Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Masturbation and Poker

"Don't knock masturbation. It's sex with someone I love." - Woody Allen
I'm OK. Really. Thanks for everyone's support yesterday. I'm much much better today. I was even in a good mood when I wrote Tuesday's post called "Monday Tilt." Usually if I'm writing about something, then that's the last process of me getting over something. I'm very good at letting things go.

I apologize if I brought anyone down. I know Iggy said he was a little bummed out after reading my post and Joanne said she was very sad too. Sorry about that folks. I even played a MTT on Noble Poker last night and there was a reader at my table. He even asked me if I was still on tilt!

Anyway, since I got back home to New York City, I've been watching a ton of movies in an effort to spend time away from the computer. I caught a sneak preview of Sin City with Briana when it first came out several months ago and I rented it again. Damn, I'd give up poker completely if Jessica Alba tied me up for six straight hours and tickled me with her flowing hair. Her scenes have given me months and months of future spank material.

Speaking of masturbation, did I ever tell you about one of my former roommates who was a complulsive masturbator? OK, I know... we're all compulsive wankers. But some of us actually show a little discretion in how and when we pleasure ourselves. Not this guy. We'll call him Mr. J. I caught the infamous Mr. J dozens of times a month and plenty of my friends in college did too. It became a running joke that your day wasn't complete until you caught Mr. J in the act, with his schlong in one hand, a magazine in the other, and his pants around his ankles. It never really bothered me until I discovered that he was jerking off to International Male magazines. That's when it got a little uncomfortable.

I know what you are thinking... how the hell is Pauly going to segue this into some sort of poker lesson?

Playing online poker is the post-modern version of compulsive masturbation. Like other forms of addiction, masturbation isn't as cool as some other vices. If you jerk off too much, you are frowned upon. However in our society, if you snort too many drugs, you become an instant celebrity. If you drink to excess, you are applauded for your efforts. But if you jerkoff too much, then you are labeled some weirdo deviant sex freak.

That's why I compare online poker to masturbation... some of us do it way too much, late at night, with the lights turned out.

Online poker is just like mastubartion. We are getting satisfaction and instant gratification by ourselves. Playing online poker is an isolationist activity and to most people, it's not as cool of a hobby as hang gliding or running with the bulls in Pamplona. In the end, we're all just playing a video game while bitching out donkeys who suck out two outers on the river against us.

That's why many Las Vegas poker pros scoff at online poker players. Saying that you are a great online poker player, is like admitting that you are a world class masturbator.

"Way to go, Mr. Online Poker Star, I haven't seen anyone wank their pud like that since Johnny Chan won back to back WSOP titles in the late 1980s."

Some people use masturbation as a forum to explore a lot of personal fears and turn ons. There are normal people who you see everyday at work or in school that have serious S&M and bondage fetishes. Some of that stems from deep psychological issues that have been suppressed or unexplored.

The same could be said about online poker. For many people, they are just too timid to walk into a poker room or sit at a table to play cards. When you are playing live poker, you are really opening yourself up. Some players are better at hiding themselves than others. While some folks spill out their entire lives onto a poker table.

For those people who are shy, online poker is an amazing outlet for them. It's a form of masturbation, like the thrill a high priced lawyer gets when he jerks off thinking about being tied up and spanked by a chubby German woman wearing latex as she rams a buttplug up his bung hole.

For me personally, if playing online poker was as exciting as pleasuring myself to thoughts of Jessica Alba's supple lips and firm breasts... then shit, I'd be playing online all the time. But there are moments when online poker fills the void for me and gives me an outlet to let loose all my psychologically aberrant behavior. But nothing beats playing live poker and nothing is better than having sex with someone else.

I went from playing in multiple Las Vegas casinos everyday to not having a legit casino no closer than a two plus hour drive. Online poker has been my outlet to get off until my next assignment or until my next trip to a casino. I have also not been inside of a woman in almost four months. I expect that streak is going to end in about ten days when I head off to Europe. I'm meeting a former lover and everyone's favorite malcontent elevator button heiress while I'm there for a romp in the sack. And if for some odd reason sparks do not fly, I can always see a "relaxation therapist" in Amsterdam's historic Red Light District. In the past four months, I've been playing with myself a lot. I was lucky to have phone sex a few times (thank God for the Tao of Poker female groupies) while I was in Las Vegas and spent too much time and money at strip clubs. I'm anticipating the same rush and excitement that some people get when they go to a casino for the first time.

Masturbation is a form of sex addiction. While playing too much online poker is an obvious form of gambling addiction. Like masturbation, having a gambling addiction isn't as hip as having a cocaine problem or drinking too many Mimosa's before lunch like an out-of-control Hollyweird starlet. Seriously, do you think the camera crews would be chasing someone like Courtney Love or Tara Reid around if they were addicted to online poker or sports betting? No way. People with those sorts of problems are perceived by the rest of society as the lowest scum of the earth, just like people who sit around and jerkoff to Danish urination porn or get off watching barely legal girls have oral sex with donkeys and other barnyard animals.

Here's the sad and sobering thought: no one ever gets long term fulfillment out of any addiction. People masturbate for some of the same reasons they drink or smoke or play online poker. It's a form of escapism. And you can temporarily rid yourself of anger, failure, guilt, and most importantly... loneliness.

If you seriously have a problem with either, please go seek help. They have support groups for both. If you think you have it under control, then so be it. I would suggest taking a break every once in a while and interact with real people. Playing with yourself or playing online poker is fun in small doses. Moderation is always the key to success.

Stay tuned for a future post, when I discover how many masturbation addicts are also compulsive online poker players.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Monday Tilt
"By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond the winning." - Lao Tzu
I was on tilt in two different, yet intertwined aspects of my life. I tilted a tad at the poker tables and tilted the remainder of my day away at the poker table of life. I woke up toady pissed off that I did not exhibit enough self control to avoid both. I also wasted most of my afternoon and evening away while I was on tilt.

Allow me to explain.

Way before 11am on Monday, I fired up Party Poker. I dropped 2/3 of a buy in at one table. That's nothing out of the ordinary. Those things happen. It's just that I called bets on the river (and in one case I called three bets cold) just to see a hand that was going to beat me. Both instances I knew the other players were on flush draws and they promptly caught them. Nothing is worse than seeing that flush card hit on the river and the clown who had been check-calling you all the way down, all of a sudden bets out. It's like he's giving you a warning, "I'm about to kick you in the junk!"

Instead of laying down the Hilton Sisters, I called anyway. It's like knowing that your girlfriend cheated on you and insisting on seeing the pictures and videos including the cum shots.

I lost two monster pots in that fashion and I was off my game. I had been aggressively defending my blinds since I moved to Las Vegas because according to Poker Tracker, that's the biggest weakness in my game... blinds play. I've been defending with any two cards, but haven't been hitting my flops. My goal had been something that I read about in an article in Card Player from Matt Matros regarding playing Limit Hold'em. If they are on a true steal with junk or even with a marginal hand, I'm not that far behind them. When they actually have a good hand in late position and raise the blinds, I see this as an opportunity to try to get other players on tilt. I've been foolishly calling (or sometimes re-raising) with 10-3o in the Big Blind and hoping to flop trips to crack their high pocket pair. However, I got a little too out of control trying to outplay better hands out of position that I lost a few pots, when I should have probably just conceded my blinds.

I didn't play optimal poker but I luckily escaped with only losing a few bucks. That doesn't bother me too much, I'm prone to going on streaks of minor tiltdom from time to time.

