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Monkey’s Blog: Goodbye Choctaw, Hello Hollywood!!!

Published by on August 15, 2013

I should have, and intended to…blog last week sometime. Like, Monday…after I exited the Main Event in Choctaw. But, sometimes things don’t always go as planned. And now…on the eve of my drive to South Florida to compete for…well, millions, I realize how ‘behind’ I am on my tales from the felt. In between all that, was the epic tourney at the Casa du Landry, the tourney who’s name I can’t even accurately reveal. Something like: The 2nd Annual World’s Undisputed World Poker Champion of the World World Championship. I know that’s not right. But it’s close. Some of us…just call it the Pursuit of the Hubcap Trophy.

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How Choctaw ended: Lets just say, that in 8 years of traveling to circuit events, this was the worst event I’ve ever had, money-wise. I lost somewhere close to $6500 on this trip. And it was all mine, as I elected to play it on my own dime. Brutal. Yes, I cut my losses by picking up a nice $1600 cash game session, and won a sit n go the night before the main for another $1100…but what transpired in the Main just underscored what had been happening to me all week in Oklahoma. Prior to this…my poker club, re-started after getting ratted out by what I’ve decided to refer to as Houston’s own Hurricane Ev…was closed AGAIN. We tried one more time…with another member setting it up, and me not even playing. Just taking care of record keeping. It was closed yesterday.

So…it’s pretty clear there is a mole somewhere out there who just refuses to see me sit at home, with my Carley…and not have to go anywhere, see anyone, or do anything…while making a decent living and offering a small group of friends a chance to play online poker like in ‘the good ‘ol days.’ Why anyone would go to such lengths? I have no freaking clue. I’ve become so disillusioned with almost ALL poker players and people who work in poker in general…its just one more obstacle that some asshole has put in front of me for me to overcome. Thanks, asshole.

So I guess what they’ve reduced me to, is traveling to ONLY the best-value tourneys I can find, sell out a package…and hope to run like, well at least semi-godlike…and win a nice fat chunk of money, to where they (investors) all get paid, and we can squirrel away some nuts to just get through the lean times. And who knows…in an event like this one coming up? Should everything break JUST right? And I finish in the top 4 of the Main Event? We get the new house I’ve been trying to get for us, and maybe a couple new cars! And a boat! And Carley’s education paid for from Pre-K to College. Well, yeah, that is the dream.

So oh yeah…Choctaw? It would be unfair for me to bash on Choctaw itself. I think the things that happened to me had nothing to do, really…with the venue. I actually really like the venue. It’s a great place for tourneys. They have a marvelous cash room. Their are good food options. And it draws well. The problem, as I see it…is that tourney directors, in their quest to squeeze as much money out of the players as humanly possible, to meet their growing budgetary demands…have turned the game into a completely new form of tournament poker. They might as well start a new poker circuit and name it: The Deep Pockets Poker League.

Guys with unlimited amounts of buy ins to burn, and an unlimited supply of gamble in their blood, love these new formats. They have EIGHT levels to build up what they consider a ‘sufficient’ stack to compete with the rest of the way. Don’t get me wrong…with blinds at, say….400/800…and a guy sitting in front of a stack of 58k…with the average stack being about 32k…it isn’t unusual to see a guy ‘gamble’ on a flush draw (8-high) with only the river to come, for his whole stack. Why?

“Cuz, man…I can still re-buy…and if I hit it…I will have a ton of chips.”

Yeah, hey genius…you already HAVE a ton of chips. And that 4th buy in your about to put in for? You do realize, right? That you will be coming back into the game with only 22 big blinds? And that you will be almost forced now, to make the final table to get back your buy ins? But this, for some reason, doesn’t seem to come into play when these guys are making their monetary decisions as it pertains to poker. I call these guys….’STUPID FUCKING IDIOTS.’


See that guy? Hiding under his collar? Pretty sure he was on his 14th Rebuy in a $125 tourney...and didn't want anyone recognizing him...either that or he was just hiding his horrendous teeth. Yes...they WERE horrendous!!!

See that guy? Hiding under his collar? Pretty sure he was on his 14th Rebuy in a $125 tourney…and didn’t want anyone recognizing him…either that or he was just hiding his horrendous teeth. Yes…they WERE horrendous!!!

