Friday, June 29, 2018


Just thirty days ago, I was SO NOT pumped for this trip! Me and Squirrel were having probably our best 'run' ever in our marriage. The new house we moved into is getting, slowly but surely...to where we want it. Me...I'm all about making the outside look great! Her...she's all about making the inside look amazing! It's so much fun to be in what I am pretty sure will be our LAST house! At least until Carley heads off to college...and maybe even still then. It's not too small...and its no where too big. In fact...it's perfect!!! I love waking up...walking out to the back deck...letting the dogs out, and gazing out over our beautiful pond. Some mornings there is a little bit of hazy fog floating over it...and it just gives me such a great feeling of peace, and happiness. Our new puppy, Daisy...who we got for Christmas...a few months after my best buddy of 12 years...Jasper, passed away in my car on the way to euthanize him after a battle with organ failure, she LOVES that pond. And its all we can do to keep her out of it. But watching her out there, her little (but growing fast) black head bobbing up and down as she swims around...just makes me feel the simplest of joys. And while Cheryl complains about having to always bath her...I know...I can tell..cuz I know that woman...that she wouldn't trade it for anything. 

Carley is finally sleeping in her own room. It only took 6 years. Oh sure...there are still a few nights here an there when she feels that need to come back in and sleep with us. But for the most part...she is transforming into "little girl" and moving away from our "sweet little baby." It makes me sad...but also happy. She's a great kid. A little spoiled (duh) but a great kid. She has MY love for all living creatures...started with stuffed animals, then moved to live animals. She has a heart of gold. She has her mothers' caring and nurturing nature. She's shy, and awkward, and a little bit dramatic...but I wouldn't change anything about her. She IS...my heart and soul..and best friend. And she has made me and Squirrel so much stronger as a couple. I love our little family. 

Well...Squirrel hates it when I go off without her. And she has every right. Putting all that pressure on her to have to take care of Carley...and the animals! And just me being out of pocket...I get it. It sucks. I would have preferred to take her and Carley with me. In fact I always prefer that. But she has no real desire to go to Vegas for a week. She's been there, done that. Did it once already with Carley and her...and Carley's little friend Abbey, and yeah..it was a really good time. But once was enough. Plus she erroneously screwed up at work...and not only used up all her vacation days...but royally screwed up and has cost us our health insurance...for at least the next 6 months. I guess we have to go on COBRA...which we know little about..and won't even GET the info until our current insurance is up on July 1st. So I have no idea what that will cost. She feels terrible about letting it happen...but I keep telling her, its not her fault. MGM makes it SO hard, and confusing...to stay on top of the hours. I've seen her at the dining room table trying to figure it out and it's absurd. She isn't the first of her friends who have had that happen to. I know of at least two others. Now she has to make up all these hours so we can get it back. To be honest...she really doesn't need that job...at all. But she would (a) get cabin fever if she was home all day with me...in fact...she might just kill me!!!! and (b) all her friends work at the Beau...its what she's been doing for a long time...and I think she just really kind of likes that daily routine. I think she would be miserable if she quit. 

So anyway...as I look at the clock...yikes...I've made a promise...on my last day in town for a week...that I will take Carley and her little friend to see 'The Incredible's 2' today at 3:25. I still have to shower (probably won't) and then pick up her friend. I logged on with the intent to bang out a QUICKIE BLOG...where I would do a special, exclusive announcement...of our SIXTH member of the 2018 TEAM MONKEY GRINDERS...aka MINIONS! NO ONE but this person knows! I just told him/her last night! I sent out a "Last Call" email to my massive network of 2000+  people who play my pools, have invested in teams in the past...and just a lot of family and friends...and my shares sold in less than 12 hours have skyrocketed...from 263 shares sold (250 is enough to send 5 players) to a whopping 326 as I write this!!! So now...we not only have enough sold to send SIX...but are just 24 away from sending a SEVENTH!!!! And just based on how the past few years have gone...with a TON of interest coming in the few days leading up to the Main Event...have to think that hitting our total of EIGHT players (400 shares sold) from last year...is very possible! 

As for payment? I have a shockingly high...I'd say about 85% of the shares either paid for...being withheld from the players' buy ins...or am collecting from them when I get to Vegas. I take numerous forms of payments...but with it being this close to the start of the action (MONDAY JULY 2nd is DAY 1A) I am pretty much taking ONLY electronic payments...unless I have a good credit history with the person...and they can text or email me a photo of their check before they mail it. Fortunately...I have enough of a cushion in savings that I am able to cover any shortfall that I may have when I arrive in Vegas. 