I'm probably more upset that I went on tilt in real life after a phone conversation with a family member. It was less of a real conversation and was more like I listened while they bitched and yelled at me. Without divulging too much personal information, I will say this: My brother is the only one in my family that I get along with. The remainder of my family (on both sides) are Martians and that's being kind. I dunno how the hell I share the same bloodline, genes, and DNA with certain members of my family when we're all such vastly incompatible. And it's not simple things like I like chocolate and they like strawberry. It's more complex and serious issues like religion, politics, philosophy, personal freedom and lifestyle choices, and economic and social differences. And it seems that on every issue, I'm the enemy and we stand on opposite side of the spectrum. I can understand and accept that they are different. However, that feeling is not mutual. And therein lies the struggle.

Plus I don't want to get married and have kids (at the least both are not in my 10 year plan), so that drives certain family members even more crazy. I've often screamed out in loud volumes, "Stop using me to feel better about yourself!"

I'm not a wandering beatnik with aimless goals anymore. I know why I am here and what I'm trying to achieve. In my 20s, my family constantly nagged me about the length of my hair or my career choices. Now that I'm in my 30s, I'm losing all my hair and they want me to do "something normal" like get married and churn out grandkids and great-grandkids. If they like kids so much, why don't they just adopt and let me write and travel?

Of course this has been the case for thirty years, so why should it bother me? Derek gets plenty of shit too, even more than me sometimes because he's the only one who will defend me. Yesterday I let my family problems get to me and I went on mega tilt. I was angry, pissed off, humiliated, deeply hurt, embarrassed, and bombarded by feelings of melancholy after that bitter conversation. I couldn't even watch Degrassi that I was so high strung. Derek tried to get me in a better mood. We watched "Sideways" and that helped a little.

I woke up today in much better spirits. I had a long talk with Haley last night and she assured me that for the first time in a very long time, I'm living a good and productive life and how I should not allow negative energy and let family squabbles distract me from accomplishing my goals, both as a writer and as a poker player. She reminded me something I told her when we first met in early 2002. I was working on Wall Street at the time and I said, "What I really want to achieve out of life is not to make money. I'm gonna write one of the first great American novels of the 21st century."

By the way, that's not just a line I use to pick up beautiful women at New York cocktail parties. I was deadly serious and Haley knew it. She's a good egg and believes in me on days when I don't believe in myself. By the way I remember that cold Winter day three and a half years ago like it was yesterday. I even recalled what she was wearing too. I told her and of course, my near photographic memory freaked her out.

After that pep talk, I fired up Noble Poker and played a MTT with Drizz and Joanne. 79 players total were in. And Joanne made another fuckin' final table! I was crippled early and came from behind. I was last out of 50 players and at one point, without seeing a single flop, I moved into 4th place by picking up blinds and moving all in late position against a pot full of limpers. I eventually came in 19th place after I lost a big pot when I made a great read and called an all in. I had A-9s and the other person showed A-6. The river was a 6 and I was shortstacked. With next to no chips, I went for a steal on the next hand and was eliminated. Joanne made another final table. She continued her amazing run.

I was on tilt for most of yesterday, but now I got my head on straight.

Moving on...

Tonight I'll be able to finally watch the WSOP on ESPN with my brother. Flipchip has a great post about WSOP on ESPN Tonight. There are two episodes for your veiwing pleasure tonight. If you want you can go back and read my live blogging updates of those tables, here they are:
Event #7
Event #9
Re-reading those entries are fun. It's like being on another planet. I thought about editing them and fixing up the spelling and grammar, but then it would lose it's charm of "being in the moment."

Who wins? Eirk or Cyndy? Tune in tonight to find out!

Monday, August 29, 2005

Lazy August Weekend

I spent the majority of the last three days focused on writing and blew off a tempting invitation for a spontaneous sojourn to the once-cool-but-now-overrun-by-hispters Hamptons. Although Las Vegas was a huge pool of inspiration, my writing sessions were either indolent or frenetic. I was desperate to get back into my old New York writing groove. I turned off the cellphone. I avoided the TV. I kept myself hidden away from the rest of society while I wrote for hours on end. On Friday, I completed a freelance article. On Saturday, I published the most recent issue of Truckin'. Late Saturday and most of Sunday, I focused on completing a book proposal. I even skipped out on watching Paris Hilton on Saturday Night Live to write. Right now the fucker is 12,499 words long and is 46 pages (double-spaced). It still needs a lot of work.

I also spent a ton of time cleaning up shit on my hard drive, desktop, and uncluttering my email boxes. I got one account down from 233 to 41. That took five hours and I still have several unanswered emails. I also finally read everything that I had in my bloglines folder. If you don't maintain that everyday, shit builds up.

For some unexplained reason I got two nosebleeds this weekend. At the same time, a chupacabra was caught in Texas. Coincidence?

During my few breaks, I watched a little baseball with my brother. The Yankees are fun to follow when they win, especially with their lack of pitching. We even watched some of the Little League World Series. It was Curacao versus Hawaii and the kids from Hawaii won in extra innings. I'd love to cover that event one year. I also caught a glimpse of the Jets for the first time too this year. Man, football season is just around the corner. Derek also taped the latest episode of the WSOP... the Efro one. I never saw it, and he said that I was spotted several times during the second half of that episode. We strained our eyes to find me in the distance. Even Derek was spotted sitting in the stands for that event.

Grubby called me from Las Vegas. He was playing in a blackjack tournament and it was being taped. But he didn't know what it was for or what channel it was going to be on. Heh.

Moving on...

Joanne has been on one of the hottest streaks I have seen from a poker blogger. She made five straight final tables in MTTs on Noble Poker. She even convinced me to play in one of the $20 freezouts. I signed up for one on Saturday and there were seven tables with 75 players. I made it to the final table as one of the short stacks. I flipped the "Layne Flack" switch and ran over the tentative table. By the time it got three-handed, I was the chip leader and quickly choked that up. I still walked away with a decent amount of money and the confidence that I can make the final table in almost any MTT on Noble Poker. I had been exclusively playing SNGs there for the Million Dollar Challenge and clearing a bonus. I might switch over to playing one or two MTTs a night over at Noble Poker. On Sunday, I played another MTT and was knocked out in 29th out of 85 when my 8-8 ran into 4-4. Joanne ended up getting seated at the same table with a fan of my blog nicknamed: jtw63101.

I also played in a few FPP freerolls for the European Poker Tour on Poker Stars. I took 13 out of 130 one night in the Barcelona Open one. I'm also back to grinding away at the limit tables on Party Poker. Man, I miss that place. If you can stomach some bad beats and river suckouts, in the long term you will win against the wastrels on Party Poker.

Of course when I played online, I got to listen to some kick ass tunes, something I missed doing when I was in Las Vegas.
Recent Poker Playing Music...
1. Galactic
2. Jerry Garcia Band
3. STS9
4. The Flaming Lips
5. John Butler Trio
Joaquin wants to play in a club downtown this week. Derek and I might meet him out. I expect to play some MTTs on Noble Poker and have several hit and run sessions on Party Poker as well. I have a few freelance articles due and will be working on the book and refining the book proposal. With less than two weeks before I hit the road, I got a busy week ahead of me.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Sunday Drive and Updated Blogroll

I posted a bunch of quality stuff this past week. Here's a quick rundown:
Brad-o-Ween Part 1
Brad-o-Ween Part 2
Return of Swish and Rick Blaine at the Blue Parrot
Nothing much more to say today aside from the fact I've been busy writing all weekend. I've been catching up on missed sleep and playing a little poker too during my breaks, which I'll chat about tomorrow.

