"As long as you are as smarter than a retarded ape, then you'll do fine."- Human HeadMy head throbbed. A bitter migraine was my souvenir for the wicked hangover that consumed me for most of Saturday. My half-opened eyes burned from the early morning Nevada sun that sizzled threw a small crack in the blinds. When Jen Leo called, I frantically searched for my phone and found it buried in one of Jaxia's sneakers. Jen Leo wanted to have breakfast and she had great news... she was going to be playing in the blogger's tournament. Wearing only my boxers and a Vermont hockey t-shirt, I staggered down the hall to my brother's room avoiding the sneers from the maid with sticky fingers who never bothered to clean my room later that day. I banged on the door and woke Derek up. I think he was passed out in his clothes. We eventually made our way downstairs to the Emperor's buffet. It wasn't that bad. Derek didn't like the pancakes, but in honor of Daddy I ate a plate full of bacon and lathered a few biscuits in heavy butter and syrup.
I called both Daddy and Grubby to make sure they were both up. Grubby answered and Daddy didn't. We figured Daddy was passed out in a drunk tank somewhere after a fracas with a bunch of frat boys in the Geisha bar or holed up in a bacon binge with a couple of cowboys from Montana. I was about to call Iggy when he stumbled inside. When we walked into the ballroom, there was a huge line of bloggers waiting to sign up for the tournament. The room was impressive and normally reserved for special occasions like weddings and Big Lebowski conventions.
"It felt special to be playing in a private tournament." That's what I wrote in my notes. Jaxia was particularly excited, as were the bloggers who were experiencing this for the first time.
Ten tables were spread out in the center of the room and a podium sat in the back where the guest speakers would be talking. At the last second, Linda Geenen got Barry Greenstien to speak for a few moments. He looked tired after an all night poker session.
I walked to the back of the line and said hello to some familiar faces and tried to figure out who the people I didn't know were. Slayre stopped me and we spoke for a few minutes. He even asked for a picture! He thanked for me for some advice I sent him almost a year ago. He also wanted to meet Derek. During one of the HORSE tourneys, Derek helped him with Razz.
Falstaff wore a kilt. I tried to take pictures to figure out if he was free-balling or not. Regardless, it took balls to wear a kilt. More power to the dude! Everytime I turned around and saw StB, he was drinking a beer. In fact, aside from the time we went to McDonald's the morning of the Boathouse Bash, I have never seen StB without a beer.
The registration line slowly moved and Barry started speaking. He talked about how cool blogs were and how he was affected by Charlie Tuttle. I would leave the line and take random pictures of the crowd and Charlie. I got goosebumps. Last December's keynote speaker Charlie Shoten lectured for a while along with author Michael Craig who was introduced by Amy Calistri. Derek was engrossed in a lengthy conversation with Joe Sebok. He's got a blog you know and also writes for Card Player.
I chatted for a bit with Mr. Subliminal. He spoke about being homeless in Las Vegas. He uses the library to update his blog. Easy Cure is one funny guy. I barely got to hang out with him in June and felt the same thing about this time. Hung out with him and his wife while standing in line. Spoke to Royal for a little bit too. I was pretty excited that he was coming.
I finally got to sign up and picked up some free stuff thanks to Poker Stars. I chatted with Nolan Dalla for a bit about the expanding blogging community. Once you sign up, you got a grey wristband which entitled you free drinks until 7pm. It was not even noon which meant seven hours of booze. Lots of it. The greasy buffet helped make the hangover manageable, but the beers and shots of SoCo really did the trick.
All the cool kids (aka smokers) hung out in the hallway and chainsmoked like Death Row inmates while random people from the IP poker room wandered in and out trying to figure out what was going on. I hung out with Mean Gene in the hallway and got to shoot the shit with him. I had been waiting over a year to meet him.
Originally I was supposed to play on a team with FTrain and Joaquin for a team last longer bet. Derek had a team with Spaceman and JoeSpeaker. I got squeezed out of my team after my grandmother died. Heather was teamless so we agreed to team up. We needed a third. A darkhorse. That's when I suggested Mrs. HDouble. She can get anyone on tilt. It was the most logical choice. CJ suggested a team name for us... "The Five Boobs."
Everyone had to pick up their seat assignments and pulled cards out of a bingo cage. Here was my table:
Seat 1: BadBloodLike last time, I was seated next to someone I never met before. In June it was Tanya. Our time at the table became the basis of a cool friendship. We ended up hanging out a lot during the WSOP when she'd come up to play in various events or satellites. Plus she was one of the first bloggers to back me in the $1500 WSOP event. This time it was Franklin's wife factgirl. Not only was she cool but she had tons of awesome stories to share.
Seat 2: Mike
Seat 3: Gus
Seat 4: HDouble
Seat 5: Shane Nickerson
Seat 6: April
Seat 7: SoxLover
Seat 8: Travis
Seat 9: Pauly
Seat 10: factgirl
I bought two small airport bottles of SoCo in the "Whiskey Run" gift shop downstairs. I was using to use them as card cappers. I kept taunting Shane Nickerson, "I loved you in Toy Soldiers. I almost cried when you died."