THE TEAM DAY...which includes getting every registered, getting their contracts signed, taking the team photo...passing out their team gear, then going to (first time this year...replacing Maggianos's, who I got sick of ripping me off on the final check..with ME eating it and NOT passing it along to the rest of the dinner party) Carmine's for our team dinner...all of that will happen on Sunday night! Then...its time to GET IT ON!!!!

I noticed in looking at my stats counter...that a LOT OF YOU have been hitting this site...looking for updates and possibly info! Okay...I was going to wait...but lets do this:

TEAM MEMBER NUMBER SIX....after much much much consideration....and with 3 or 4 others who are STILL on my very very hot on deck circle for a 7th and/or 8th spot.....is FORMER MINION....long time poker pal....and a guy who's style of play is absolutely PERFECT for this kind of tournament. 


                        MICHAEL "CARWASH" SCHNEIDER!!!!!!

On top of everything else...he is easily one of the most-liked guys in the game. I can't think of anyone I've ever run into that (a) doesn't know him and (b) doesn't like him. I've never, not once...heard anyone say..."Oh Carwash? I hate that guy. He's such a douche." Now...me? I'm not naive or delusional enough to think that these words haven't been spoken about me...MANY times!!! Hey! It's all good! I am the team guy who lays on the grenades for all my teammates!!!! I'll take all  the bullets!!!!!

NOW lets get to work....we got some more shares to sell....I gotta take Carley to go see this movie!!! I'll be checking my email, texts and Facebook all throughout the movie!!!! AGAIN...if you wish to purchase shares...they are $200 PER SHARE....(50 shares equals $10,000 and sends a player, I take NO FEE whatsoever for running this deal) and I need you to EMAIL ME at ThePokerMonkey1@aol.com.  Please do NOT hit me up anywhere else. Things just have a way of getting very spread out and confusing when that starts happening!!!

HAVE A GREAT FRIDAY!!! I will be back with an update tomorrow sometime...probably while flying over America!!!


Wednesday, June 13, 2018


As promised, I am back with a fresh blog post inside of ten months, the time between my previous two posts! Things since I announced the relaunch of my Summer Grinders has been fast and furious. Shares are going like ...hotcakes? How did that ever become 'a thing?' Going like hotcakes? When have hotcakes ever been in really high demand? And what ARE hotcakes? Are they pancakes? Are they cakes with a hot, molten center like those you get at Chili's after dinner? I don't know...but the shares are, indeed, going at a brisk pace. As I am writing this...at 11:25pm on Tuesday night...we are currently sitting at 186 shares sold. What that means...is I have sold enough to send the first THREE players...with 36 of 50 sold to send the FOURTH player. My initial goal...was to make dreams come true for FIVE players this summer. But...my gut instinct is that if I keep aggressively chatting things up...and getting help from some others...we might just have a shot to get to the same 400 shares that we sold last summer...when we sent 8 players.

And with all the numerous applications I have received in my email at ThePokerMonkey1@aol.com there is nothing I would like to do then to send as many quality, well-deserving (and hungry!) players to Vegas as I possibly can for me and all of our investment team to root for. I know one of the things that helps sell shares is to announce the players as I go...in hopes that the people who support THEM...will jump on board and buy some shares so they can have a rooting interest in THEM...and in doing so...will create a situation for someone else wanting to join the team. The more we sell..the more opportunities we create for more players and their rooting base! Then...at the end of the day...we come together as ONE TEAM....Monkey's 2018 WSOP GRINDERS! Also known, lovingly as MONKEY'S MINIONS!

SO...without further adieu...and that's a delayed ADIEU...because I fell asleep writing this last night! It's now Wednesday afternoon...been processing picks all morning for my next pool...for the U.S. OPEN that starts tomorrow morning. So now I am getting back to finishing this blog post...already have had 5 people ask me when I'm announcing who the first three team members are. Okay okay okay....here they are!!!! You ready????

THE FIRST PLAYER being named to the team this summer? This one is easy...and kind of self-explanatory. Chris Canan, who finished 520th for a shade under $25,000 was our highest finishing team member last summer...and as such, as has been established in the first four years of this team, gets the AUTO INVITE to the team the following year. Now, if that player decides to play for someone else, perhaps for a better deal, or even on his/her own dime? Hey! That's great! We wish them the very best! In the case of this year? Chris is excited to return and try to better his 520th place finish. Chris is someone who has been very supportive of the team even BEFORE he was named to the team last summer...so it's great to have him back for another go at it!