These stupid fucking idiots, are a bi-product of what the Tourney Directors are turning the game into. A money grab. Yeah…the tourney got 3100 players. (ex: some random tourney). In reality…it got 650 players. But those 650 generated an average of 5 rebuys. Meaning they paid the buy in amount…and ALL the associated fees each time. Cha-Ching! It’s not like the tourney staff is EVER having to accomodate that many players at one time…so no! The answer to your question? Do they really have 300 tables to put all these players? And 300 dealers to deal to them? Pffft. Of course not! Jeeez!

So. When I travel to Hard Rock…I will be up against this ‘situation’ again. I have sold a package for this event. (unlike Choctaw) I sold 60 shares…at $135 per 1% share…meaning I am playing for 40% of myself. I am guaranteeing one bullet in the $5300 Main Event, and at least one bullet MAYBE two in the $560 $1m Guarantee tourney this weekend. There are a handful of other prelims I can play leading up to the Main Event. Anything NOT used, my investors all get returned. I know…I just opened the floodgates for you jerkoff haters to leave your comments telling me what a scammer and a crook I am, and how stupid my backers are. I find it amusing. Especially since 11 other people had to be turned away because I sold out so fast. See, here’s the thing, poker dork who lives on 2+2, and who likes to sit around in think-tanks with your other dork poker buddies…discussing poker theory and hand play like its some kind of fucking dungeons and dragons convention:

You shitbirds THINK you have this game of poker all figured out. That you have SET the staking rate at a number you think is precise. You think you have the winning formula for tournament poker all figured out, too. That your style is the style to defeat all comers. I’ve got news for you imbecilic gerbils. YOU DON’T!

I’ve been playing this game now for 10 years. I make adjustments to my game, where necessary. I know exactly what all you twerps are doing. It’s not some kind of mystery. You haven’t reinvented the wheel, or figured out a new way to split the atom. Poker? It’s not rocket science. And with this new….rebuy-till-your-dead-broke tournament structure that is being offered more and more? You and your fellow guppies and their ‘Super-Sick’ strategy are becoming even more ineffective and obsolete. You might be reading this, rolling your eyes, and texting your buddy telling him to ‘read the bullshit Monkey is jabbering about today in his blog…holy shit, dude is so fucking clueless.’ I know I know. You boys and your 1.5 years of college education, your inability to hold any kind of a real job, lack of a wife or girlfriend because no woman can stand to hear you blather on about poker til she wants to rip out her eardrums…and your complete lack of respect for you fellow gamblers, and this includes a lot of avenues, like showing them bluffs for absolutely NO REASON whatsoever, other than to give YET another person YET another reason to want you DEAD…other than you STILL owing someone (or numerous people in a lot of your cases) a significant amount of money!!!! Or blowing the one staking opportunity you DID manage to secure for yourself because you chopped a tourney, but signed for 5th, hence telling your backer(s) you got 5th, not chopped…only to have someone rat you out later (on purpose or accidentally) and losing any chance of EVER getting backing again.

Yeah. I’m talking to you…hamster-brain. You guys love to sit and rip on me, root for me to fail, insist I ‘don’t get it’ when it comes to ‘winning tourney poker.’ At the end of the day…when you take all 1000 of you ‘serious players’ out there…and put the stats up against each other? There really isn’t that much seperation between the good, or at least…better players. We go to tourneys. We carefully navigate around the land mines (or try to) until we get down deep into the money. Then we simply hope our quality hands hold up. We hope we can get the luckbox moron who somehow has made it that far…to NOT beat us and our pocket kings…when we raise….then 4-bet shove after he cleverly re-raises us from the button with A6 offsuit. It’s simply a wash-rinse-wash-repeat cycle that we all go through. It isn’t new. And you super-aggro players who think you need to….no…MUST…build a big stack before Level 15 to have even a chance to win? Eventually, you will realize just how pointless that is. I like to use the tortoise and the hare analogy to prove my point on this one.

Really, all you need to support this…is to watch that lady who only plays AA or KK it seems…and just sits there folding for hour upon hour…but gets ‘that big hand’ just often enough to win a big pot and stick around. Well…you get to Level 20 and beyond…and EVERY pot you win (other than a blind steal) is significant. The aggro-guy style of min-raising (almost 80% of them are using this stupid ploy now) or 2.5x raising about 75% of the pots from Level 1 to Level 12? All those pots you win…and lose? All that variance in your stack? What’s the point? You are the hare. Trying to sprint your way to the finish. Old lady nit nit? Tortoise. Funny, huh? She played about 6 hands, compared to your 106…and you both ended up at the same place, holding the same amount of chips! Isn’t that remarkable?