I also read some blogs for the first time in months. I haven't had the time to read everyone but it was good to check up on the progress of some blogs that I missed reading since I moved to Las Vegas. I finally got around to updating my blogroll.

Here are the recent additions:
Poker Stage
Ros on a Rush
Poker Works
Seattle Poker Sport
Closet Poker Player
Kid Dynamite
Poker and Misc
Dr. Chako
Donkey Hunter

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Truckin - August 2005, Vol. 4, Issue 8
1. More Existentialist Conversations with Strippers: Crazy Horse & Sapphire by Tenzin McGrupp
She sat on my lap for a few minutes and we got to know each other before her dance. Before she sat down and began rubbing my chest, I knew I was getting at least two from her.... More

2. Street Vendors by Armando Huerta
I had chosen that specific day to eat somewhere that was not around the corner and found myself navigating barricades much like a French peasant during Bastille Day... More

3. Langston Unemployed by BG
I had developed a natural distrust for anyone who seemed more than a little impressed that my mom was who she was, and naturally Shelley figured out the connection right away... More

4. Practicing Virgin by Grubby
He's allergic to latex. Always has been. When the doctor slapped his fanny with a glove, he broke out in the worst hives you ever... More

5. I'd Do Anyone by Joe Speaker
ou have never met a more annoying broad in your whole life. One of those high-pitched giggles that makes you want to thrust your head through the nearest window. And about as bright as swamp grass... More

I finnaly got around to publishing another issue of my literary blogzine. Some of your favorite writers and bloggers return with some stellar contributions. Grubby allowed me to publish one of his plays, and I am honored to do so. BG shares another exceprt from his Langston project. Joe Speaker pops in for a quick story. Armando is back with a great Brazilian story. And how about another Las Vegas stripper story from my Existentialist Conversations with Strippers series?

Thanks to everyone who shared their bloodwork this month. I always say that the other contributing authors inspire me, because it's true. You guys write for free and if I could pay you, I would. Your time and effort is worth more money than I can ever afford to pay.

I ask that if you like these stories, then please do me and the rest of the writers a huge favor: Tell your friends about your favorite stories. It takes a few seconds to pass along the URL. I certainly appreciate your support. Feel free to shoot me an e-mail if you know anyone who is interested in being added to the mailing list.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Forgetful Fridays

I played in a tournament at Townehouse last night. Toni hosted a game and unfortunately, my hot streak playing live tournaments has come to an end. I finished in 7th. Ferrari was busted in 8th when his 9-9 ran into 10-10. I lost most of my stack when I doubled up Toni with my AJ vs. her KQ. One level later, I was shortstacked and moved all in on the button with 2-2. Kathy in the little blind woke up to pocket Kings and I was out. I stuck around and lost $4 in a cash game, but left early so I could go home and write.

Man, I forgot how freaky the subways get just after Midnight. There was one old Asian guy who wore surgical gloves and was afraid to touch anything on the subway. A blind man passed out in the corner and while he slept, his fold-up cane slipped off his leg and fell on the floor. He freaked out when he woke up trying to find it. One lady calmed him down and picked it up for him.

I spent 90 minutes at the DMV yesterday. It was an "express" office too for fuck's sake. I managed to catch up on several phone calls with Human Head and Grubby. I discussed a trip to LA with Grubby in late November/early December so watch out you LA bloggers! The DMV is always a bad experience but I never went to one with a cell phone before. I stood outside and peered through the window and watched as the numbers slowly went up while I yapped on the phone. I also nearly forgot how many hot women there were in New York City... until I left and came back. Of course none of them read my poker blog so to them I'm just one of several million schleps wandering the streets of my hometown. That's a good thing. It keeps me humble. That's what I like most about NYC: I can walk around completely anonymous and just blend into the background.

Wow, for the past four weekend in a row, I found myself in a different part of the country. The last few weekends I've been in South Carolina, Nevada, Colorado, and now... I'll happily spend my first weekend in New York City in almost three months. Alas, I'll be holed up writing a ton of shit. I have a few deadlines including Truckin'. I was invited to the Hamptons, but I quickly passed.

I've also spent some time this week working on my untitled Las Vegas project. I've gotten 20K words so far and haven't even gotten to the juicy stuff yet. For the five other novels I've written, I've always sat down and cranked them out from start to finish with no interruptions. With my work/travel schedule, this will be impossible. I'll have to get as much done now, and try to work on it again in early October and again in early November.

My goal is to also play a little online poker this weekend. I spent late last night clearing bonuses on Noble Poker and Full Tilt.

Derek has been playing satellites for the EPT: Barcelona and the WPT: Borgata on Full Tilt. If you'd like a seat in either of those events, Full Tilt is the place to play. I love the cash games on Full Tilt. The laptop I used to cover the WSOP was paid for by the fishy players on the $3/6 tables over there.

Noble Poker still has the elusive Million Dollar Challenge. Bad Blood has been killing the tables at Noble Poker and Joanne is on hot streak there as well. She won a tournament yesterday and then made the final table in one a few hours later. The SNG players are awful on Noble Poker and the MTT players are just as bad.

This weekend should mark the return of me logging long hours on Party Poker. Damn, I miss those players. And according to Poker Tracker, I've been running well at the $5/10 tables there over the past month.

Moving on...

Someone over at Bodogbeat posted something about this blog called Taking Blogs to a Higher Level. I haven't had the time to read their entire site, but from what I've seen, I like it so far.

How about some random news clips... for some of your favorite bloggers?
For Daddy the Donkey Fucker come this blurb: Thank You Donkey Porn. I found it on Craig's List.

This is for Al Cant Hang and all those dial-a-shoters: Beware of Drunk Dialers.

Lastly, this one made me laugh... 65 Girls at Same HS Pregnant. For the record, I ike HS girls, but I've never been to Canton.
Before I go, here's a quick thanks to the following sites/blogs for the traffic over the last week.
Top 10 Referrals to the Tao of Poker:
1. Las Vegas and Poker Blog (Flipchip & the Poker Prof)
2. Wil Wheaton
3. Up for Poker (CJ, G-Rob, and Otis)
4. Iggy's Guinness and Poker
5. Tao of Pauly
6. Aaron Gleeman
7. Bad Blood
8. Al Cant Hang
9. The Poker Nerd
10. Double As
Thanks again guys. Have a good weekend everyone. Good luck fishing.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Thursday Quickie

I'm swamped with freelance work and other crapola today, including a trip to the dreaded NYC DMV. But at least I get to see my lovely assistant Jessica today for lunch. I hope she's buying. She's got a real job.

Last night I spent several hours purchasing my flights to Europe. I'm booked, baby. First leg: New York City to Amsterdam, where I'll spend two days there and meet up with Briana. Second leg: Amsterdam to Barcelona to cover the opening event on the European Poker Tour. Otis' lovely assistant, Mad, lives in Barcelona and she will be my tour guide out there. Oh, and I get to see Otis too. Crushing.

Then when it's over in order to come home, I have to fly Barcelona to Paris, Paris to Amsterdam, Amsterdam to New York City... all in one day. Then I'll have less than 12 hours before I report to Atlantic City to cover the WPT Borgata Open. It's gonna be a hectic two plus weeks ending with the infamous Bash at the Boathouse.

