Wednesday, November 24, 2010

December Live Events and how I hate Online Poker.

At this point I'm pretty convinced that online poker was created and funded by Ebay and  If it were not for ridiculously lengthy online tournaments, I'd probably never shop online.  I'm expecting a Christmas Card from both Absolute AND the entire executive staff at Ebay this season.

I don't get it.  I know tons of people who do really fantastic online. I absolutely can not run well there.  Maybe its because of my insane ADD, or my propensity for multi tasking.. but it seems like I can't get a grasp on the learning curve. To be honest, this isn't even a part of my game that I really want to develop either. I hate people who bitch and moan about things being rigged, or how terrible they're running.. (My usually unpopular response to people moaning about being card dead for six months is to ask them if it has occurred to them that they might just suck at poker).. but I find myself sitting there watching bad beat after bad beat and wondering if it IS possible to beat the software and bots anymore. Don't get me wrong, I've had plenty of nights where I can't hit a flop.. can't get a starting had with anything above an 8 in it.. and I usually can turn it around.  Or chip out and take a walk. But online, I can be running hot as hell and it still feels like I'm playing roulette.

On the note of shopping, I also find it amusing that I cringe at the idea of paying $120 for a sweater.. but a $120 buy in on a 7 pm event seems low-rollin' to me. Priorities I suppose.

December's line up is convienient but unimpressive.  Goldstrike has the Winter Classic from December 2nd through the 12th, and NOLA has their usual December event.  I've heard from more than a few people that they typically take the holidays off.  I'm thinking of skipping NOLA altogether and just running in and out of Goldstrike more for social reasons than actually to play.  Jan. is a HUGE month (at least in terms of what I can cover for the magazine) with the Southern Championship and the beginning of the Harrah's event in Tunica.  The Beau event is so freakin' long though. I have approx. a week of comped rooms there, so I may head down around the time of the main.. but I have zero intention of playing a 10K event unless I freeroll into it through other successes. I haven't even begun to look at Feb or March, much less beyond that.  I think my brain is fried. Ebay can fix this...

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Magnolia Classic - Part Two: Assaulted by a Troll/Monkey Molests a Sign

Home from work and going to knock out the rest of this Magnolia update while I still have the ability to recall the details. On a side note, I just left Walgreens.  I find it incredibly amusing how different it is to live in Casinos four days or so a week and then go back to the real world. Four days a week, more or less depending on the time of year, if you want a soda at 4 am and a medium rare steak, you pick up the phone.  If you're feeling social, you go downstairs.  If not, you crank up the air conditioning and snuggle into a comforter and watch the premium channels.  In the real world you walk into a Walgreens and feel like you're imposing on the checkout girl for interupting her heated cell phone conversation with her significant other. You ask if they have any chocolate milk that isn't out of date and she sneers at you with such contempt that for a second, you consider apologizing. I STILL prefer MY bed, MY computer and having my things easily accessible.. the comforts of being at home. But sometimes I wish I could carry a sparkly card around that forced people in customer service to at least pretend to give a damn about what I need.

Anyway, so this will be two fold.  The insanity of Tunica and poker stuff.  We'll start with the poker.  The Main Event had a great turn out. Dale and Lisa (And Sheila and Joe and Jon and Shaun and Chris and .. you get the point) did an amazing job putting on the event.  I didn't LOVE the table placement (amongst the slots) but the rest was great.  Lisa let me do the announcing on behalf of Ante Up Mag before the main and I got to say the "Shuffle Up and Deal" which totally made the "uncomfortable public speaking" moment I was thrust into. <3

At the beginning of the event, I approached Ryan Potter and told him he was going to win this thing.. and proceeded to take a few pictures of him starting out.  Low and behold he placed 2nd and took home somewhere around $15K.  He had a hell of a run.  He's a genuinely nice guy and deserved it. The winner is also a sweetheart and I'm happy for him. The bracelet Horseshoe put together for the event was beautiful, if a bit masculine. But hey, considering maybe three women played that particular event I suppose it worked out nicely.

The Seniors event allowed people 40 and up to play.  Which is a little weird.  It was less like a senior event and more like an "exclude the younger people" event.  But I had to work that day so it didn't really bother me.