Like I said….it’s not that complicated. Sure…along the way, there are spots where you need to make amazing calls based on reads. You need to know how to value people into hands when you are a 75% favorite to win after the flop…and hope it doesn’t blow up in your face. Being able to use excellent pot control…and being able to fold certain hands when you just KNOW in your gut that your no good. Yes. These are all important SKILLS…and yeah, there is still some skill in this game. I’m not trying to say it’s turned into a total LUCKFEST these days. It only feels like it sometimes. And in fairness, when the shit starts to hit the fan is when stacks start getting all in preflop….and ALL FIVE CARDS come into play. That’s when the deck starts to fuck you…over and over and over it seems. When it seems like there are 26 aces in a 52-card deck.

I’m not sure if I have a point here. Other than…I’m sick of all these new-age poker players and their poker-posing get ups who think there is a ‘formula’ to winning this stupid thing called poker. There isn’t. Patience is still the key ingredient. Skill will get you only so far. Luck will help you tremendously. Arrogance will get you punched in the face, or made the subject of a voodoo doll.

God, I am all over the place today. But this is my last blog post before I climb in my 4Runner and head for South America….I mean, South Florida. Yeah, it only FEELS like South America when your down there, or more specifically, Central America. On my 13-hour drive home from Oklahoma, my right knee locked up…and for a week now, I have had major inflammation in it. Ice hasn’t helped at all. Pills either. Exercise? Nope. I’ll be honest…I’m not exactly fired up about driving that drive. But it beats the cost of air fare, then having to rent a car down there. Rental cars in S.Florida are ridiculous. Plus I can take as much ‘stuff’ as I want, drive as fast or as slow as I want, and if things go shitty in the Main…I don’t have to wait for my departure date on my plane ticket, I can climb in my car and bolt!

So what happened in Choctaw? Yeah. I will make this brief, as I’ve tried very hard to purge it from my memory. Thought I had a good table when I sat down. Had a couple of pretty nice/friendly guys at the table too. Had a couple decent hands early. Got away from a straight on a paired board with minimal damage. Then it started.

Some black guy with corn rows…who I’d never seen before, gave me my first hit of ‘I wanna kill you’ whiskey. He was one of these min-raising assholes that are littering the poker landscape. I’m in the BB with A8h. I call. Flop comes 9-6-7…with one heart. I check. He bets 800. I raise to 2200. He calls. Hmmm. Odd. Turn is an ace. Nice. Bet or check again? I check, hoping he floated me with an ace…and now will bet a lot. He bets 2500. I decide to just call…build a pot, and hope to improve on the river…with a 5 or a 10. The river is a blank…but completes a possible flush. Damn. I don’t feel too confident betting…so I just check, with the intent to call a reasonable bet. But it isn’t reasonable. He bets 8000. What!??? Calling would leave me with just 4000. If I lost. If I won? I’d be in great shape. I decided to fold. And showed my hand. He turns over Q-10s. Total air. And starts laughing at me.

“Oh…you’re real cute. You think that’s funny, huh? Hope you enjoy this little moment, and the move you just used up in Level 4. Clever.”

We went at it verbally off and on for about the next two hours. I hated this guy. What is it with players who think that ’tilting you’ is a good thing for them? I always have found that rationale to be ridiculous. I had to share with him the fact that him ’tilting me’ emotionally? Has no bearing on my game, or how I play. Only that I am now sitting there creatively thinking up all the various ways I would like to kill him, like a serial killer from the ‘Saw’ trilogy. Why should I start playing like shit because the guy is an asshole? That would just reward him for his dickishness. No thanks.

The good news is that I sat there and watch his stack go south for about two hours…and was so hoping to see it perish forever, preferably at the hands of Senor Monkey. It wouldn’t happen…because he would suck out on a guy for a huge pot that put him back in good shape. Sometimes I really, really hate the poker gods.