Moving on...

Happy blog birthday to the Poker Geek. He also posted a hilarious trailer of him and yours truly. If you have seen Wedding Crashers, it's even more funny. Take a peek at our cinematic debut.

Congrats to Joaquin who won a free roll at a club here in NYC. His prize... a $2300 flatscreen TV. You fuckin' rock. The rooster has a big cock today.

Check out Spaceman. He's in Tunica doing live blogging updates of the WSOP circuit event. The Spaceman rules Mississippi.

Lastly, thanks to Wil who dug his new nickname that I blurted out to him while we were in Las Vegas... Hamlet. Here's what he said:
Dr. Pauly and I sat beneath a cloud of smoke that had drifted from the craps table, over the velvet rope, and into the "smoke free" poker area. We drank scotch and talked about cool poker nicknames.

"I don't have one," I said, "really." I folded a hand I call "Michael Jackson," which is any Queen with a little kicker.

"They should call you 'Hamlet,'" Pauly said. He flashed me The Hammer and raised.

"Why?" I said.

"Because your kings always get killed."

It was folded around to him, and he folded face up.

"HAMMER!" He shouted. The locals were not amused.

We laughed and laughed, clinked our glasses, and laughed some more. Life was good, we were young, in Vegas, and kicking the shit out of the locals in the 4-8 Hold 'Em game at the Plaza . . .
Wil rocks. By the way I saw Wil on NBC early on Sunday morning at Casa de Bad Blood. He was talking about being a geek.

That's it for now. I'm heading to the Townehouse tonight to play in a tournament. See ya.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Tuesday at the Blue Parrot: The Return of Rick Blaine and Swish

Ferrari threw together a game at the last minute. The infamous Rick Blaine was in town and by coincidence so was Swish. Those were two hardcore regulars at the Blue Parrot when I first started playing there over a year and a half ago, along with Ferrari, Ugarte, Coach, and Om.

The dynamic of the Blue Parrot changed drastically after Ugarte went into a self-imposed exile and Rick Blaine and Swish moved out of New York City. With me being back in town, Ferrari decided to have an impromptu game. Little did he know that he would hit the skids and go on tilt for the second half of the evening and that I would help to get him there. Yeah it was awesome that we got so many people on short notice and we got to see a rare occurrence... Ferrari on severe tilt and executing an even more rare rebuy.

It was packed to capacity at the Blue Parrot. Usually Ferrari likes to cap the games at 8 players but since it was a special night he made a rare exception. We play a friendly cash games with a $100 buy in. Dealer's choice of $2/4 Limit Hold'em, $2/4 Omaha Hi/Lo, $1-5 spread Stud Hi or Hi/Lo, and a few other games with management's approval. It's not rare to see the betting capped preflop either.
The Lineup:

Seat 1: F Train... He's the guy to go to for the best reviews of underground NYC poker rooms. He's also been playing the $5/10 Omaha tables with Erik Seidel on Full Tilt.

Seat 2: Diane... The recent college grad and former East Village resident is a poet, singer, writer, and activist. And she's also an action junkie, who is Ferrari's biggest nemesis at the tables.

Seat 3: Julie... Who could forget her 3rd place performance at the first ever WPBT live tournament at Sam's Town last December? She outlasted a group of some excellent players, knocked me out, and also survived the advances of Daddy who was blatantly hitting on her during the final table.

Seat 4: Ferrari... The venerable proprietor of the Blue Parrot does not own any birds but does have two cats which run rampant through the poker room.

Seat 5: Rick Blaine... The "Ricker" is in town on business and had to stop by and see the old gang. You can find him playing at Bay 101 near his home in California.

Seat 6: Om... He's the downtown fashion photographer by day and the Tilt Master by night. He worked his magic and got Ferrari on Super Tilt.

Seat 7: Coach ... The Dan Harrington of the Blue Parrot recently cracked Quad Kings with Quad Aces on a Stud hi/lo table on Poker Stars. He had a live long dream of being a contestant on the Price is Right. He made an appearance on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire though and we didn't recognize him at first because he lost 30+ pounds. Coach is shrinking.

Seat 7 (Late Night): Ugarte... The Skecky Green of the Blue Parrot has been in exile after a disagreement with Blue Parrot management. The always quick-witted, sometimes malcontent Ugarte was working a stand-up comedy gig and arrived late.

Seat 8: Swish... The famous sportswriter was in town doing an interview for a cable news program. Since he left NYC and moved to DC, the games at the Blue Parrot have lacked a definite panache. Swish can and will play any two cards.

Seat 9: Derek... My younger brother has been rounding with me since I got back. He wanted to improve upon his performance at Casa de Bad Blood and Brad-o-Ween this past weekend. He was eager to meet Swish and Rick for the first time.

Seat 10: Pauly... Your hero who has a weakness for blondes, donuts, and travel. I was pretty sick the last two days, so I pulled all my strength up to make it out to the Blue Parrot to see some old friends.
7:50pm... Cards are in the air.

8:15pm... Coach jumped out to a huge chip advantage after winning several big pots in Hold'em.

8:17pm... -27. I tried to bluff with the Hammer and capped the betting preflop against Coach's AQs, F Train's Hiltons, and Ferrari's JJ. No flop help for me.

8:44pm... Diane won a big pot in Stud and moved into the early chip lead when her full boat 2s over Kings held up.

8:58pm... Playing Stud Hi/Lo Push, a game that Coach loves to call, Diane scooped the entire pot with The Wheel. She was dealt 2-3/5-A-4.

9:37pm... -65 after a horrendous round of Omaha Hi/Lo.

9:47pm... I got Ferrari on tilt after he folded the winning hand on the River. I had Kournikova... KQ. The flop was Q-10-x. Ferrari bet, Coach called, and I raised. Ferrari reraised, Coach called, and I called. The turn was a Jack and I misread my hand. I thought I had a straight, when all I had was top pair and an open-ended straight draw. I honestly thought I had a straight and only called on the turn because I wanted to keep Coach and Ferrari in and get them on the river. Alas, the river was a 10 and Ferrari sighed and checked. He had A-Q and put me on the 10. Coach checked with Q-9s and I flashed my cards to F Train to proudly show him my phantom straight (the one that wasn't there.) He gave me an odd look that later he'd say was, "What the fuck did Pauly raise with just top pair on the flop?" I bet and Ferrari folded, thinking he made a great laydown. Coach figured he was way behind but made a crying call because he still had a lot of chips. Ferrari almost fell out of his chair when I showed K-Q. I was a little embarrassed that I misread my hand, but saw the benefit of Ferrari going on Tilt after that hand. The Tiltboys had a phrase called "implied tilt odds" and even with the misread, the implied tilt odds on that particular hand was huge.

9:53pm... After a lengthy five minute discussion of the hand by Ferrari, Coach uttered, "Number one, it doesn't matter."

10:02pm... Al Cant Hang called for a Dial-a-Shot and because he wanted to be the first person to call me to say he saw me on ESPN for their coverage of the WSOP Main Event. Even Derek was spotted sitting in the stands during the event that "Ephro" won. I missed it, lol. Oh well.

10:10pm... +27 made my loses back with a strong showing in Hold'em. Swish has been playing a lot of pots and did his first rebuy on the night.

10:51pm... +2. The expression "Betting on the come," gets a thorough examination by Rick Blaine. When Julie did just that, he uttered, "There's no cum on her bedding."