THE SECOND PLAYER being named to the team this summer? A lot of you might not know this person. I do. And have for about a decade. You likely don't know much about HER...because she really doesn't get much of a chance to play that much. Why? Because she happens to be employed! Full time! She works for NASA. Or did. She is...literally....our resident rocket scientist! One of the most intelligent people I know...she brings her cerebral talents to the felt. I've had the chance to observe her game over the years and always come away amazed with how sharp she is in so many of the different aspects of the game. She nearly won the Women's WSOP event last summer, finishing 13th in a huge field.


Above is a link to Kristen's Cardplayer profile that offers a glance at some/most of her career cashes. Again...it's not going to blow you away. That isn't the intent with the naming of Kristen. She is a player who I know...and who I believe in...and am picking purely on the basis that I think she is capable of doing great things in this tournament, under this structure. I am fully aware that I am opening myself up to second-guessing from people, even investors...but those who have followed (even backed) me in the past 12-15 years...I think trust my (a) own abilities and (b) my eye for talent when it comes to other players. But if I can be honest? I'd love it if Kristen does me a solid and just goes ahead and at LEAST cashes....so I can avoid the scrutiny that some may have of me!!!! 

As for the THIRD PLAYER? Now this one might come as a bit of a surprise. And might also come with some heavy scrutiny, even criticism. And that's fair. But...let me just explain how this pick was made. There are several reasons. First...SHE (yes...another woman!) has basically busted her tail to assist me in a LOT of ways the last few years...but the most vital being the taking on the creation of the TEAM GEAR. Hats, t-shirts and hoodies. She went from just helping me get them made the first year...then the same last year...but handling ALL the orders and MAILING, for anyone who purchased team gear. The time she saved me was incalculable. Since I got started way late this summer...we will be limited to just T-Shirts this year...and they are ready. Below is a look at them. Notice the monkey is holding MY favorite hand!? Yes...that was by design!
On top of all that...Jacqueline Britton has been incredibly instrumental in bringing us supporters/investors. As I scroll down the list there are easily 15-20 people who have joined our investor pool SOLELY because she brought them to us. So from that standpoint, she has literally EARNED her way onto the team this summer.


But before you start babbling about "yeah but what does THAT have to do with her ability to play poker?" Okay. Fair enough. So last summer...I bought a little action on Jacqueline's Lady's WSOP event...and then missed out on her $1500 Monster Stack tournament. With a total of 6,716 entries...she managed to finish 88th. All during the tourney she was texting me...picking my brain...asking for help. But in following her, I was extremely impressed with the decisions she was making. I always hesitate immensely to give people advice when they are in the throes of a deep run. I try to impress upon them that they HAVE to be playing pretty well to have gotten that far....and to have faith, and confidence in themselves. Also...they have a better feel for the people they are playing with than I do...seated sometimes 100's of miles away! Yes, it's flattering to know that my opinion is highly regarded. But I don't want the responsibility of giving advice based on something where I am lacking certain vital information. She did a fantastic job. I have NO doubts whatsoever that she has the skills to do well in the Main. 

I consider one of the primary skills in the Main Event to be patience. Because with (upped again from 30k to 50k) a starting stack like this...and two hour blind levels you can literally play one or two winning hands on Day 1 and survive with an above average stack. But you have to be able to fight that nagging urge to start playing some ugly hands out of sheer boredom. The Main Event is a patient players Utopia. For those players who like to mix it up...set the tone...run the table....be in every other hand? The Main Event is a massive drain of energy for them. You can't WIN the Main Event on Day 1. Or 2. Or 3...you get the point. All you can do is lose. And a lot of really aggressive players will do JUST that. But the tight, patient players? They tend to survive...picking spots...using their table image...studying their table mates and making well-calculated moves against them at the right times. The Super Aggro's? They just keep playing the same way...until eventually...they make the wrong move at the wrong time. And those guys tend to develop an attitude, and ego...and refuse to be taken off a hand. So they commonly succumb to their own foolish and stubborn pride. I have always rather enjoyed watching those kind of players go down in flames. It makes me giddy.

And so...if you are wondering still...what kind of players I look for when putting this team together? It's NOT the kind I just explained. Because I really don't CARE how many chips you manage to accumulate by the end of Day 1 or 2. Hey GREAT! You have 350,000 chips! Yay! We are only 1000 from the money. You know what a chipstack like THAT carries with it? A massive amount of potential disappointment. Because there is almost always only ONE WAY for them to go. DOWN. Because the type of player who AMASSES that stack? Is rarely the kind of player who suddenly downshifts into "protect mode." Nope. That player is going out on Day 3 trying to run that 350,000 up to a million. And in doing so...tend to lock up in battles all day against players of similar style and stack size...and while one of them will emerge with the other one's stack...the other guy hits the bricks...to the loud moans of those supporting him/her. Because they just COULDN'T downshift...go into protect mode...guard their 100+ big blind start...and finesse their way into the money...while possibly picking up some monster hands along the way and maybe taking out smaller stacks. I've always said...I'd rather have a BIG STACK...and LET the smaller stacks give me their chips. Then to have a BIG STACK...and try to  STEAL the smaller stacks chips.