My first nasty hit came when a new player came to our table. Wait! New? Let me clarify. He wasn’t ‘new.’ He was merely on his third buy in. He sat down with 20k chips. And quickly blew threw 13k of them raising in the ‘Aggro-Boy’ style that so many of his counterparts try to use to chip up. So..with the blinds at 200/400 and him sitting on 7k…he just decides to open shove with pocket 7’s. It folds to me…and I look down at KK. Oh boy. I have 24k in my stack…and can’t possible fold. But being in these spots enough, you just KNOW you are going to get fucked. And, of course…I did. He runs out a straight on a board of 4-5-J-6-8 to put a big dent in my stack.

It got worse. A few hands later…I call another min-raiser in the SB with A-9. I hit gin (I thought) with a flop of 10-9-9. Nice! I check. The guy bets quite a bit. I decide I better raise and not get cute…in case he has an overpair…and hits it on the turn or river. So I raise him. He instantly shoves on me. Wow. Gotta be an over pair…or maybe A10? Only thing beating me is a set of tens…for a boat. I call. He turns over QUEEN FUCKING TEN! Wow! How….how…does even a semi decent player, not fold there? I was baffled, but sort of pleased…as I now have to fade that nightmare two-outer again. Didn’t have to wait long. Dealer slaps a fucking ten on the turn. Christ almighty!

And what hand always seems to signal my departure from ALL Main events? You know it! Pocket QUEENS! And on the VERY NEXT HAND? I would get QQ on the button. So standard. Folds around to me…I don’t even go all in with my 4500 remaining in my stack. I raise to 1800. Well, the kid in the small blind, another horrible player who’d been over playing hands all day…doesn’t even THINK about the guy in the BB with a stack three times the size of his…he over-shoves about 33k! Shit! I expect to see AK probably. Nope. Just jacks. Jacks…..GOOD! Flop J-9-9. Of course. I didn’t get ‘lucky’ and hit a queen…or running nines…and that was it. I was out. Dead. Kaput!

Congratulations….to a friend and former dealer…who at some point in that horrible trip called me and invited me to join him and some guys for a night away from the poker table at some local sports bar, Allen Farber, who had as GOOD of a trip, as I did BAD…culminating with a 2nd place finish for over 100k in the Main Event. He simply killed Choctaw. Sure he will be more than happy to go back to that place. I remain convinced that my Sioux Indian heritage has somehow been revealed to the spirits of the Choctaw Nation…and not really knowing the relationship between the tribes, can only assume they clashed, and that my week of THREE CONSECUTIVE BUBBLES and other unbelievable outcomes on certain hands, could only be chalked up to them seeking retribution against the Sioux Nation by making me the scapegoat. That HAS to be what happened. I might need to conduct some kind of spiritual ceremony, or sacrifice an animal or something if I ever intend to go there again.

Moving on! To Kai’s 2nd annual What Ever It’s Really Called Poker Tourney…that I won last year in the inaugural event. We had a monster turnout this year. We even had someone from my poker club who lives in Toronto freaking Canada FLY IN for the event! Kudos to GoGoChatty! Tim Burt would be my eventual assassin…as we started with 18 players I think…and when we got down to 8…Tim tried some of his bully tactics on me with AK. I raised in early position with 66. He gave a speech and re-raised a decent amount. I flatted. A flop of …oh what was it? I was into about my 12th shot by then….a paired board…think it was Q-4-4 maybe. Whatever it was…I was 99.9% positive he had NONE of it. So i went ahead and lead out for about half the pot. When he grabbed a giant stack of blacks and countered with a re-raise, I knew it was a total bluff. And while I hated to see two more cards that would give him a chance to suck out…I also knew winning that hand would put me in the drivers seat to win the big monstrosity of a hub cap trophy for the second year in a row.


Kai the Robed Viking and Tim the Mexican Jumping Bean

Kai the Robed Viking and Tim the Mexican Jumping Bean

I lost. He turned a fucking ace. And the ensuing good-natured ribbing just made it worse. You go to a party. A great party. With off-duty Hooters girls hired by Kai shepherding drinks back and forth to the players. You eat chicken wings supplied by Oren Zweig and his BIG-O’s restaurant. You see people you haven’t seen in a long time. You get to see your good friend Jenn Gay, who is a month from becoming a mother, and her man Stephen….who also did a good share of the dealing. Simply put…it was a great night. Kai did an amazing job of hosting. I helped with the organizing of the chips, the structure, and running the tourney as much as I could. I’m pretty sure EVERYONE had a great time. There was a small entry fee. Then a $100 last longer with 7 of us. I think Tim Burt won that. I’m not exactly sure.


