Saturday, December 31, 2005

Tao of Poker: 2005 Year in Review Part 2

Here's the conclusion of my year in review post. If you haven't read 2005 Year in Review Part 1, then please do so first.

I started the second half of the year in Las Vegas a few days before the start of the main event at the WSOP. After spending the rest of the summer in Las Vegas, I would end up in Colorado, South Carolina, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Atlantic City, the Boathouse, Foxwoods, Rhode Island, Los Angeles, New York City, and back in Vegas two more times. I covered a slew of poker tournaments along the way.


July started with me having a mental breakdown a few days before the WSOP main event. The Redneck Riviera and the intense Nevada summer heat were making me crazy. The bad food. The lack of sleep. The depression. The deadlines. The bad beat stories. The misery. It was all fucking with my head and I lost my shit more than once in July.

Here are two final tables that I live blogged:
Event #32 $5K Omaha8
Event #34 Senior's NL
I saw Paul McKinney become the oldest person to ever win a WSOP bracelet.

I went to the Full Tilt party held at La Bete in the Wynn. The dress code was LA Chic. I had no idea what that meant. I went with Shirley and I hung out with a ton of media folks including a bunch of bloggers. I ended up closing out the bar drinking past last call with Daniel Negreanu, the Poker Prof, and two Irish Guys.

On the same day that AlCantHang came out to surprise me and Otis, I met Wil Wheaton for the first timeand we hung out and bullshitted for a while. He was supposed to play in the main event in less than 24 hours from the time we met. I showed him the empty table he would end up sitting at. It was the same day as the WSOP Media/Celebrity event. I cashed in my first WSOP event and made my first WSOP final table. I also cracked Shannon Elizabeth's A-A with JJ. I was Otis' table to start and I got A-A in back to back hands. I busted him and build up a huge chip lead. I was also seated next to Lou Krieger at some point.

During the main event, I met DoubleAs for the first time. He would end up cashing in his first and only WSOP event.

The WSOP $10K main event started. The last two days were held in Benny's Bullpen at the Horseshoe. Here are my live blogging updates:
Day 1A
Day 1B
Day 1C
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6
Day 7 - The Final Table
Be sure to take a peek at the Poker Prof's hard work in his 2005 WSOP tournament results page. And look at Flipchip's 2005 WSOP photo gallery.

Everyone knows that Joe Hachem from Australia won the 2005 WSOP main event. He took home $7.5 million and I got to experience the 2005 WSOP from nearly the start to the finish. It was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life. I might cover WSOP events in the future, but it's never quite the same as your first one. I have the Poker Prof to thank for the entire thing. He said we were going to pull it off... and with Flipchip's help... we did.

A few weeks ago The Prof told me that I was the single most read writer at the WSOP, even more so than Nolan Dalla. He estimated that more than one million people read something of mine during the 2005 WSOP either on the Tao of Poker, Poker Player Newspaper, Fox Sports, MSN, and some of the other sites that I write for. I was blown away by that number and still refuse to believe that was possible. He broke it down by the numbers and although it adds up, it's still a disturbing number. If I knew that then... I would have freaked out and choked. As is, despite some problems and rough patches, I came out of the WSOP as a legitimate poker tournament reporter. Some of that was due to Felicia's suggestions along with Otis' help, Flipchip's Obi-wan like guidance, and Poker Prof's persistent belief in me.

Wil gave me some great advice and insisted that I take my dinner breaks for "me" time. I ended up rushing off to the Hooker Bar to drink with Otis. For a while it was our favorite time of the day. We'd drink sometimes for free and made sure we didn't talk about poker. We discussed anything except poker. That was our only rule. For an hour everyday we escaped the insanity of the WSOP. We didn't have deadlines or readers eagerly awaiting updates. We were just two dudes drinking away our troubles at a bar in Las Vegas, checking out the talent and swapping a few stories in the process. One of the highlights of the WSOP.

I appeared on a few episodes of Lord Admiral's Card Club podcast including episode 33, episode 34, and episode 35.

BG set up the Charlie Tuttle Memorial Tournament on Poker Stars which was won by SarahBellum.

I took a few days off and ended up back to work. I headed to the Bellagio and covered the Day 2 of the Challenge Cup which featured a ton of top pros. Toby Maguire made the final table. Flipchip was recognized for the first time by a fan! I never saw him so excited.

