Monday, August 15, 2022

PART 2...What Became of Monkey...And Will We Ever See Him Again???


(continued, Part 2)

Shortly after collecting his $44k for finishing 175th in the 2012 WSOP Main Event, "Monkey" made his way back home, to his newborn child, Carley and his wife, Squirrel...and little was heard from him until he showed up that fall in Hammond, Indiana (Chicago, basically) for a circuit event. Refreshed and seemingly riding a cloud of jubilation at having become a father..."Monkey" made the money in one of the early events and was in the midst of another good start when suddenly he was surrounded by security, escorted from the property...and not seen or heard from again. No one, including "Monkey" himself knew why he had been ushered off the property. 

He would eventually learn what had transpired, and with it being a mere misunderstanding between something he said, and what a dealer from Belarus thought she heard...had led to a complaint being made against him, and it being followed through on. He had been 86'd. Banned from all WSOP properties. He returned to his hometown. Numerous attempts to clear his name, and remove the ban against him were met with resistance from the other side. Eventually, "Monkey" came to terms with the realization that he was never going to be allowed back in. He would spend the next ten years playing at events that were held at non-WSOP properties, having some mixed results. His life with his family, and businesses that he had become more involved in seemed to take over as the top priority in his life. Poker became a bit of an after-thought.  

Poker on its faced continued to evolve in the following years. The names began to change. The "vets" or "TV pros" as they'd come to be known as...were becoming fewer and farther between appearances. Monkey himself started a "team" of players...who would allow him to live vicariously through them at the WSOP Main Event, since he was unable to compete himself. He sold shares to friends, family and poker acquaintances; the price being $200 per share, with every 50 shares sending a player to the Main Event. Monkey didn't make anything off of this venture. As an investor himself, he only made money, if THEY made money. The first year he did it, 2014, he had 4 players. As each year came, the team increased by one player, until in 2018, it had a record 10 players. The results were mixed. While numerous players made deep runs, with some even making the money, there was never enough won to earn everyone an actual profit on their investment. But the experience was a positive for just about everyone involved. 

Sadly, the arrival of the Wuhan Corona Virus, a gift from China, wrapped our world in a state of hysteria...cancelling just about everything important on our planet. Sporting events. Concerts. Theatrical productions. And of course, poker tournaments. Hell it even closed down casinos. Businesses were forced to close, which caused many of them to go completely OUT of business. Basically, two or three years of pure incompetence at the highest levels wreaked havoc on the entire planet. Economies were destroyed. Mental health was taken over the edge to places never visited before. And yeah, lots of people died, from a virus that still hasn't been proven to have been either created or having naturally occurred. That is, and will likely always BE...up for debate. A lot probably has do with which side of the political fence you live on. 

With everything being cancelled or forced into schedule changes, Monkey was forced to shelve his poker team...which has come to be known by many as "Monkey's Minions." But all things being equal, and with the amount of "stuff" on his "To-Do-List" piling up seemingly more by the day, having a break from the annual summer project came as a bit of a relief. The smoke from Covid-19, which it had somehow taken on the newer, more politically-correct name sometime around the time Joe Biden was "elected" the 46th President in November of 2020...had finally lifted for the most part by the spring of 2022. People were finally returning to work, under the guise of "new job creation" by the new administration. And after a year where the World Series of Poker was moved to the fall in 2021...which just felt kind of weird, it was announced that everything would return to normal for the summer of 2022. In one exciting new twist, the yearly event would be moved...from it's old stomping grounds at the RIO Resort and Casino, where it had resided since the "poker boom" arrived in the early 2000's...to Caesar's-owned properties Bally's and Paris Casinos, which were side-by-side and offered plenty of convention space to stage the event. The move also provide the players with a lot more dining options, as well as hotel options that were within walking distance of the venue. 

When it came time to decide on what to do about the "Monkey's Minions" for the upcoming summer...Monkey made a tough-to-make decision. About two years ago, Monkey received a notice that he was being audited by the IRS.  This came as a bit of irritating news, but having kept perfect poker records over the entirety of his career...he was more or less prepared to be audited. Where things turned tricky, and annoying...was when the sports pools that he has run for close to 25 years came under the microscope. Lots of money coming IN....and lots of money going OUT. Shocker! People join a pool. Then people WIN those pools. People pay to play! Then they get PAID when/if they win! But to the IRS...there has/had to be something nefarious going on there...something the US Government felt like he owed them a chunk of change for! And so, the audit got more and more detailed, finally graduating to an actual criminal investigation. Able to see where he thought this might lead, and having read a lot of books lately that detailed just HOW the US Government intended to start going after tax "evaders" due to the onset of crypto-currency and other "work arounds" to avoid forking over all their hard-earned money to a bunch of bureaucrats who seem to lack ANY ability whatsoever to spend taxpayers money responsibly...yes, I am aware this is a really long run-on sentence....Monkey made the smart move and hired a highly-reputable tax attorney to represent his interests and hopefully prevent him from getting railroaded to a federal facility where everyone wears the same outfits and eats the same meals a few times a day. 

Monkey decided that holding a bunch of other people's money; albeit in escrow (essentially) and being tasked with potentially have to sort out a bunch of prize money and tax forms AFTER the event concluded...combined with a "to-do-list" at home that never seemed to get any shorter, he made the difficult decision to turn over the entire endeavor to really the ONLY person he could ever foresee having the ability, the patience, the motivation, and the trustworthiness to handle. Bill "Wild Bill" Phillips was offered the chance to "take the reigns" from Monkey and essentially run the team for the Summer of 2022. He accepted, and quite frankly did a great job with what ended up being 7 players. When one of the players was a late scratch, Bill himself stepped in to take his place, and wound up being the only player to make the money. It was the 2nd or 3rd time that Bill had made the money in the Main Event...all as a member of Monkey's team. 

Lost in all the lead up to the Main Event...was a phone call that was received by Monkey on the evening of June 7th at 6:36pm. While outside pressure washing his shed...he heard his cell phone ringing through his headphones. But by the time he got the washer turned off, and his phone out of his pocket...he had missed the call. When he looked and saw who the call was from...he was basically in shock. "Jack Effel" was what the screen was telling him. "Huh?" he thought. Then his phone rang again. Once again, Mr. Effel calling. To summarize, Effel was calling to bury a 10-year hatchet between him and "Monkey." In a very positive, upbeat fashion, he offered to allow "Monkey" to return to play the WSOP, not just the Main Event...but all the properties. "Monkey" was really mainly interested, however, in just ONE tournament...the BIG ONE...the one he's had to watch for the last ten years with a mixture of emotions. Having had that obstacle lifted, and the green light to return being illuminated, left "Monkey" feeling overwhelmed. When he went inside to share the news with his wife, the news was received with a cautionary level of happiness. 

For "Squirrel," his wife...Vegas has been the site of a lot of marital angst over the past two decades. True, there have been many happy times enjoyed there together, including their marriage to one another. But it also had come with a lot of frustrating moments, not the least of which extended to the poker table. A lot of sleepless nights had been encountered while her husband was out in Vegas grinding at the tables at all hours of the day and night. "Monkey" had come to realize that this lifestyle of a poker pro was one that placed a lot of stress on a marriage. That a lot of what he had put her through in the previous years was unfair to her. He had no interest in subjecting her to more of that. And with a baby girl who was now a 10-year old girl...a lot has changed in their lives. So its safe to say he wasn't expecting his wife to do cartwheels when hearing the news that he was now allowed to return to Vegas to play the WSOP Main Event. She feigned happiness, but the true emotion was clear to see for "Monkey." When he went back outside to finish the pressure washing, she met him out there to apologize for not "acting happier" at the news. Apology not necessary, he told her. He fully understood, completely. And it was most likely that understanding, that moment of honesty, that made his upcoming trip west easier for her to stomach. 

Monkey was out of "jail" and ready to return to the site of some of his greatest AND most disappointing moments in his poker career. The team of 7 was fully funded and assembled in place. His business partner in his bars was en route to Vegas to take a swing at the Main and some other events as well. His long time pal, Joe Cutler from the East Coast (South Jersey area) was also headed out to play the Main, and was looking forward to reuniting after 10 years of not having hung out together. Like "Monkey," Joe had settled down and got married, worked in the family business while backing down from the full-time poker grind...and even banged out a couple of whippersnappers...who are easily the center of his universe! Not just Joe...but several of Monkey's other "poker buddies" had taken the same course in their own personal lives. You know...becoming ADULTS!!!! :)  

In the next part of this series...Will "Monkey" Souther will take over himself, and share his World Series Main Event experience with all of you!   

Sunday, July 3, 2022

"There's This Player Everyone Used to Call Monkey"


[I went back and forth in my head, debating with myself, on which approach I would take in writing this post. First person account? Third person? Past tense, present tense? I don't know. If you've never known me, heard of me...anything? Or whether you've known me quite well over the past 10-15 years or longer...you'll hopefully comprehend what you are about to read]

Once upon a time, there was this poker player the people called "The Poker Monkey." He was brash, loud, extremely opinionated, controversial, often obnoxious...especially if he didn't like you. He was also incredibly sarcastic...so much so, that if you didn't possess the ability to sufficiently interpret sarcasm, you might think he was directly and intentionally trying to offend you. It made for some very spicy encounters at the poker table. But on top of all of that, "Monkey" was a guy who LOVED the excitement of playing poker tournaments. He came fired up. He quickly made it his mission to chat up his table, getting to know everyone while introducing himself. Some thought this was ploy, that he was essentially throwing out a "dragnet" to gather information on his table mates. Others thought it was just "Monkey being Monkey." Somewhere in between those two, lies the actual truth. 