Busting early from the tourney gave Dustin Stewart plenty of time to hit on the Hooters waitress/bartender

Busting early from the tourney gave Dustin Stewart plenty of time to hit on the Hooters waitress/bartender

At the end…Jim ‘Smoky’ Williams would emerge as this year’s winner. BUT…and this is a big BUT that I have only a small amount of an issue with. The lucky 2nd place finisher…kind of like how Melissa ‘Tell-Me-When-It’s-My-Turn-To-Act’ Parker (or Lassere now I guess that she’s officially divorced) got heads up with me last year…was a hottie named Danielle Stewart…who earlier made her brother Dustin the first victim of the night, cracking his KK with 6-7 on the ‘Non-Feature’ table that I was not sitting at! Then a short while later…she flops a set of 9’s against a guy who flopped a set of jacks. No problem. Quad nines on the river. She was a lot of fun, and wore a lot of various disguises all throughout. And she admittedly had maybe 3/10ths of a clue what she was doing…that or she was a great actress…but she just ran like Tiffany Michelle in 200? whenever that was!


The Viking hat did NO MAGIC for Senor Monkey. Seated on my left was long time poker pal from New Orleans Barth Melius...the now infamous poster of the Doc Sands Chip Dumping WSOP 2013 Scandal on 2+2!

The Viking hat did NO MAGIC for Senor Monkey. Seated on my left was long time poker pal from New Orleans Barth Melius…the now infamous poster of the Doc Sands Chip Dumping WSOP 2013 Scandal on 2+2!

The Viking hat did NO MAGIC for Senor Monkey. Seated on my left was long time poker pal from New Orleans Barth Melius…the now infamous poster of the Doc Sands Chip Dumping WSOP 2013 Scandal on 2+2!

Well…she was dead set on walking out with that trophy. It would be broken again, as mine was last year. Someone got some tools this time though, and fixed it. Not mine. In fact, prior to the event, I went and rustled up a gold chain…and wore just the hubcap around my neck, along with the exact same outfit I wore last year…hoping to recapture the glory! Not happening. Not this time.

The eventual winner (sort of) Jim 'Smokey' Williams...along with his 'tough-tactic-negotiator' girlfriend Alicia Mattina...who played hardball during the negotiation process for the trophy!!!

The eventual winner (sort of) Jim ‘Smokey’ Williams…along with his ‘tough-tactic-negotiator’ girlfriend Alicia Mattina…who played hardball during the negotiation process for the trophy!!!

Danielle wanted that trophy…and the agreement to streak naked through the neighborhood that the winner of the trophy must agree to, didn’t seem to slow her down. So Jim ended up taking a little more money…and she got the trophy, and title, I guess of winner. Personally, I’ve never been a big fan of taking a trophy, or a ring, or a bracelet when I didn’t actually win. I think it cheapens it. But in this case? I guess it was all in fun, so who cares, right? And besides…who would you rather see streak through the neighborhood naked? Smokey? Or Danielle? Yeah…easy one there. She never really satisfied the terms of that agreement/pact either….orrrrr did she??? Guess you’d have had to be there to know for sure!


Last years WINNER and this year's 'winner' Danielle.

Last years WINNER and this year’s ‘winner’ Danielle.

But all in all…it was a GREAT NIGHT of fun and poker! So thanks to Kai Landry for putting on another majestic spectacle and giving us all a chance to REALLY appreciate the game of poker without rules, time limits or good dealers!!!! It was a great way to get out and have a little fun before this big trip to Hollywood.


Our fabulous host Kai Landry...along with sexy 'D.Stew #1'...yeah, we all were forced to wear name tags for some odd reason!

Our fabulous host Kai Landry…along with sexy ‘D.Stew #1’…yeah, we all were forced to wear name tags for some odd reason!

Now…if I can just get a TINY LITTLE BIT of run good down there??? Please? I hope my Sioux Indian ancestors didn’t have any major beefs with the Seminole Tribes. Maybe I should Google it and see if there is anything I need to do before I head down there tomorrow!!!!


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