He was a good sport about it. I think he was just hungover. I told him that we'd do shots as soon as I busted him. Instead, I rolled one of my bottles down to him and we ended up downing shots at the table. Speaking of shots, Tanya was sitting right behind me at another table. She kept ordering Kamikaze shots. Good Lord. By the time the first hand was dealt, I was shitfaced.
I did what I could and ran around snapping different photos of different tables. I saw that Derek and Jaxia were at the same table as The Rooster, Spaceman, Easy Cure, Mike Villa, Wampler, Poker Nerd, Chadarama, and Linda.
The tournament structure was pretty good. $65 buy-in. Top 10 places paid (or the final table) with 35% going to first place, 18% for 2nd, 12.5% for 3rd, 10% for 4th, 8% for 5th, 5% for 6th, 4% for 7th, 3% for 8th, 2% for 9th, and 1% for 10th. Poker Stars added $2K to the prize pool, so it was even fatter. The IP took only a small juice which was great compared to the Aladdin last year when Edna pocketed more than she said she would. The blind structure was fairly good as well. We all started with $2500 in chips. Blinds were 20 minutes long and blinds started out at 25/50.
Here are some random notes that I took:
12:15pm... I was giving away a copy of Gigli to the first player busted. Previous winner's have been the Poker Nerd and Bill. This time it was Tanya! She moved all in with A-Q and lost to Iggy's A-K.
12:16pm... Spaceman moved all in with K-K. Joaquin had A-A and they held up. Spaceman missed Gigli by one spot. Linda folded J-J and someone else at that table had 9-9. Jaxia had 4-4 ad would have flopped a set. Live poker is so rigged.
12:34pm... Heather's K-K doubled up against Mrs. Colombo's Hilton Sisters.
12:40pm... Chris Newton from Poker Pages was moved to my table as an alternate.
1:05pm... At the break I had 2575 and stayed out of pots. Mrs. HDouble went out and it looked like the Five Boobs was not going to go far unless Heather and I finished one and two.
1:07pm... I gave Falstaff shit for using the men's room with a kilt. "Skirts are only allowed in the Ladies room!" I shouted.
1:15pm... I was changed to another table nearby with three G-Vegas residents and two locals!
Seat 1: Mr. Subliminal1:21pm... During an interview with Colombo, our table was broken up. Here's my new table:
Seat 2: Colombo
Seat 3: Pauly
Seat 4: ShepSmith
Seat 5: ?
Seat 6: ?
Seat 7: GRob
Seat 8: Shyam
Seat 9: The Mark
Seat 10: Grubby
Seat 1: Pauly1:32pm... Daddy eventually showed up later missing part of the tournament. Lazy fuck couldn't sober up in time to make it to the ballroom. When I introduced Daddy to Mrs. HDouble she said, "He's kinda cute for a donkey fucker."
Seat 2: Alan
Seat 3: Absinthe
Seat 4: JenLeo
Seat 5: Amy Calistri
Seat 6: ? then Wampler
Seat 7: Weak Player then Joanne
Seat 8: The Deer Hunter (aka Mean Gene's brother)
Seat 9: Russ Fox
Seat 10: JDubs
1:48pm... Alan's hammer lost to Russ Fox's K-K. Russ began to run over the table after that.
1:51pm... Jen Leo went from one chip to amassing a big stack. Amy Calistri's Hiltons lost to Jen's K-J.
2:20pm... At the second break I was up to 2900 but way below the average with 4 tables remaining. The Soco killed whatever headache I had.
2:23pm... Joanne and Wampler were moved to my table.
2:27pm... Derek was knocked out when his AJ ran into StB's A-Q.
2:32pm... Jen Leo was busted when her A-Q lost to Joanne's K-10.
2:45pm... I was sent to the rail by Wampler when I moved all in with A-J and a short stack. I knew I was in troubled when Wampler quickly called with K-K. I took 38th place out of 107.
At that point, I hung out and talked to Wil for a little bit in the corner and drank more booze. I was getting pretty wasted at that point and the rest of the tourney was a blur. I remember talking to Donkey Puncher about strip clubs for a bit. I needed more food and headed to the Burger Joint near the sports book. I ate with Derek, Travis, Jaxia, CaliforniaApril, and Shelly. More bacon for me with curly fries. Actually the forgot the bacon and we had to get them to give us more. I hate having to send back food at a fast food place, but hey, they fucked up. Missing bacon on a bacon double cheeseburger is a major fuck up in my eyes.
We headed back to the tourney and the open bar. At that point two tables remained. I forgot who bubbled out. But here's the final 10:
10th: PabloGracie caught aces like 23 times at the final table. Unreal. CJ and I were doing bustout interviews with the money winners featuring Jaxia Hiatt. The video quality is good, but the sound is awful. I'll try to fix that and post something later.
