Monkey Heads to the Louisiana Swamp to Wrestle Swamp Thangs!

11 min read

Swamp poker
Poker in the Swamp

It’s true. I am a glutton for punishment. In the past decade I’ve coined a few phrases that some people have liked to latch on to…some a little too much. It’s kind of like when you are a cool kid in school, and come up with a nifty expression, all your ‘boys’ start using it…and it stays within your circle of ‘coolness.’ You feeling me? Suddenly, you happen upon a random conversation in the hall and overhear one of the ‘dorks’ using your Officially Licensed Phrase, and hear it being used without the ‘express written consent of the National Cool Guy’s League.’ You feel the fur start to rise on your back…your Wolverine-like talons beginning to spring from your knuckles!

A couple of these terms/phrases/expressions that I’ve coined over the years are ‘mutants,’ ‘fucktards’ and OMRG’s. Two of the three I’m sure you’ve heard of before. Fucktard, after I introduced it some years ago has caught on like Beanie Babies did in the 90’s. Mutant? Well, it’s been reserved for other cross sections of society, not the poker world. Unless you are Senor Monkey. Mutants…in our line of work…are something that can generally be found in a few places. Nightly, low buy-in tourneys….random low buy in tourneys, or players who originate from places where blood is most likely a staple in their diet. The things they do, the way they play…it all defies anything we have ever encountered. Logic is non-existent. Common sense? Forget it. Position? What’s that? Pot control? Are we in Colorado? Washington State? (Yes, that is a legalized marijuana reference- see what I did there?)


Then you have your OMRG’s. I would love to take 100% credit for this. But that would be unfair. It was actually ‘invented’ by my dear friend Weronika Starr, who is another hottie who should be on that stupid Top 50 list I dropped on you last time. She is one of the most hilariously hostile female (or male for that matter) poker players I know. I could be sitting…well, anywhere, and suddenly I start getting pictures and text messages of these ‘old fuckers’ who she is about to kill. She is responsible for coining the acronym, OMRG. Some of you are clever enough that you will have already figured out what it stands for long before I tell you…’Old Man Run Good.’ Yes…this can also be altered to be OLRG…it just doesn’t seem to happen quite as often. It is not exactly proven what age a person has to reach before they assume OMRG ‘status.’ It could be 50…it could be 75. It just depends on the player.

Myself for example? I am now 47. Which is freaky. I feel closer to 18 then I do 50. Most people express shock when I tell them I am 47…that I am just 3 years shy of getting to play in the Geezer’s Event. That thought of playing in those simply sends a chill down my spine, and not the kind of chill I get when someone just nails the Star Spangled Banner before the Super Bowl. The bad kind. I have had fledgling plans to develop my own line of Poker Action wear for the OMRG’s of the world, who are proud of what/who they are…and aren’t afraid to show it. Trust me…these guys who have been reading my blog for the past 6 years or so? They know about the OMRG, and a lot of them are only too happy to tell me when I sit down at their table, that they are planning on OMRG’ing me that day. Great. I’ve been warned, is always what goes through my mind. Then I gaze upon their bright orange hunting hat, or their camouflage vest…or the Tommy Bahama shirt with the various sports fish splashed all over it…those are the ones…its almost like a pre-ordained uniform they wear, that are going to get us. The OMRG’s.


There are very few places on this planet where you will experience a finely tuned, planets-lined-up-in-their-perfect-alignment combination of Mutant/Fucktard/OMRG player, as you will in the western part of Louisiana. Don’t believe me? Oh come on…don’t be silly…just believe me. We will both be better off for it. Well, three weeks ago, I let my friend Chad Holloway who is a beat writer for Poker News, and who also snapped off a bracelet in the WSOP Employee’s event last summer…talk me into bravely climbing into my souped up all-terrain vehicle, loading a couple fully loaded shotguns on my gun rack that only exists in my imagination, and driving to Baton Rouge to participate in an event that Poker News had decided to climb on board and try to support real hard…with live blogging and a televised final table that ended up NOT getting televised because the idiots who run the Gaming Commission for the State of Louisiana have a funny way of allowing certain things to transpire without letting a certain amount of time elapse first, in this case, too much time, which would allow them to do it.

Frankly, I almost stepped out on my front lawn…took out a huge joint, lit it…smoked it completely…then proceeded to pull out 11 crisp hundred dollar bills…and start lighting each one of them on fire. I would make sure, of course that my neighbors were witnessing this…to not only show them that ‘Monkey don’t give a fuck’ but also to plant the seed that I might not be ‘all there’ mentally, and might be one of those people who is best left alone. See? A couple purposes could be satisfied with that plan. Also, I would have avoided driving 2 hours each way…cost of gas, cost of hotel, time invested, and the ultimate…and experience with the famed MU/FU/OMRG creature of the Louisiana Swamp!