Okay...so those are your starting three. There will be no more women named to the team. We've never had more than one. And this year we have two. Lady players...they are a special breed. They really do stick together. We were to get one of these gals making it to the final table? They might have to move it to the MGM Arena to accommodate all the viewer requests. I expect we will get a LOT more ladies jumping in and buying shares so they can have a piece of these two gals...and that our Team Facebook Group page will be jumping!

So who is next? We are only about 15 shares away from naming a fourth player...then next up will be the 5th (and maybe final) player. I am heading out to St Thomas next Thursday for five days to celebrate our one-year anniversary of opening Bernie's with my best buddy Barth Melius. Then I come home...go to my nephews graduation from Marine training over in Pensacola the next morning...then Squirrel and I are going to the Eagles concert in New Orleans two nights later...and then BAM! It's time for me to jump on a plane and fly out to Vegas with a backpack full of cash...contracts...and a bunch of hope and optimism. So my timetable to get the finishing touches put on this year's team is really tight. 

I know a lot of people, locally anyway, were really hoping (even counting on) for a Wild Card tournament like I've done in the past...where I give 10-15 players a chance to buy in for $400 or so...and awarding the winner of that tournament a seat to the team and the tourney. Sadly...and due mainly to my own tardiness, I won't be doing that this summer...simply because there isn't time for it. Wild Bill Phillips, however...has been running his own satellites at our bar (Out of Bounds) in Metairie over the past couple of months to get more people to the Main Event. Bill offered to run an event for me...a couple of times...and I need to make sure to thank him for that offer. I probably should have let him do it...but I would rather not do something where I can't be there to oversee it. Also...I wanted to be in control of who was invited to play. Despite my fondness for MOST players in the area...there are SOME who I openly can't stand...nor would I want them anywhere NEAR the team I put my name on. And if they were to win a tournament that granted them automatic entry onto my team? I would be livid. So there's that. 

So who is on deck? Well...as I mentioned earlier...I have gotten a BUNCH of applications from players. Some are better than others...not just in how much they told me about themselves, and expressed why I should pick them...and how hungry they are....but also in terms of their past results. To me...the story sometimes is just as important as the overall stats. I have to make two (maybe more) really really really difficult choices. I am deciding between a few past players...some who already cashed for me/us...and some who didn't...but came close. I am deciding on a couple of guys I know personally...one who has won a WSOP bracelet...who are a little down on their luck in their personal lives...and could really use a HUGE opportunity to potentially turn their lives around. There is a lot to consider...and plenty of people to choose from. And like I said...I hate being the person who delivers bad news. In a perfect world...someone with REALLY DEEP POCKETS will call me up (or text me) and say "Hey! Monkey! I love what you're doing man! How about if I buy 200 shares myself so you can send another four players!???" That would be killer. My partner Barth knows a couple of guys like that. I know a couple. I'll cross my fingers. But for now...I am counting on a big push from my investor base to start pummeling my email box at ThePokerMonkey1@aol.com to request shares so we can send another awesome team out to Vegas!!!! 

As for myself? I just checked out something I haven't looked at in awhile...especially since I hardly play anymore...MY Cardplayer profile. I see I am sitting at 146 career cashes...which of course is ONLY on tourneys that the buy in was $300 or more. I do WONDER how many cashes I would have on there if they reported ALL tourneys played...say, over $100. It would be fun to know...but alas...I don't think there is ANY way to know. But I am looking at a lineup of events at Venetian, The Wynn and Aria during the week I am in Vegas...that would give me a shot at getting to 150 career cashes...and maybe re-light my poker flame! Something about getting to Vegas...and getting immersed in that environment..it always really gets my competitive juices flowing...and my desire to win. Back when I went out for 7 weeks...and I was NEEDING to come home a winner to ensure that my bills got paid...now I'm in a much better place financially, and I can go and just play for the fun of it, and to play BIGGER buy in tourneys with a chance to win something that will make an impact on my family's life. No more laboring through these $300-$400 tourneys...playing for hours and either min-cashing for peanuts...or angrily busting after hours of play. If I'm going to play a tourney...there is gonna be a BIG score at the end of that rainbow!!! 