I discovered that the Tao of Poker was mentioned in an article in the Online Journalism Review called Gonzo poker bloggers bring World Series to life in real time. Here's a bit:
At the 2005 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, which wrapped up last week, the blogging star was "Dr. Pauly", a struggling screenwriter and novelist who became a poker fanatic.
I met Grubby's sister Grubbette for the first time. We played Pai Gow at the MGM and drank heavily.

I hung around Vegas and played a ton of poker. I took 3rd place in a tournament at Sam's Town. Flipchip took second!

One of my favorite non-WSOP posts from July included Kicked in the Junk by the Hiltons.

I headed over to the Plaza and watched Andy Bloch win the Ultimate Poker Challenge. I saw a bunch of pros shooting dice including Phil Ivey, Gavin Smith, The Grinder, John Juanda, and Erick Lindgren.

Senor came to Las Vegas for a weekend bender which included a ton of strip clubs, drinking, and poker.

I also wrote a review of Charlie Shoten's book No Limit Life.

I ended the month way up. I bumped up in limits and played $10/$20 at the Mirage along with $8/$16 at the Bellagio. The cash in the Sam's tourney helped pad the bankroll. I also found myself playing at Mandalay Bay in a series of hit and run sessions.



I ended July on the top of my poker game and my career. It seemed that everyone was finally going on right. I had a decent routine. I'd wake up in the late afternoon. I'd write and do a few hours of work. I'd either meet Grubby out for a cheap meal or a buffet or fend for myself at In & Out, Wild Wild West's cheap ass diner, or Wendy's. I seemed to rotate those three every few days. Night's were reserved for poker. If I was hanging out with Grubby, we'd hit up Palms or Sunset Station or Excalibur. We became infatuated with a hot chiprunner that worked at the Castle. Plus with double wheel spins, it was worth playing just for the bonuses. If I was by myself, I'd go to the Mirage, Bellagio or Mandalay Bay.

I padded my bankroll by hitting two high hand jackpots, both at $4/8 Kill tables at Palms and Mandalay Bay. I turned quad Aces and quad Jacks. I scooped huge pots too and walked away up almost a grand for both jackpots combined. When I played at the Excalibur with Grubby we used to kill the boredom with betting on wheel spins. That's where it all began. We'd end up even on most nights but like I said, it gave us some action in between folding hands. Yeah, we became Vegas rounders.

I appeared on a few episodes of Lord Admiral's Card Club podcast including episode 37, episode 38, and episode 40.

I published another installment of Existentialist Conversations with Strippers.

Wil was asked to be the keynote speaker at Barge and he invited me as his guest. Wil joked around that I had more fans there than he did. Anyway, he read experts of Lying in Odessa and he kicked ass during his speech. I got to shmooze with some of the Bargers and hung out with Jen Leo, Sarah Bellum, Russ Fox, and Lou Krieger.

I had some interesting things to say on the 10th anniversary of Jerry Garcia's death.

I finally moved out of the Redneck Riviera and moved in with Grubby for my last week in Las Vegas.

After almost three months of living in Las Vegas, I left for the first time and flew to Boulder, Colorado to hang out with my buddy the Joker. We headed to Red Rocks to see a Trey Anastasio Band concert (and STS9 opened up). We partied with hipsters in Denver, partied with hippies up in the mountains, and I even did a little climbing in Rocky Mountain National Park. I posted a mini-trip report with pictures.

I finally returned back to NYC but only for a few days. I also quietly celebrated the 2 year anniversary of the start of the Tao of Poker.

I got on a plane and flew with Derek to G-Vegas for the Brad-o-Ween festivities. The Bloods were kind enough to put us up for the weekend and we crashed in the mini-Blood's rooms while they were shipped off with the grandparents. The mini-Bloods must have been pumped when they got home and noticed that Daddy, Derek, Iggy, and myself stuffed their piggy banks with $20 and $100 bills as a "tip" for letting us crash.

On the night before Brad-o-Ween, we played a tournament at Bad Blood's and I took second place. I lost to Otis heads up. Maudie got hit over the head by BadBlood with a chair. We went out to a dive bar and I got BG to drink a rusty tin of ice water for $5. I also got Otis to down a cup of ranch dressing for $5. Props bets were flowing and bloggers were doing weird shit after midnight in the deep south.

