Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Hard Walls, Loose Calls and Pudding Heads
"If you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding!" - Pink Floyd
I had been looking at my notes, specifically my last 35 $30 SNGs on Party Poker. Despite a very nice stretch early on when I cashed first or second in four straight, I hit the wall and could not break out of the fifth place and bubble funk. The results have been piss poor.
Number of $30 SNGs: 35
Number of money finishes: 13 (37%)
Amount Invested: $1155
Prize Money: $1350
Net: +195

1st Place Finishes: 4
2nd: 7
3rd: 2
Bubble: 7
5th: 7
The worst stat is knowing I gave away over $105 in juice to Party Poker. You have to win one $30 SNG out right just to make up the difference. I discovered that 40% of the time I was coming in 5th or bubbling out. If a couple of hands went a different way, I'd be boasting about a profitable adventure in the $30 SNGs. They didn't... so I had to figure out what went wrong. I'm sure I was badbeated a couple of times and took a chance with a coin flip and a short stack and missed. But how about the other times when I should have played better? When I had a nice sized stack and I pissed it away on loose calls, or didn't push around my chips like I could have. That's what has been holding me back. Lack of discipline and not enough aggression are the two biggest holes in my play.

When I play too tight, I ended up finding myself sixth in chips out of six players in Level 4 or 5. I have to triple up twice just to catch up to the Top 3 stacks. No wonder I had been getting bounced fifth so much. I never had a chance. During my tight sessions (either the players are super loose and I'm waiting for a monster or I'm simply not getting any cards) because I had not been playing too many hands when I do push all in, the other players put me on a strong hand and are not willing to double me up. My good hands are virtually wasted and all I do is pick up blinds when I'm trying to double up. Solution? I began to play a few loose calls in the first level... really fishy calls too... in hopes of putting out a table image... a loose impression. It only works if they are paying attention. So if I do get chipped down, in later rounds when I push with a high pocket pair, someone with a marginal hand will double me up. Playing a few marginal hands early also give me a chance of hitting a flop and doubling up earlier with a hand I normally wouldn't play, mainly because seeing the flop in Level 1 is so inexpensive.

When I 'm playing well, possibly doubling up early and I got a nice hefty stack, watch out, because I'm a bully. I pick up a lot of pots that way and add to the stack, especially without the benefit of any decent cards. It's easier to play J9o when you have 4x as many chips as the next player than it is when you're the second lowest stack at the table. I seem to make bad decisions and I get greedy trying to attack the smaller stacks. I know that I should avoid small stacks when I'm the big stack (it's not my job to double them up), but there's that little guy inside my head that quickly convinces me (within the 30 second time allotted by Party Poker) to call his King high when I have a middle ace. Of course, I always misread the player and I'm fucked. My big stack became a medium one in a flash, and the small stack has doubled up and beaming with confidence. Nothing is worse than losing momentum when you're the big stack and attacking pots left and right, then BAM!! you lose a close hand on the river and one of the smaller stacks gets hot. You can see your rush slip away and then a flurry of six high hands falls your way (64, 36, 62, 26) as he hits sets on the flop with middle pairs and flops nut flushes until he's the big stack and you're the tiny stack sighing as you push all in with J-10o. Solution? Play tighter against small stacks and attack the big ones. Avoid seeing too many flops and aggressively bet postflop when I do play a hand.

AK has been my downfall. I got knocked out of SNGs a couple of times losing to middle pairs. JJ are still a headache. Nothing is worse than getting called with a small ace when you have jacks (or worse Q-x suited!) and seeing them hit their overcard. I almost want to muck Jacks when I see them.

OK, I started playing $50 SNGs and I'm still getting bubbled out. I placed in just one out of five, but my play has been much stronger. I lost on a couple of suckouts and bad beats. Those are going to happen. I just haven't been seriously beating superior hands which you need to do from time to time to win. And when I've been the dominant hand heads up, I have been outflopped. I know that I have to stick it out at the $50 SNGs because in the long ru, I'll hit flops, get lucky and crack AA or KK (like I have been doing in ring games this past week).

In other poker news, I cleared my bonus on Party Poker! Whoo hoooo. I can start playing more SNGs. In sad news, I bubbled out of a three table SNG last night. I tried to steal a pot with KJs and went heads up with the chipleader who had AQo. I flopped a flush but he had the nut flush draw with his ace and a fourth spade hit the river and I was booted. Two hours wasted.


I'll be in Vegas in ten friggin' days. Glad to announce that CJ is now in! Unfortunately Wil cannot make it. We spoke shortly after the Pokerstars blogger tourney and he had so much fun that he was interested in coming out to Vegas to hang out with bloggers (and this was way before we got Sam's Town to host a tourney). Alas, he's got work and will not be able to make this one. Maybe next year!

Monday, November 29, 2004

WPBT Holiday Classic Update

Thanks to Maudie for the T-shirt design!

11 days until Vegas. How about an update? The Poker Prof mentioned that we now have both Ron Rose and Tom McEvoy coming to the breakfast at Sam's Town to hang out and talk shop with all of the bloggers, in addition to Charlie Shoten (who will be playing in the tournament with us). Being able to pick the minds of some great players will be an amazing opportunity to help improve all of our games and also a chance to ask questions about life as a professional gambler. I will be running a Hilton Sisters Challenge during the tournament and online at Party Poker on the same day. Stay tuned for details.
What: WPBT Holiday Classic
When: Saturday, Dec. 11th at 1 pm PCT
Where: Sam's Town Casino, Las Vegas, NV
Buy in: $50 ($45 prize pool + $5 dealer toke)
The Game: No Limit Texas Hold'em
Prizes: TBD with a prize for last place and a Cowboy hat (Thanks Joaquin) for first; plus random bounties featuring some of Santos' artwork

Breakfast Meet & Greet: 10am PCT at Sam's Town (exact location TBA)
Shots with Al Cant Hang: As soon as you get busted

Bloggers & others expected to play at the Holiday Classic:
1. Me
2. Derek from Poker in the Weeds
3. Poker Prof
4. Dick from Buy It In Vegas
5. Riding the F Train
6. Boy Genius
7. Bad Blood
8. Bill Rini
9. Felicia
10. Glenn
11. Joaquin
12. Otis
13. Al Cant Hang
14. Mrs. Cant Hang
15. Maudie
16. Signor Ferrari
17. - EV
18. Bob
19. Grubby
20. Mas from Genius of Poker
21. Charlie Shoten
22. Foiled Coup from Lasvegasvegas
23. Flip Chip from Lasvegasvegas
24. Martin from JMC Automatic
25. G-Rob from Up for Poker *** recently added
26. CJ from Up for Poker *** recently added
I hope I didn't miss anybody. We have a few names on the maybe list (Grubette!, HDouble, Glyphic, Iggy?) and a few on waiting list (Big Mike). Stay tuned for more updates. Unfortunately both Coach and The Poker Geek and Wil Wheaton will not be able to attend. Any questions? Shoot me an email. I'll be sending around a group email in the next few days. Check your inboxes.

I'm arriving on Friday around Noon (with Derek) and checking into my hotel room. I expect to play poker straight until Midnight or 1am. That's when I'll have a dinner break and start drinking with bloggers at various bars in Vegas until the wee hours. I hope to get enough rest to sleep off my hangover and find some time to write before the breakfast meet & greet. Ah, but what's a Vegas trip without an upset stomach, pounding headache, and no sleep?

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Went to See the Gypsy

Eight straight days of poker blogging! I got to play NL with Iggy again last night on Party Poker for the third time since my return to the tables last Monday. He witnessed the vicious bad beat I put on some poor guy when I cracked his AA with KK. We both pushed preflop and I luckily spiked my set on the river to triple up my buy in. Before I crashed, I tried a three table SNG and came in 12th when my pocket 10s lost to AK. I should have my bonus worked off tonight. Finally.

I also played a decent amount of Stud yesterday afternoon. I won two big pots with split aces and lost another one.
Hand 1: AhJh/As. I had a back door flush draw and had aces up by fifth street.