3rd: Chris "The Barracuda" Newton
1st: Studio Glyphic
Congrats to Studio Glyphic for his victory! He won a bottle of Romulan Ale courtesy of Gracie.
We didn't think the shootout would start so fast and went up to Derek's room to party. We had a few random folks in there and found out that Royal and Spaceman chopped! It lasted about ten minutes. We decided to stick around and kept on boozing it up. Mostly everyone enjoyed the nice view of the Mirage in the background. I forgot who was there but at some point Heather, Joanne, Travis, Gracie, Pablo, Maudie, Jaxia, Poker Prof, Grubby, Colombo, the Heads, Spaceman, TrumpJosh, Change100 and Joaquin were all hanging out.
Probably the most embarrassing moment (well there were like forty of those) of the night was when I was in the corner with Jaxia acting like a blathering idiot. I was commenting on how soft her hands were. She has really soft skin. All of a sudden I look up and Grubby is taunting me a sarcastic chant of, "You're so soft! You're so soft."
It was a phrase I couldn't get out of my head all weekend.
Have Fun Storming the Castle
I got a text message from Wil that they were going to storm the Castle. So I got the troops together and headed to the monorail. I had a group of about 10-20 with me. My math always gets fuzzy when my BAC peaks over the legal limit.
I was too wasted for poker so I suggested Pai Gow. I got on a table with a bunch of bloggers after I gave Jaxia a quick tutorial. I staked her and she ended up winning $8 over 5 hours. Here was our table:
Seat 1: Ephro then DrizzWe had both the Human Head and Mrs. Head sweat us along with Mr. and Mrs. Spaceman. At somepoint, Joe Speaker stopped by and I met the lovely Mrs. Speaker. She did the whole, "Oh my God! You're Pauly! Joe talks about you all the time." And once again she fell into the stereotype of blogger wives... everyone married way way over their heads. Mrs. Speaker was no exception. Man, I guess this gives me hope. I'm due for a hot wife unless I break tradition. We spoke for a bit while I was getting cold decked by Remy our not-so-friendly Pai Gow dealer.
Seat 2: Heather then Joaquin
Seat 3: F Train
Seat 4: Pauly
Seat 5: Grubby
Seat 6: Jaxia
I'd take frequent walks and see how Derek was doing in the poker room and watch The Heads play Let It Ride where Mrs. Head was blowing her Phil Gordon Roshambo winnings. The Pai Gow tables were not so nice to me and Grubby and Jaxia would both punch me in the arm everytime I'd yell out, "You're so soft!"
Anyway, I was a little more sober and decided to sit down at a $2-6 int he poker room. I was seated with Brian and Jaxia. The table next to us featured all bloggers and Michael Craig. We had a few cowboys and two frat boys at our table I got one on tilt and Jaxia got the other on tilt. I think it was her infectious smile. As Bad Blood said, "Just looking at Jaxia, I get on tilt."
Everyone was betting on wheel spins and even the dealer at Derek's table was running prop bets with him. I finally got to spin the wheel for the first time since March. Considering how much I played there in the last nine months, that stat is staggering. Aces held up every single time too. I caught quad Kings. I flopped a set and rivered the quads. Chris the dealer knew it right away. I tipped him pretty good and ended up giving him almost half what I won on the Wheel. Drizz was screaming from the other side of the room everytime the wheel spun. At one point, inside of thirty minutes, the wheel was going constantly. Grubby and I would run over to each other's table and pay each other off. I would wander over to Otis' table and take some of his hard earned money. I was even doing bets with Jaxia at my table.
Easy Cure's wife hit a straight flush in Pai Gow! She tookd own $625. Unreal. They showed me the $500 chip too.
The last two hours were a blur. I lost time. I somehow got in a cab and arrived safely at the IP with Derek and Jaxia. I didn't pass out like Change100 and wake up only to find myself in the backseat of a cab with two hookers. I do recall driving down the strip in the cab and the lights were a psychedelic splashing of colors and images.
There's like 35 stories I can't even talk about. Most of them happened Saturday night and maybe I'll squeeze it into my Vegas book, if you are lucky. However, I managed to party like John Bonham until sunrise for a third consecutive day in Las Vegas. That's nowhere near a personal record, but under the circumstances with the lunacy of the people and bloggers involved, I think it was a stellar performance. It's like dropping 50 points in a hoops game three times in a row, or hitting grandslams in three straight games, or scoring a hat trick in hockey for three consecutive nights.
My mind operated on single digit brain cells for most of the weekend, and I'm still feeling the effects of day three of the four day intense bender. My bankroll was somewhat depleted. My liver was swiss cheese. My bones ached. Almost an hour after the bright blinking lights of the Las Vegas strip faded into the Sunday morning sunlight, my eyes closed for the first time in almost twenty-two hours as I muttered the catch phrase of the night, "You're so soft."
Here's the group photo courtesy of Poker Source Online.
...to be continued. Part 3 coming soon.