Brad-o-Ween kicked off at Noon with authentic Carolina BBQ and a poker tournament. I ended up making it all the way to the money and came from behind to tie Big Pirate. We ended up chopping first place. The Drunkolympics were next and Derek and I were on Team Good with G-Rob (Captain), Lefty, Al Cant Hang, Derek, and Iggy (alternate). We were close to winning it but lost by a slim margin. Lefty destroyed BigMike in a Cheezepuff eating contest and I choked in both of my events. Derek puked. BG passed out or "took a nap" according to his accounts of the incident. You had to experience the AlCantHang experience. There were Hooters girls showing their goodies and a wet t-shirt contest. The Smiths were climbing trees and Bad Blood had to be taken home early. All in all, it was one of my favorite trips all year. A recap of Day 2 is here.

When I got back to NYC, I played in my first home game in months at the Blue Parrot. It featured the return of two old school members of the Blue Parrot... Rick Blaine and Swish. Of course the highlight was when Om got Ferrari on mega-tilt after he cracked his aces.

After settling back into living in NYC again, I found a groove at the tables and writing wise. I penned one of my favorite posts of all time called Masturbation and Poker.

I ended the month up and way up for the year. I tripled my bankroll during my time in Las Vegas. I cashed in two big tourneys and picked up a few jackpots along the way. I was happy to be home but I knew I had only a few days to get my shit together and hit the road once again.



September was a fun month. I worked pretty hard writing a ton of freelance stuff to start but ended up going to Europe for almost two weeks while visiting Spain for the first time to cover a European Poker in Barcelona. I reunited with Briana for a few days in Amsterdam. I then had one of the toughest legs of travel in my life. Flights from Barcelona to Paris to Amsterdam to NYC. Then a rental car drive from NYC to Atlantic City to cover my first World Poker Tour Event at the Borgata. Before I went home, I stopped off at in Malvern, PA to party down at AlCantHang's annual Bash at the Boathouse. A slew of bloggers were there and I met Mrs. Spaceman for the first time.

September was also when Hurricane Katrina sunk New Orleans. I did what I could and donated a lot of my bankroll and pimped a slew of relief tournaments.

Derek played in Hurricane Katrina Relief tournament on Full Tilt and ended up winning two hands against Phil Gordon. He rivered a gutshot on one hand.

Daddy quit his blog. I wrote in response:
Daddy not blogging is like watching Seinfeld without Kramer.
Daddy not blogging is like eating fat-free ice cream.
Daddy not blogging is like drinking O'Douls.
Daddy not blogging is like having sex with a dead cat that's not really dead.
I might have to start calling Daddy the Trey of Poker Bloggers.
While meeting a friend for lunch, I bumped into Joaquin aka The Rooster in front of Grand Central Station.

Nolan Dalla was kind enough to hook me up with a freeroll into one of the WCOOP events. I got in as a member of the media. Out of 2146, I finished in 1914th place.

I had a few fun days in Amsterdam. I posted Day 1 and Day 2.

I also had a few random things to say about my first few days in Spain. I spent some time in Sitges with Otis' lovely assistant Mad, where she lives. I headed to Barcelona to cover the EPT event. I stayed in the Princess Hotel and they gave you a free mini-bar.

I did some live blogging of Day 1. I met Brandon Schaefer who won one event last year and took second at the Grand Finale in Monte Carlo. Before I had a chance to introduce myself, he walked up to me and said, "I love your blog, man."

We ended up drinking together, having a few meals with the Poker Stars crew, and hanging out. I met some cool guys from Gutshot, hung out with Howard from Poker Stars, and drank with the Irish guys Lucky Blind and Murphy. I even got to have coffee with Isabelle Mercier.

Of course the craziest thing was having John Duthie, creator of the EPT, ask me to announce the featured TV table. Sitting there were Brandon, Gus Hansen, WPT winner Christer Johansen, Daniel Larrson, and David O'Callahan. Man, was I fuckin' nervous. I messed up a few times. But it was OK.

On Day 2, I both live blogged the final table and announced it as well! I was shocked that they asked me to do it. But how could I turn that down. I messed up one hand and thought Gus Hansen won when he lost to a straight. I apologized later and he laughed it off. Jan Boubli, a former dentist from France, ended up winning his first EPT event.

I flew back to America and headed to the Borgata to cover the WPT event. I missed the first day, but I was there for Day 2. I met the new hostess Courtney Friel for the first time. I saw my old media friends and fell back into a groove. Day 3 was one of the longest I ever days of work I've ever had. I was there to almost 5am waiting for the TV table bubble to burst.

I finally blogged my first ever final table on the WPT.

