THE POKER MONKEY…your Source for Perpetual Insanity!: THE MARCH TO VEGAS BEGINS!!!
THE MARCH TO VEGAS BEGINS!!!
As promised, I am back with a fresh blog post inside of ten months, the time between my previous two posts! Things since I announced the relaunch of my Summer Grinders has been fast and furious. Shares are going like …hotcakes? How did that ever become ‘a thing?’ Going like hotcakes? When have hotcakes ever been in really high demand? And what ARE hotcakes? Are they pancakes? Are they cakes with a hot, molten center like those you get at Chili’s after dinner? I don’t know…but the shares are, indeed, going at a brisk pace. As I am writing this…at 11:25pm on Tuesday night…we are currently sitting at 186 shares sold. What that means…is I have sold enough to send the first THREE players…with 36 of 50 sold to send the FOURTH player. My initial goal…was to make dreams come true for FIVE players this summer. But…my gut instinct is that if I keep aggressively chatting things up…and getting help from some others…we might just have a shot to get to the same 400 shares that we sold last summer…when we sent 8 players.
And with all the numerous applications I have received in my email at ThePokerMonkey1@aol.com there is nothing I would like to do then to send as many quality, well-deserving (and hungry!) players to Vegas as I possibly can for me and all of our investment team to root for. I know one of the things that helps sell shares is to announce the players as I go…in hopes that the people who support THEM…will jump on board and buy some shares so they can have a rooting interest in THEM…and in doing so…will create a situation for someone else wanting to join the team. The more we sell..the more opportunities we create for more players and their rooting base! Then…at the end of the day…we come together as ONE TEAM….Monkey’s 2018 WSOP GRINDERS! Also known, lovingly as MONKEY’S MINIONS!
SO…without further adieu…and that’s a delayed ADIEU…because I fell asleep writing this last night! It’s now Wednesday afternoon…been processing picks all morning for my next pool…for the U.S. OPEN that starts tomorrow morning. So now I am getting back to finishing this blog post…already have had 5 people ask me when I’m announcing who the first three team members are. Okay okay okay….here they are!!!! You ready????
THE FIRST PLAYER being named to the team this summer? This one is easy…and kind of self-explanatory. Chris Canan, who finished 520th for a shade under $25,000 was our highest finishing team member last summer…and as such, as has been established in the first four years of this team, gets the AUTO INVITE to the team the following year. Now, if that player decides to play for someone else, perhaps for a better deal, or even on his/her own dime? Hey! That’s great! We wish them the very best! In the case of this year? Chris is excited to return and try to better his 520th place finish. Chris is someone who has been very supportive of the team even BEFORE he was named to the team last summer…so it’s great to have him back for another go at it!
THE SECOND PLAYER being named to the team this summer? A lot of you might not know this person. I do. And have for about a decade. You likely don’t know much about HER…because she really doesn’t get much of a chance to play that much. Why? Because she happens to be employed! Full time! She works for NASA. Or did. She is…literally….our resident rocket scientist! One of the most intelligent people I know…she brings her cerebral talents to the felt. I’ve had the chance to observe her game over the years and always come away amazed with how sharp she is in so many of the different aspects of the game. She nearly won the Women’s WSOP event last summer, finishing 13th in a huge field.
Above is a link to Kristen’s Cardplayer profile that offers a glance at some/most of her career cashes. Again…it’s not going to blow you away. That isn’t the intent with the naming of Kristen. She is a player who I know…and who I believe in…and am picking purely on the basis that I think she is capable of doing great things in this tournament, under this structure. I am fully aware that I am opening myself up to second-guessing from people, even investors…but those who have followed (even backed) me in the past 12-15 years…I think trust my (a) own abilities and (b) my eye for talent when it comes to other players. But if I can be honest? I’d love it if Kristen does me a solid and just goes ahead and at LEAST cashes….so I can avoid the scrutiny that some may have of me!!!!