11:23pm... Coach flopped a flush. Everyone wondered where I would be heading to next. I told them Barcelona for the EPT with a stop over in Amsterdam for a 24 hour hash and hookers bender. When F Train said it cost 50 Euros for a hooker, Rick offered to give me a handjob for 40 Euros.

11:45pm... +23. Ugarte arrived after Swish, Diane, and Coach departed. It was late night at the Blue Parrot and that's when weird things happen.
Late Night Lineup:
Seat 1: F Train
Seat 2: Julie
Seat 3: Ferrari
Seat 4: Rick
Seat 5: Om
Seat 6: Ugarte
Seat 7: Derek
Seat 8: Pauly
11:50pm... I almost cracked Rick's AA with K-8 when I flopped two pair on a board of K-8-3. Of course the river is a 3, and Rick rivered two pair on me. Ouch.

Midnight... -1. To end the "betting on the come" debate, Julie randomly mentions "If it weren't for girls, I wouldn't know how to come in my bed."

12:59am... "I fuckin' hate Omaha!" I scribbled in my notes. Nothing is worse to play live when you are behind. I had KcJc5x6x. I flopped a straight and a redraw to the club flush with a flop of 4-7c-8c. The betting was capped. Ugarte also had 5-6 and folded in disgust when a 9 hit the turn. I knew my straight was no good but still had outs for the second nut flush. I didn't get there and Rick's J-10 straight was better. I had to do an $80 rebuy soon after.

1:20pm... Derek won a monster pot in Anaconda when he had a King high straight flush against Rick's full house. It was at least a $280 pot.

1:55pm... -15. I chopped a $320 Anaconda pot when Derek's low wasn't good enough to beat F Train's Wheel. I had the high locked up. Derek went from up a few bucks to down a lot in one hand.

2:03am... Ferrari went on Mega-Tilt after his aces were cracked by Om's Q-2. Om flopped bottom pair and called Ferrari all the way to the river when he spied a Queen for two pair. Ferrari dropped his head onto the table and sat motionless for a few minutes. (See pics below!)

The hand that got Ferrari on Mega-tilt...

2:04am... Ferrari, obviously still stunned from that vicious bad beat drew a few comments from the peanut gallery. Ugarte blurted out, "I lost $60 tonight. It was well worth $60 to see that hand!"

2:10am.... Ferrari raised my blind and I declared to the table, "I'm only calling the raise because Ferrari is on tilt." My 5-6 holds up when I flop top pair and win with a full house.

2:27am... I won the last hand of the night, a big pot in Anaconda and went up a few bucks, almost $50.
The final tally:
Rick +273
Diane +136
Om +83
Pauly +50
F Train +25
Coach -43
Derek -65
Ugarte -75
Julie -90
Swish -137
Ferrari -150
Yeah, it was a fun night at the Blue Parrot especially seeing Rick Blaine and Swish again, along with the rest of the gang. Thursday night I'm playing with Toni and her pink chips at Townehouse for some more NYC homegame action.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Brad-o-Ween 5: Bloggers in G-Vegas Episode 2
"Art is no part of southern life. In the South art, to become visible at all, must become a ceremony, a spectacle; something between a gypsy encampment and a church bazaar given by a handful of alien mummers who must waste themselves in protest and active self-defense until there is nothing left with which to speak..." - William Faulkner
William Faulkner never spent time at Brad-o-Ween, but I did. I've attended big events before, especially in the South, such as wild parties like Mardi Gras and Jazzfest in New Orleans, St. Patrick's Day in Savannah, the Kentucky Derby, and Gator Growl. Now I can add another epic event to that list... Brad-o-Ween.

Brad-o-Ween is an experience that it hard to fully write about. I can regurgitate a few hundred words and splash a few pictures that still wouldn't do justice for the actually spectacle which we all experienced. So why did I get on two small planes and torture myself with the brutal South Carolina heat for a weekend in August when I could have been home writing in a nice air conditioned room and spending time playing poker online while watching reruns of Real World Austin?

Because of Otis, of course.

That's why people from all walks of life came from the far corners of South Carolina, all over the South and Midwest, and from our hometowns and cities on the East Coast. Even a few aliens from other planets arrived to check out the Brad-o-Ween festivities. We all completed our pilgrimage to a tiny cul-de-sac in order to celebrate Otis on a day that he designated be the specific time to celebrate all things Otis. That day was Brad-o-Ween.

I had the unique opportunity to spend several weeks getting to know Otis in Las Vegas. We sat next to each other in press row during the WSOP during coverage of some tedious final tables. We frequently drank at dinner together at the Hooker Bar at the Rio. We saw each other at our best and our worst while we were working in Las Vegas. Indeed, I got to know real-life Otis and it was less than 48 hours after he left Las Vegas before I bought tickets to G-Vegas for Derek and myself. The fact that there was an awesome group of folks from G-Vegas made the trip to Brad-o-Ween even more special. Add to the mix a list of some of my favorite bloggers and it was a no brainer that I come.

I knew that Brad-o-Ween was going to be the highlight of my Summer before I even booked my flight. So why did I have so much fun?

Simply put, it's a crazy fucked up world we live in. So much bad stuff happens to people that I'll never be able to comprehend or explain it. In the past five years, I have had ten of the best days of my life and ten of the worst days. That's how it is and how it was. But sometimes, you just have to take a break from your hectic and unexplained lives and just let loose and surrender to the flow. Because there are specific moments in your life when you get a chance to meet and click with a person, a few people, or an entire group of like minds. And even for a brief moment things make complete sense, like you were supposed to be a part of something cool. The crazier my life gets, the more I appreciate moments like Brad-o-Ween. It was an original experience and I could not think of anything else that I'd like to do to end a truly amazing summer.


We woke up a little late at Casa de Bad Blood and rushed to get to chez Otis for the Brad-o-Ween Open poker tournament registration. Plus there was going to be some great BBQ. Bad Blood loaded his poker table into the mini-van and we headed over. A small group already gathered in the garage area. We were greeted by a huge white sign that said, "Welcome to Bradoween."

Eva Can Hang was already behind the heavily stocked bar in Otis' garage. She was the featured mixologist for the weekend and whipped up cocktails for the pre-tournament crowd. To the left was a table with the BBQ. A huge tray of cole slaw, baked beans, chicken, and pulled pork made my mouth salivate. There was also several jugs of Sweet Tea ready for my own personal comsumption. Some folks love it. Others hate it. I'm a big fan of Sweet Tea. In fact, here's a quick top 5 list.
The Top 5 Things I Loved About Living in the South:
1. Widespread Panic
2. Mayo on hamburgers
3. Sweet Tea
4. Southern vixens who say "Y'all."
5. Magic Mushrooms
I drank two cups of Sweet Tea right away and dug into the food. Daddy and I made a sandwich with chicken and pulled pork on top. I also added a few baked beans. I'd dip the sandwich into two types of BBQ sauce.

The Brad-o-Ween Open poker tournament had 43 players. The buy in was $50, er 50 units, since gambling is illegal in South Carolina. Damn red states. Just a week before a local game was busted in G-Vegas. We had to be extra cautious. I suggested that Otis hand out bibles just in case we were raided by the pigs. If they questioned us, we'd tell them we were at a special prayer revival or performing an exorcism on Al Cant Hang. Due to the recent events, Otis had to hide the money in his neighbor's house. I think it was the preacher across the way. I was hoping to meet his daughter. In my experience, some of the wildest Southern girls I've ever met were preacher's daughters.

