball Game. 520th ($25,000)

They were all, understandably, bummed out. I know the feeling. We all do. At least all of us who have played deep into a big tourney, only to fall short of our goal. If you are someone who has been competitive your whole life...like someone who played sports...it hits you even EXTRA hard. It's the worst feeling there is in poker. Well..besides being the STONE COLD BUBBLE. That is the worst!!! 

NO SHAME IN YO GAME GRINDERS!!!! This was another extraordinary effort. The MVP of this year's team was, hands down, Jacqueline Britton. She completely took over the entire Team Monkey Schwag Department! From designing the stuff, to taking orders, collecting their money, and shipping it all out to them before the tourney started. Her energy on the group page...along with Wild Man....Kyle "The Enthusiastic Maniac" Stein...just kind of drove this bandwagon! 

The return on the $200 per share investment was $111 per share. So everyone essentially lost $89...but I think everyone felt like they got MORE than their $89 worth of entertainment!!!! Its always sad when its over...but everyone was already talking about next summer's team! And as our deepest finishing Minion...Chris Canan has already locked up a spot on next year's team! I already have a semblance of a clue on a couple other people I have my eye on for next year too.

So I offered my self up for Venetian for the price of $111. Smart right? What that does is gets all the odd-math out of the way when it comes to paying everyone! Those shares got scarfed up fast! And since I sent out the email confirming that I got everyone's shares correct...I am seeing that I missed a few people...putting myself in a pickle. But I will work it out. My investors are great people. If it means someone needs to give up a share here and there, I'm sure they will work with me. 

Okay...Christian finally just got here! Good timing! Off to the pool for some R&R!!!!


Sunday, July 9, 2017

Time To Let 'Dem Minions Run!!!!!


The time has finally arrived! Actually it started yesterday, to be precise. But I was so tired from my all day flight on Friday, that I couldn't find the time or energy to sit down and pen a blog. A blog that I had also intended to write on my flight OUT to Vegas this past Sunday, but which was neglected due to the very wonderful married couple I met on the plane sitting next to me. 

So now...with two hours before I have to once again pack up the car...drive to New Orleans, and fly off for another four days, this time to Seattle, I'm going to try and get a blog into the hopper! 

You know who's going crazy? Besides me from all the packing/unpacking, coming and going this summer? And besides Carley, from missing her daddy? My dogs! They are so smart. As soon as they see me, or all of us, packing our suitcases...they just lay on the floor and give us the most sad and pathetic looks. It kills me. This trip to Seattle kind of came out of nowhere. My Uncle Jim...after a long bout with cancer, passed away last month. He was cremated...but as a former member of the US Military, he is being honored in a ceremony on Monday. I get in at around midnight...and the ceremony is at 2pm the next day. Sure I will be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed!

So Vegas went WAY to quickly. Got in Sunday night. Played a little 2 hour cash session downstairs at Venetian, won $178. Woke up. Played the $1100 tourney at Venetian. Went 6 levels without seeing anything above a pair of 8's (which lost)...somehow picking up the occasional pot. After flopping a set of sixes, I got it all in vs. two guys with flush draws. Despite all those spades in play...they turned a spade anyway. I missed on the river, and that was all over. I busted in time to go play the last flight of the Aria 500 at 7pm. Got there at 6:45. There was a line about 200 yards long. Great. Much to my disappointment, they no longer do/did their big tourneys downstairs in a convention room like they did several years ago when I played there. Instead, we get the ever-popular, money-saving act of putting poker tables out in the middle of the casino gaming floor, along with the noise and cigarette smoke. Charming.

After about 20 minutes of standing in a line that wasn't moving fast...I went to the front of the line to find out if they were into alternates or not. They were. Wow. No thanks! I left..found a place called SAGE...and ate a wonderful (overpriced as hell!) meal at the bar. I was joined later by my buddy Charlie Townsend, who had come to play the same event, but like me, wasn't willing to wait then go in with 5-7 big blinds. If you dine at Sage...I recommend the sweetbreads. Holy crap those were good! The filet was also remarkable...but if that little slap of $65 meat was 8 ounces? I'm the Pope!