As for the insanity of Tunica.. I'm only going to hit the broad strokes.  I'm sure Monkey's blog will go into more details.  The short version is this:  I was lurking around the final table in the main, and went to see what Monkey had gotten himself into.  He was playing Blackjack.. so I decided to join him for a few minutes.  He was winning on an insane heater/streak.. I was on a moderate streak myself, and our independent stacks were growing exponentially. You know how people holler and throw a fit when they win big at craps?  Our table's celebration level was about 10 times LESS obnoxious than that, but we were still thrown out (And by thrown.. I mean escorted off the property by a midget and her brigade of snaggle tooth guards and one lone EMT (I have no idea why.. maybe they expected Monkey to stroke out?)..)  Anyway, that didn't go over too well with us. They absolutely wouldn't give either one of us an explanation. Monkey would say.. "And why are we being told to leave?" to which they literally replied "Because I said so!". Umm.. sure, Mom.  Thanks.

You know how Monkey has this insane reputation of being a collossal trouble maker back in the day?  How controversy seems to follow him?  How 40% of the people you mention his name to will sneer, though not enough to hide the look of interest in their eyes? I don't know how much of those urban legends about him I bought into prior to this trip. I personally don't care what he does, because I like him as a person.  He's a hell of a card player, he's married to one of the hottest women I've ever seen, and he's funny.  Thats pretty much good enough for me. But I can honestly tell you from first hand experience.. I've never witnessed anything like the shit people sling at him.  I don't know if its because he's an alpha male, or because he was winning too much money, or if the pit boss was just insecure being in the presence of someone who is clearly NOT insecure.. but 90% of the drama that came our way had absolutely nothing to do with anything Monkey did.  Honest to God truth. He is a MAGNET for contempt though. Here is the thing about him.. whether he's willing to admit this or not.  Monkey cares about people.  Almost all people, to a level that most people never recognize.  He has very basic expectations from everyone he comes in contact with.  If you work in customer service, you need to provide customer service.  If you're a poker player, don't name drop.. don't talk out of your ass when no one cares, and don't expect people to pay your way.  If you're a waiter, have a basic concept of how to wait tables. If you're a dealer, deal cards. If you can't do any of these basic functions, admit it up front and he'll forgive you.  Might even help YOU do YOUR job better, if he can. Even though this sounds somewhat reasonable, for whatever reason, he has an uncanny ability to find the most incompetent person in a room and ask them a question only to have THEM flip shit when he can't get an answer.

This is how it went at the Horseshoe. The dealer? Loved having us at the table.  The other players? Couldn't stop laughing.  The questionably competent pit crew and entire range of security? Loathed us. We were less than politely walked out the door. At this point, Monkey did in fact dry hump a stop sign. This had a dual purpose.  One, it was damn funny. Two, it really pissed off the midget security chief. Or maybe he was just into the sign.  Who knows. I do know at this point we were threatened with going to jail.  So we meandered into Goldstrike. We made it approx 15 feet onto the gaming floor before security was all over us.  Apparently Horseshoe was kind enough to call ahead and make them aware of our impending arrival.  Fabulous.

So it was that Jennifer Gay.. 30 years old, playing cards in Casinos for the better part of 9 years.. and Monkey Souther, 40+.. plays more cards than I'll ever see.. were both grounded. Literally.  They sent us to our rooms (seperate properties), where we were to remain on a 24 hour ban.  For doing nothing.  In a round about way it was a favor.. by now it was 5 or 6 am and we'd both been forced to pocket our winnings.

The next day, we kinda ignored the bans.  I played the Cash Blast (didn't love it, but love Mike and Kenny so I'll say it was definitely different.. just not necessarily suited to my play style), and Monkey staggered in late to play the same tournament.  We grabbed dinner at Binions, where the food was amazing.  Pretty sure when the waiter told us he'd been with the Steakhouse for 9 and a half years, he secretly meant "I've been working in the back of the kitchen for 9 and a half years, and you guys are my first actual table to wait on.. ever", but I didn't want to make him feel awkward. Had a bottle of Pinot Noir that was fantastic enough I'll probably have erotic dreams about it in the near future. Oh, and the hottest asian/pixie looking female manager.. with an awkward accent, was kind enough to make sure the meal was to specification.  It was good enough. No major complaints.