Hand 2: As9s/Ac. I caught another ace on fourth street and of course I lost to a straight on the river and could not pair any of my up cards.

Hand 3: AdAs/2s. I caught running 2s on sixth and seventh street to hit a full boat and I took down a monster against two guys who caught their flushes on the river.
I think I'll keep a few orbits of stud in my daily poker playing. It's the only game I had been playing well during my October slide.

By the way, I have been doing awful this year on gambling on NFL games. I am winning Daddy's Crush Your Bookie pool, but getting spanked in my own pool. For me, gambling on pro football has been as lucrative as opening up a Starbucks in downtown Fallujah.

Recent Poker Playing Music...
1. The Grateful Dead
2. Widespread Panic
3. The Band with Bob Dylan
4. Miles Davis
5. The Funky Meters

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Friday Night Lights
"Don't you have homes?" - Judge Smails, Caddyshack
The best parties in life are the ones that spring up spontaneously. It seemed like a normal night. I fired up Party Poker to work off my reload bonus and headed for the NL tables while my brother was played a few SNGs. I sat down at a table and right away I realized I was playing with a loose maniac, one of the craziest I had ever seen on Party Poker (email me and I'll send you his screen name). Any hand he decided to play, he would move all in. I tagged him quickly and waited. He got a few other players on tilt who tried to call him with a better than marginal hand. He was killing pocket pairs and Big Slick with shit. Against those crazy guys, you really need to wait for the nuts and strike. Over the long run, your big hands will hold up against 97s. I was tempted to push with hands like A7s. Sure it's a sketchy hand, but at my table that was a dominant hand, especially heads up with the maniac. He went from $5 to $100 in about twenty minutes. That guy was pushing all in preflop with any ace; A2, A4s, A6. He pushed with small connectors 56o, 34o, and even pushed with any face J8o, Q6, K2o. His best hand was a AQ and if I called with my A7s, I would have flopped trips.

I was chatting with BadBlood and I told him to get to my table quickly before the maniac lost all his money. Like I said, he loosened up the table and two other guys (that the maniac badbeated and were on tilt) starting calling big bets preflop with marginal hands, even if the manic folded preflop. It was one of those rare opportunities where if you had the balls of a cliff diver and the patience of a Buddhist monk, you could triple your stack in one hand.

I waited and waited until I hit a huge flop. With pocket 3s on the button, I called a medium sized bet preflop. Four players including the maniac and one of the guys on tilt. The flop 10-5-3. I checked there was a small bet and then the maniac raised to $10. I moved all in (I had about $30) and he called with 10-8. My set held up and I doubled up! I was ready to leave and play a $50 SNG and maybe a three table SNG when Iggy sat down. Shit, I wanted to leave. Well, fuck, I had to stick around a little while longer. Bad Blood got on the waiting list and then I noticed that Ryan from Pokerrata sat down in Seat 1. Before I knew it, SirFwalgman and Bad Blood were seated. Then Otis and Maudie joined the mix for a table of seven poker bloggers and three clueless folks. Again, it felt like that scene in Rounders at the Taj. My brother pointed out to me that six of us were all seated in a row. Pretty cool.
The lineup...
Seat 1: Ryan from Pokerrata
Seat 2: BadBlood
Seat 3: Pauly
Seat 4: Otis
Seat 6: Maudie
Seat 9: SirFWalgman
Seat 10: Iggy
We had both AlCantHang and Derek on the rail. And just like that, it was a blogger convention. No invites. No RSVPs. I simply sat down and didn't hide myself from the player search function. If you build it, they will come. Like cockroaches scurrying through my kitchen at 3am, poker bloggers quickly found their way to my table. It was my first excursion with Ryan and my second table appearance with SirFwalgman and Iggy this week. Otis, Bad Blood, and Maudie? Ah, I've played with them so much at this point that our games are like peas and carrots. Too bad the loose maniac left! We would have taken all his money. But there was another $100 stacks at the table, a guy who had loosened up via one of the several bad beats from the maniac.

Hammer a Trois

I had one bad beat. My suited slick lost to AJ when they nimrod hit his Jack on the river. I let Iggy bluff me out of a pot and folded 99 to his 44! I tried to bluff with the hammer and had to fold on the turn when I knew the other guy hit his flush. Speaking of the hammer, it was dropped three times in a row, each time by a different blogger! First it was BadBlood who dropped $25 of his stack in a valiant losing effort to one of the loose guys. Then Iggy dropped the hammer on a huge pot, soon after, it was Otis. Three in a row. All bloggers. Grubby would have been proud.

Things got a little hectic for a Friday night on Party Poker. The bloggers were jacking up the pots preflop and postflop. The $100 stack wrote in the chat, "This is fun. This is the best table ever." I think AlCantHang wrote something back like, "You have no idea." Within an hour, the poor schmuck dropped his entire stack, most of it to Iggy. I wanted to stay all night, but I had some writing to do before I crashed. Tons of fun for sure. And to think, I never expected to be playing with one blogger, let alone six! Al Cant Hang called me a blogger magnet. Maybe so. Too bad I couldn't walk into a bar in NYC and have women flock to my table like my fellow bloggers online at Party Poker. I'd have to drop my pants of course and gyrate my hips into order to draw that some sort of attention in a bar. And thank God for the internet. Where else can I play poker in my boxers, with a Grateful Dead bootleg from Red Rocks blasting in the background, while shouting obscenities like Bobby Knight at my computer screen?

As always, it was an honor and a pleasure to play with my fellow bloggers especially Ryan for the first time and SirFwalgman for a second time. Before I crashed I watched my brother take down 3rd place in a $50 SNG. Way to go. See you at the tables tonight. Two weeks from today, it's the Holiday Classic at Sam's Town!

Friday, November 26, 2004

The Barefoot Walrus: Four More Aces
"Smile. It won't mess up your hair." - Homeless person on the subway
I have this one superstition about giving panhandlers on the subway and homeless people money when the ask for it on days when I know I'm going to play poker. I was very generous this week and karmic payback has appeared a few times. Late late night, I also hopped on Party Poker and had the lead in a three table tournament and blew it! I ended up coming in 7th out of 30. I had the Hilton Sisters cracked by Big Slick. But, I managed to get four aces again for the second time this week, winning a huge pot. It was the fourth level and there were nine people at my table.
NL - Nov. 25, 23:47:38 EDT 2004
Seat 5: DrPauly ( $975 )
Trny:7444334 Level:4 Blinds (25/50)

** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to DrPauly [ Ah As ]
DrPauly raises [475].
matxxx calls [475].

** Dealing Flop ** [ 9d, Ad, 9c ]
DrPauly checks.
matxxx checks.

** Dealing Turn ** [ 5c ]
DrPauly checks.
matxxx checks.

** Dealing River ** [ Ac ]
DrPauly bets [200].
matxxx raises [900].
DrPauly is all-In.

matxxx shows [ Kc, Kd ] two pairs, aces and kings.
DrPauly shows [ Ah, As ] four of a kind, aces.
DrPauly wins 2075 chips with four of a kind, aces.
Too bad I lost the SNG. I had pocket aces five times and the quads was the only action I saw.

I also played a Stud high/low tournament on Pokerstars and came in 239th out of 3667. I did not make the money but I guess I should feel good about outlasting 3000+ players. Too bad 239th place paid the same as 3667th place. Zilch. I got KO'd when I had KhQhJh10h by fourth street. I missed all my draws and lost to a pair of 3s.

Before I crashed I played a $50 SNG on Party Poker. I played tight during the first three levels before I doubled up with QQ against JJ. I was chipped down from there and came in 5th when I tried to slowplay a flopped fullboat. I had 77 in the BB and limped in with four other players. The flop: 575. I let a guy who slowplayed AA on the button hit his boat when an ace spiked. I led out in betting on the river, he raised and I pushed all in. Ooops. I stumbled right into his nut boat like Tara Reid diving nose first into a bag of Peruvian flake.