For close to a decade, "Monkey" was a regular on the poker tournament circuit. Initially, when he started out...he was a quintessential "grinder" on the circuit, playing in whatever tournaments he was able to get himself into by winning Sit-N-Go's. Rumor has it, there has never been a player who has registered more SNG's played than "Monkey." And in a place he himself coined "Sit N Go Land" there is a diminished popularity in the current tournament landscape in these single-table satellites utilized to help players get into tournaments by spending a little to gain a lot. I'm not sure WHY this happened...but it definitely did. Poker went through a transition from a game that virtually anyone could get involved in...to a game where you either needed deep pockets, an investor with deep pockets, or a vast network of friends, family or poker acquaintances who were willing to buy a "piece of your action." Anyone who has played poker long enough, knows that the variance in poker makes it extremely difficult to play full time and be profitable. 

This guy, "Monkey," he was lucky. He'd been running sports pools for quite awhile and had developed a pretty big network of people who trusted him enough with their money to get involved with his poker-backing packages. It enabled him to keep playing on a regular basis. Eventually, one person decided that they wanted ALL the action, and became Monkey's full time backer...from approximately 2007-2010. This would prove to be the most successful period of his poker career...where he would win a couple 6-figure scores, and close to 10 5-figure ones. It was a great 5-year run for "Monkey."

Then 2012 came along. "Monkey and his wife "Squirrel" had a baby...Carley Grace. She remains their one and only child. Carley took center stage in their lives. Monkey's full time backer decided to retire from backing semi-crazy poker players. "Monkey" became more of a stay-at-home Daddy...and less of a Poker Monkey. When he did find time to venture out and play...it was done by selling shares to his network of followers. The results were mixed. Poker suddenly wasn't as fun for him as it used to be. The players didn't talk as much, or like being talked to as much. The rules had tightened up significantly. SNG's were almost non-existent. Nightly tournaments that had been so much fun in the "hey day" of poker...were not as prevalent. It was...just different. 

In the 2012 WSOP Main Event...after 4 failed attempts to ever cash in the Big One...despite making it to at LEAST Day 3 in every one that he played, he finally broke through and made the money. As a matter of act, he made it to Day 5...with a real shot at making life-changing money. With "Squirrel" sending him photos of Carley Grace to remind him what he was playing for...he patiently picked up one more pay spot after another...while sitting on a comfortable chip stack of about 40 big blinds. Then...with just 175 players remaining...acting UTG+2..."Monkey" peeled back his cards to see KK for the first time in the entire tournament. He had wondered where they had been. He'd had AA a bunch of times. But KINGS? Not once. He put in a 2.5x raise. The action folded around to Elisabeth Hille, who had just won a massive pot against a young kid who admittedly had grown infatuated with the prospect of having his hands shown on ESPN. Those cameras were all over the floor..as we were down to just 18 tables. He made a horrible, just ridiculous play with AK...when all of us KNEW 99.9% that Elisabeth had AA. The kid couldn't get away from it, and Ms. Hille inherited his entire stack. 

Her inheriting his stack, is what made it possible for her to play the hand the way she did against "Monkey." She admitted that she'd grown aware of his tight play all day. That when he raised in early position, she wasn't sure how good her 10-10 was. But now that she had chips...she could afford to play around a little. Once Monkey's raise made it to her...she bumped it up even more. It folded back around to "Monkey" and upon inspection of his stack size, relevant to the money now in the pot...it was obvious that he had two moves; fold and live to pick up more spots, and question the fold for the rest of his life probably...or shove all in and see what happens. He chose the right option, option B. It was a relief when he saw that she didn't have AA, or for that matter...even AK. All of that relief went down the drain however when the dealer put a 10 on the flop. It did, however, come with 3 hearts...and with Monkey holding two red Kings...he was not out of it yet. He WAS out of it on the turn however...as Hille made quad tens. "Monkey's" 2012 WSOP Main Event was over...busting in 175th place. Hille would finish just shy of the final table...in 10th place. Little did "Monkey" know...but this would be his final appearance in the WSOP Main Event for awhile. Maybe ever. 


Monday, July 19, 2021



Hi everybody! Hope you're all having a wonderful, safe summer. If you happen to be a kid still in school (unlikely-and if so WHY are you reading MY blog!!!??) or a parent (more likely) of a kid about to be going BACK to school, the summer is quickly coming to an end. Which as far as I'm concerned, is perfectly fine...because that means one thing!  FOOTBALL SEASON! It's going to be a pretty exciting season in Tuscaloosa with a handful of unknowns at several positions to find answers to. As for the NFL, well, I'll always be a Seahawks fan until the day they put me in the ground...but without Drew Brees around, it's going to be a little bit harder for me to root for the Saints. He was the one shiny object that kept me interested in them. I certainly won't be rooting for them very hard if Jameis Winston is their starting QB. I've hated that guy since college. Guess we'll see how it all shakes out. 

I would say I'm ready for summer to be over...so we can get into the cooler season, but all of us living in the south KNOW that would be a huge, fat lie! I've had my sprinkler system turned off since May! No joke. It hasn't run ONE TIME. I've never seen so much rain. Half of my yard I can't even cut with the riding mower because the ground is so soft it completely tears it up. So if I want it cut, I have to either delicately use the push mower...or in some cases, a weed-eater. Everyone is having all the same issues. I know one thing for sure...I better not hear ANYONE complaining about a drought for a LONG time! Oh...except for those 'nice folks' out west! I'm sorry, but maybe this is just a little bit the poker player in me, but I'm a heavy believer in karma. As far as I'm concerned, everything bad that is being thrown at places like Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, L.A., and a few other places out there...they've brought it on to themselves. 

Not sure if I mentioned it in my previous blog post...but over the winter I let my wife talk me into going in on a river house with her brother. He's got a wife and three boys, and of course they have a ton of friends, as well as relatives in the area. Meanwhile...we live 6 hours south, have only Carley...and might make it up there 3 or 4 times a year, max. They live 25 minutes from where the house is in Rogersville, along the Tennessee/Elk River. We are there right now...our second trip this summer. It's a quaint little place, but the property itself is fantastic. We are surrounded by really nice neighbors. My brother-in-law already had a really nice ski boat, so I chipped in for some nice used wave runners so the kids would have something to keep them entertained. I really didn't think (because of my bad back) that I would get much (if any) use out of them...but as it turns out, they are super-stable and really don't beat up the body as much as I anticipated they might. I've been out on them several times, mostly to pull the kids around on the big tube. About six years ago, my family rented a house for a couple weeks on Lake Chelan out in Washington State. I bought a wake board off of Craig's List while we were there, and actually got up on it and did a fair amount of wake boarding that week. So I brought the board (which I hadn't used SINCE that trip) up here to the river, and had hoped to be able to get up on it and do some boarding. Pffft. No such luck. I tried and failed about 5 or 6 times before I finally gave up. The next day I could barely walk, my hamstrings were destroyed!!! And my forearms hurt like hell too from all the failed attempts to get up. 

Even our Dogs like to TUBE!!!
Me and the girls, 1st Trip out on the WaveRunner!

Hilarious guy I met from England playing PLO
Me and my Sweet Girl!

Squirrel and Daisy out on the boat!

The New Resorts World Casino

The two best things in my life!
Who remembers my 'Ol Buddy Kai Landry?
Well, he came out to Vegas and got married!
It was a really great night! 

That's called....GETTING OLD! And it sucks! If I have ANY plans to be able to do that kind of stuff in the future I am simply going to have to get my ass back into the gym. Maybe one of the two that I'm being automatically debited each month for $20!!!! One thing I've learned about getting old; it's really easy to fall into a lazy routine. You start putting on weight. You find yourself wanting to take naps all the time. It gets harder and harder to get motivated to do little projects on your "To-Do" list. I've really been battling all of those things, and I need for it to END. Like...soon! There are things I WANT to do, in my spare time. And there really isn't anything keeping me from doing them...other than a lack of motivation. So I think once Carley gets back into school the first week of August, I'm going to get my butt in gear and start jump-starting my life!!!

POKER!  Why yes! Yes I HAVE been playing some poker. And in addition to that, I've gotten back to staking, and putting together staking/investor packages. It started with me getting a "hall pass" from Squirrel to go out to Vegas last month to play the big $10m guaranteed $10k buy in event at the Wynn. I stayed at Encore, and played the 3rd and final flight. Things were going pretty normally the first 4 levels. Win a few, lose a few. Hit a draw. Miss five draws. You know the drill. But after rallying from 12k (starting stack of 40k) back up to 46k...I literally picked up AA on the VERY next hand. From under the gun....I raised to 1100 (blinds 200-400 with 400 ante) and it folded around to this newish player...an Asian guy, who came with quite a few chips, and who had immediately been pretty active since he sat down. He had the button, so I guess in HIS world, that meant he needed to apply pressure to me with a 3-bet. You know...me, the seemingly tightest guy at the table, who'd been showing down nothing but mainly Top15 hands all day. He re-raises it to 3600. The blinds both fold. Okay. Cool. Obviously I'm going to put in a 5th raise here...though it would be fun to just flat and let him double me up with some wild play. I just managed to chip back up, and the last thing I wanted to do was "get cute" and screw myself. So I fired a warning shot over his bow...letting him KNOW that I had a huge hand, and that he might want to just fuck off. 