Returned to my hotel and called it a night. Woke up...and played the noon $600 at Venetian. It was called the SuperStack. It should have also been called a Turbo, because it was missing a lot of levels. I had a pretty good start...then kept building my stack at a pretty weak table. I was sitting at 100k when the average was 33k...and then my tables started breaking. I got moved 4 times in just over an hour. And that never seems to be a good thing. In level 12 I went from 120k to 90k with a pretty terrible string of circumstances. 

Things improved a little. Managed to hover around average...then we got into the money...paying 54 places with 531 players. My mom and sister's plane was just landing in Vegas (about 9:30pm) when the shitty orbit happened. A guy moves all-in for 80k (at 12k/24k) and I go all in over the top for 155K with AK. No other callers. He has A3. Everything looks good going to the river...when the board double pairs on the river. Son of a bitch. So instead of having about 250k after that hand....I'm still sitting there with about 170k...or less than 10 bb's. So on the next hand, with 43 players left, I get 77. I hate to go all in in those spots, choosing to raise, leaving an almost-always pot committed amount behind, to appear to have a really strong hand. Well, one short stack goes all in...and another guy...who'd been playing a lot of iffy hands, and had the propensity to shove over small stack shoves to isolate, SHOVES. I have him covered by exactly 1k. I can't really fold. Now if I had won the previous hand...and with 250k...raised to 60k...I could  have folded 77 there. Circumstances.  Short stack had KQ...other guy had freaking 88. KQ ended up winning. I lost with my one single chip on the last hand...and went to collect my $1348.

MIN CASHES SUCK!  But at least it's a cash. Ten minutes later I went and intercepted my Mother and Sister from the front desk. They were both visiting Las Vegas for the first time in their lives. I could tell my mom was pretty overwhelmed by it all. She has recently started playing poker...my sister has for quite a few years now, and is a solid player. They both had the itch to go play....so once they got unpacked, we headed over to TI (previously called Treasure Island before it became trendy to shorten everything to it's initials) to play their 10pm $77 tourney. They got 44 players. My sister and I both made the final table. Mom didn't. Mom ended up at a back table on the verge of throwing up her "there's nothing in these" mudslides she had been hammering away on during the tourney. I busted 9th. My sister busted 7th. It was paying 5 spots. Oh well.

They went back to the hotel room. I got into a juicy cash game. A really really juicy cash game. It was 1/3 but played like 5/10. I had a lot of fun in that marathon session and left at like 1pm! Another one of those funky Vegas nights that screws up the next day! The girls went to play...and I slept all afternoon. Then never left my room that night. Basically a wasted day...and when you are only in Vegas for 5 days...a wasted day sucks!

So the next day was Thursday. Or TEAM DAY, for the Minions. I spent the morning on the phone with the banquet manager for Maggiano's. I was pretty sure we had hammered out a great menu, and the cost would be $49 per person...plus taxes, tips, and the 20% setup fee for having a private room. Later...I would be blindsided by a bill that became $77 per person...and charged us for 25 people, instead of the 18 we actually had. After arguing with them in the hall for awhile, I just gave up...telling them I didn't want the night marred by arguing over money. So I collected $75 from everyone...some nice enough to pay extra...and I covered the rest. Having a private room was a great idea...as it was quiet and comfortable. I just wish more people HAD shown up...because the amount of food they brought out was obscene!!!! By the time the appetizers were cleared away...almost all of us were full. I made sure everyone with a refrigerator/microwave packed up as much of the leftovers as possible...because there was a TON of them! Food was GREAT. Service was GREAT. 

Earlier, before dinner...we met at Rio, and got all the team photos taken, the team gear all passed out...contracts signed, and players all bought in. The only guy who wasn't there...was Christian Iacobellis. But he had a good reason. On his drive over from Los Angeles, a tanker trailer got into a wreck, caught on fire...and set the entire highway area on fire in a massive brush fire. Traffic didn't move for three hours. He was stressed out like crazy. But what could you do? In kind of an ironic twist...he lives his life in a fairly anonymous way...preferring to be "off the grid" in almost everything. So...this is quite fitting I guess, that he isn't in the team photo, right!??? Well he finally arrived about 9:30, and was able to join us all at the dinner...met everyone, and caught a bite to eat. After dinner we drove over to Rio and got him registered. 