Recent Poker Playing Music...
1. Jerry Garcia & David Grisman (Shady Grove)
2. Sidney Bechet (Runnin' Wild)
3. John Coltrane (Blue Train)
4. Traffic (Welcome to the Canteen)
5. The Beatles (Abbey Road)

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Bankroll Me
"It's quality, man, not quantity!" - Slater, Dazed & Confused
Last night I hopped on Party Poker to work off 500 hands for a monstrous reload bonus. I sat down at a $25 NL table to get my feet wet. Instantly, I had Phil from Studio Glyphic sweating me. He mentioned something to SirFwalgman and the next thing I knew it... I had two bloggers at my table. That was the first time I got to play with SirFWalgman and I was pumped to final cross paths at the cyber tables. Within a half hour, Maudie from Poker Perspectives and HDouble from The Cards Speak both joined us, and Derek was on the rail. Two nights ago I got to play with Iggy from Guinness and Poker and Al Can't Hang for a bit. It felt good to play with my peers after a long hiatus.

Things got freaky early. I dropped the hammer and took down a pot when a 7 hit the board. Later on HDouble bluffed SirFWalgman UTG with 83o. Fantastic! Then some loose idiot sat down. He got me to fold JJ on the turn when I put him on a small set or a higher pocket pair. He had 54o and called my 8x BB preflop raise with that junk hand. He beat out some woman's A high with a pair of fives. I was wicked pissed and tagged him right away. I just don't have much faith in pocket Jacks. Obviously I gave him more credit than he deserved.

I also managed to bad beat another guy. I had A2s in the BB. He raised a fairly small amount preflop and I defended my blinds and saw a flop. Well, I luckily flopped a flush with three clubs on the board. I checked and he bet the size of the pot. I smooth called and he moved all in on the turn. I pushed my stack all in and took down his KK. If he bet more preflop I would have folded, but then again he made a crucial error betting into me with a flush on the board. The road to Party Poker cash outs are paved with piss poor mistakes made by players in their post-flop play. That was a prime example, not being able to lay down a high pocket pair.

Bad Beat of the Day

A few orbits later I found KK in the BB (Or shall I say Hellmuths in homage to Asphnxma from Riding the F Train). I raised 10x BB when five people tried to limp in. I got one caller, my nemesis. I put him on a middle pair or something like AJo. He actually held AKo, better than I expected, but I was still the favorite. The flop: 10-7-2. HDouble called out, "The hammer!" I wish I had the hammer. I knew I was still leading unless he had 10-10 or 7-7. He checked and I bet 2x pot (about $20) to find out. He called. The turn: Q. He checked again and I pushed out another $20 to put him all in. He called with a gutshot Broadway straight draw! And guess what spiked on the river? A fuckin' Jack. I was steamed. If he had a dog, I would have kicked the fucker, that's how pissed I was. I wanted to fly out to Sunnyvale California where this chump lived and smack him upside the head with my copy of Super System. I've been playing enough now to know I should shake off that bad beat, but sometimes it hurts too much. My brother quickly rushed to my defense and berated the nimrod in the chat. Of course having four other poker bloggers at the table was a little comforting. They were mostly shocked that someone would call a $20 bet on the flop with just A high and call another $20 bet on the turn with A high and a gutshot draw. This was a guy willing to give me his money and the Party Poker gods decided otherwise. I knew someone not in the hand must have folded a J... which gave him 3 outs to hit his gutshot. Oh well. My buddy Brad had a saying that you should get up and take a break after a wicked bad beat, even suggesting that you should end your session right there and go home. I played a few more hands before I took his advice. I said good bye to my fellow bloggers and added the dickwad to my buddy list. I will be tracking him down this weekend, looking to exact revenge like a grizzled gunslinger wounded in a high noon showdown that went awry.

Rake This

Yep, I have like 400 more hands to go to work off my bonus. I'll be on Party Poker all holiday weekend, so stop by and say hello if you wanna play or sweat me. In the last few days, I won 2 Caribbean Sub-Qualifiers (winning free rolls) and came in 5th in both Qualifiers. Not very impressive. I'm going to stick to the NL ring games to work off my bonus and play a three table SNG once in a while to change things up. I'm also looking to play a stud tourney on Pokerstars sometime this weekend.

I said I'd discuss my partnership with my friend Briana in more detail. She's bankrolling me on Party Poker and loves seeing her name blogged. She's a whore for attention. Aren't most blondes? So, I'm solo when it comes to other poker sites and live play. Before my hiatus, I had been suffering a horrible losing streak starting from my birthday (late Sept.) through Halloween. My Party Poker bankroll took almost a $900 hit. My cash bankroll was fleeced for more than $1000. All the badbeats, suckouts, and loose mistakes caught up to me. That trip to the Borgata with the bloggers killed me, along with a bad performance at the Blue Parrot and a few losing sessions at Foxwoods which helped deplete my cash roll.

Yep, my overall bankroll is looking thinner than a strung out, anorexic, Eastern European, cokehead model. I was concerned about having sufficient funds for the upcoming Vegas trip and luckily Briana was open to hearing about investment opportunities specifically regarding becoming my backer. I explained to her that I had made an error cashing out $200-250 a week (for ten straight weeks) out of my Party Poker account to pay for my summer traveling and fun in the sun. Because I withdrew money from my bankroll to cover my expenses, that left me with a very small cushion to absorb any bad streaks. I was also skimming out of my cash bankroll, another no-no. I knew what I was doing was a mortal sin for poker players and took a chance. Life's short and I'm one to live in the moment. Following Phish on their last tour and seeing friends this summer was a bigger priority than padding my bankroll. Obviously, that's a flaw in my overall poker outlook that I'll have to address in the future. For moment, the temporary solution was to find a backer to absorb any incurred loses between now and Vegas, in order to preserve whatever cash I had lying around.

The first problem I had with this partnership was the friendship factor. Never do business with friends. But I don't know too many people who were willing to hand over $500 in cash and take a walk to a Western Union office to send a wire transfer to Gibraltar. Yep, in the last six months, I have sent cash to several countries -- Venezuela, Costa Rica, Curaco -- mostly in South America to fund poker accounts and my sports book account. I wonder if that suspicious financial activity will get me flagged by the suits at Homeland Security? Alas, it came down to a simple fact that she's got faith in me. Poor girl. I wonder if I blow her seed money, if will she still trust me?

The second factor of concern was having to split my winnings 50-50. Sure I won't be losing with my money, but my online income will be cut in half. The only thing I can do to counteract that is to move up in limits (especially in SNGs from $30 to $50 and $100). Since I play no limit I guess after I clear my bonus, I'll head to the $100 and $200 tables. Hopefully I'll go on a decent run and I'll be able to rebuild up my bankroll and go back to being solo next year.

So far this has been working out and although I thrive on pressure, Briana hasn't been on my case breathing down my neck expecting results, like a George Steinbrenner. Our partnership will give her more incentive to read my poker blog, but she still admits I'm speaking another language when I ramble on relentlessly about poker. And watching Celebrity Poker Letdown won't help her much, although it might hold her short attention span enough that she'd pick up on some lingo.

That's it for now. Have a good Turkey Day. Last year around this time I was teaching my brother how to play hold'em to prepare him for our upcoming December trip to Vegas. He's come a long way since then after he won his first $100 SNG a few weeks ago. I think we all have in some way evolved into more studious players. These blogs have helped me find my niche as a writer, in addition too improving my game, finding a tight knit support group, and making new friends.

On a special day of thanks, I want to thank all my fellow bloggers for inspiring me. Good luck at the tables.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Demons in a Box, Four Aces, and Other Sordid Tales of Poker Junkies
"Plan to be spontaneous tomorrow." - Steven Wright
Well, I'm back to full time blogging and I realized blogging is as addictive as crack and nicotine. Blogging about poker is hyper-addictive, kinda like Bubba Clinton's weakness for interns and donuts.

I returned to the tables at Party Poker two nights ago. On Monday night I sat down and played in a Caribbean Poker Satellite Sub-Qualifier. First place paid a seat in the Qualifier. If I win the Qualifier, I make it into the satellite. Basically the winner of the actual satellite gets to go to San Jose, Costa Rica to play in 2004 Caribbean Poker Classic, getting accommodations for four nights and airfare for two people.
Sub-Qualifier > Qualifier > Satellite > Costa Rica!
Who do I take if I win? Briana --- my backer, or my brother? Let's hope I have that problem.