Well...he remained undeterred, even AFTER I bumped it up to 9800! He calls. Ugh. Here we go. Flop comes 10-high...with two diamonds. Pretty innocuous board for everything but a set of tens. I lead out for 12,500. And...truth be known? I'm never folding to whatever move he makes here. But when he instantly ships all in, I put him on either JJ (mayyyyybe QQ- but I think he would have put me all in preflop if he had queens) or AK suited...which is obviously the worst-case scenario there. I was wrong on both counts. He was clear on the other side of the table...and I didn't have my "up close" glasses because I had accidentally left them in a bathroom at Aria the night before. So when I looked at his exposed cards...I THOUGHT I was looking at AK. Which would have seemed pretty normal, and standard. I asked somebody, "Is that AK suited?" And they replied..."No man...it's KING freaking FOUR!???" And...trying not to be THAT guy (you know, Hellmuthiuan in my reaction!!!) I kind of blurted out...."what? King four!???? How the....." and before I could even complete the sentence the dealer slapped a fucking diamond on the turn. I was drawing completely dead to the river...which, adding insult to injury was another GD diamond. Fuuuuuuck ME! Fortunately, the other TWO players who I had raised money by selling shares to stake in that event, were both in close proximity to my table, and literally watched the hand play out. That always makes me feel a little better, because we all know how easy it is to just kind of embellish the telling of a bust out hand. Having witnesses gave me some sense of calm...as I picked up my bag, and zombie-walked to the elevator and back up to my room. 

There is NO worse feeling in poker, am I right? I can handle losing...but please, I beg of you, beat me with a hand that makes some damn sense. I hate plunking down $10k in a tournament where there are guys playing that kind of poker. That's a cash game play, as far as I'm concerned. Whatever. I lost. Time to root for the other two. I went and played PLO, and won a couple dimes. The next day, I went to Venetian and played the PLO tourney there...$600 buy in, I busted, rebought, busted again, rebought a 2nd time...and nearly ran that to the money. I went on a big heater...grew a nice stack...then got into a hand with the only guy at the table with a bigger stack when we were 3 from the money. I think he was chasing a weird draw of some sort against my top set (with a flush draw) when he hit a stupid gutshot straight he didn't even know he had. Yeah...THAT sucked. I was really hoping to snap off that tourney and take $14k back to my room. Well...I didn't. 

Instead, I went across the street to the new casino that just opened the night before, Resorts World. They say they spent 4.3b on the place. Frankly...I don't see where all the money was spent. I mean...sure, it was "nice" and all that. But $4.3b nice? I struggle to see it. The poker room was nice. Spacious. Good dealers. I ended up playing two sessions there. The first session went very well. Cashed out with a $3200 profit. The next session, a couple nights later, not so hot. Missed about every draw. Best hands never seemed to hold up. And THAT... in a nutshell, is Omaha for you! I lost about 4 dimes that second session. 

While I was losing all my early cash-game PLO profits, my other two players were trying to make a big score still in the Wynn Main Event. Jason Bond ran into some bad luck and busted at the end of the day. But Kristen Deardorff ran pretty pure the entire day and bagged up a nice stack. With around 1400 entries...she would end up making it to Day 3...and wind up busting out 94th for close to $32k. For all the investors who bought a share for $200...they all ended up getting $154 back per share. So they almost boke even. They proceeded to use a lot of that ROI on the next to staked events for Kristen, since she lives in Vegas. She played the $5k Main at Venetian, and didn't have any luck. Then she played the $2400 there, the following weekend...and bricked that one also. Currently, we are in the throes of what I've labeled "The 3-Prong Series Package."  It includes the $600 multi-flight Main at Orleans, then a $600 and another $400 at Venetian to round out the package. I sold a total of 96 shares, for $50 per share, to raise $4800...which covers 3 "bullets" in each event. She has had to use all three buy-ins for the first event, this weekend's $600 Main at Orleans. But on the 3rd and final attempt, she managed to bag $107k...and when she returns today, they should be real close to the money, hopefully she picks up some big hands early...and can grow that "M of 7" / 15 BB's to about three times that...and make another deep run. She certainly has the skills to make it happen. She's a player I really have no hesitancy to stake, for a lot of reasons. (1) she's a solid player  (2) she's great about posting updates on our Facebook Group Page...a private group I created just for the players, the investors, and their friends/family. No one else is allowed to view the group page.  And (3) she's very trustworthy...so no matter what happens, I know I am getting a photo of her buy in slip, and if/when she wins money...I know I don't have to ever worry about getting access to it. For the record...Jason is the same way. 

So I promised my wife and (more importantly) Carley that if I busted before my flight was scheduled to come home...I would change my flight and come home early. I kept my word. I took one day to relax, chill out at the pool, drink some frozen drinks...and then headed home. Well...lucky me, I get the driver who decides he's going to take the most leisurely drive to the airport in history. While I THOUGHT I still had plenty of time to make it...I was starting to get real nervous. We finally pull up with 40 mins before my flight is to depart. Okay okay...should be okay, plus I'm Diamond Medallion now with Delta...which I've been working for years to achieve, so they SHOULD cut me some slack if I'm a little late. NOPE! I get the Bitch From Hell. I think her name was Amy (probably spelled something like Aymey or something equally stupid) And she was in NO MOOD at ALL to be helpful. "You are late, sir. We aren't going to be able to check you in. We ask that you arrive at least 45 minutes before your flight! We're just going to have to rebook you for a later flight." I say "Um yeah, hi...Amy, the flight doesn't leave for 40 minutes. If you really can't get my bags on, I'm happy to take them through security, and check them at plane side. (which, in case you didn't know, is ENTIRELY okay...so long as your baggage will fit through the xray scanner, which mind do) I really don't feel like missing this flight." 

Nope. She tells me she has already given away my 1st class seat. I literally want to kill her. She rebooks me on a flight alright. The freaking red-eye! The flight she just booted me from was at 10:45am. Whatever. FINE! Can I please check my bags at least. NOPE! They won't check bags until 6 hours before the flight. Great! So I find a Centurion Sky Lounge (member via my American Express) and make it my homeless shelter for 7 hours...until they closed for the day. Then I went to the gate 4 hours before the flight...found a nice little cubby hole, and passed out for a few hours. The flight home was fantastic! I got lucky and got one of the newer planes with that newer Delta One 1st class cabin where you have basically your own pod...and the seats recline into an actual bed. I think I slept most of the flight home. Went from temperatures around 115 degrees in Vegas...to a monsoon in New Orleans when I walked out to my car!!! Quite a difference! And...since I've been home from that trip...it's literally rained almost EVERY day, as mentioned! 

Once home, I got back on my iPhone/iPad and started back in my PokerBros club. The latest popular game has been the 5 and 6-handed PLO Hi/Low game. But then they went and added another new game...DOUBLE BOARD! Talk about major action! So far, I've found most of the players in those double boarded games to be pretty shitty. I've run my account up a couple grand in the last two weeks. IN addition to those juicy cash games...they run some very decent tournaments. I just don't play as many tournaments as I would like to because I have a hard time carving out that much time to sit and play one. Maybe you'd like to join the club...and take me on!??? No problem...just be prepared to NOT screw over the friends of mine who run the club. They are a married couple who I've know for years, and who worked on the WSOP circuit for a long time. The network, as mentioned...is POKER BROS. The CLUB ID is 21699. And my REFERAL ID is 663632.  If you DO sign up...shoot me an email at ThePokerMonkey1@aol.com and tell me your handle so I can look for you when I'm playing!!!

So the other night, my wife asked me if I would mind if she took (yet another!) trip to the beach with her girlfriends in a couple weeks. I told her..."Okay, I'll make you a deal. There is a tournament I'd kind of like to go play next weekend. If you let me go play that, then I'm okay with you leaving for another 4-day weekend." She agreed! Much to my relative surprise! So...next weekend, I am climbing in my car...because flying in to Dallas, then renting a car, and having to drive a couple hours from THERE...seems stupid, and I'm driving to Durant, Oklahoma to play in the $3700 WPT Main Event there at Choctaw casino. It's been several years since I played up there. I liked the place, for the most part. So I called and got myself a room reserved, and am all set to go. Drive up Thursday. Bringing enough for two bullets...play on Friday, hopefully NOT on Saturday...then take it from there. If I happen to bust out, I drive home. Easy Peasy! The last time I went up there, I also drove. It was an easy trip. I've put feelers out with a couple of my poker buddies in hopes of finding someone (that I can tolerate for 8-10 hours in a car!!!) to share the ride up there with me. If not...no biggie, I'll just watch movies on my iPad while I drive like I usually do! I'm expecting a pretty good turnout.

As far as me playing staked or on my own dime? I put some feelers out to my current staking group, which consists of about 50 people, telling them I hadn't decided yet whether to play it for 100%, or 40% (if I sell shares, they will hold a 60/40 advantage). Well, I got a bunch of emails from people saying they would love to buy some shares if I DO decide to sell a package...so it looks like I will sell one for BOTH bullets. Then, if I bag on the first attempt, they will already get HALF their investment back! 

I was telling my wife that I don't so much miss poker, as much as I miss the feeling of the competition. I miss that feeling of making the right call...and a player mucking his cards. But most of all, I miss that feeling when all the players remaining move to the Final Table. Because at that point? It becomes like something I have played 2 or 3 thousand of in the last 15 years....a Sit n Go. Nine players. Lose, and your gone, and we all get more elbow room! I LOVE playing Final Tables! But the thing I love the MOST..is being the very last player at the table. Just me...and ALL the chips. I hate chopping...and will almost NEVER agree to it...unless its just the dumbest (economically speaking) decision to refuse chopping. I don't play for hours and hours...and even sometimes days...so that I can get to the Final Table, make some kind of deal, and call it a day. Screw that! 