Back to the Brad-o-Ween open... Otis squeezed Tables 1 and 2 into the living room. Table 3 was in the dining room and Table 4 was in the kitchen. Some of the tables were 11 handed. Derek was at Table 4, and I'd wander over to see how he was doing.

43 players participated in the 2005 Brad-o-Ween Open, with the top 7 places paying out. 800 units to first place with 100 units to 6th and 7th. Since this was not a WPBT sanctioned event, no points were awarded and since we were outside of the reach of the Shulman Junta, no points were awarded for Card Player's Player of the Year standings.
My first table:
Seat 1: Ryan
Seat 2: Iggy
Seat 3: Marty
Seat 4: Heather
Seat 5: Maudie
Seat 6: G-Rob
Seat 7: Pauly
Seat 8: Dr. Jeff
Seat 9: Todd
Seat 10: Tracey
Seat 11: Double As
Of course, everyone joked that we were at the "featured TV table" with some of the big names. There were a lot of great players at my table but since the blind levels were 40 minutes in length, I sat back and waited for quality hands. Players started with $170 in chips and blinds began at $1/2.

1:30pm... Cards were in the air.

1:41pm... Maudie check-raised G-Rob and moved all in. G-Rob reluctantly folded.

1:52pm... A wave of commotion echoed out from the dinning room. The Cigar Girl, or River Queen as Otis has referred to her in the past took all of Otis' stack when she rivered a gutshot straight against him and their table went wild. Otis is the first person out in 43rd place.

2:17pm... Gracie's KK lost to Wes' AA. She was knocked out in 42nd place. Otis announced that he created a special board to list everyone who had been eliminated. He was the first player to sign it. Gracie begins filming exit interviews.

2:18pm... Local G-Vegas celebrity, G-Rob, was eliminated in 41st place. Film at 11.

2:36pm... Big Mike was sent to guard the keg when he was busted in 39th place.

2:40pm... Table Change. I was moved to table 2 which had Pablo, Bad Blood, Poker Stage John, and Big Mike.

2:45pm... Eva was knocked out in 37th place and headed to the bar for bartending duties. She proceeded to whip up the best damn Long Island Iced Teas possible.

2:47pm... Bad Blood was eliminated when his pocket Tens lost to a set of 3s.

2:48pm... Derek was knocked out in 31st place. He reported to keg guarding duty with Big Mike.

2:55pm... The Mark rivered a straight on April.

2:58pm... Debby hit Quad 9s at my table. She caught running 9s for a monster hand. With A-x a few hands later, she would have hit quad aces on the river, but everyone folded to her by the turn with two aces on the board. She started a huge rush and started accumulating chips at our table. Her son, Wolverine, was also one of the chip leaders at our table.

3:07pm... Tracy was knocked out when her pocket nines lost to Ryan's Hiltons.

3:14pm... Poker Stage John's 10-10 lost to Debby's A-J and he was eliminated.

3:30pm... Heather's AQ lost to Dr. Jeff's pocket Jacks and she was knocked out.

3:49pm... Maudie and her short stack was eliminated.

4:04pm... I forgot that I was supposed to tape a segment with Cinci Sean for Card Club on the Lord Admiral Radio. He called and I left my table for fifteen minutes and was blinded out while we conducted the interview for his podcast. I went outside and drank Sweet Tea and we spoke while Sean recorded my bit. (Editor's Note: You can download this week's episode... here. Just right click and Save As. My segment starts at the 29:30 part of the show. When Sean asked me who out of the remaining players who everyone should keep an eye out for, I jokingly replied, "Me." A little podcast foreshadowing?)

4:20pm... April's Hiltons could not hold up against Daddy's Donkeys. His A-9s emerged victorious. I wonder if Paris Hilton would fuck a donkey and let me tape it? I'd title it "Ride Donkey, Ride!"

4:31pm... Action was down to 2 tables. A cash game broke out in the kitchen and was moved to the dining room. Everyone else was outside drinking or inside sweating the bloggers. Mrs. Otis began whipping up hors d'oeuvres and Derek helped her by taking a few trays out to the poker tables.

4:33pm... CJ was eliminated in 20th place when he dropped the Jack Hammer and it lost!

4:55pm... Pablo was knocked out in 19th place by Debby.

5:15pm... There was a "color up" break and I stepped outside with Pablo and Derek for a quick smoke. I had $250 when the average stack was over $370. Double As looked like the chipleader and Wolverine was the chipleader at my table.

5:39pm... Double As busted Marty with the Hammer!

5:47pm... Double As lost some of his massive stack in a three way pot. He had AA. Gamecock was the shortstack and moved all in with A-10s. The Cigar Girl had pocket Kings. She was also all in. The room was buzzing because everyone expected Cigar Girl to catch a King. And she did, just like it was supposed to happen in the script. She doubled up against Double As and Gamecock was eliminated.

5:55pm... Rumors circulated around Brad-O-Ween that BG had passed out in Lil Otis' nursery. I snuck upstairs for an exclusive picture, which I filed away for future blackmail purposes. I'm sure OJ would love to have a pic of sweaty, shirtless, napping BG for it's archives, right?

6:35pm... With 11 players left, Al Cant Hang was knocked out by Wolverine. He bubbled out of the final table and missed the money by a few spaces. Al Cant Hang was admittedly sober for the entire tournament. Like me, we only had one alcoholic beverage each during the entire afternoon. I constantly drank Sweet Tea and I had to piss every ten minutes.

6:55pm... The Final Table began afte we redrew for seats. Double As was the chipleader. I had $645 and was the 3rd shortest stack. Four players at the final table were related... Debby, TeamScott Smith, Shep, and Wolverine. Here's the line up:
Brad-o-Ween Poker Open Final Table Players:
Seat 1: Pauly (New York City)
Seat 2: Double As (Fairfax, VA)
Seat 3: Lefty (Chicago, IL)
Seat 4: Daddy (Hilljack, IN)
Seat 5: Wolverine (G-Vegas, SC)
Seat 6: Shep (G-Vegas, SC)
Seat 7: TeamScottSmith (G-Vegas, SC)
Seat 8: Brian (G-Vegas, SC)
Seat 9: Debby (G-Vegas, SC)
Seat 10: Wes "Nile Virus" (Midlands, SC)
7:20pm... Brian was eliminated in 10th place.

8:00pm... We had a color up break. I had $500 left. During our break, a cold deck was set up by Double As and whoever was left. Daddy was dealt A-A and Wolverine (who was in on it) had the Hammer. The flop: A-7-7. The turn was a blank and the river was a seven. Daddy bet and Wolverine moved all in. Daddy was sweating like a fat kid in a poker game and quietly said, "I can't believe I'm laying this down." He put Wolverine on quads and he was right as he flipped over the Hammer. CJ told him what really happened and Daddy was amused by their cold deck.

8:02pm... Shep was knocked out by his brother TeamScottSmith when his pocket Kings did not hold up to J7 on a flop of J-J-x.

8:04pm... Left was eliminated on the Bubble when his K-6s lost to Team Scott Smith's 6-6.

8:06pm... Daddy was donkey fucked by the Hiltons when his 7-7 lost to TeamScottSmith Q-Q. Daddy made the money and TeamScottSmith went out to a nice chiplead as some of Double As stack dwindled after he went card dead. With six players remaining I was the short stack.

8:11pm...Debby was knocked out in 6th place when her Q-T lost to Wes' A-Q. It seemed that everytime Wes won a pot, everyone would do the pirate chant, "Arrrrrgggggghhhhh!"