I will post another blog next week before I head off to St Thomas and let everyone know where we are SHARES-wise. We're almost there! 3 weeks til GO TIME!!


Friday, June 1, 2018

The Bear is Out of His Cave!

Well...HELLO! Remember me!??? So back on February 21st...after a 6-month absence from blogging...I sat down all ready to finally post something. This snippet below is as far as I got. And now...it's June 1st. It's summer! 

{6 months long enough? That's how long it's been since my last entry on this poker blog. Far and away the longest stretch in the history of this scribe. I don't even know where to start. It's truly amazing just how much can transpire in half a year. Do I talk about what's happened in MY life? Do I talk about what's happened in the world? And give my commentary on all of it? Do I even attempt to delve into poker-related shenanigans? I suppose if I were going to do that, I probably should have thrown up a post back in January during the Beau Rivage's last tourney. There was actually some decent material that week to write about. But...alas, I once again dropped the ball. Or, rather, the pen. Or more specifically, the keyboard.

And sadly...I only started this entry...at 3am, for one reason. Because, as someone with OCD...who is a true "To Do List" aficionado...if I can just commit the act of STARTING something...then I am guaranteed to actually finish it in a relatively acceptable amount of time. Hopefully tomorrow. For now...I'm off to bed. }

Yeah...well...so here we are. June. So much has happened in the last 10 months. SO much. And with the Main Event in Vegas set to begin in just a month...I haven't even lifted the first finger to launch this summer's team of WSOP Grinders...aka "The Minions." In peeking at the schedule, I see they have moved up the starting date of the Main even further this year...and instead of Day 1 a, b and c taking place over the weekend...its now a M-T-W affair. Weird. In fact Day 1C is on the 4th of July. So if I am going to do it for a (is this correct???) 5th consecutive year...oh..it is, I pulled up the spreadsheet. 4 players in 2014, 5 players in '15, 6 players in '16, then 8 (bucking the escalating trend) in 2017. So yeah...this WOULD...be the 5th year in a row. 

FULL DISCLOSURE. It's been a long year. Long, taxing, stressful, pain-filled year...and to be completely honest? I really do NOT WANT to do the team this summer. I really don't. And it's for no other reason than I'd just like a chance to DO NOTHING. To sit on the back deck of our new home we just moved into this spring...and look out over our 4 acre back yard...and the pond back there...and drink something cold, eat something tasty...watch Carley run around in the back yard with our dogs or her friends, and just enjoy the summer free of any responsibilities. People just don't, and to be fair, CAN'T...fully comprehend what an undertaking it is putting this team together. For starters...I typically start talking it up in about March! I have generally had the team pretty well in place by NOW. Then its just a matter of getting all the Team Schwag produced and dispersed, and collecting all the money from investors...then making MY plans to get out to Vegas to orchestrate everything. I know it sounds like a quick and easy mission...but wow...it's NOT!

Over the past month I have been getting bombarded by a LOT of poker players, even investors (both past and those wanting to get in for the first time) asking for details on this year's team. I've even had a few people offer to lend their assistance with the endeavor. [If you are one of those and I didn't respond...sorry, I just didn't know what or how to say what I might have said!] 

Here is why I can't just "turn it over" to someone else to run. For 25 years...I have run sports pools of all various types. In that time I have grown a network of people...from probably 25 when I started...to about 2000 today. Along the way I added people from my various career fields...one of those being poker. So when I decide to do something of this magnitude...it involves reaching out to those 2000 people whose trust I have earned over the years. See...despite being owed more money than I care to even try to digest, from over 100 people...I keep slugging away with the pools. Trust me, the GOOD definitely outweigh the BAD. By a long shot. The BAD just make it a little frustrating at times. Well...I have never, not ONCE...failed to pay a person who I owe money. Hence...when doing something like "The Minions?" There are a lot of people sending me a LOT of money...and people don't just DO THAT...unless they KNOW 100% that the person running the show is someone they can trust to not just run it properly, but also be trustworthy when it comes to handling the money, as well as disbursing the winnings, whatever those may end up being. 

I am smart enough to know that if I were to just allow someone to take over for me...that they would have an extremely hard time getting all of my customers who I have built relationships with over the past three decades to just jump on board without any trepidation whatsoever. And so...if this is going to happen...it's going to happen with me and me alone MAKING IT happen. 