And finally...I really discovered while on my last trip to Vegas, that I kind of miss the notoriety, the respect that I used to sort of hold in the poker community. It used to be I could sit down at a tourney table, and there was typically 5 or 6 player, minimum, who knew who I was. Knew I was highly-regarded, successful. I took it for granted back then. I think people in all kinds of fields probably do the same thing...taking things for granted, until they don't have it anymore...then they miss it. I miss it. More than the money. I don't really NEED the money now, like I did back then. Back then, I was playing staked...and needing a score to pay my bills. To survive. Now? Not so much. I just want to WIN! I want to experience that taste again. Bad! And I know...if I should put everything together, but fall short, say, finish 3rd, or even 2nd...it's just gonna motivate me even more. I hate losing. Always have. Whether it was sports, or school/grades, or job-related or poker...I f'ing HATE to lose. Granted...I certainly have learned how to handle losing a lot better than I used to! Thank god! Now it just burns me on the insides...without me showing my ass to everyone around me. Because lets be honest; poker? No one, I repeat NO ONE...gives two shits about your bad beat story. They don't really care about your flame out. No one. So when you DO lose? Just take it. Eat it. Bury it. Go find a nice quiet place, alone...and work it all out, mentally. Don't go find the first pack of poker buddies you can locate and whine to them about your bust out. Because...while they might act (and I mean ACT) like they actually give a shit? Trust me...they don't. At all! 

And in saying this? It's the same (at least now) for me when I win. I don't need anyone's adulation. I don't need to post a "sick brag" post on Facebook. Nope. The satisfaction is internal. I guess I've come a long way in that department. At least, in the way I'm perceived by others in the poker world. So yeah...there ya go! I now have a wife, a little girl, and her best friend...down there on the dock...wanting me to come down and play with them...tow them around behind the wave runner. Jump off the top deck of the boat house...about 15 feet high. You know...be "The Fun Dad!!" We've been here 4 days now. This is the last day. Home tomorrow. Then, a couple days to do some yard work, run some errands, then kiss my girls goodbye for what I hope is FIVE days!!! Some of you know, I run sports pools. I've been doing that for close to 30 years now. It's how I was fortunate enough to develop the vast network of people I have that make up my staking groups...and other investment "stuff" that I put together. Some players in the past have demonstrated some bitterness towards me, for the great "staking deal" I played under. Well...I wasn't about to feel bad, or guilty because I spent decades building a credible relationship with so many people that gave me opportunities like the one I enjoy in poker. And in fairness, I haven't made anyone what I would say "rich" but I have made a lot of people "some money" and they always get paid RIGHT AWAY! Which...if you are a poker player...and you're playing staked? You should make your number ONE priority! Don't make people who took a chance on you...have to go way out of their way to get FROM YOU...what is rightfully THEIRS. Those kind of people are a disgrace to this profession. And they keep other well-deserving players from GETTING those kind of opportunities. The more "good guys" there are in poker, the more chances other players will get from people with the finances to take a chance on them. 

So? Moral of the Story? Don't be a F'ing Douchebag!!!! Perhaps I'll see some of you up in Choctaw! Feel free to tap me on the shoulder, or shake my hand, and say "Hi!" It's always good to see either old friends, or make some new ones! Bye for now!!!


Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Remember When Poker Mattered?


APRIL 15, 2021  (picked back up and finished 4/20/2021!)

IT's TAX DAY!!!! Wheeeee!!!!! For those of you NOT under IRS audit, in which case...you have an excuse to NOT file YET....you better have your taxes done by midnight...or make sure your CPA has filed an extension for you!!!!

Yes. It's 2021! YES...I know! I haven't posted a blog in...lets just say FOREVER! I'm also acutely aware that I've become relatively irrelevant in the World of Poker. Over the course of the last 12-15 months I've made a few efforts to sit down and post a blog. IN fact...this was my LAST attempt. It might bring a little entertainment, even humor. Browse this snippet...then catch me on the other side! I am appearing today as a guest (why me??? NO idea! I'm flattered) on Bill & Gene's Gulf Coast Poker Podcast in less than an hour!!!


Here we are, in June 2020. The WSOP is in full swing in its first full week out in Vegas, the MLB season is nearing its midseason point. In the NBA, we should have a new champion crowned this weekend. And the same goes for hockey...where someone will lift the Stanley Cup. What an exciting spring it's been! And how about that crazy finish in the Master's? Not to mention that amazing stretch run in the Kentucky Derby. I mean...is there anything MORE exciting than being a sports fan in the good 'ol United States of America? 

Yeah...that's the paragraph I SHOULD have been leading with after having not blogged in a number of months. In January, after the "Heater" at the Beau Rivage...I actually started a blog entry...and was pretty close to being done. Then I stepped away from my computer for a few days...and suddenly, the world started changing dramatically all around me. The more time that went by...the more irrelevant my "poker post" started feeling. By mid-March...I became resigned that I would never post that previous entry. Now, here we are...the first week of June...and we have graduated from one huge issue to another. Even while the first one is still going on. In the 53 years I've been living in this country...I'm not sure I've ever seen things more chaotic, more confusing, more frustrating and more divisive. Anyone who insists that they have the answers to all that ails us...is simply a fool. 

AND NOW....here we are!  A new year. A new president. A "new normal" that has been foisted upon us by a new administration, with help from a liberal media that simply can't bring itself to report anything that resembles honest news and/or information. Covid protocols still remain in place in some places. Deaths are still being reported nationwide, and worldwide. A vaccine was miraculously developed in record time...not just in America, but in numerous countries. I'm still perplexed by THAT simple fact. Despite a virus that 99.875% of people are expected to be able to defeat, we are being frantically urged (ordered?) to run out and get a vaccine that has been wreaking havoc with some of it's recipients, either with an unexpected side affect, or in some cases...even death! I'm in the camp of 40% of active Marines in this country...who are simply maintaining that they have NO reason to get a vaccine for something they are 99% certain to beat if they get it. Being young, and in the best shape of their lives...WHY would they EVER worry about a vaccine? I'm not getting it. I'm not letting my wife and child get it either. Nope. 

So the boys at Gulf Coast Poker have started a podcast on their website. They've asked me to appear as a guest today. Why, hell I don't know! I hardly play anymore. I WAS playing pretty regularly in a Pokerstars Home Game that featured a bunch of you players out there who I've known for years. It was entertaining...frustrating at times, but I had a bit of success on there. It went dark a month or two ago due to some concerns based on information that convinced the operators to step away from it. Understandable. NO need putting your livelihood in jeopardy if you don't have to. So aside from that...I'm a participant in some other online sites, and have been playing the app-based PokerBros, and am a....ahhhh what's that word? I always forget it. When you promote a site, and give out a referral code, so that you can earn a little money on the side? I should know that word...I've been "one of them" for several sites over the years. At any rate...I've been somewhat active on PokerBros...and actually made a pretty good chunk of change referring people to the poker club I play in. When I play on there, I lean towards the cash-game PLO6 Hi/Lo game...which is NUTS! I really don't like playing with THAT many cards...and that many WAYS TO LOSE...but getting a game going in the 4 or 5 card versions of Hi/Lo is almost impossible. SO I sit in on the 6-card version...and take my lumps. 

As for LIVE poker? I've been getting closer and closer to venturing out. I ALMOST ran up to Pearl River to play that main event. But things came up with the family that kept me at home. I've been eyeballing some events, one in South Florida...and one out at Venetian, to go get my feet wet again. The one thing that has me really interested, is the fact that nobody is playing 9 or 10-handed. I LOVE having elbow and leg room. And when these places are playing 7 and/or 8-handed...that's like a dream come true for me. I don't know how they are about rules and Covid-enforcement though...and I am NOT someone who likes being told what to do if the reason for doing it lacks ANY logic whatsoever. It's probably one of the things that drives me the MOST crazy. THINGS THAT DON'T MAKE SENSE!  I have NO problem following rules...as long as the rules make SENSE! I am not a f'ing sheep. I never have been. I never WILL be. It's caused me problems in my life. I know that. I've reconciled that with myself. I'm aware that being a "yes sir, no sir" guy might have led to me avoiding some of the bullshit that I've been subjected to in my poker career, and upon close inspection, and reflection with myself, I have no regrets. You only live this life ONCE. How do you want to be remembered? I cling to my morals, my ethics, my values, and my beliefs. I have what I consider to be a lot of pride. People have the right to agree or disagree with me. I've never been delusional enough to think that I would EVER make everyone like me, or even agree with my views. I'm not in the business of making people like me. 

Trust me, if I was? I would be in politics. I have a LOT of knowledge about politics. I have a lot of acquired experience in that field. Have a lot of connections in that world. Were it not for the path of destruction I've left in my wake over the last 30-40 years...I'd enter that arena. But with my checkered past, it would take the vultures in the media and in the political arena itself, to devour me within hours of dipping my toes into the political waters!!! So I operate on the outer fringes, contributing where I can to the causes I most believe in. It's true that 2020 was one of the biggest setbacks in my life...as it pertains to politics, and the overall health of our country. It's been a rough 2021 so far. I've had to pry myself away from the 24-hr cable news cycle...as it just leads to bouts of depression, frustration, aggravation, and deep contemplation about the future of our country. I think that were it not for being the father of a young child...I might not be as emotionally invested in the future of our country, from a political standpoint. I've been urged by several of my followers on Facebook to start a politically-based Podcast. Trust me...the thought has dawned on me many times. But I'll be totally honest...I'm scared. I've watched the way Big Tech has treated Conservative voices in this country just in the last 5-6 months...and it's terrifying. 