I had Al Cant Hang, Helixx, Jorgen, and Jason from Catching the Anitchrist sweating me at different times the last few nights. Jason saw me scoop a pot with the best hand I had in months.
***** Hand History for Carib Classic Satellite Sub Qualifier *****
Level:1 Blinds(10/15) - November 24, 02:09:08 EDT 2004
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to DrPauly [ Ah Jh ]
Jason (from the rail): (DrPauly) RULES!!!!!!
osxxx calls [15].
DrPauly: lol
DrPauly calls [15].
Brxxx calls [15].
faxxx calls [5].
HExxx checks.

** Dealing Flop ** [ 2d, Ac, As ]
Jason (from the rail): you will all bow and scrape before him
faxxx checks.
HExxx checks.
osxxx checks.
DrPauly: whats new?
DrPauly checks.
Jason (from the rail): same ol same ol
Brxxx checks.

** Dealing Turn ** [ Ad ]
Jason (from the rail): clearing a bonus, you?
faxxx checks.
DrPauly: me too
osxxx bets [15].
DrPauly calls [15].
Jason (from the rail): finished it?
Brxxx calls [15].
DrPauly: the bonus or the novel?
faxxx folds.
HExxx folds.

** Dealing River ** [ 9c ]
osxxx bets [35].
tyxxx: damn did i fold that Ace!!
DrPauly raises [125].
Brxxx folds.
osxxx raises [180].
DrPauly is all-In.
osxxx calls [530].

osxxx shows [ 7s, 9s ] a full house, Aces full of nines.
DrPauly shows [ Ah, Jh ] four of a kind, aces.
DrPauly wins 1610 chips from the main pot with four of a kind, aces.
I love it when a plan comes together. I was hoping he hit a full boat. That was one of the few times I set a trap and it worked. Poor dude didn't know what hit him. Jason was good luck.

Poker Bloggers Are My Heros Heroin

There are more poker blogs popping up everyday in cyber world. I can't keep up. I definitely need another new intern to help me sift through everyone's sad tales of bad beats, their triumphs at newer limits, and their own personal sagas with work, relationships, and other things in the real world. Yesterday I clicked on every blog link I have listed. It took me like 15 hours but I wanted to see what blogs I needed to go back and catch up on this weekend. I made a list. I've also noticed that a handful of blogs have not updated since I took my hiatus. In some areas, I didn't miss much. I really need to trim the list and add newer blogs that I know are out there.

Here's some of the stuff out there going on...

Can someone tell me what happened to Lord Geznikor? Chris Halverson has all these OIC reports. Check them out. Felicia and Glenn have posted trip reports about Arizona card rooms. I'm waiting for HDouble and Iggy's Vegas trip reports. Phil from Studio Glyphic posted his. Riding the F Train has a dozen or so thought provoking entries and you should not miss his NYC card room write ups. Bad Blood posted a bunch of things he's going to do in Vegas. Grubby celebrated his one year as a poker blogger. Boy Genius has all kinds of thoughts about all kinds of topics. Toby from The Nut Heart Flush mentioned that her poker book The Bad Ass Girl's Guide To Poker: All You Need To Beat The Boys is now posted on Amazon.com. Poker Nerd has been posting again. Wil Wheaton had an audition with Alias. I hope he beats out Finch from American Pie. Double As hit a milestone and man I could go on and on and talk about all these blogs. Just go read for yourself.

Las Vegas Holiday Classic Update

The Poker Prof confirmed that Ron Rose will be attending the breakfast before the tournament at Sam's Town. This is great that we have another great poker mind to share some thoughts on poker.
Bloggers expected to play at the Holiday Classic:
Derek from Poker in the Weeds
Poker Prof
Dick from Buy It In Vegas
Riding the F Train
Boy Genius
Bad Blood
Bill Rini
Al Cant Hang
Signor Ferrari
- EV
Mas from Genius of Poker
Also... the lovely Mrs. Hang, Charlie Shoten, Foiledcoup and Flipchip from Lasvegasvegas will be playing in the tournament. Plus a few more maybes (Grubette!). I hope I didn't miss anybody. Stay tuned.

Contact Maudie if you want a cool tshirt!

Random Thoughts

A quick question to all my Canadian readers. Do you guys get as irked as I do when you go to a store, make a purchase, and after looking through your change you find an American coin? I get Canadian pennies, nickles, and dimes all the time. Just wondering. Maybe we can set up some sort of Exchange your change program.

Did anyone else see the Desert Inn imploding on TV a few weeks ago? End of an era. Kinda like when Jerry Garcia died. You know that moment marked the official end of the 1960s. And after the dust settled in Vegas, it made me think that my father's generation's Las Vegas will now become a distant faded memory, like an old decaying photo in an album in your attic.

I see Party Poker ads on TV all the time now, especially during the NY Knicks games. They changed it slightly. They are now no longer pushing it as an online casino, instead saying that Party Poker is the largest online poker school. Hmmm. Interesting twist on the marketing.

Lastly, this made me chuckle... a thread on a Phish message board about poker and Heidi Klum in Vegas.

Vegas, hmmmm... can't wait. See you at the tables.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Stud Adventures: Foxwoods, Felicia, and Pokerstars

I woke up early on the morning of November 4th and drove from cloudy Narragansett, Rhode Island to Foxwoods, Connecticut. Senor had to work so I did the drive by myself in less than 40 minutes, grabbing Dunkin' Donuts along the way. I found out that the World Poker Finals events were being held in the Sunset Ballroom on the ground floor instead of the poker room. On that particular day, they were running a $1000 Stud event. I wandered down there and waited for Felicia and Glenn to arrive. They also held the single table satellites for various World Poker Finals events and lammers in the ballroom. They moved the entire operation from the entrance to the Smoke Free Casino to the ballroom.

I had not seen Felicia and Glenn since I was in Vegas last Spring with Derek when we were sweating Glenn as he played in a satellite for the WPT Championships at the Bellagio. It was good to see them and catch up. Felicia came up to Foxwoods solely for the Stud events and Glenn was playing mixed games (NL and satellites). We walked inside and Foxwoods had a breakfast buffet set up for the players. We were milling around the sign in desk when Greg Raymer walked over to Felicia and myself. "I hope I'm not at your table," he joked with Felicia. Holy shit! Fossil Man in the flesh. I was taller (something that surprised me) and he was wearing a red Pokerstars shirt and shorts. Felicia introduced me as "a real writer." We shook hands and Fossil Man and Glenn began discussing a hand he had the night before at the NL table when his pocket aces were beat to a middle pair when the guy flopped a set. A few moments later, Felicia introduced me to Jean Gaspard. One of the last entries I read on her blog was about Jean and I got to place a face with a name. He also was very cordial and seemed interested that I was "a real writer." That was cool of Felicia to say that twice. It made me feel like I was a real writer even though I was slacking off and should have been hard at work writing my new novel, instead I was hanging out with poker pros talking shop at 8:50am on a Thursday.

I wished Felicia luck and Glenn and went upstairs to play some poker. He wandered off to the no limit table and I signed up for low limit Stud on the brand new computerized system. I was finally seated at a 1-5 table. I was the youngest by at least 25 years.
The Stud players...
Seat 1: Pauly
Seat 2: WWII vet
Seat 3: Paulie Walnuts from The Sopranos
Seat 4: TJ Cloutier lookalike
Seat 5: Boston taxi driver
Seat 6: Man older than God (WWI vet?)
Seat 7: Loose Lute Olsen
Seat 8: Boston taxi driver
Two guys at my table were retired Beantown taxi drivers. They didn't know each other either and were yapping the entire time. I got the worst seat (by the way what is the best seat at a stud table, Felicia?) but the guy next to me was a really nice guy. We spoke but he didn't feel it was important to incessantly chat about nothing, so our conversations weren't forced. I wasn't in a big mood to talk much, especially a few days after the election, where that seemed to dominate the majority of the table chatter. The guy across from me who looked like Paulie Walnuts was hilarious. He hit on every single waitress (even the not so good looking ones). The guy in the corner who looked like Lute Olsen saw every hand to the river. Yeah, I'm just 32 and I was the youngest person at the Stud tables.