So? I get it. The feedback has convinced me. And once I get the ball rolling...it will get done, and get done right. I pride myself on NOT doing things "half-assed." We might not have the same number of players as we have been getting the past few years. Maybe a smaller team. Maybe NOT? I can't predict the way people will respond. The economy...we are told..is robust. Right? Wrong? I don't know. Depends, I guess, on who you are listening to...and if they have motivations or an agenda at play. And players? I always have a large pool of players to choose from. But I like to choose those who are HUNGRY and WANT to play for my team...under my banner. I'm not just looking to give someone a convenient stake. That's not what this team was started for. I get people asking me left and right to buy their action for the World Series. Typically...if I'm going to buy ANY action on ANYONE for the WSOP...it's going to be MY team. And I will buy a LOT of it. 15 shares last year alone. I like to put my money into things that I have poured my heart and soul into. 

I've been extremely proud of the poker players who have played on my teams the last four years. We have yet to have anyone make that "BREAKOUT SCORE" that defines a player for his/her poker career...but man, we have had a few of them come close. Some brutally unlucky breaks here and there...which truly IS the name of the game in poker (most of you know of MY bad luck break at the 2012 WSOP with 155 remaining...when my KK lost to 10-10 and ended my dream) or we might have had some MAJOR returns on our investments. But we have had a LOT of people cash! In fact...Wild Bill Phillips, who has played on all four squads...got deepest in our first year...then 'cashed' in back to back years before falling just short last year. Christian Iacobellis, who has represented us the last two years...has also cashed in BOTH trips...and is an odds-on favorite to represent the squad again. And as part of my unwritten and unofficial policy of "Thee Who Goes Deepest Gets an Invite to Return Next Summer," Chris Canan holds that title from last year's team. 

I know that if I DON'T do the team...the closer we get to the Main Event...the itchier and itchier I am going to be getting. Not having my team there would expose a big void in my life for those two weeks. The excitement of having over 100 investors on board...cheering like crazy on our Facebook Team/Investor page...always adds so much to the experience. I know if I don't do the team...it's going to really dig at me. So...with that in mind...LET 'ER RIP! And lets see how much earth I can move in just 3 or 4 weeks!!!! Adding to the limited time...I have to take a trip June 21-25th down to St Thomas to celebrate our one-year anniversary of opening 'Bernie's,' It's also an excuse to celebrate the birthday of my business partner and best friend, Barth Melius. I haven't been down to St Thomas since the week of Thanksgiving...when I took the family down there. Point blank...it SUCKED. I truly wish (as did the girls) that we had gone to Maui instead. The flight alone would have been less. Paid around $900 per ticket. And the condo we had to rent was grossly overpriced. The one that we rent was still out of commission due to the hurricanes that ravaged the island. So we overpaid for a place that had power that came and went. Had no clean running water. No internet. No television. It was awful. Yeah...the beach was nice. Unless you ask Squirrel. Some people are completely immune to sand fleas...and some get devoured. Put my wife in that second category. She got annihilated by them...was covered head to toe in what looked like a bad rash. And she itched like a maniac for 5 days solid. She was mIsErAbLe!!!! 

The GOOD NEWS....is that our bar wasn't affected at all...so we were one of the only places operating on the island. 

In a show of generosity and just basic human caring...Barth decided to treat a TON of people (10,000 was the last estimate I heard) to free meals in the months after the hurricane. Power line workers, FEMA reps, National Guard, local police and military, insurance adjusters...they all knew Bernie's was a place they could come in for a cold drink and a warm meal...and it really made a lasting impression on everyone on the island. I'm extremely proud to be not just business partners...but friends...with such a good guy who has such a kind heart. It was the right thing to do, at the right time...and we are now starting to reap the benefits from the rest of the community down there. 

On a side note...Barth was forced out of his old location in Metairie...where his bar 'Out of Bounds' had been for 12 years...because his landlord...who had previously run a failing bar in that location before letting Barth have the space and run it successfully...decided after meeting a girl half his age...that he would like to try being a rock star, albeit an aging one...like, THINK: Keith Richards!!! Throwing her the keys and letting her "run her own bar" while he reaped the benefits of being a wanna-be Hugh Hefner (rest in peace Hugh!). So yeah...Barth didn't get his lease renewed...and was forced to quickly find a new location AND move out within 30 days. It was a total jam job. But Barth being Barth...he sucked it up..utilized his resources, and found a location. A better location. A two-story location...one that once we are able to get the upstairs done (the lower level opened for business again months ago) once permits are finally granted, and build out is completed, will serve as a fantastic venue for the frequent poker games and tourneys he likes to run. Well as it turned out...he needed a little cash flow to make the move...so I was extended an offer to come on board as a part owner of Out of Bounds, too. Of course I jumped at the chance. So now...I have a nice piece of two very successful bars (with food) that are about 2000 miles apart!!!! Oh, and....Clarence? The putz who forced us out of the old location? Months later...he STILL hasn't opened "his" place.