I've already seen weird things going on in my own life. I don't how much of it is circumstantial, and how much of it is due to my political leanings. I'm reading a book called "The War on Cash" and that has probably fed into some of my suspicions. I've actually read a LOT of books over the course of the last year...most of them from authors on the Conservative right. I try not to inundate myself with ALL conservative readings...so I balance that by reading newsletters from leftist publications...as well as daily briefings from the New York Times. Each side accuses the other side of being tone deaf, of being shut off to the other side. That they exist in an echo chamber. I've tried hard to welcome liberal voices in my own Facebook wall. (I am currently serving a 30-day Facebook jail term, 13 days from being freed...for engaging in a heated conversation with a diehard liberal on one of my own friends' walls...I made a comment that the libbie didn't like, reported me to the FB gestapo, and got me suspended for 30 days. Ridiculous) I would say I have 4 or 5 people I still consider "friends" who's views I wholeheartedly disagree with, however, I respect their opinions. I respect their right to disagree with mine. We manage to maintain a level of decorum. We manage to maintain a friendship. I'm of the opinion that this is something that is dying a slow death in our country, and it's sad. I think that Social Media...born around 2004...but not FULLY employed until right about the time Obama came into office in 2008, has been the leading cause for the dysfunction of how we get along in this country with our fellow Americans. It used to be...most people kept their political beliefs to themselves. And if they DID talk about it...they knew when to stop the conversation. 

NOW?  Whoa! Social media has basically empowered people, giving them this weapon (essentially) wherein they feel their opinion is a lot more powerful than it really is. The ingredients, that being social media, a liberal media overtly opposed to Conservative views/beliefs, racial divisiveness that has been promoted by those with their own agenda...all of this has led to a nation that is desperately trying to find itself right now. And lost in all of this, is how this has left us vulnerable to the rest of the world. 

Okay. I keep getting sidetracked...pulled into political talk. Sorry. This should be about poker right? I'm trying, I'm trying! Promise! 

Hey! How about my good buddy Joe Hebert!??? One of the truly good guys in poker who I've been really good friends with for over a decade!??? I've never been happier for a poker player's success than I was for him! Winning the WSOP Main Event...granted, it was under some whacky circumstances...still! Home boy beat EVERYONE! And won what? A million and a half? This is a guy who I've roomed with at poker events. A guy I've swapped "pieces" with at other events. We've done a lot, experienced a lot. We've had our ups, and we've had our downs. We had baby's just a month or two apart. We've been there for each other in times of need...emotionally, and otherwise. And he was on the short list a couple times to be on my WSOP Team that has quite affectionately come to be known as "Monkey's Minions!!" I spoke to him a short while after his win...probably one of the few people who didn't reach out to him with ulterior motives! As much as I like to try to see the good in everyone...there is an undeniable element in the poker community that prey on those who are enjoying success financially.  And one thing that is inevitable, any time you make a good score in poker: the moochers come out of the woodwork. 

Moochers are the worst. They will present themselves as "good friends" and tell you how excited they are for you, and how closely they followed you in your big tournament, as though THAT is supposed to have earned them some kind of reward from you....like, you know? Them sweating you had some kind of affect on your "run good" for that tourney. It's annoying. And it's so predictable. It's one reason I'm always hesitant to contact a friend after they make a big lick. I don't want to get lumped into that category. The 'moocher' category. Ugh. But, with some people...they just know that I'm not calling them to ask them for something. And that is in and of itself, a nice feeling...knowing you aren't being scrutinized in that fashion.

So I ran out of time to write this before we went live for the podcast. So I did 90 minutes with Gene and Wild Bill, then let a week slide by...and I'm back trying to finish this post. The interview was nice. Went really fast...and we definitely had PLENTY to talk about. I try really hard to NOT be long-winded in things like that. Sometimes its tough, but as I am a very critical viewer/listener of others' interviews...I'm always seeing/hearing things that I want to avoid if ever in that same spot. So yeah...I had a lot of that going on. 

What else is going on!?? Carley turns 9 this weekend. Crazy. She's halfway to being a legal adult and moving out. After taking piano for two years...she quit a couple months ago, much to my disappointment. But she has taken an interest in golf! We've been out a few times and she seems to really like it. Her Godfather...and my business partner and friend, Barth...got her a set of clubs for Christmas last year. For Christmas this past year...she took it up a notch. Just a NOTCH. She asked for a freaking golf cart. Huh??? Did you say, GOLF CART? The main shock...was that my wife didn't immediately shoot down the idea. So, umm...little girl is driving now. A red golf cart. Took her about 3 days before she slammed it into the corner of my shed...which caused the entire wall of bricks to collapse and messed up the door jam. Needing a little repair job there! But her driving has improved, no more accidents...and her and her buddies have really gotten a lot of use out of it. 

Both the bars are still open and doing well...despite all the COVID protocols, and interruptions in business. MY tenants in my rental homes are still my same tenants. So...stability! I'm still playing the investment game in online stock trading...a lot more these days then when I previously blogged. I've taken up a new hobby...as an investment vehicle, getting REALLY into buying gold, silver, platinum and even palladium rare coins. I've gotten Carley really interested in it too. I'm in the middle of trying to acquire every year and mint location of every Morgan Silver Dollar in circulation. Carley, after I educated her on it...did a presentation on it...to her 3rd grade class. She did great, I was really proud of her. 

With the economy being in the state that it's in...and the dollar being devalued every day with all these TRILLIONS of dollars that the democrats are pumping out...there couldn't possibly be a better time to invest in precious metals. The other thing I've got on my bucket list in the next few months is to fly out to the Bay Area to take a friend up on this 3-day workshop to learn everything there is to know about crypto-currency...so that  can get into that arena. Hypothetically...I should have started that a long time ago. But I don't like jumping into things that I don't have a workable knowledge in. And where crypto is concerned, I have none! So I'm going to change that...as soon as possible!

Bought a tanning salon back in July 2019 so that my wife, Squirrel...could finally, after 20 years...get OUT of the cocktailing gig at the Beau Rivage and do something else. There had been a lot of changes, not many of them good, at the Beau in the past 5 years or so, and the job was making her miserable. But she isn't someone who would EVER be content to sit at home spinning her wheels. It would drive HER crazy...and her being driven crazy would drive ME absolutely berserk! So an opportunity came up to buy this tanning salon. She knew the owner real well...and they worked it out where the gal would come in and train Cheryl...and be on call to help her with anything that came up. So we pulled the trigger. The first year was mostly learning the business...and implementing some upgrades to the business. Then when COVID hit...it was RIGHT before what WOULD have been her busiest time of year. SO that hurt a LOT!  We had just changed all the bulbs in all 8 beds (pricey!!!) and bought her a Spray-Tan machine...which everyone was requesting. So we definitely took a big loss in 2020. This year has obviously been a LOT better.

In addition to the business just being better, she won an online poll run by...mmmm....sorry, I don't know!! Maybe the radio station? But out of 5 places that were nominated, she won the BEST TANNING SALON on the Gulf Coast!!!! I was so happy for her, and proud! And for the last month she has been absolutely SLAMMED. For winning, I guess she won a bunch of free advertising and some other stuff. I think the best thing that came from it though was a boost to her self-esteem...as she's poured all of herself into that venture. So it was basically a form of validation for her.    

Alright! How's that?? Is that enough!?? I haven't posted in so long, the last thing I want to do is drown you all!!! Besides, it's sunny out, and I really don't think that yard is going to cut itself!!!


Tuesday, August 20, 2019


Hello again. 

Been formulating ideas in my head to write about over the past month or two. Had an "interesting" day of poker at the Beau a few weeks back that had me inspired to put pen to paper, as it were. Sometimes, especially in poker, you see things that simply deserve to be shared with someone...ANYONE!

One thing I know that I never did...or rather HAVEN'T done yet...is share the cool details of my trip to Scotland and London that preceded my trip out to Vegas for this year's eventual disappointing WSOP event. I have to confess...I find myself, the older I get...getting more and more private and unwilling to share personal details that in the past I was always fairly eager to share. Maybe it's a sense that there are just fewer people who actually CARE. Maybe it's a conscious effort to remain more private. I'm not exactly sure. Or, maybe it's just a feeling that as I've gotten much more successful in my business life...that excessive posting of accomplishments and/or acquisitions comes off as being cocky or braggadocios. And that is the LAST thing I want to do. So I suppose it's a hard line to draw. What is too much? What is not enough? What is just the right amount of sharing my personal details? I don't know.

So...yeah...back to this night I had at the Beau Rivage. I went to play their Tuesday tourney. It's a senior's event...but it's about 60/40 Seniors to non-Seniors. I got there a little late. I sit down. 1st hand...with 200 up front...having posted to play before the blind...I pick up K10 suited at cutoff. It folds to me. Feels like a reasonable spot to raise. So I make it 600. SB calls with KJ. BB calls with I don't know. Flop comes 10-7-5. Very good flop for me. Right? You'd think. He checks. I bet 1100. No problem. He has overs. He calls. Turn...Jack. Of course. He checks. I check back this time. River is an irritating king. Ugh. He tank bets 3000. I call...see his hand...and wonder what the FUCK possessed him to call the flop bet. Whatever. I bust a couple hands later and walk over to rebuy. 