Met up with Scotty, played some $1/$2 and ended the Magnolia experience on a very quiet note. Monk's wife had arrived to claim him, and I needed a couple hours of verbally harassing Scott while he tried to sleep. This entertains me endlessly.  Though, it may not delight him as much.  I was genuinely happy to see him.  Having him around for the poker stuffs saves me SO much time in having to relay the details to him later. Plus, Scott gets me.. I know what I can say to him and about him at the table, and what not to say. Whats so great about him is that pretty much nothing is off limits if its to get a laugh out of others. This delights me endlessly.

Magnolia was a success.  I met a ton of great people, reconnected with some I've adored for ages.. and even though my liver has formed a union with other critical organs and is threatening a strike.. I made it out none the worse for wear. 

Two weeks off.. and then.. Winter Classic! <3

The Magnolia Classic - Part One: No Scott/Tequilla is a Helluva Drug

This past week was the Magnolia State Classic.  The first tournament sponsored/partnered with Ante Up Magazine (which most of you know I write for).  I made a point to be there every day, and even played four events.  The turn out was kinda average at best for a few of the days, but the Main had a tremendous turnout for the time of year (113 total) and buy in ($500).  This one is on my "home field" at Horseshoe, Tunica and made the commuting so much easier.  I kept a room for the nights I was in no shape to go home, but managed to run back and fourth quite a bit.

Poker trips are something I've been doing with Scott Williams lately (for the last six months or so).  He's an excellent traveling companion/roommate on the road, totally low maintenance and we have similar energy levels.  This is critical, even though it sounds irrelevant, because there is nothing more irritating that traveling with someone who NEVER talks.. or never shuts up. Even though he'd tell you he's the better poker player (and he is, but don't tell him I said so), we also run similar in terms of success.. so it isn't like I have to room with someone who never sits at a final table, or equally.. suffer bad beats alongside someone with endless perfect runs. There isn't any of that male/female awkwardness and for whatever weird reason, I can't lie to him.  So I don't have to keep secrets or sugarcoat things.  This trip, however, he wasn't really around and it forced me interact with new people which lead to more than a few interesting situations. I'm not entirely sure if I can use this to hold him responsible for some of my less than graceful moments, or thank him because I was forced make some new friends.. which is probably something I would have avoided otherwise.  I love poker players, but not so much talking about their ridiculous bad beat tales outside the cardroom. One thing I did learn though.. when Scott isn't around, I tend to get into a hell of a lot more trouble.  Must be his old age that keeps me grounded. ;)

I played four, cashed three. (I forgot about the BHWT Cash Blast.  Which was a disaster. So I played 5, cashed 3). My cash record is pretty high in terms of making it past the bubble.. but I'm not to the point where I can keep my ADD from kicking in at the final table.  I'm NEVER the person with the massive chip stack, and I can't seem to secure that 1st place bragging rights very often. At all. On paper, my cash record is insane in terms of how often I get there vs what I play, but I just can't seem to fine tune my game to get me into anything other than the low end of cashes.  Fortunately, my negotiating skills are top notch and I can quite often get a better deal than I deserve in the chops. All too often though, I find myself being the person who walks with a $600 profit on a $125 7 pm. Which is freakin' aggravating.

One of my final tables, first hand I sit down I witness a 60K pot of so where this ridiculously handsome kid in the 4 seat was running a total bluff.  The kid to my left, Jeff I believe it was, calls with King high on a board with ten million possibilities.  It was either the sickest call I've ever seen in my entire life (because the bluff was excellently executed), or it was the most ignorant. I'm still not sure, and I don't know that I ever will be.  Of course Jeff swears that he knew he had him.  The other kid, Gabe, was cool about the ass beating but I could tell that even he wasn't entirely sure he didn't just run up against the biggest donkey of all time.  The board was something like Ad Ah Jd 7d 8c.. Gabe had 6/3c and decided to run the bluff preflop.  Jeff called down with Kh, 9h.  So one could argue that he was on a busted straight draw, but he called an all in shove on the river. Fortunately Gabe was left standing.  I was about 2nd in chips at this point, and we started doing Tequilla shots.

