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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!

MONK





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