Next table...I say a silent prayer to myself: "Please, let this table be better than that one." Ha! Sorry, Monkey....no such luck! Literally saw what I believe to be the worst poker player I've ever seen. And I've seen a LOT of bad players in my 15 years. It was an older lady. I knew things were screwy when...after a flop, and first to act, she stated that she would like to "raise to 600." Yup. She was first to act. Oh boy. Tip of the iceberg. It's hard to tell you which was my favorite...and by favorite, I mean, eye-openingly bizarre. But I will give you two. It should be noted...she had managed to chip up...massively...early...by playing horrifyingly bad, and just getting lucky. Her 8k starting stack was up to about 45k in Level 3. Oh...she played a lot of hands...like....nearly EVERY hand. But she rarely raised. Always limped...then it simply didn't MATTER how much someone raised...she was in there. 

So here's HAND #1. She limps in with 10-6 (can't remember if it was suited, doesn't matter). Guy next to her raises it from 400 to 1600. Well...then the button makes it 6000. Yeah. 6k. What does she do? Insta-muck right? Nawwww. She tanks...then struggles to understand what her options are. She finally figures it out and calls the 6k. Wow. Well, now the next guy...who by the way has QQ...goes all in for about 27k. The guy on the button...who has, duh....ACES...also goes all in...she's confused once again. When it's explained to her...she calls. She has them both covered. The flop brings a 6...and everyone starts to cringe a little. Turn gives her a straight draw. Not one person at the table thought she would miss on the river. But somehow she did. Aces held up. Miraculous. And now she was crippled. Ah hell...one hand is enough right? She was out a few hands later...again getting it in horribly. 

How did I fare at that table? Not much better. My gosh...I don't even remember now how I went out. Oh wait...yeah I do. I got cut in half on a hand...then on a 5-way limped pot for 600....I shoved all in for 9500'ish with AJ in the SB. The BB looks down at the mighty 7-8 offsuit...and decides to call. Why? No clue. Everyone else folded...except the button....who also turns out having AJ. We both felt good when the flop came 9-10-J....or though we did. The other AJ guy goes all in. Bye Bye. Both of us. Unreal. 

Then I went and played an extremely maniacal game of 5/5 PLO. In for 1000. Couple of brutal beats later...I was busto. Bought back in for 2000. Played for about 2 hours...and managed to run that up to 3250...then decided to go home in time to give Carley her much-relied upon hug and kiss goodnight. It was actually a pretty fun game, with some entertaining guys playing. 

Haven't been back out of my cave to go play since. Wanted to play the monthly 50k guarantee...but Squirrel went out of town for the weekend and I was stuck watching Carley, so had to pass. I haven't played online at all either. A husband/wife team asked my permission to use my "Minions WSOP" private Facebook page to advertise a new poker club that operates on a cool app where you can play from your phone. They ran satellites that allowed people to win shares for my team this summer. It's pretty cool. They are really trustworthy and super organized. They're even shipping me a month rake back bonus...not that I ever asked for it, need it, or even care. But it's just an indication of how classy they are. I recently was sent an invitation to join this other private page on Facebook...a page with a name like "Weaselbag Deadbeats" or something...and it features people basically calling people out for stiffing other people. 

Talk about a who's who of assholes and losers. Is that redundant? I scrolled down the list one night...and amusingly, I actually found some people POSTING about OTHER people who owed ME money still! I didn't post anything, other than that emoji of that guy scratching his chin, as if to be saying..."Hmmmmm." But two things came to mind: (1) this couple appears to be in the minority, running a rock-solid, credible poker club...that always pays it winners and (2) I am SO thankful that I am not living on that layer of society where people basically live buyin to buyin, who are constantly looking for ways to angle-shoot people to gain an edge. Or just plain scam people. I am so thankful that I can afford it when some dirtbag, piece of shit riddles me with excuses why he (or she! Yeah...women are also capable of being deadbeats!) can't pay me the money they owe me. For whatever it may be....a small personal loan, money owed to me for poker staking, or money owed to me for a fantasy league...of which I run a lot of...or one of my pools that I run. It all adds up. And that number is a six-figure number over the last decade. It's really kind of hard to believe that there are THAT MANY scumbags in the world...but they do kind of seem to gravitate together, and a lot of them seem to have addiction issues. So I just try to rationalize it as being the price of doing business, or doing favors. MOST people are good. MOST people will satisfy their obligations. MOST people..if they don't have a way to pay you right away....WILL try to stay in touch with you, and work out a payment plan. But those who don't? Ugh. Fuck 'em. I'm convinced there is no amount of shame you can heap upon them that will ever make them change into a person who wants to be respected by all. They just don't give a shit. I can't imagine going through life like that...I've always prided myself as a person who simply doesn't borrow money from people. And if I owe money for something...it can be ANYTHING...I want to pay it, and pay it quickly. 

So yeah...anyway.  If you are someone that is possibly interested in that aforementioned poker club...shoot me an email to ThePokerMonkey1@aol.com and I will give you their info. It's football season almost! If you are interested in my pools...which have grown a LOT and now feature some pretty damn good prize pools after running them for almost 25 years...you can email me at ThePoolMonkey@aol.com. I would invite you to join one of my FIVE NFL Fantasy Leagues...that feature 72 total teams...but I'm down to just 3 openings...so by the time you could email me...they will most likely already be full. 

I think I mentioned in my previous blog post that I am going up to Milwaukee September 9th to (a) get my cataract in my left eye fixed...that developed as a result of my detached retina surgery that I had last November 5th. Another bad beat! and (b) to play the tail end of the WSOP Circuit Event at that casino up there that I can never get the name right on. My mother and sister live together up there, so I will be staying with them. They tend to get pretty good turnouts for their events, and I've never played up there, so I'm somewhat excited to get my feet wet up there. I'm fairly certain I can expect my mom and sister to hit me up for a couple of buy-ins too while I'm there. So far...my success rate with staking those two ladies is 0%...and it's sample size is now approaching about ten events! Time to get it in gear, ladies!!!!

Once that is done...I have a couple other things I'm looking at. I've NEVER played a single tournament in Europe, and have wanted to for quite a while. I've also never played in Australia, and wanted to play there, too. I'm looking at an EPT event in Prague the first week of December. Lots of big buy ins, and they draw incredible field sizes. Furthermore...I've always been enamored with the beauty and history of Prague. It's a really old city, with incredible architecture. A lot of things I was excited about seeing when I went to Scotland and London. Also...if I go to Prague...and fly 1st Class with Delta...I will accumulate 16,500 MQMs...(million qualifier miles) which is EXACTLY what I need to maintain my Platinum Medallion status...which comes with a LOT of nice perks!!! I think the trip to Australia would get a similar amount, maybe even more. So...nothing solid on that yet!

BUT...one trip I DO think we are going to make...and that I think I will get to bring Carley and Squirrel with me on...AND meet Barth (the buddy I own the two-soon to be three bars and restaurants with) down there for...is the WSOP International Circuit event in Aruba. The timing of it is great. Carley is out of school for Thanksgiving the whole week...so if we leave the Thursday before, we can get to Aruba in time for me to fire a bullet in Flight A and if necessary, also Flight B of their Main Event...which is $1700. That will be the only event there I play. And if I bust on THUR or FRI...guess what? We have 3 or 4 days to do nothing but enjoy Aruba as a family! If I happen to get deep? Well, Cheryl has been there before and knows her way around the island...so she can go off gallivanting with Carley and have fun together. Delta was nice enough to give me a $200 flight credit for ruining my luggage on the trip to Scotland, and another $500 flight credit for not getting my golf clubs on the connecting flight out of Boston...and not getting them to me until my third day there. They ALSO gave me the $1400 I had to spend to rent clubs, shoes, and buy clothes to wear, since all of my golf stuff was in my golf travel bag. I have to say...with all the troubles I've had with Delta over the years...they've really treated me well the past few years. Sure...it definitely HELPS when you are GOLD, PLATINUM or (of course) DIAMOND Medallion customers. 

So...THAT is what's up on my poker agenda for the rest of 2019. We have a trip to Nashville planned the weekend of Sept 28th...where we are going to the Carrie Underwood concert, then staying with Squirrel's family up there for the weekend. I'm trying to talk Squirrel into letting us go to the Alabama vs Ole Miss game that weekend...but she seems to think it will be too much. So do I even ASK about shooting home early Sunday so we, or just I (with a buddy) go to the Sunday night game in New Orleans against the hated Cowboys??? Oh! And the weekend BEFORE THAT ONE...I'm contemplating flying out to Seattle with some Saints fans...to meet up with some of my fellow Seahawk fans from childhood...to go to THAT game! Yeah...football season gets pretty crazy around here!!!

The pools keep me busy...especially the football SQUARES that I run...which over the past 3 seasons...has average about 300 boards per season! And the accounting work involved with that is crazy! I've had a few spreadsheet gurus create sheets that would supposedly speed up the process. And another software engineer is beta-testing a site solely dedicated to JUST running Squares pools...inspired by me! Pretty cool. But I am trying hard to get out from under the hours and hours of accounting work associated with giving my 100's of pool players non-stop entertainment during the football season...so THIS season...my sister has asked if I can train her new girlfriend how to do the accounting work, as she lost her job as a poker dealer when it became known that she was dating one of the poker players...yeah..my sister. Whooops! So as she is now living with my sister...she's kind of needing a financial boost. So in addition to my sister and I both chipping in now to support my mom who is living with her...I'm going to provide a way for her girlfriend to contribute! Hey! Look at me creating jobs!!!! If she "gets it" this is going to be a wonderfully delightful football season!!! 