But I went. Against my better judgment. I fired once. I was defeated. Mr. J-10 off suit, who had called my preflop raise (me with QQ) and then called my c-bet with AK (in his mind) on a board of 10-4-3…also called the turn when I decided to overshove my remaining stack….in my mind putting him on A10 or K10 probably…and just either getting doubled up, or getting done like I tend to always get done up in Swampville. I got swamped….jack on the river. Rebuy….with 3 minutes left to do so.


And indeed, it did. I took my 30k starting stack…and by the end of the night, bagged up 132k…which was good for 2nd place overall. Also meant I didn’t have to come back Saturday to play Flight 1B. I returned Sunday…at the ridiculous re-start time of 10am. I had a very strange day 2. With 36 players remaining, paying 12…I managed to do a lot with very little. I won’t bore you with the details. Let’s just say, that after weathering one of the longest bubble’s of my 10-year poker career, one that lasted 2 and a half 50-minute levels, we finally got into the money. I was pretty certain that once that happened, we would get to about 5-handed FAST. I was right. Funning thing is…I got there by playing no hands. Literally. None! Not like I didn’t want to. It was just that the wrong people (not me) were getting slapped in the face with the deck.

But it was working out just fine…I just kept picking up more and more money along the way. Finally with just 4 of us remaining, I won my first hand at the Final Table…raising with AQ, getting put all in by A4…and winning. For a nice double up. A few hands later though…the button (a super Agro player) raised me and I had A4 in the BB. I shoved all in…and was annoyed to see he had AQ. Shit. I lost. And busted out 4th for $10,900. Not bad…and I wasn’t staked, so it was all mine at least.


So, yeah…a lot of people were pretty shocked that I wandered into that land of the walking dead and managed to scratch out a 4th place. So when the details of this week’s event were revealed, a few people basically dared me to come out to a place I pledged I’d never return to again. A place called COUSHATTA. The event? Seven Clans. Don’t ask. It’s got to do with seven different groups of Indians from all over the area who all, in one way or another, belong to the Coushatta Indian Tribe. Did you enjoy that little history lesson? Good. It’s couldn’t be any LESS relevant to this story. That’s why I told you not to ask. Moving on.

This place? In a word? SUCKS BALLS. Okay, I guess that is two words. So why would I go? One reason: Velveeta. Yeah. It’s soft. And there is value. They take little juice, and the players are gawd-awful. But…they are….THEM! Mutants. Fucktards. OMRG’s. And on a grand scale. Good hands? They go to Coushatta to die. Good reads? They go to Coushatta to be contradicted.

What can I say positive about the place? Not much. They play in a miserable, poorly-lit tourney area…it’s actually their bingo room. They play on shitty tables….and force you to sit on those shitty fold up chairs. A memory foam pillow to sit on is a must. To top it all off? They don’t have poker dealers. Nope. Why would you want that in a 1k poker tourney? No no…they pull their pit dealers off the floor and have them come in and deal to the poker players. So that little spreading of the hands followed by the clap that the blackjack dealer does prior to every newly shuffled deck they are about to put in play? We get that every fucking hand! The first couple times…it’s cute, then after that, it just becomes so annoying you want to take out a machete and cut their hands off.
C’mon Monkey…there has to be something great about this place?!! It’s gotta have a great structure then, right? Uh. Well, you start with 20k chips. And the blinds go 100-200, then…100-200 again….then Level 3…200-400. And the level-skipping continues all the way to the finish line. Of course, I can’t tell you what it’s like in the latter stages, because I’ve never played this event and lasted past the second break. Maybe this weekend I will. Hell, maybe I will defy all the odds and bring home another final table finish from the murky underbelly of poker’s most feared locale.

The drive is a bit longer than Baton Rouge…same direction…just another couple of hours into the swampy delta. Where guys from Central Casting for ‘The Water Boy’ can be found selling you a bottle of Mountain Dew from behind the counter of a Mom and Pop gas station. If you are looking on a map…for whatever reason, the place is located in a town called Kinder, La.

I’m leaving tonight…with my travelmate…and now roomie, who is now living in our guest room after being booted by her Baton Rouge boyfriend a couple weeks ago. As an Alabama fan, it was the best thing that could have happened to her…not sure how she lived in that town with all those LSU pricks for the 6 months that she did. Ugh. So…Miss #21 on the Poker hottie list, and I…will join my buddy from New Orleans, Barth Melius on a trip to the place that features the world’s largest parking lot…for no reason whatsoever.

Updates…and most likely…some pretty funny damn pictures…to follow!

EVENTS: Thursday, Coushatta $300 tourney; Friday/Sat/Sun Coushatta Seven Clans Main Event $1000 tourney


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