Derek came down and we met up with Spaceman and his lovely wife. We also sweated Spaceman when he played in a US Poker Championships event at the Taj. Afterwards we headed over to the Boathouse for a pre-party. We got pretty snookered. The day of the Boathouse started off with StB winning the Good & Plenty Classic. We played some poker at the Boathouse then watched Bobby Bracelet make a complete fool of himself when he wasted his A-Game on a C- girl. The lowlight of the night came when someone (Derek, Joaquin, or Helixx) offered me $10 to take a piss in a corner where Bobby Bracelet and his conquest were sucking face in the corner. Anyway, Derek didn't puke and Otis was drunker than Tara Ried on St. Patrick's Day. The recap for Bash at the Boathouse 5 is here.

ESPN began airing the WSOP and I was spotted during the Johnny Chan episode. Derek asked me what I was talking to Doyle Brunson about. I recall asking Doyle, "At his peak game, who's better Johnny Chan or Stu Ungar?"

I didn't get to play as much poker as I wanted in September. Instead I sought out some new adventures and saw Briana for the first time in over four months. I finished up for the month and up for a third consecutive month. My bankroll hit five figures for the first time and I got to announce a final TV table. In the Casino de Barcelona while standing with a microphone a few feet from Gus Hansen, I had one of those moments like, "How the fuck did I get here?"



Although I was losing patience with a demanding work and travel schedule, my writing flourished in October. I worked on my Las Vegas book, wrote a couple of chapters for DoubleAs Poker Hack's book, and cranked out some of the best poker and philosophy posts to date.

My favorite had to be Empiricism, Kierkegaard, Catholic High School Girls, and Poker. I also came away from writing that post with five main objectives to my poker game:
1. Rededicate myself as a student of the game.
2. Continue to play as much as I can to develop into a good player in the long run.
3. Daily wins and losses don't mean as much as making good and quality decisions.
4. Continue to identify and isolate my weaknesses.
5. Maintain focus at the tables.
I probably dropped to a new low when I delved deep into female ejaculation and squirting.

I came back a few days later with a much more insightful and serious post with the Tao of Risk where I discussed risk management, Wall Street, and Sun Tzu. That's when I came up with this gem...
The winning poker player/investor is able to adjust their tactics and implement them without any difficulties. More importantly, a player needs the psychological capacity, mental strength, and discipline to adapt their implementation tactics and adjust to the patterns or the volatility of the other players/markets. Winning players are also able to adapt to situations beyond human control. That means minimizing tilt.
I taped a bit on Card Club's Lord Admiral podcast for episode 46 and episode 49.

I was invited to a Poker Stars VIP event in NYC that featured the last three WSOP champions in Greg Raymer, Joe Hachem, and Chris Moneymaker. Otis was there as well as Nolan Dalla and the lovely Isabelle Mercier. I finally got a double kiss from her. We drank fruity rum drinks out of plastic coconuts. Afterwards, Otis and I went barhopping and I puked in the middle of the street at one point.

Wil Wheaton hosted his first private tournament on Poker Stars and Derek made the final table.

Poker Stars gave me a nice fleece pullover for being the #1 referral during their Blogger Championship thing.

I put out a Best of Tao of Poker post where I listed some of my best posts all time. For someone who writes a lot, I have very few highlights. I should have more.

I returned to Las Vegas for a work assignment and Vegoose. I moved in with Grubby for two plus weeks. On my second day back, we met up with Bobby Bracelet for drinks and Mandalay Bay near the sports book. I went to the bathroom and there was a couple in the stall next to me having sex. That's when the Bathroom Fucking incident went down.
I'm pretty sure no one came. Not even me. Although I think I popped a half-a-wood during all of this.
A week later some guy would stop me in the middle of the Bellagio and ask me which bathroom did the fucking take place in.

I returned to the Bellagio to cover the WPT Doyle Brunson North American Classic. Minh Ly beat Dan Harrington heads up to win.
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Final table
Random Photos
I also saw Daniel Negreanu playing at the Bellagio for the first time in months. He just ended his contract with Wynn and returned to the "Big Game" in Bobby's Room.

I met Jaxia for the first time and we hung out for a few hours at Mandalay Bay shooting the shit for hours.

I played in the Online Poker Bloggers Championship on Poker Stars. I took 933rd place out of 1472.

One of my other favorite posts from the month was Hammers, Hilton Sisters, Dial-a-Shots, and other Post-Modern Poker Vernacular where I spoke about the origins of the Hammer and other nicknames.