Him and I went back to Venetian and we decided to play some 2/5 for awhile. He won a couple hundred, I won $940. That was it for my Vegas trip. I went to bed...and had to wake up a few hours later to get ready to come home. I was cutting it close, but still was on schedule. But my Uber driver went first to Palazzo...then the wrong entrance of Venetian, before finally finding me. Then she drove like a turtle to the airport. I was about to crawl out of my skin. I missed my flight. But they got me on another one 45 minutes later. But I had to go through Detroit. Squirrel had already left for her Blue Angels weekend in Pensacola after dropping Carley off at school that morning. I got to our friends' house around 11pm...and there was my little sweetie, wide awake on the couch waiting for her daddy! She came running, and jumped up in my arms. We went home, crawled in bed, and zonked out! Didn't even unpack!

Yesterday was our Daddy Date Day....already having promised her we would go see the new Minion movie. It was great. We went with a kid from her class and her mom and brother. Discovered our theater has renovated all the seats into reclining sofa chairs. AWESOME!!!! After the movie they came over to our house...and the kids played/destroyed the house for a few hours! They left...and Carley and I crashed at like 8pm!!!! While this was going on.....our one and only Minion was doing work!

Someone has placed the very appropriate nickname of Ken "The Carpenter" Christopher on Kenny...who has done a TON of work around my house over the past six months...doing my deck and fence. He did a great job of badgering me to the point I couldn't say no to him. Well...he earned his keep in Day One...the only one of our 8 who played on the first flight. He managed to put 52k in the bag at the end of the day. It should have been a lot more. His last bad luck sequence saw a short stack shoving 12k with 88 into Ken's pocket Jacks in the blind. Guy hit the two-outer and still has a dream alive. But with this structure? 52k is perfectly fine! And I could tell he played great all day...based on all his updates. 

Going today (Sunday) we have FOUR players...and will have the final three going tomorrow.  In case you missed it...the 8 players are:

Kenneth "The Carpenter" Christopher (played Saturday, BAGGED)

"Wild Bill" Phillips (playing Sunday. 4-time Minion!)
Robert 'Cash Beast' Harwell (playing Sunday)
Benton Blakeman  (Playing Sunday)
Kenny "Trucker" Milam (also playing Sunday)

as of this blog post...ALL FOUR GUYS are currently still in play!

Chris "Loose" Canan (goes Monday)
David Chocheles (goes Monday)
Christian "Monk E. Grinder" Iacobellis  (goes Monday)

I will be rooting from 35k feet! Then from Seattle! Missing my girls. While saying farewell to my uncle. Visiting with my Dad and Jimmy...and just found out...my brother, who is bring two of his sons up from the Bay Area. And while in Seattle, I'll be visiting one of my best friends from grade school...who was involved in a terrible car crash the week before the Super Bowl. He should have died. But he battled through a coma, and numerous surgeries, and is hoping to be out of the hospital this week! Maybe we will get to go play some poker. Or just find some good food and catch up old times. All while our Minions do work!

As for shares? Well we sold 404! I only have TWO people who didn't pay...out of about 134 investors. Pretty crazy! A simply unbelievable effort to get this year's team off and running! A great bunch of players, and a remarkable bunch of guys. And Jacqueline Britton, who had a remarkable run in the WSOP Monster...finishing 88th out of about 6700 players...took on the role of SwagMaster...getting all the shirts, hats and hoodies made, orders taken, and items shipped out. She took SO much stress off my shoulders this summer!!! I then backed her in the Ladies tourney...which she busted out of. Oh well! Backed my sister too...and she wasn't able to have any sustained luck either. But a good friend of ours, Kristin Deardorff...who inquired about buying shares but ended up not getting any, finished 13th in that event for $5600. Good job Kristin!!!

Alright so its 4:07! I did it! Finally got a blog in the hopper! I promise I will update more in the next few days as the action progresses!!!!!