Anybody wanna talk about politics? Ha! No..you do NOT want me going there! I could write for five or six hours...promise. I've thought about starting a video blog that ONLY deals with my views on politics. I guess I would go with the moniker of Mayor Monkey or something catchy like that. Why do I think anyone would even WANT, let alone RESPECT my position on things political? Shit...I don't know. I guess I've just had a ton of people tell me I really seem to know a lot about the topic, and that they really like what I have to say. I mean...I took a few political science courses in college, and it was one of my favorite subjects. I just see politics as something that is lacking TRUE leadership, and REAL difference-makers...and a lot of opportunists. And it pisses me off. This current batch of Democrats has just blown my mind, in so many ways. Some times, I listen to the things they say...and I can't even believe we are cut from the same genetic makeup. And are from the same planet. I think I easily come up with "A Take" at least once or twice a DAY. And I have such a hard time holding my angst. And with Twitter being (who's kidding who) fully a liberal operation, I've found myself getting suspended over and over until finally...they terminated my account for good last month...for referring to Ilhan Omar as a rat-faced traitor using Congress to sabotage our country. Oh....they might TELL US that we have the Freedom of Speech in this country, as afforded us by the 1st Amendment to the Constitution...but we all know that only goes for Liberals. Yes..I am back on Twitter...NO...I am not telling you my new name...not HERE any way. It's a pretty dubious handle...you won't guess it!!!! So...yeah....anyway...maybe there is a Video Blog in the future...probably not. We'll just have to wait and see!

I will probably write a "Vacation Blog" before too long. Find a day or night where I'm bored or can't fall asleep!!!! Just wanted to drop y'all a line to tell ya whas up!!!!


Thursday, July 18, 2019

Monkey's Dismal Summer Wrap Up Report

First, let me just say something here. For those of you who DIDN'T actually invest in the poker team this summer, or ANY summer for that matter? Just because you HAVEN'T seen a post on my blog, DOESN'T mean that the 175+ investors in the team this summer (an all-time record btw) have been left "in the dark" because I haven't posted a blog in over a week...or since ALL TEN players made it out of Day One. 

Ya see, I have a few ways of communicating with my investors. The number one way, is the Private Facebook Group Page, that I set up for all the players, investors, and friends/family of the players to follow along with their progress all throughout the lead up and eventual tournament. The second, is via email. I have a spreadsheet of ALL the investors, and of course, their email addresses. I often will email the group with updates. Finally...for those who don't (and just WON'T) ever use Facebook...they text or email me for updates. 

So, those of you who have been quick to send me your "kind" messages suggesting all kinds of nice things about me because I didn't find the time or motivation to write a blog post on the status of our players? I'm not going to apologize to YOU. If you were interested enough to know how they were doing...you should have invested. End of statement, on THAT matter anyway. 

It's kind of ...mmmm, what's the word here? Disappointing? Irritating? Annoying? When I think about the game of poker...and where it has come from and evolved to since I first started playing back about 15 years ago...it's really pretty astonishing. One thing I can definitively state with almost complete confidence, is that the "douchey factor" in poker has really kind of hit a Mt Everest-like peak in recent years. 

I'm not really sure which topic on the Top Ten List of DOUCHEBAG qualities is my #1....or really what order they should be lined up in. I guess it changes, based on the number of incidents occur. Some, it's just hearing about...either in printed stories, or just through the poker grapevine. Others, of course, its via personal experience. But like hardcore leftists in the political realm these days, they seem to be making more and more of an impact and leaving me wanting less poker. 

Here is a great example. I have what I believe is....maybe two or three "haters" who like to leave anonymous comments on this blog. It could actually be the same person. A sad, miserable asshole who sits despairingly alone in his mom's basement probably, in one of those 70's style bean bag chairs...rooting for my personal failure to somehow boost his own self-esteem. Now, it takes a special kind of sicko to be so devoted to anonymously drop nasty comments for such a long period of time. And keep in mind, I used to blog a LOT on this site...at least four or five times a month. Well now I'm lucky if you get 5 or 6 posts out of me a YEAR. And you might THINK....that this would maybe cause this gutter-dwelling miscreant to search for someone else with an obviously better life than himself to annoy. But...despite my infrequent appearances here...he STILL manages to find time to browbeat me. I'm probably supposed to be flattered, right? I'm sure there is some shrink out there who would convince me of that. But...me being me? I just secretly wish this guy, or guys...whoever they may be...would fall victim to some freak accident. Like having a meteor punch through the atmosphere...then the roof of mom's house...where it permeates two floors and strikes the loser in the head down there in the basement. Or maybe he's driving, taking mom's car to the store late one night to get her some Metamucil...and while taking his eyes off the road to leave a hateful comment on someone's story about their dog who was rescued from a hole in a frozen lake...he manages to creep into the "no man's land" area of a railroad crossing...and gets creamed by an oncoming train. 

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "AND AFTER DAY ONE...10 MONKEYS ADVANCE!!!!!":

"Wow what a fair-weather writer. All your hype and BS about your great 'squad' which real players know is your annual scam, and you don't have the decency to report on their (at least for those in the know) demise. Do yourself a favor and shut it down scam boy."

So here is Mr Asshole's latest comment...and yes, I know, just like the mass killer on TV who loves to see his name and picture bandied about, so that he can further bask in the glory of his 15 minutes of fame...I realize that I shouldn't give him the satisfaction of calling attention to his stupid comment, that he isn't even man enough to sign his name to. Cowards are my favorite of all douchebags...THAT I AM confident enough to declare. 

So...lets analyze this delightful human being's (albeit barely) comment, shall we? Fair-weather writer. I imagine that infers that I prefer to write when I have something positive to write about. Of that, I am guilty. Go figure! All the "hype and BS about my great squad?" Hype? Yes. BS? I object! I was very excited about our team of 10 players...several of whom had cashed for my team in the past. I don't know what BS our friend is talking about. But here is where it gets good. "Which real players know is your annual scam!" First off...what is the difference between a "real" player and a "pretend" player? And the categorization of what I do being an "annual scam?" This same idiot has been chastising me for years, suggesting that I was ripping off my old backer...for no other reason than I had a staking deal that was better than most. See...it's funny, in a not-so-funny way, how poker players are some of the most violently jealous people you will ever encounter. God forbid...you manage to have a network of people you've spent decades developing, one that is more than happy to participate in just about ANYTHING you happen to put together. And yet!!!?? For that person WITHOUT a network like yours? If they are able to successfully do something they can only DREAM about doing? They must certainly be doing something illegal, or unethical at BEST...because no way could it ever be possible to just simply be BETTER at fundraising then your sorry ass! 

See...people like this? With this kind of mentality? And acerbic tone and attitude? They are what have made playing this game less and less enjoyable. When I have to read this kind of crap? Yeah, I know its in the minority of how people think. However...it rankles me to know there is even ONE person out there who thinks this way. This "annual scam" that I started six years ago? Collectively, I have LOST about...hold on, let me get out my calculator here...$12,000 or more doing this annual scam. See...I don't take a nickel for my efforts. Not one. If I sell 50 shares for $200...that sends a player. I sold 500 shares this summer. That sent 10 players. And the players first t-shirts and hat? I pay for THOSE as well. The first year...I personally purchased 10 shares for $2000. That had been the first year where no one made the money of the four we sent. Every year since then...I have purchased 15 shares for $3000. This year...despite having all ten make it out of day one...and had 4 going in day three...was the second time we failed to make the money. The four years in between, we managed to win enough to get about half of our investments back.  So yeah...given all the t-shirts, hats and hoodies that I provided to the players at my own expense, and the investments I made myself...I am stuck over $12,000. But I'm a scammer. Right. Got it. 

"You don't have the decency to report on their demise." Right, right. Because everyone likes to hear about failure, huh? Maybe just YOU...Mr. Anonymous...because again, anything in MY poker world that equals failure, is a win for YOU...right? Sad...but oh so true. So its really not that your upset that I'm not informing anyone else, really...you just need your dose of Monkey Failure to give you a reason to get out of bed everyday...isn't that more like it? Because like I said at the beginning of this post...the people who actually participated in the team this summer? They all know/knew the outcome. And frankly? I don't OWE it to anyone to post updates on my own personal blog. No one pays me to blog. Additionally? I have this thing called "a life" (you should look into finding one) that shockingly to some, keeps me incredibly busy. And sometimes..it just takes me a lot longer to get to some of the things on my "to do list" than I would like. That (again) is called "life" something I'm fairly certain you don't possess. 

"Do yourself a favor and shut it down, scam boy." Tell you what...YOU shut yourself down first...and maybe I will take you up on your wish. But I want photos as proof. Like maybe the business end of a wood chipper. That would be sweet. See, here's the thing...I nearly DID shut it down last summer. Mainly because I was exhausted, from having just bought my wife and kid a beautiful new home in the country on 5 acres...with a pond in the back, and endless trees as far as the eye can see. I had projects going on left and right, and contractors running every which way. I hadn't played much poker, nor followed much poker, and my mind was anywhere else other than poker. But as the WSOP kept getting closer and closer...I started getting more and more people emailing me, texting me, hitting me up on Facebook...about the team. About not just having a chance to play on the team...but to invest. 