In February...after a conversation about what to do about our "Carley/Guest Room" problem...as it related to all of Carley's toys...Squirrel and I ended our discussion with me telling her..."Look, I never thought this house was going to be our last house. I've always wanted a big yard. I hate having neighbors 20 feet away. I'd like a pond for the dogs to play in...maybe enough land to have horses someday. If you think Carley is outgrowing her room....go! Go find a bigger house!" So what did she do? She called up our favorite realtor....who a LOT of you know...Jonathan Griffin...who used to be my "go to guy" when he managed the local Buckle for about 15 years. Well now he is this town's SUPER REALTOR. I mean...that title doesn't come lightly...I actually WORKED in real estate myself for awhile when I lived in Atlanta. It wasn't for me. Well..it suits Jonathan perfectly, and he is GREAT at his job. Didn't take him long to find us a few places to look at. The first one we looked at...we both LOVED. Had an amazing back yard with a beautiful deck and pool. Secluded. 3 acres. Only one problem. ZERO closet space. IT was a deal killer. Next up...the house we ended up buying. Woolmarket area. 4 acres. 1.3 acre pond in back yard. 2500 square feet house. Two-car garage. Bought it the Friday before the Super Bowl. But didn't move in until after March Madness! Hired some handymen and spent a butt load of time and money getting it to where Squirrel wanted it before moving in. 

Then, once we got moved in...it was time to work on the OLD house to get IT ready to rent out. Two months of having no one in there left a mark financially...but when it came time to rent it out..it was immaculate. And with all the improvements, upgrades and repairs that I've put into that house...my renters are basically getting a brand new home. They begged us not to rent to anyone else...as they needed a couple of weeks. I let them have it...and they are thrilled. Hopefully they turn out to be even HALF as good as the tenant I have renting my house in Pensacola. Another property that has seen a TON of money spent on repairs and upgrades this year. 

Carley just graduated from Kindergarten! It was a great year. I spent lots of time going there to eat lunch with her...and volunteering for stuff at her school. I got to know all the kids in her class really well. It was a lot of fun. I love hanging out with little kids. They are so funny. So innocent. And they ask the silliest questions that just crack me up. Next year...Carley will be moving from North Bay to North Woolmarket. I hope the school is at least close to as good as North Bay was. And the kids as nice. In the meantime...she is home with Daddy for the summer...but next week she starts a Summer Camp Program through North Bay that is limited to only a small number of kids. Squirrel went there at 4 in the morning...after her and I had been out the night before for a concert and gambling...suffice to say...she was miserable. But she got the spot!!! Carley will be joined by 4 of her best friends...so she should have a great time. 

What else? Alabama won the National Championship!!! Again! My Mariners are a game out of first place!!!! The NBA is rigged...obviously, as the Cavs and Warriors hook up in the Finals for the FOURTH year in a row. That's never happened in the history of the league. My Rangers missed the NHL playoffs for the first time since Carley's been alive...but the 1st year Vegas Golden Knights have done the absolutely unthinkable...and not just won their division...but are sitting in the Stanley Cup Finals...with the series tied at a game apiece headed back to DC. Crazy crazy crazy!!!!!!

Trump is still president...YUP! The crazy lunatic liberals still haven't impeached him. I've had to back away from any and almost all communications with liberals. At first...it was kind of fun. It was fun to kind of poke the bear. But it was also an attempt to try and win over people that were (in my opinion) lacking in political knowledge. But as time went on...and it became evident that the lunatics who I find are infected with TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome) I learned that they were simply incorrigible, and were in no way going to be moved from their position on Trump. Occasionally...I will happen upon a thread that grabs my attention...that deals with some kind of political thing...and I will catch myself..before it gets too deep...or too incendiary...and I pull the ejection handle and get the hell out of there. 