8:15pm... I moved all in with 10-8s and doubled up against Double As A-5 when I caught a 10. I had $750. Double As was the one player I was the most afraid of at the final table. He's a far superior NL player than I am and I knew that the only way I'd play a pot with his was to get all my money in preflop against him since he was to my left. There was no way I wanted to get outplayed by him post-flop so I tried to pressure him to make calls instead of the other way around. Lucky for me, I caught a fortunate board with my junk hand and doubled up to stay alive.

8:35pm... I cannot explained what happened but inside of twenty minutes, I shifted gears and flipped on the Layne Flack hyper-agressive switch. I stole pots, I pushed players around. I raised with mediocre hands and hit some flops with junks hands. I went from $750 to $1875 inside of a half a level.

8:43pm... I moved into the chiplead when I doubled up against Wes. He raised on the button and I moved all in with A-Ks. He thought for a long time before he called with 10-10. I flopped an ace and double up to around $3900.

8:46pm... Wolverine was knocked out by Team Scott Smith. He played great poker and was the youngest player at Brad-o-Ween.

8:49pm... I lost two big pots to Wes when it was three handed. My A2 lost to his Big Slick. My Q-9s lost to AJ. I dropped to $1530 and Wes moved into the chiplead.

8:52pm... Wes caught another monster hand with A-10s and beat out Team Scott Smith's pocket Kings. Wes flopped a ten and turned an ace to knocked out Team Scott Smith in 3rd place. He played great!

8:53pm... I was severely outchipped $1550 to $6675 and I offered him a chop. He declined. Otis grabbed the Hooters girls who came out for the money presentation. Some of them had $20 and $100 bills stuffed into their cleavage. CJ has a good video of the money presentation here. Check out "Money Shot." You need QuickTime to see it.

8:59pm... Wes went card dead and I did my best to pick up some pots. I won a hand with 6-2 vs. 10-8 to stay alive.

9:05pm... A finally pulled within even to Wes and offered up a chop. He agreed and we played out one final hand to determine the winner as a formality. I had Q-6 and he had Q-7. Although I was dominated, I caught a 6 on the river to become the winner of the Brad-o-Ween Open. Wes and I chopped first and second place.... 800 and 500. Wes played excellent and if he caught any cards once it got heads up, I would have finished second for sure.

Again, I got lucky. The only skill involved was my patience in early rounds to avoid playing too many hands. I pretty much folded my way to the final table and once I got it, the other small stacks were knocked out as I folded into the money. Once it got six handed, I became super-agrressive and went after a lot more pots since I really had nothing to lose. I went from the short stack to the chipleader inside of one level, then promptly blew the chip lead. How I got heads up is still a mystery to me.

I must say that Otis did a great job organizing the tournament. CJ and April assisted out in the later stages and Heather did one kick ass job as well. She dealt the final table and really made sure things ran smoothly. She did better than a lot of seasoned Las Vegas poker dealers and I was impressed with how she kept things running. Someone needs to hire her as a tournament director. She gets my highest recommendation.

As I walked outside, Mrs. Otis introduced me to her firends, the Hooters Girls. She said, "Pauly's single, good looking, famous and he's rich after he just won the poker tournament." One girl showed me her cleavage as I smiled and grabbed a water.

Moving on...


It was time for Drunk-a-Lympics. Otis sent out an email a week earlier outlining everything. Big Mike joked that he signed legal documents that were shorter in length. Otis and G-Rob were captains and they drafted willing participants. CJ ran the Drunk Olympics while a crowd gathered outside to take part in the highlight of Brad-o-Ween 5.

Here were the teams:
Team Good
G-Rob (Captain)
Al Cant Hang
Iggy (alternate)

Team Evil
Otis (Captain)
Bad Blood
Big Mike
Dr. Jeff
Daddy (alternate)
In case you were wondering the rules and events, here's what Otis wrote:

Event #1-ROSHAMBO (Individual)

One player from each team will square off in a best three out of five rock paper scissors match. Standard rules apply. The loser of the contest will take a single shot of Southern Comfort.

Event #2-OVER THE TOP (Individual)

One player from each team will face off in standard arm wrestling form. Two half-full beer glasses will sit in the place where the loser's hand would normally fall (on the player's right). The object is to knock over the opponent's cup with his own hand. The loser of the contest must drink his opponent's beer and a shot of Southern Comfort.

Event #3-CAPS (Team)

Two players from the same team will sit next to each other in folding chairs with a full cup of beer between them. Seven feet across from them, two members of the opposing team will sit in the same way. The teams will alternate attempting to sink a beer bottle cap into their opponent's beer. The first team to accomplish this task--without the opposing team canceling the shot with a subsequent successful shot -wins the contest. The losing team must split the beer that sits between them. ALL players from the losing team must also drink a shot of Southern Comfort a piece.


In recognition of the 2005 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure appearance of Al Can't Hang, Boy Genius, Eva, and G-Rob, one player from each team will compete in the same game the travelers created in the Bahamas that soured their reputation with the Bahamian Gambling Commission. Each player will be given a full bottle of water. Each player can keep as much or as little of the water in the bottle as he wishes. Standing at a distance of 20 feet, each player will get a turn to throw the bottle and sink it in a trash can. If he sinks the bottle and his opponent cannot counter with a successful throw, the successful shooter wins. Starting order will be decided by a single game of Roshambo. The loser of the contest will drink a single shot of Southern Comfort.

Event #5-TEAM ROSHAMBO (Team)

In this version of Roshambo, each team captain will stand with his teammates in a row behind him. After a team conference, all members of the team (excepting the captains) will put their backs to the center and hold to their chest either a rock, paper, or scissors. Once both teams are set, the team captains will pick one of his opponent's teammates (who will step back from the herd, but not turn around). The opposing captain will do the same. Then, on the referee's mark, both players will turn around and reveal their hand to determine the winner. This will continue until one of the teams wins the best two of three. (The alternates will serve as monitors to assure no player changes his symbol at the last second). The entire losing team (alternates not included) must drink a single shot off Southern Comfort.

Event #6-TRASH BALL (Individual)

To commemorate the game that birthed itself at Bradoween, one player from each team will attempt to bounce a child's ball into a small trash can at a distance of six feet. If he makes the shot and his opponent cannot counter with a successful shot, the successful shooter wins. Starting order will be decided by a single game of Roshambo. The loser of the contest will drink a single shot of Southern Comfort.

Event #7-CHEEZ MANIA (Individual)

In an homage to last year's wildly successful Team Cheese Ball Eating contest, this year, one member from each team will attack a regular sized canister of cheese balls. The first one to finish wins. The second one to finish has to do a shot of Soco (God help him). The referee will monitor and assure that the player is eating the balls and not dropping them on the ground.

Event #8-FLIPCUP (Team+Alternates)

All members of both teams (including alternates) will up on opposite sides of a table. Everyone will have a cup half full of beer. Beginning at one end of the table, on the referee's signal, the first two players on each team will chug their half-beer. When the beer is empty, the player must flip their cup over from right-side-up to upside-down. This will be achieved by placing the cup on the edge of the table, right side up, with half of the cup off the table. Flip the cup over by flipping it with a finger or fingers from underneath. When the player has achieved his goal, the next person begins the process which continues in relay fashion until the entire team has finished. The first team to finish wins. Each member of the losing team must drink a shot of Southern Comfort.