I went bowling with Grubby and the Poker Prof and I lost a big prop bet.

The big news of the month was getting on the front page of Yahoo for a couple of hours. My 15 minutes of fame were quickly over.

My buddy The Joker came to town for Vegoose and we got inebriated and checked out a ton of our favorite bands including one helluva bender on Halloween to see Widespread Panic. He dressed up like a UPS driver. I was a doctor. I posted some recaps on the Tao of Pauly which also included plenty of pictures:
Day Before Vegoose
Vegoose Day 1
Vegoose Day 2
I also announced Saturdays with Dr. Pauly... a running series of four tournaments on Poker Stars with prizes going to the person who did the best in all four events.

October ended with a break even month. I was still way up for the year and I spent a lot of time back in Las Vegas card rooms once again.



I usually took off previous Novembers to write novels. I'd have to shelf that idea due to a work assignment at Foxwoods. That was OK thought, I was too exhausted to write anyway. The few days I put into the Las Vegas book were average attempts at best. The only good thing about working at Foxwoods was living with my buddy Senor for the entire week just outside of Providence.

I made the final table at a Wil Wheaton tournament.

The Saturdays with Dr. Pauly tournaments were a huge success. Thanks to everyone who played. SirWaffle won the first one. The next week, event #2 was won by on_thg. Then the Luckbox struck... CJ won #3. And Joanne won the last tournament. Both Bobby Bracelet and on_thg tied for first place. They had to play a special heads-up tiebreaker, which was won by Bobby Bracelet. He renicknamed himself Bobby iPod for a while, but it never stuck. Yeah, Bob won the iPod and on_thg won a copy of The Big Lebowski. CJ came in third overall and won a phone call from Daddy on Christmas Day.

I dished out some strip club advice.

On the personal life front, Briana returned home from France and I went through a rough few days figuring out us and hating poker. I wrote a post called Circles and Poker about my poker burnout. I needed a quick attitude adjustment and going to Rhode Island and Foxwoods helped me get back on track.

I covered another WPT event, this time at Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut. Here are the daily live blogging updates:
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Final Table
I wrote about poker and porn funk during one of those Foxwoods events. I also met SirWaffle for the first time. We played NL together.

I appeared on one episode of Card Club's Lord Admiral radio podcast... episode #52 where I interviewed Heather from Poker Wire.

With a few weeks before the blogger get together in Vegas, I posted Potential Blogger Arrests. I also put together a short film called Bloggers in Vegas that was hosted by AlCantHang. I also refined my Surviving Las Vegas Tips post.

Spaceman was in town for a Jeopardy interview. We went drinking with the Rooster and played at The Blue Parrot. Spaceman had a rare experience and played cards in a NYC homegame. I walked away a winner, which would be one of the few times that would happen all month.

On Thanksgiving, I had a message of thanks to some special people in my life. Then over Turkey Day weekend, I blew almost $1K playing in different online tournaments. I cashed in only one and it was for a lousy $3.

On the last day of November, I left for Las Vegas. I planned on being there for a month returning on Christmas Eve. With the blogger tournament, a road trip to LA with Grubby, and a WPT Bellagio assignment, I had a busy month ahead of me. Sadly, my grandmother was hospitalized, fell into a coma, but came out of it for a while. I left NYC thinking that she was going to be OK. The last time I would see my grandmother alive was a few moments before I got on a plane at JFK bound for Sin City. If I knew it was going to be the last time I'd see her, I would have canceled my trip and stayed behind to spend two more days with her before she had a heart attack and died in her hospital bed.

By the end of November, I was hurting. My poker game was off. I hardly slept. My writing was sloppy. My passion for writing and working in the poker industry had disappeared. And I was within days of losing a family member. I began the month on a high note after one amazing Halloween bender in Las Vegas and I ended it under a very dark cloud.



December of 2005 was one of the toughest months of my life. I questioned everything and when you are in those ambivalent moods, nothing seems right. My poker game went to shit. If I was good or just lucky, I was neither in December. I lost everywhere. The carnage was spread out all over Las Vegas casinos and on different online sites. I lost prop bets, wheel spins, craps, sports betting on hockey and football, horse races, and Pai Gow. The only thing I won during December was on Mr. Cashman slots.