People have come to really look forward to this team I started in 2014. It has really kind of taken on a "Make a Wish Foundation for Poker Players," as well as poker investors. People who love to have some skin in the game...but otherwise wouldn't have a chance to...are able to jump on my self-created bandwagon, and follow the action as the team comes together all throughout May, June and the first week of July when sales are the most brisk as we race to fill out the roster. Then they sit back...and watch the countless updates on the Facebook page...leaving one encouraging comment after another. It's an army that is about 250-300 strong...and throughout that experience, friendships are born. The players...who are nearly always incredibly appreciative of the experience, and usually really good about conveying that to the investors, often times line themselves up for future staking opportunities as a result of having played on my team, and developing relationships with some of the investors. So from that standpoint, I've helped to launch the careers of some players who didn't previously have a network to draw from. There are a handful of players who came to me looking for that "big break" that I couldn't be prouder of. One of them is Joshua Reichard...who was one of the first members of the team. He has since gone on to win what I think now is 10 or 11 circuit rings, as well as a bunch of other tournaments. Jason Young, a former WSOP bracelet winner who had essentially hit rock bottom? I gave him a shot last summer...he fell short, but the exposure led to him getting staked in some tournaments in South Florida this past winter...and he managed to make three huge scores, including winning the Main Event at Hard Rock for a quarter million bucks. In the course of about 6 weeks...he snapped off about $400k in winnings. And now, his life has done a total 180. 

So to those (like this jerk) who think this is somehow a money-making scheme of mine? Pffft....think again! If they don't make money...I don't make money. Add to that the other players I bought pieces of this summer...and it was a ROUGH summer for me. But there were a few highlights that made my one week in Vegas semi-enjoyable. I might write a blog after this one...where I get a little more into my trip out there, as well as a follow up to my amazing week in Scotland, and London, with some pictures. It's been a pretty cool summer, for the most part.  And coming up...in September, I'm heading up to Milwaukee to stay with my mom and sister while I visit an eye specialist who my mom referred me to, and who I met with a couple months ago when we visited them. I suffered a detached retina last November...and one of the side affects, that I was quoted a 15% chance of getting (so in my case that usually means 98.5%) was a cataract, which, of course...I got! So my left eye has been totally screwy now for close to a year. Well...he is going to fix that (hopefully-knock on wood) on Sept 11th (I know, kind of a creepy date, but he only operates on Wednesdays!) and then after a couple days of R&R...I'm going to play the WSOP Circuit event at Potawatomi casino for the first time. They tend to get pretty good turnouts there...so I'm somewhat looking forward to it. Plus I'm sure I will probably end up putting my mom and sister in some events as well. So it will be a family affair on the felt! I'm somewhat disappointed in that the Gulf Coast Poker championship at the Beau Rivage is going on that same time period. I will be able to play the first big tourney that weekend, but that's it, as I will be flying up to Milwaukee that Tuesday. So that's a bummer.  And aside from that event...who knows? 

I haven't been down to St Thomas to check in on my bar all year...so I would like to get down there to at least "check in" on the place. Also...we are apparently about to open a restaurant down there too. So it might be nice, if I'm going to be involved in THAT...to at least go down and do some research. Always nice to know where your money is going BEFORE it goes there. I have a lot of previous experience in the fine-dining industry...and have always kind of wanted to have my own place that handles high-end dining guests. It's been about 20-25 years...but while in Atlanta primarily, and a little bit in New York, I worked at some really nice places. To have a really nice place like that in the Virgin Islands would be amazing...but even moreso if I was able to be there and actually function as a hands-on owner. But alas, I'm the silent partner in all these ventures I'm involved with. 

A lot of people already know this, but for those who don't: I bought a tanning salon for the Squirrel, aka "my wife." I'd been trying to talk her into getting out of the Beau Rivage for about the past 5 years. She is someone who always needs to be doing SOMETHING....and I respect that about her. She's not one to sit around at home and collect dust. Well, she also liked working at the Beau because it's where all her friends are. I get that, too. So I proposed a bunch of different options. Hair salon!?? Nail salon? Clothing boutique? No! No! And No some more!!! Well, what then??? Turns out...this opportunity just kind of fell in her lap. A really nice lady, who ironically enough, had a teenage son who I had hired to do some yard work for me last year...was feeling like she needed to spend more time with her kids, and was ready to sell her salon that she's had for a lot of years. The price seemed fair, and she promised to help out with anything we needed. So Cheryl trained with her all June...learning all about the business, and the place, specifically. So before I left for Scotland...I went and got the cashiers check for her. And on the first of July...Squirrel became the owner of her own business...the Perfect Glow in D'Iberville. It's been a lot of fun watching her take on that responsibility. On top of that...Carley has really gotten into being a part of it. Squirrel lets her clean the beds...at 25 cents per bed. Granted...her little arms aren't long enough to reach all of the bed...so Cheryl has to go in behind her, sneakily (so as not to hurt Carley's feelings) and clean the bed after she has! But Carley really feels involved, and is (as she puts it) the "richest 6 year old in the world!!" She starts back to school here in a couple weeks...so we will have to cut back her hours significantly! 

So yeah...Squirrel is FINALLY out of the casino business....after 20 years at the Beau. I'm so happy that she is out of there....it was killing her. And with all the chances, managerially, that MGM has been going through in the past 3 or 4 years...it had become a not-so-great company to work for. Now she is on her own...and her own boss. Again...I'm the "silent partner!" And I'm perfectly fine with that! As long as she is happy, and I think she is. 

Finally got my taxes done! FOUR years in arrears. But now I'm dealing with the nightmare of the IRS and their bureaucratic idiocy. My accountant did all four years...and e-filed all of them. I owed for two years, and had a refund for two years. I send payment for the two years immediately. Then I get a check back...in the amount I sent. Huh? Turns out...the IRS is a really screwed up operation. They have like three posts. One that GETS payments. One that actively pursues payments. And one who tries to balance what's been paid and what's been collected. And they are not in sync! At all! And good luck if you try to actually CALL them! Ha! It's two hours...minimum...before you get anyone on the phone. I guess the moral of the story, in my case...do NOT get yourself backed up on your taxes! Especially four years! 

The Main Event is over. I sat in bed...much to the chagrin of Squirrel...watching it on my iPhone the other night. Yes, I was wearing my BOSE headphones...I'm not THAT rude! But any kind of light annoys her and keeps her from sleeping soundly. It was a pretty long battle heads up...and I can honestly say I thought they both played pretty well. There really weren't a lot of good hands being dealt. The biggest, I suppose, was the final hand...when Ensan picked up KK and Sammartino was unlucky enough to flop a flush draw and then turn a straight draw. That spelled his demise. 

It was another Final Table that lacked any star power...or poker notables. There were definitely some good players there. But also some newbies that just happen to run good for a week. The most notable one being that punk who decided it would make him infamous if he tanked on nearly EVERY hand. Kevin Maahs...who interestingly enough was photographed by one of my 10 players yesterday at the Rio...playing in a $100 daily tournament. Go figure...after winning 2.2m...he's playing in a $100 tourney? Either he REALLY loves poker THAT much....or he was playing the Main for about 2% of himself. Which...these days in poker...is very likely. At any rate...I hope we never have to see that idiot again.  I really thought...after the first night of the final table, that we would see Garry Gates win. He seemed to be the best tourney player, had a solid background, and the most momentum. But he seemed to run into bad luck and a shortage of decent cards when they got down to 6.

The thing that stood out the most to me about the heads up action...was the rail. Say whatever you want about supporting your player. I just happen to think it's inappropriate to bring soccer-like antics to the poker tournament. The players are literally playing for millions of dollars, and with it already being a game of immense concentration...the decisions are magnified under those conditions. And to have a gaggle of mostly men yelling and screaming and singing stupid songs the whole time? It's just moronic. If I was a player...and at that final table...I would walk over and BEG my railbirds to please pretend that they are a tennis match, say, Wimbledon. Where decorum is not just expected, but demanded. I know you can't do anything about the other guy's rail...unless you and him both agree to go talk to our "birds" at the same time. I would 100% do that. Even as a spectator at home...it made it very hard to watch, with those idiots acting like a bunch of clowns. 

I have another opinion about railbirds, and its one of the reasons I've always kind of hated having people sweat me whenever I've been at a big final table. Part of me feels like they are there because they somehow think their "support" for you should translate into a handout if they happen to win. Its just an awkward feeling. I know that I shy away from sweating people for that reason alone. I don't want them thinking I might be thinking that way. Not just that...but actually WATCHING poker...has got to be one of the most boring things in the history of mankind. Especially as a person who PLAYS the game. I can see where, if you didn't really play much...it might be entertaining. But for me? Ugh. Kill me. So...I'll just swoop by...wish you good luck...and be on my merry way!!!!

But yeah...the WSOP really needs to do something about the hooligans that disrupt the play at the Final Table. It's out of line. 

Is that enough of a report? Hater? Did you get enough to fill you in? 10 players. All made it out of Day 1. 6 went down in Day 2. We took 4 to Day 3...plus I had 10% of Barth. He was clicking along rather nicely with about 175k, among the leaders...and had "The Nightmare" happen to him. Him on the button with KK...the super-aggro Euro in the BB with AA. We all know how those go down. And with a rag flop...even if it hadn't gone in preflop....which it did....it would have gone in post flop anyway. Brutal cooler. So yeah...he went down....as did the other four. Jason Bond lasted the longest...and by virtue of that finish, will receive the automatic invite back next summer....that is, if my scammer ass decides to do the team again.  :)