I lost everything but about $1500 or three purple chips in a flopped straight vs a rivered flush against the same bluffer previously mentioned, and managed to come back to 2nd or 3rd (I think I signed 2nd? We chopped. I don't recall. See aforementioned Tequilla). It was one of the most fun final tables I've ever been at.  Lots of good interactions, a great after party, and a bunch of new friends.

The next day, fighting a hangover, I managed to screw up a couple of one tables and still make it to work.

I pestered Monkey into coming up and playing.  I figured a lot of the locals up here that haven't had a chance to see him since his phenominal run this fall would like to, and that it was just close enough that I could entice him with free hotel rooms.  I was right, and he made the trip. I'll get into the details of our expulsion from the Horseshoe and the BHWT Cash Blast Tournament in the next post.  For now, I've got to get to Southland.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Biloxi Poker, Painkillers and Dressing in Drag.

The IP WSOPC Biloxi was a success.  Well, as much of a success as I'd hoped it would be.  For me it was more of a work trip than a poker trip.. networking, gathering tidbits for the column and maybe a little poker thrown in for good measure.  I managed a final table, as did my friend Scott.  I managed to get penalized (first time ever), and I got to meet a lot of the awesome facebookers that have added me over the last six months.

The blog has moved over from its previous host to Blogger, because..well.. Blogger seems to be the way everyone is going. That technically makes this a "first" post, despite the fact that I've kept a blog for approx. 11 years now.  This one is just more focused. And less dependent on LiveJournal co-operating. I haven't focused, nearly as much as I should have, on getting the Bella Donkey site and blog live.. but with all the "out of town" trips out of the way for the year, this has become the new priority! I managed to lose all my "friends" and "followers" in the transition, so if you'll bear with me during the "under construction" phase, I hope SOME of the previous readers will come along too. :)

I managed to work a couple of the "High Points" from the IP into my column.  A local player, Bob Talbot who is new to the tournament scene (but not to poker), cashed an impressive $42K in the championship event with his third place finish.  Monkey, who I once kinda loathed but have since developed the uptmost respect for, scored his first WSOP ring and yet another first place cash in the Omaha 8 or better event. Speaking of Monkey.. we had a deal, regarding the breast cancer fundraising he attempted to do. I told him if he played the ladies event, I'd work him into the next column. Though he was prevented from actually playing, his effort was valiant.. and much to Kai Landry's dismay, there will be a picture of Monkey and Kai in full drag tied to the Miss Poker column next month. So, yay for that.

I got to officially congratulate Mark Rose on his victory at the GCPC, and if it were not for his penchant for flip flops, he may very well be the perfect man. Though I'm still not convinced that any male should ever wear flip flops in public (just a personal problem with hairy man toes), he pulled it off as well as one can. 

Next week, Ante UP Magazine (the publication kind enough to feature my "Miss Poker" column) is sponsoring the Magnolia Fall Classic at Horseshoe Tunica.  I will try to be there every day of the event, and at the very least will be playing in the Cash Blast on Sunday the 21st.

Leaving Biloxi, I managed to sprain my ankle.  I'm going to mark this one down in the books as my first official "poker" injury, though it doesn't directly correlate.  The result has been a week of accomplishing less than I needed to, and many hazy hours under the influence of prescription medication. Playing on the side of caution, I've avoided the card rooms this week and the break has been nice.  I also haven't really spent time around any of my "poker" friends, and having conversations with people who live outside the bubble has been kinda cool.  I'm sure the novelty will wear off by the time Friday rolls around and I'm back to Southland to greet the regular players with my usual gusto.

If you're in the area, you should stop by the Magnolia next week at the Horseshoe.  The buy-ins are affordable, and there is a pretty awesome overlay in the sense that each noon event will have a main event seat to the WSOPC Tunica added by Horseshoe.. not taken from the prize pool.  That is an added value of approx. $1600.  Worth the trip, indeed. :)