As for the THIRD PLAYER? Now this one might come as a bit of a surprise. And might also come with some heavy scrutiny, even criticism. And that’s fair. But…let me just explain how this pick was made. There are several reasons. First…SHE (yes…another woman!) has basically busted her tail to assist me in a LOT of ways the last few years…but the most vital being the taking on the creation of the TEAM GEAR. Hats, t-shirts and hoodies. She went from just helping me get them made the first year…then the same last year…but handling ALL the orders and MAILING, for anyone who purchased team gear. The time she saved me was incalculable. Since I got started way late this summer…we will be limited to just T-Shirts this year…and they are ready. Below is a look at them. Notice the monkey is holding MY favorite hand!? Yes…that was by design!
On top of all that…Jacqueline Britton has been incredibly instrumental in bringing us supporters/investors. As I scroll down the list there are easily 15-20 people who have joined our investor pool SOLELY because she brought them to us. So from that standpoint, she has literally EARNED her way onto the team this summer.
But before you start babbling about “yeah but what does THAT have to do with her ability to play poker?” Okay. Fair enough. So last summer…I bought a little action on Jacqueline’s Lady’s WSOP event…and then missed out on her $1500 Monster Stack tournament. With a total of 6,716 entries…she managed to finish 88th. All during the tourney she was texting me…picking my brain…asking for help. But in following her, I was extremely impressed with the decisions she was making. I always hesitate immensely to give people advice when they are in the throes of a deep run. I try to impress upon them that they HAVE to be playing pretty well to have gotten that far….and to have faith, and confidence in themselves. Also…they have a better feel for the people they are playing with than I do…seated sometimes 100’s of miles away! Yes, it’s flattering to know that my opinion is highly regarded. But I don’t want the responsibility of giving advice based on something where I am lacking certain vital information. She did a fantastic job. I have NO doubts whatsoever that she has the skills to do well in the Main.
I consider one of the primary skills in the Main Event to be patience. Because with (upped again from 30k to 50k) a starting stack like this…and two hour blind levels you can literally play one or two winning hands on Day 1 and survive with an above average stack. But you have to be able to fight that nagging urge to start playing some ugly hands out of sheer boredom. The Main Event is a patient players Utopia. For those players who like to mix it up…set the tone…run the table….be in every other hand? The Main Event is a massive drain of energy for them. You can’t WIN the Main Event on Day 1. Or 2. Or 3…you get the point. All you can do is lose. And a lot of really aggressive players will do JUST that. But the tight, patient players? They tend to survive…picking spots…using their table image…studying their table mates and making well-calculated moves against them at the right times. The Super Aggro’s? They just keep playing the same way…until eventually…they make the wrong move at the wrong time. And those guys tend to develop an attitude, and ego…and refuse to be taken off a hand. So they commonly succumb to their own foolish and stubborn pride. I have always rather enjoyed watching those kind of players go down in flames. It makes me giddy.
And so…if you are wondering still…what kind of players I look for when putting this team together? It’s NOT the kind I just explained. Because I really don’t CARE how many chips you manage to accumulate by the end of Day 1 or 2. Hey GREAT! You have 350,000 chips! Yay! We are only 1000 from the money. You know what a chipstack like THAT carries with it? A massive amount of potential disappointment. Because there is almost always only ONE WAY for them to go. DOWN. Because the type of player who AMASSES that stack? Is rarely the kind of player who suddenly downshifts into “protect mode.” Nope. That player is going out on Day 3 trying to run that 350,000 up to a million. And in doing so…tend to lock up in battles all day against players of similar style and stack size…and while one of them will emerge with the other one’s stack…the other guy hits the bricks…to the loud moans of those supporting him/her. Because they just COULDN’T downshift…go into protect mode…guard their 100+ big blind start…and finesse their way into the money…while possibly picking up some monster hands along the way and maybe taking out smaller stacks. I’ve always said…I’d rather have a BIG STACK…and LET the smaller stacks give me their chips. Then to have a BIG STACK…and try to STEAL the smaller stacks chips.
Okay…so those are your starting three. There will be no more women named to the team. We’ve never had more than one. And this year we have two. Lady players…they are a special breed. They really do stick together. We were to get one of these gals making it to the final table? They might have to move it to the MGM Arena to accommodate all the viewer requests. I expect we will get a LOT more ladies jumping in and buying shares so they can have a piece of these two gals…and that our Team Facebook Group page will be jumping!