I started the month in Las Vegas. I was technically the first blogger to arrive. Grubby and I played in a tournament at Sahara and I didn't do so hot. Grubby and I rented a car and drove to Los Angeles. We hung out at Grubette's house in Long Beach and crashed the LA blogger's home game called Murderer's Row. I hung out with the Full Tilter's and met Change100 for the first time. She ended up chopping the tournament with Kori. I conducted two hilarious interviews that night featuring Poker Geek, Franklin, and Joe Speaker, which were included in episode 54 of Lord Admiral's podcast. I was shitfaced drunk and Franklin had us all cracking up.

I had lunch with Shirley in Long Beach on the pier. We became good friends during the WSOP and I had not see her since. The lunch was bittersweet. Halfway through, my brother called to tell me that our grandmother had passed away. I was in the worst possible place because I'd have to drive back to Vegas then fly home to NYC for the wake and funeral.

I was crushed and Grubby suggested a trip to Hawaiian Gardens to play poker. Grubbette insisted that I would have a much better time if I spent a few hours at the tables. She was right. I sat down at a $100 buy-in table and a guy had $1500 sitting there. I wasn't about to leave and although he cracked my aces, I got some of his stack. People like to gambool at the poker tables in California. Mr. Drunk Guy put $350 into a pot preflop with 9-9 after I moved all in. He caught quads on me too. I still walked away a winner and one of the few winning days I'd have all month.

I returned home to NYC for the wake and funeral. It was a somber time and we luckily was able to fly back on Thursday with Derek just when the other bloggers were arriving. I posted a bunch of trip reports featuring audio interviews, pictures, and video. Here they are:
Day 1: Half-Baked Recap
Day 2: Half-Baked Recap
Random Pic Dump
Bloggers in Wonderland Part 1: Midnight Riders
Bloggers in Wonderland Part 2: The Five Boobs and Champion Glyphic
Bloggers in Wonderland Part 3: Cocaine in a Can, Baby!
Bloggers in Wonderland Part 4: Blue Monday
Daddy's Interview
Cocaine in a can, baby!
Jaxia Hiatt Interviews
I also taped an interview for Lord Admiral's Card Club podcast with Phil Gordon after he lost $200 to Mrs. Head playing Roshambo. It appears in episode #56.

I covered a WPT event at the Bellagio. I posted some random pictures and I live blogged the final table.

Change100 came back to Vegas to party and gamble. In the same night, I was recognized by a fan and was propositioned by a hooker in the Castle.

I came in 2nd in one of Wil Wheaton's tournament, losing to Marty after blowing a huge chiplead. I returned to NYC, but not before one wild night of poker. I left Las Vegas with back-to-back winning sessions.

I blogged my Christmas Wish and on Chirstmas Eve I played 3/6 on Full Tilt with Derek, Jen Harman, and Andy Bloch. Totally random too.

I posted my Gallery of Champions, photographs that I took of various winners during 2005 tournaments.

Thanks to my Top Referrals during December.
The Sweet 16:
1. Poker Prof's Las Vegas and Poker Blog
2. Iggy's Party Poker Blogs
3. G-Rob, Otis, & CJ's Up for Poker
4. Tao of Pauly
5. DoubleAs
6. Grubby's The Poker Grub
7. Shirley from Poker Babes
8. Jaxia's Steal the Blinds
9. Wil Wheaton
10. HDouble's The Cards Speak
11. Aaron Gleeman
12. Change100's Pot Committed
13. Derek's Poker in the Weeds
14. Wicked Chops Poker
15. Mean Gene
16. Joe Speaker's Obituarium
I ended December on a losing streak. I lost 30% of my bankroll in the previous eight weeks. Most of that was all of my fault, playing poorly at the tables and making bad decisions. I spent the last week of the year relaxing, avoiding business related things, and wrote for myself. I played a ton of online poker and got slaughtered. But at least I got to play with my friends again.

If there was one thing better than covering the 2005 WSOP, it was making new friendships and strengthening old ones. When I think of 2005, the people I met and consider my friends stick out the most. If you are one of those people, I'm grateful to have crossed paths with you. Our time together in 2005 was special and I'll never forget the fun times we shared orginal exeriences. I bounced all around the globe this year and I got to spend time with some of you in random places. It's not so much my experiences that make my life seem interesting... it's the people in my life who held define and inspire me. For that I will always be grateful.

It was an amazing year. Glad that you got to be a part of it. As Bob Dylan said it best, "Blame it on a simple twist of fate."

Thanks for reading.

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