I bought in for $100 and played for four hours. I lost $95. Most of it was on two big hands. The first one was when I had AJ/A. Loose Lute's door card was a King and he had been calling with nothing but K high. He ended up catching running Kings on sixth and seventh street to beat my two pair. That was ugly. On another hand, I lost the biggest pot of the session to the Boston taxi driver. I had rolled up aces! What are the odds of that happening? AA/A. I jammed the pot at every instance, check raising, and rerasing anyone who played back. The taxi driver caught running diamonds on sixth and seventh street to suck out a flush. Paulie Walnuts missed his flush draw and ended up hitting a backdoor straight on the river. I had a set of Aces, praying on the last two cards that I'd pair any of my up cards. Nothing and I left soon after that ugly hand. For the session I played very tight and there was a thirty minute stretch when I had to bring it in every time! It was getting annoying but what are you going to do? That's stud. I didn't get too many playable hands especially at a table where five or six people saw cards through fifth street. The few pots I won were when I actually bluffed at the pot when I missed my draws. I guess my opponents missed theirs too otherwise I never would have scooped any pots.

I went over to find Glenn and I didn't see him. He expected Felicia to last for a while and I went downstairs to find them. After I couldn't find them I realized she was probably KO'd early. As I wandered around the tournament tables I made eye contact with Fossil Man. I asked him if he knew were Felicia was. He pointed at the far table and when she wasn't there I figured she was busted. I was busted too! I only took $100 with me, not expecting to play much. After one last tour of the poker room, I picked up a copy of Cardplayer, signed out and grabbed a free lunch at the food court. I love Foxwoods chicken fingers.

Pokerstars Stud

I played in a $1 Stud tournament on Poker Stars a couple of weeks ago. After a long day of writing, I decided to relax and play poker. With 667 total players, I came in 34th and finished in the money. I had the chip lead at one point and blew it only to storm back and get as close as 16th place before I was rivered and knocked out.

Level 1: I hit a Queen high flush by fifth street and nearly doubled up. T1909 and looking good.

Level 2: QK/J to start in a multiway pot. I hit two pair by sixth street and had enough juice to take it down. T2443.

Level 3: I got moved to another table. I was 66th out of 648. I won a big hand with AK/3 when I hit my trips on the river. I scooped another pot with 99/A when I nailed a full boat by sixth street, smooth called a raise and went in for the kill on the river. T5825. I was the chip leader (1 out of 585) with a lot of time left to play.

Level 4: I started bluffing a little more and jamming pots when I had the highest card on the board. I won medium sized pots with As5s/Ks and KK/5 starting hands. I lost with rolled up 2s to a guy who caught trip kings on the river. T8293, 3rd out of 416 at the break.

Level 5: Won only one pot with JK/J and I moved back into the chip lead. T10,363 and looking solid.

Level 6: I hit a King high flush and missed a royal flush by one card. T10347 and 8th out of 237.

Level 7: Lost a monster pot with 88/Q8Q. Some guy caught a full boat 10s over Kings on the river and I lost my chip lead. T5198 and I slipped to 80th out of 178.

Level 8: No hands and I slowly got chipped away to the second break. T2448 and I was an anemic 112 out of 128.

Level 9: The tourney had now included antes every round. I got lucky and hit a card on the river to get a flush and triple up to T6344. I caught another flush when I had to bring it in with Jh9h/2h. By sixth street I hot my flush and managed to have T10,500+. I move up to 42nd with 94 players left.

Level 10: I bluffed at a pot with As9s/3hAhKhJh/7s and took it down. I was moved to another table. I had T15,678 and was 16th out of 70th.

Level 11: I had gone all in by fifth street with KK/7-10-7 and won the pot. I had a little under 10K and was hanging on 39th out of 54.

Level 12: I bluffed at a lot of pots with Aces as my doorcards and stole bringins and antes to move up to T20,000+. I was 22nd out of 38.

Level 13: K8/KK. I was allin by fifth street and I lost on the river to a gutshot straight. I was bounced in 34th place but made the money in my first Stud multi on Pokerstars. I played much better than at Foxwoods, but I was also getting more cards and bluffed more when I had a big stack, pushing my chips around and making people pay to suck out on me.

Arizona Card Rooms

Make sure you read the trip reports from Felicia and Glenn about their recent play in Arizona card rooms.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Dogbites, Dandelions, Sex Pistols, Chowderheads, and a Leap of Faith
"I've only been in love with a beer bottle and a mirror." - Sid Vicious
There's no philosophical significance to the title of this entry. It sounded cool and I needed a starting point. Well there's some good news in my world. I finally completed the second draft of Gumbo! I'm done for now (and will wait to get some feedback before I write a third draft and hand out copies) and now I can jump back into the Party Poker aquarium. Oh, and even better, I can get back to infecting the cyber world with my half-baked assertions on a variety of poker and gambling topics. No more Phish (they broke up). No more politics (four more years under the Bush Junta, well at least I live in a blue state). No more Yankees (baseball season is over). So that means you can expect to be reading 100% poker content on this blog in the near future.

I'm done with major writing projects for the next few months and I intend to celebrate the completion of my fifth novel by partying my nuts off and playing lots of poker nonstop through the Spring. I work hard and I definitely play harder. I've been a good boy the last few weeks with my sobriety and passive lifestyle resembling more like a Catholic nun than the nomadic, unshaven burnout that snarled at me in the mirrior at the end of the summer. I was speeding in the fast lane of life all summer and if you offered me a line of drain cleaner, I would have snorted it in a second, and chased it with a half a bottle of cold medicine. Definitely feels good to have cleaned up my act. Spending time in Rhode Island helped out a lot and writing is always a life saver. If you like bad boy Pauly, never fear. My squeaky clean image will be shattered at first sight of Al Cant Hang ordering a round of SoCo shots in Las Vegas.

Vegas in how many days? I cannot wait until I smirk at the bright lights and brush off the advances of silicon happy escorts at the Bellagio. Vegas couldn't come quicker. Grubby sent me an email this morning. He wants to go to Atlantic City for a few days before Vegas. Don't tempt me, bro. My bankroll is still hurting after I lost a $500+ pot to the Grubster at the Borgata in Septmeber.

Someone recently asked me... What's your novel about? I didn't have an answer at the time because it wasn't complete. Now after penning over 54,000 words, I can honestly say that it's 100% pure Americana trash. Indeed, Gumbo is nothing short of pure narcissistic drivel. For all you poker addicts out there, I included a random poker scene. A chapter of the novel takes place at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. Other locales include Amsterdam, New York, and Seattle. I let my friend Briana take a sneak peak at Chapter 1. When she was done she had a horrified look on her face. When I asked her to share her thoughts she muttered, "Wow, you weren't kidding. Sex, drugs, AND rock and roll." She was only on page 9.

Escorts and Hold'em

Alexa, my favorite NYC escort by night, blogger by day, recently jetted off to Vegas with her girlfriends. She wrote up some of her trip report called Texas Hold'em - Sin City. Here's a bit:
The dealer turns over the final card on the green felt. "How much can I bet?"

The dealer replies, "As much as you have on the table. There's no limit at these tables."

"Oh, is that what all in means?"


"OK, then I think I'm all in." I reach over and start pushing my chips in.

The man sitting next to me takes his dirty baseball cap off, scratches his head and spits into an empty beer bottle. He's been chewing tobacco and spitting the whole time. Disgusting.
Alexa is a fan of the Tao of Poker and I'm sure I've mentioned her blog on my sites(s) before. Glad to see she's having fun in Sin City. Does the poker content qualify her as a poker blogger? I'll ask her if she wants to play in Holiday Classic. Check out her site.