So who is next? We are only about 15 shares away from naming a fourth player…then next up will be the 5th (and maybe final) player. I am heading out to St Thomas next Thursday for five days to celebrate our one-year anniversary of opening Bernie’s with my best buddy Barth Melius. Then I come home…go to my nephews graduation from Marine training over in Pensacola the next morning…then Squirrel and I are going to the Eagles concert in New Orleans two nights later…and then BAM! It’s time for me to jump on a plane and fly out to Vegas with a backpack full of cash…contracts…and a bunch of hope and optimism. So my timetable to get the finishing touches put on this year’s team is really tight.
I know a lot of people, locally anyway, were really hoping (even counting on) for a Wild Card tournament like I’ve done in the past…where I give 10-15 players a chance to buy in for $400 or so…and awarding the winner of that tournament a seat to the team and the tourney. Sadly…and due mainly to my own tardiness, I won’t be doing that this summer…simply because there isn’t time for it. Wild Bill Phillips, however…has been running his own satellites at our bar (Out of Bounds) in Metairie over the past couple of months to get more people to the Main Event. Bill offered to run an event for me…a couple of times…and I need to make sure to thank him for that offer. I probably should have let him do it…but I would rather not do something where I can’t be there to oversee it. Also…I wanted to be in control of who was invited to play. Despite my fondness for MOST players in the area…there are SOME who I openly can’t stand…nor would I want them anywhere NEAR the team I put my name on. And if they were to win a tournament that granted them automatic entry onto my team? I would be livid. So there’s that.
So who is on deck? Well…as I mentioned earlier…I have gotten a BUNCH of applications from players. Some are better than others…not just in how much they told me about themselves, and expressed why I should pick them…and how hungry they are….but also in terms of their past results. To me…the story sometimes is just as important as the overall stats. I have to make two (maybe more) really really really difficult choices. I am deciding between a few past players…some who already cashed for me/us…and some who didn’t…but came close. I am deciding on a couple of guys I know personally…one who has won a WSOP bracelet…who are a little down on their luck in their personal lives…and could really use a HUGE opportunity to potentially turn their lives around. There is a lot to consider…and plenty of people to choose from. And like I said…I hate being the person who delivers bad news. In a perfect world…someone with REALLY DEEP POCKETS will call me up (or text me) and say “Hey! Monkey! I love what you’re doing man! How about if I buy 200 shares myself so you can send another four players!???” That would be killer. My partner Barth knows a couple of guys like that. I know a couple. I’ll cross my fingers. But for now…I am counting on a big push from my investor base to start pummeling my email box at ThePokerMonkey1@aol.com to request shares so we can send another awesome team out to Vegas!!!!
As for myself? I just checked out something I haven’t looked at in awhile…especially since I hardly play anymore…MY Cardplayer profile. I see I am sitting at 146 career cashes…which of course is ONLY on tourneys that the buy in was $300 or more. I do WONDER how many cashes I would have on there if they reported ALL tourneys played…say, over $100. It would be fun to know…but alas…I don’t think there is ANY way to know. But I am looking at a lineup of events at Venetian, The Wynn and Aria during the week I am in Vegas…that would give me a shot at getting to 150 career cashes…and maybe re-light my poker flame! Something about getting to Vegas…and getting immersed in that environment..it always really gets my competitive juices flowing…and my desire to win. Back when I went out for 7 weeks…and I was NEEDING to come home a winner to ensure that my bills got paid…now I’m in a much better place financially, and I can go and just play for the fun of it, and to play BIGGER buy in tourneys with a chance to win something that will make an impact on my family’s life. No more laboring through these $300-$400 tourneys…playing for hours and either min-cashing for peanuts…or angrily busting after hours of play. If I’m going to play a tourney…there is gonna be a BIG score at the end of that rainbow!!!
I will post another blog next week before I head off to St Thomas and let everyone know where we are SHARES-wise. We’re almost there! 3 weeks til GO TIME!!