In case you don't KNOW my position on politics, and/or Trump? In my life...I've never thrown my loyalty to any ONE party. I think the people who simply pledge themselves to a party...no matter what...are idiots. Narrow-minded, non-independent thinking morons. I have basically thrown my support behind the candidate who I think is either the right person for the current moment...or has the policies I find most appealing. Now...in my 40 years of following politics, I always found that MOST politicians would say one thing to get elected, then a whole different thing ONCE elected. So it's been refreshing, actually, to see that Trump has kept almost ALL of his campaign promises. Some more than others. Some we are still waiting on, of course...but hurdles stand in the way. I felt that Hillary Clinton was (and still is) one of the worst human beings who ever held any office. I think she is corrupt to the bone. And I wasn't interested in seeing a continuation of Obama's 8 years of fuck ups. And so...I voted for a guy who I consider to be an egotistical douchebag. Who has a knack for saying the wrong things at the wrong time. Who is immature. Who badly needs a Twitter "handler." Who exaggerates like no one I've ever seen (which just leads the other side to scream LIAR!!!!) ...and for what reason? Deep-seeded insecurity? I don't know. So yeah...he's flawed. Some would say WAYYYYY FLAWED. But? He's the right president at the right time. He makes things happen. He's a risk taker. He's not afraid to swing for the fences. He has reestablished our country as a STRONG nation that other nations fear again. And with fear...comes respect. Just as I've been my whole life...you can't always be overly concerned with everyone "liking you." As long as they "respect you." And as much as you may hate Donald Trump...its hard to deny that we are benefiting from him being in office from a lot of angles. And if you can't? Well..then you are just "one of them" and please don't try to engage me in political chit chat.

So..back to poker. Geez...I wouldn't mind getting out there and actually playing something myself. I was looking at the schedule for the Beau Rivage...just this week...and it looks, unless I've completely lost my ability to read....like they quit doing their $50k Guarantee tournament twice a month. Which would/will really suck. Because now a days...it takes a lot to motivate me to leave the compound to go sit with a bunch of annoying poker players to win a, meh...."decent" amount of money. Its about the only prize pool locally that I can't find the motivation to go play for...and now it might be toast. I hope not. Maybe they just took the summer off. Actually, it looks like the poker room is about to move (again) because they just voted to allow states to decide if they want to allow sports betting. And all indicators are pointing to the Beau being in the Sports booking business pretty soon. That should be fun. Not sure just HOW much of an impact that will have on the local economy. Hopefully its a much-needed shot in the arm for everyone here on the coast. 

[update: I dropped in to edit a few items today, and should add that last night I saw Derek from the poker room...and he informed me that the 50k is NOT gone. I simply looked at The Poker Atlas...which he says is always wrong, despite his numerous attempts to get them to correctly report their tourney schedule. The wife and I also played a little poker...an hour BEFORE the show, and a couple hours AFTER the show. I was +750 before the show...and -600 after the show. The crippler was flopping a full house...holding 55 on a board of J-5-J. I was pretty certain by the turn that the other person had a jack. SO it ALL got in there...and wouldn't you know? They hit the 1-outer Jack for QUADS to felt me? That suckkkkkkkkked!!!! ]

OKAY. This is an OPEN CALL for people who are interested in either (a) PLAYING on my 2018 Summer WSOP team....or (b) INVESTING in the team. Shares cost $200. The players get to play for 35% of what they win. The buy in isn't included in that. If a player "wins" a total of, say....$75k? $10k goes back to the investors. The players winnings are $65k...and they get 35% of that. Investors split up and share 65% of ALL COMBINED WINNINGS. I collect all monies (from investors). I hand the money to the players. I observe them buying in. I take a picture of their seat receipt. They all sign player/investor contracts. We take a team photo. If I have time...they will all receive team "gear" in the form of hats, t-shirts and either polo shirts or hoodies. Again...if time allows...since I dragged my feet so bad this year. I have an ace in the hole named Jacqueline who might...MIGHT...be able to make something happen along those lines!

If you would like to participate as either a PLAYER or as an INVESTOR...I ask that you email me at ThePokerMonkey1@aol.com. Yes...I still have America Online. Don't judge me. I have my reasons. They are lame, kind of...but still...my reasons. Okay...go ahead and judge. I probably would too! 

I will now attempt to blog on a regular basis this month...and update the whole process. Keep everyone in the loop on where we stand and where we are headed, or trying to get to. Just getting this blog written was the first obstacle, the first hurdle...in getting this effort restarted for another exciting year. 

Tonight!??? Me and Squirrel are having yet another "Date Night!!!" That's about 6 or 7 now this year! Dinner at BR Prime...a little gambling...then off to see one of my favorite comedians, Jim Gaffigan!!!!  And thank god...I still have a few favorites who haven't let their politics force me to scratch them off my list of "favorite performers." In 2018...it seems to be a dead heat between "Who will do or say something to ruin their careers" and "Who's politics will cause me to never support them ever again???" What a year. What a time we live in. See ya soon!!! Promise...much much sooner than 10 months!!!!