Vegas Bloggers Tourney... Mini Update

I expect to have more details on the Holiday Classic at Sam's Town in Las Vegas, including an updated list of participants. Sadly, the Poker Geek is out (he's working on a film), but we have a few more probables... Bill, - EV, Coach, and Mas. At this point, we have maxed out the seats. I can add your name to the wait list (there are a lot of maybes out there, so there's a small chance you can get in and there's a possibility that Dick from Sam's Town will expanded the tourney to four tables). Email me for more details.

If you are playing and want a cool T-shirt, contact Maudie ASAP and tell her your shirt size.

Iggy the Chowderhead?


Lastly, here's a special picture for Iggy. I was staying down the road about a half a mile on the beach from Iggy's (which is on Ocean Road, right across the street from Aunt Carrie's, one of Narragansett's most popular summer eateries). I wanted to break in and try to steal something for Iggy but never had the chance. Maybe next time.

Coming Attractions... Never Mind the Bollocks!

In the next few days, I should be writing up my Foxwoods trip report from a three weeks ago when instead of writing, I snuck off to hang out with Felicia and Glenn during the World Poker Finals. I played some low limit stud and sweated Felicia in a $1000 Stud tourney. That's where she introduced me to two pros, Fossil Man and Jean Gaspard. Can't wait to write that up.

I will write up my money finish in a Stud multi on Poker Stars where I had the chip lead and blew it! I only played poker three times since I left for Rhode Island on November 2nd and will tell you all about those sessions.

Bankroll moi? I just had a long talk with a friend of mine. Briana is not a degenerate gambler but has a lot of faith in me. She agreed to bankroll my online play for the rest of the year... on a trial basis. If it works out, we'll sit down and figure out a game plan for 2005. I have never been bankrolled and she's never bankrolled a player. Hopefully this won't ruin our friendship. Time will tell. I dunno who's the sucker in this partnership. This is probably a very bad idea since I definitely have fervent feelings for this woman and vice versa. This is doomed to blow up in our faces. I'll discuss my weakness for blondes and being bankrolled in more detail later this week. Never mind the bollocks, for now, just think about what would have happened if Nancy bankrolled Sid on a trip to Vegas. And if you missed that obvious reference, I suggest you brush up on your 70s punk music history and not come back to my blog until then.

That's it for now. It feels good to be back. See you at the bloody tables.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Mentor Material

I got an email around two months ago from a fan of my poker blog who wrote me for some advice and more specifically asked me to be his mentor. I was flattered of course, but had to let the kid down easy. I've seen him play online at Party Poker and he used to follow me around from table to table watching me play. Anyway, although it was poker related content, I really didn't think this situation was Tao of Poker blogworthy... at the time. A few weeks ago, shortly before my hiatus, I posted the following email and my response to my regular blog. I got some interesting feedback from my readers, the strongest from Otis, who suggested I post it to the Tao of Poker. Alas, with the encouragement of Otis, here you go.

This is the original email I got, obviously I changed the names to protect the innocent:
Hi Doc,

This might sound weird what I'm about to ask but hear me out. Over the past year and a half, I have supported myself mostly from poker. I had a weekly game that created an income of roughly $150 a week for me, which paid more than the job I was working. My runs online have been hit and miss, but I've only had successful cash-outs in live play. I have dominated the 3/6 game in live play over my 20 or so sessions. Online...well, basically I'm a joke. I just cannot seem to win. I'll get up a grand or so, then slowly bleed it all away. I've been playing no-limit since I first started playing due to the Moneymaker boom, but lately I've been trying to get more into limit because so many people say that it's where the money is at, plus I've been very happy with my live cashouts.

I own nearly every major poker book out there except HPFAP, but I've read that one several times. I own Super System, Theory of Poker, Winning Low Limit Hold 'Em, No Limit with Cloutier, and Caro's Book of Tells among many other lesser books. I've studied and put in the time an effort to tweak my game to the best of my ability. I still have many issues that I need to take care of, one of the main ones is my lack of self discipline. I'm not positive of the percentages, I play more on my knowledge of the game/opponents and my reads, including just playing solid poker. My problem happens when I tend to get up alot I start playing worse hands in positions that don't grant them.

I'm e-mailing you for two reasons: one of which is that I've been a faithful reader of yours for the better part of 6 months. The other is that XXXXX suggested I shoot you an e-mail so you could help me at this crossroads.

All I really think about is poker, and I'm willing to put in the time and effort to make poker my living. I'm seriously considering moving to NYC , possibly get a job as a dealer. I can't move to Vegas or AC yet because I've still got 2 years and 2 months until I turn 21.

Bottom line is I love poker. And I know you do too. I think that there is a lot that I can learn from you and I'm looking for a mentor, someone who I can learn from, who can kind of show me the ropes around New York and I'm asking if you can do that. Take your time I know it's a weird proposition. XXXXX tells me that you're a writer. Maybe there's some work I can do in exchange for following you around and playing? I know that I'm young, but I'm really eager to learn.

Thanks again,
Thinking about going pro
I actually took the time to write out a thoughtful and honest response. I wrote it very quickly and sent it right away. If I had time to think about everything, I would have written some of the same things but the overall tone would have been drastically different. But here's my email unedited, as I sent it several weeks ago.

Hey Thinking About Going Pro,

Sorry for the delay. I wasn't blowing you off, I just wanted to have time to give you a proper response.

Unfortunately, I have to decline your offer. I am flattered... but I'm nowhere near the level of poker mastery where I could be giving someone sound advice on their game. It's one thing to teach my girlfriend's friends how to play poker... it's an entirely different thing altogether to be a mentor and coach.

I would also like to add that I'm not a very positive role model... even my closest friends will tell you that I can be a psychotic selfish asshole from time to time. I would be a bad influence on you.

Now, don't get upset... but I am going to be honest with you... stay in school.

Poker will always be around but you are missing out on one of the most valuable experiences in your life... your late teens and early twenties. I just turned 32 and although my life is kick ass, those memories of ages 18-22 burn holes in my mind.

I am thinking about a young hoops player that has the potential to go pro. He is tempted by fame, power, money... all those things that make the American dream sweet. However what they don't mention to him is that the world is a tough place... life gets harder the older you get. I always thought it would be easier but here I am in my 30s and it's harder than ever. Add that to the fact that poker is a tough business, tough culture, and an insane aspect of our society. You can go broke in one hand. All the best pros have gone broke. Hellmuth, Scotty Nguyen. Even TJ Clouiter has the reputation of being the best broke poker player in the world. It takes hard ass work and plenty of luck to kick out a humble living like the Erik Seidels of the world.

Some poker bloggers I know should go pro. They don't because they have the foresight to understand that you cannot possible support yourself and a family on gambling money alone.

Sure you and I are in the same boat... I'm not married, no kids, no responsibilities. But if I want to gamble I can because I have money coming in that I know I can rely on if I lose at poker. I've been playing seriously for a year... keeping notes on how I'd do as a full time player. And I'm not doing well. I cannot live off of poker alone. Instead I shifted my mentality.... writing and part time work pays the bills. Poker gets me the extra things in life... like nice dinners with the ladies, or Yankees playoff tickets for my brother's B-day, or a trip to New Mexico. I've been spending my bankroll to get the other things in life that my humble existence as a writer has never paid me off.

Sure I'd like to ascend to the next step. But that's pure insanity. Poker will become like any full time job... if you ever had one you'd realize that at some point all jobs are the same... they all suck.

You are better off getting a job on Wall Street than going to Vegas to play poker. You'd make more money right away and have a health plan and a great resume builder. It might not be as glamorous, but your parents would be proud of that career choice of yours. When you make a ton of money (like I did) you can walk away knowing that you'll have food and a roof over your head for a few years.

My advice to you again, is to get a college degree. Stay in school. Have fun. Do stupid shit. Make friends. This is the part of your life when you need to make mistakes. Have poker be a major part of your life, but I think your academic and personal life should be your main priority right now. Once you are out of school... then you can do whatever you want. Because if you go broke as a pro... then you have a college degree to fall back on... and you won't be slugging beers at a bar, or making latte as Starbucks, or worse dealing low limit poker 40 hours a week to dipshit tourists. All of a sudden you'll get that bad taste in your mouth and it might sour your outlook on poker.

I also draw from personal experience. What I wanted to do when I was 19... was far off from what I wanted to do at age 25 and age 30. You see what I'm getting at? People change. Life throws curveballs at you everyday. I can tell you this... all my friends at age 19 never envisioned what their lives would be when they are 30. And we all agree that the most influential times of our lives were those college days. Don't walk away from that. Most people would love to be in school.

What's the rush especially since you are not 21 yet? Take this time to get better. Reread the books. I do that all the time. When I first quit my job on Wall Street to be a writer I knew deep down that I wouldn't be a great writer until I was 40. I am still 8 years away from that point but today I know I'm on that path. Why? My discipline to write everyday and have that as my main focus. But with the oversight to understand that life experience will make me a stronger person and artist.

When I started playing poker I made a similar assertion. I won't be a good player until I'm 40. Sure I crush home games and win a little when I go to Vegas. So what. Any idiot can get laid in a bar if they have enough drunk girls. But I know that if I play a little everyday and hone my skills... that in 8 years I'll be the best writer and poker player I know.

Your game needs to mature like a fine wine. Let it. The biggest mistake you can do is chase down a silly dream... today. Wait a few years. Get a degree. Have a kick ass college experience. Be a big fish in a small pond first. Crack your college games. Then, get a job even out of college and work hard to build up your bankroll by storing away your paychecks. That's how Fossil Man did that. Even Moneymaker to an extent. They had 9-5 jobs... a place where they could support their family and use a little of their income to build their bankroll, etc.

Don't feel the urge to be like those idiots like Dutch Boyd and Fishman. Don't forget as much a Dutch Boyd is an idiot... he got a college degree at a young age and law degree and worked in the real world before his foray into poker. He had some personal wealth to fall back on. Same with Barry Greenstein and Paul Philips. There's no pressure on them because they are super rich. Poker is a game for them. And that's why they play great. Poker is as mental as much as skill. I don't think you have the head to play just yet.

I could have blown you off or simply said words of encouragement. I'm sure you probably wanted to hear that. But I'm not one to bullshit. I shoot from the hip. I call things like I see them. You have raw talent... but that is simply not enough. I also know that life is precious and there is more to this world that gambling and poker. Hey, I'm lucky. Writing comes first. Poker is second or third. But that's what makes the bad days at the tables a lot easier to gut out. Because I know I have other aspects of my life to thrive in. When you lose, and lose big... that tends to seep into your everyday life. And then you and the people in your lives get affected. Losing is a disease. Once you are infected it's a bitch to snap out of that funk.

Carve out a life for yourself and add poker to that mix... but don't make poker your primary objective at such an early age. You need a backup career if all else fails. Set a realistic goal such as: I want to move to Vegas when I'm 25. Until then you have several years to get better and build up that bankroll. In the meantime, go outside, read a book (other than poker), make new friends. Travel the world. Fall in love. But don't waste your precious twenties at the poker table with the score of losers and degenerate gamblers. You can waste your 30s and 40s doing that!

At the same time, I'm not one to tell you to give up on your dreams. If poker is what you really want to do and if it's really in your heart... then follow your dreams... but don't rush them. If you wait a few years, you'll be better prepared to be in a position where your dreams have a better chance to come true.

Hope this email helps.

Thanks for reading,

I have not heard back from him since the initial email. I hope I didn't come off too much of a jerkoff in my response.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Las Vegas Holiday Classic Update

I'll be back on Monday with plenty of poker content. Stay tuned. Don't forget the next leg of the World Poker Bloggers Tour stops at Paradise Poker for the Grublog Poker Classic II this Sunday. Visit Grubby for more details. Unfortunately, I will be unable to participate in Sunday's event. I am still working on the second draft of Gumbo and there's no poker in my future until I complete that task. And yeah, I'm jonesin' to hit the tables at Party Poker. I'll also be missing Coach's home game and two birthday parties in NYC. I had a tough decision to make, but I'm sticking to my writing schedule. After this weekend, I'll have the next few months free to circle the shark infested waters at Party Poker and see my friends to party it up in the big city.

21 Days Til Vegas!

OK, thanks to both the Poker Prof and Dick for carrying the ball for me in my hiatus. I will be back in the swing of things by Monday and I'll be able to step back in the loop and hammer out the final details for the blogger tournament. In the last week or so Dick from Sam's Town and the Poker Prof have been organizing what's going to be a kick ass event.
What: WPBT Holiday Classic
When: Saturday, Dec. 11th at 1pm PCT
Where: Sam's Town Casino, Las Vegas, NV
Buy in: $50 ($45 prize pool + $5 dealer toke)
The Game: No Limit Texas Hold'em
1. Seats? There are a few seats still available. Email me if you are a poker blogger (or a member of the Swedish Bikini Team) and you'd like to play.

2. Rooms? If you are looking for a room, please contact Dick at Sam's Town. The direct line to poker room is (702) 454-8092 or 1-800 897-8696 (DO NOT ASK FOR RESERVATIONS), instead ask for Dick Gatewood. He's off on Sundays and some Mondays. Please book today before the rooms fill up due to the Rodeo Finals. He's hooking up bloggers with a $69 room rate. That's a nice discount.

3. Bounties and bonuses? If you have any ideas please let me know. Joaquin suggested he'd offer up a cowboy hat for the winner. That was a great idea. I already picked up a "Loser's Lounge" prize for the first person knocked out. And of course I'll be running a Hilton Sisters Challenge. J Santos will be offering up some of his poker related artwork for a prize. In addition, Dick is hard at work trying to secure us a little more money towards the prize pool.

4. T-shirts? If you are playing and you haven't contacted Maudie, please do so. She's hard at work getting shirts made and she needs your t-shirt size.

If you don't know, the Poker Prof was able to get pro Charlie Shoten (WPT Borgata runner up) to participate in the event, and they are working on getting a few other professionals to hang out and talk to us about poker and stuff before the tournament. I heard that Tom McEvoy (1983 WSoP winner and four total WSoP bracelets) is a maybe. That's pretty cool. I never envisioned that this random idea I had would grow into a legitimate event in Vegas! Dick arranged Sam's Town to possibly offer us a complimentary continental breakfast starting at 10:00am on Saturday morning. That would give the bloggers a chance to meet everyone else and talk with some of the professional players and of course do early bird shots with Al Cant Hang. What a great idea!

So far we have at least 24-25 players (some of your favorite poker bloggers) with a few maybes. In exactly three weeks, I'll be in Las Vegas and it couldn't come sooner. More to come.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

First Draft Done!

Sometime just before sunrise, I completed the final chapter which meant that I am now done with the first draft of Gumbo. I will be crashing now and taking the day off from writing. On Friday, I'll begin writing the second draft which will take up to five or six days. I will definitely be back to regular blogging sometime next week.

If you are currently writing a NaNoWriMo novel (BG, MeanGene, Jason) send me a 750-1000 word excerpt and I'll publish in this month's issue of Truckin'. Please send it to me sooner than later. Thanks.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Week 2 Update

Ocean view

I completed Week 2, my first real full week of writing Gumbo, and I'm happy to say that I'm way ahead of schedule with 35,000+ words. After a slow start and penning only 3380 words in the first week (all in one single session), I'm more than pleased with some of the characters. I've set the novel to take place in several cities, at least in six different locales so far, and that's been a lot of fun to write.
This week's binge:
Monday: 6734 words
Tuesday: 6440
Wednesday: 6085
Thursday: 4639
Friday: 5801
Saturday: 1971
I actually hit than 5,000 words on Saturday. I didn't like the majority of what I wrote and decided to make a crucial decision and rewrite the bulk of the chapter. I put aside what I originally wrote for future use as a springboard if I ever choose to go back and re-write the novel heading in that particular direction. As is, I needed a break. On Sunday I rested and didn't even look at any of the previous pages. I wanted some distance. I wanted a fresh start today. The material I was grappling with on Saturday was hyper-intense, personal, and at times painful. I had to visit some not so nice memories of my past and that serious task drained me emotionally (for the first time this project). There has come a point in every one of my previous novels where I hit an point of emotional exhaustion (usually due to sleep deprivation) and I had to walk away for a day to preserve my sanity.

I usually begin each session reading the previous chapter twice. That gives me a better idea of where I'm headed. I print up pages at the end of the writing day. Before I crash I'll take notes and read it through. At some point everyday, I make an effort to read the entire novel from start to finish. With almost 70% done, it takes me a lot longer to do that but that also tells me that I'm very close to finishing up.

The chapters are all about the same length, on the average of 5,000+ words.
Chapter 1: 5083
Chapter 2: 5034
Chapter 3: 6440
Chapter 4: 4563
Chapter 5: 5344
Chapter 6: 6618
I am trying to work at a slower pace to insure that I don't rush the ending, a major flaw in my previous manuscripts. As I'm approaching the final stretch, I don't want to burn out. It's going to take all my energy to stay focused.

Visit Gumbo for five different novel excerpts and updates. I might post another later today.

OK, I should be done with the first draft by Friday. Which is good news. I can proofread the manuscript over the weekend, tweak the dialogue and have a completed second draft done a few days before Turkey Day. And then, finally, I can get back in the loop reading my favorite blogs, playing poker at Party Poker, hanging out in NYC, and before you know it I'll be back to full time blogging infecting the cyber world with my drivel.

If you are bored, you can visit any number of the new blogs I added to the blogroll to get your poker fix. If you have a new poker blog and want a link exchange, shoot me an email.

Random Pictures

For all my Phishy phriends.

I posted a couple of pictures to Gumbo that I took in Rhode Island when I was not writing. Take a peek. Maybe I'll post more.

Fantasy Pauly

For complete fantasy pools updates, visit Pauly's Pub. If you haven't paid me for the football pool, please make arrangements today otherwise I will send Al Cant Hang to your house. He's drink all your booze and eat all your food until you pay me.

Poker Bloggers Tournament in Vegas

Yes, twenty five days from now I'll be in Las Vegas. There are only a few seats left for the Holiday Classic (Dec. 11th at 1pm PCT at Sam's Town Casino, $50 entry fee) and if you are a poker blogger and want to play in the tournament, send me an email ASAP. If you need a room for the weekend, contact Dick the poker room manager from Sam's Town and book by the 19th. He helped arrange a special poker rate for us at $69 a night. I'm still shocked I was able to get a Las Vegas casino to host a private tourney for all of us! We will be having at least one celebrity guest. More to come.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Novel Excerpt

Finally! Some of those long grueling sessions losing my money at the tables in Vegas actually paid off as research for a novel. I'm more than halfway done and should be back to blogging soon. In the meantime visit Gumbo for more excerpts and updates. I wrote this the other day and I figured I'd share it on this blog since it had gambling related content:
Chapter 6

As soon as you deplane and enter the terminal at Las Vegas McCarran Airport, you are greeted by a couple of rows of slot machines and a sorry lot of exhausted, hungover, and unkempt passengers awaiting to get on the exact plane you just exited. The demure scowls on their faces immediately tell you their languishing stories about the dark side of Vegas. You could see clouds of depression looming over their sunken heads. One clown from Detroit had too many Grey Goose and Red Bulls to drink and dropped $500 in a strip bar. He had to get home before his credit card statement arrived in the mail and was innocently opened up by his wife. Another Starbucks guzzling hipster from Park Slope lost his entire bankroll trying to beat blackjack at the Venetian in a failed attempt to perfect a winning system counting cards and ended up getting creamed. A soccer mom from St. Louis looked distressed as she quietly obsessed about her new found addiction to slot machines. A college kid from Tampa, with over $200 in poker books recently purchased on Amazon.com stashed in his carry-on luggage, blew his entire semester's tuition with pipe dreams about becoming the next Chris Moneymaker. Instead of returning to campus with a wad of rolled up $100 bills, he was bitch slapped into the harsh reality that he was nothing more than dead money and severely overmatched when he foolishly sat down with a table of sharks at the Bellagio only to get his testicles served to him on a lukewarm bed of bead beat lettuce. Las Fuckin' Vegas. Don't these idiots know that when they do win, they get paid with loser's money? It's a twenty-four hour endless cycle of transferring money from the trembling hands of a lifelong luckless losers into the itchy pockets of a fellow degenerate gamblers. Do you want that kind of karmic paper trail sitting in your wallet?
Copyright 2004

By the way, Vegas in 26 days. Can't wait!

Monday, November 08, 2004

Vegas Blogger Tournament Update

32 days until the Holiday Classic! $50 entry fee for the first live bloggers NL tournament. There are only a few spaces left so send me an email ASAP if you want to play.

Dick from Buy It In Vegas recently posted some important information involving discounted rooms for the weekend. Call him directly for more details. Here's the skinny from Dick:
WPBT Holiday Classic at Sam's Town, December 11th

It is NFR (National Finals Rodeo) final weekend. As I said earlier, rooms are pricey. As of today, the "rack" rate for the 10th & 11th is $125 per night. Poker rate is $69 per night plus taxes. If needed, the 12th is $39 plus taxes.

If you wish to book at Sam's Town, call the poker room and ask for me, Dick. I suggest that you book by the 19th. I will check availability and will post any problems that I see coming up.

Direct line to poker room is (702) 454-8092 or 1-800 897-8696 (DO NOT ASK FOR RESERVATIONS), ask for Dick Gatewood. Off on Sundays and some Mondays.

I should be able to secure us a little extra cash for the tournament...
Dick has been working hard to make sure this runs smoothly. Derek and I went to Vegas last year during Rodeo Week and we had a blast playing poker with drunk cowboys! Some of your favorite bloggers will be playing in the Holiday Classic in addition to special guest Charlie Shoten. I'm also working on another celebrity guest. Stay tuned for more details.

UPDATED: The following bloggers have confirmed their Vegas appearance: Me, Derek, BG, Bob, Al Cant Hang and Mrs. Hang, Otis, Maudie, Bad Blood, The Poker Prof, Dick, Flip Chip, The Film Geek, Grubby, Felicia and Glenn, Foiled Coup, F Train, and Joaquin from My Little Poker Blog. A few others are on the fence and I have spots reserved for them.

OK, thanks to the Poker Prof and Dick, we got Sam's Town to host a tourney. Dick arranged Sam's Town to hook us you with a room discount. All you have to do is get to Vegas!

Novel Update: Visit Gumbo to read novel exerpts that I recently posted. I'm starting to hit my groove.

Monday, November 01, 2004

On Hiatus

Dear Friends, Readers, and Fellow Bloggers;

Earlier this afternoon I took the first steps in another wild journey otherwise known as the brutality of writing my fifth novel and participating in NaNoWriMo. This attempt will be another chance for me to experiment with fiction writing. Any thoughts on the process of the new novel, will be posted on a new blog called: Gumbo.

As of today, I am taking a hiatus from full time blogging and from part-time playing poker to concentrate on this new literary project. I am leaving NYC and withdrawing from society for an unspecified amount of time, relocating to Narragansett, Rhode Island to write in a less stressful setting. I penned all of my previous novels (and both screenplays) in my old studio in NYC. I have never completed a major writing project in any other environment. I have a challenging and terrifying task ahead of me. And I'm ready to write.

I write fast. Two years ago I completed my first novel, Jack Tripper Stole My Dog, in ten days while working fulltime trading stocks at JP Morgan. I slept an hour a night during that run and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life.

Check out Gumbo for updates and novel excerpts. I expect to be "back in the loop" shortly after Turkey Day and will publish a new issue of Truckin' soon after. Until then, let me apologize in advance if you have a difficult time reaching me.

Best of luck to my friends and fellow bloggers who are participating in NaNo. I am looking forward to reading your first drafts. Godspeed. Thanks for reading and more importantly... for your support.

Neutiquam erro,

P.S. To continue reading the Tao of Poker, click here.

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