Event 1:
G-Rob crushed Marty in Roshambo. Team Good jumped out to an early lead.

Event 2: Derek was chosen to "take one for the team" and arm wrestle Bad Blood. G-Rob was humilated the night before at the Bait Shack, so Derek stepped up knowing he was going to lose. He didn't even flinch when Bad Blood entered to some theme music. Derek simply picked his nose and scratched his balls to try to get Bad Blood on arm wrestling tilt. It didn't work. Derek drank his losing shot like a man. Action was tied.

Event 3: The bottle toss took place and Al lost to Dr. Jeff who went the Rick Barry way of throwing his bottle. We were behind.

Event 4: Instead of Caps we moved up Trash Ball. Since I'm a NYC playground legend, I figured I could do it. I lost to Otis who sunk his shot on the first try. According to G-Rob's entry, "Otis cheats. Pauly takes his shot like a champ."

Event 5: Team Good dominates the Team Roshambo event. Team Good pulls a little closer.

Event 6: Lefty pulled an upset and beat Big Mike in the cheez puff eating contest. In just 7.5 minutes Lefty made Brad-o-Ween history. That win put us even closer to victory and Left sealed his team MVP performance with an impressive feat.

Event 7: We finally found bottle caps and me and Al lost. As G-Rob put it, "Otis cheats."

Event 8: We almost pulled out the victory when Daddy came from behind to beat Iggy during Flip Cup. So close! We'll get them back next year.

After Midnight

The events after Drunk-a-Lympics were a blur. I lost two plus hours in there. I do recall a few things like:
1. Several of the Smith clan climbing trees and Mrs. Otis wigging out.
2. Derek puked on the lawn and Mrs. Otis wanted to give him a prize.
3. The hottest girl at the party was jail bait.
4. I hung out with Uncle Ted after he took care of business.
5. Bad Blood passed out and had to be carried back to the mini-van.
6. Derek and Al Cant Hang moved a passed out guy on Otis front steps.
7. I did a shot of tequila with Maudie.
8. Watched the Al Cant Hang Experience.
9. Saw Otis almost fall down.
10. Called Wil and Halverson for a Dial-a-Shot.
I spotted the Al Cant Hang Experience Table. All you had to do was stop by his booth and live life through Al's world. The ride was free and you got to wear a wig, glasses, smoke a Marlboro, and do a shot of SoCo.

Wet T-Shirt Contest

I was hanging out in front of the lawn with G-Rob when we saw Dr. Jeff pulling the garden hose away. He muttered, "Wet t-shirt contest." And we ran over to the garage. I got a front row seat to the debauchery. One of the Hooter's girls actually flashed her boobs. Oh my. Here are a few shots:

The rest of the night was a blur and I don't recall too much aside from seeing Otis point at something in his freezer. When most of the party started to break up around 3am, I called for a cab who got lost on the way to Casa de Bad Blood. We eventually found our way home and Mrs. Blood was up while Bad Blood was out cold.

I attempted to describe Brad-o-Ween in several thousand words for you and I feel that what I wrote will never be enough to fully explain the events of this past weekend. You simply had to be there to get the full vibe of what went down. However, if there was one picture that could sum up Brad-o-Ween, it would be this:

Happy Brad-o-Ween 5!

Thanks again to Otis and Mrs. Otis for a kick ass weekend, one that will go down in my own personal history of traveling as one of the most unique American experiences this decade. Thanks again to Bad Blood and Mrs. Blood for letting us crash. And thank God for Hooters girls.

FYI... the Bash at the Boathouse is just 32 days away.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Brad-o-Ween 5: Bloggers in G-Vegas Episode 1
"The last time I encountered the Otis was around 3am local time. He opened up his freezer pointed at nothing in particular. He slammed the door and belched in my face before he stumbled away." - My notes from Brad-o-Ween 5.
In the past week I've been in Denver, Boulder, Las Vegas, New York City, and G-Vegas, South Carolina. Talk about some of the most diverse places in America, let alone the world. One moment I was fondling strippers in Las Vegas and then next thing I knew I was hanging out with hardcore hippies in Boulder. The other day I was sitting next to suits and tourists on the subway and just this weekend, I found myself caught up in a heavy discussion of different types of BBQ while standing in Otis' garage while sweating my balls off in the humid South Carolina summer air.

I've also shuffled through six different airports (LAS, DEN, JFK, LGA, IAD, GSP) in the past seven days and came to conclusion that eating airport food is like taking "insurance" in black jack. It's a sucker's bet. Anyway, not even home for less than 60 hours, I was back on the road again. This time Derek was along for the ride as we headed south of the Mason Dixon line for the annual Brad-o-Ween festivities. By the way, I lived in the South for four long years and I'll never forget what a Georgia summer feels like. Yes, I lost 1/8 of my precious life in the South, so I'm more than qualified to crack plenty of jokes.

Before we begin, I'll answer a few FAQs.
Q. Where the fuck is G-Vegas?
A. Most map makers refer to it as the Greenville/Greer area.

Q. Did you see any mullets, rednecks, gun-racks, and donkey fuckers?
A. Yes, yes, yes, and yes.

Q. What the heck is Brad-o-Ween?
A. Brad-o-Ween is a self-imposed holiday created by Otis in celebration of... himself. Five years ago he started the first one and since then, it's been a G-Vegas tradition. This is my first appearance and won't be my last.

Q. Did BG really pass out?
A. Definitely. I have pictures to prove it.

Q. Was there really a wet t-shirt contest?
A. Fuck yeah. I got pics and I'm charging $25 per nipple shot.

Q. Did Otis fall down?
A. Keep on reading.


Derek and I arrived in mid afternoon. I was surprised about a few things. Firstly, they actually had airports in South Carolina and I was able to fly from the North directly to a smaller Southern city without having to fly though and change planes in Atlanta. I was also impressed with the airport. I expected the runway to be a dirt patch in the middle of a peanut farm with Cletus the slack-jawed yokel guiding my puddle-jumper into the gate with a couple of swizzle sticks, while his moonshine drinkin' cousins anally rape a lost portly camper from suburbia and a crooked-eyed albino kid sits nearby on the porch and strums the banjo like some bizarre scene out of an Amateur Redneck porn video. All kidding aside, the airport was lovely and there were more plants in the terminal than people.

Bad Blood picked us up and drove us over to his place. Mrs. Blood and Bad Blood were cool enough to let Derek, Iggy, and Daddy crash at Casa de Bad Blood. Special thanks goes out to the Mini-Bloods who gave up their bedrooms for the out-of-town bloggers. We all left the Mini-Bloods "tips" in their piggy banks as a token of appreciation.

"Mommy, what is this $100 bill doing in my piggy bank with BONUS CODE IGGY written on it?"

Mrs. Blood showed us the kids' gerbils and we had to make sure to keep Daddy away from the animals. They have a trampoline in the back and a poker table in the front of the house. What kid wouldn't want to grow up there?

The first time I ever visited G-Vegas was almost fifteen years ago after ingesting a fistful of mushrooms. I just turned 18 years-old and a good friend from my freshman dorm suggested I head home with him to party it up for a long weekend during Fall Break. My subsequent visits to the G-Vegas area (all occurring during the first George Bush administration) were to attend a Debutante Ball and see a Widespread Panic concert. I think there was some sort of tent involved in both visits. My memory was foggy during my late teens when I went on a four year bender through the South from 1990 through 1994.

We drove over to Otis' pad to meet up with and the Al Cant Hang and Eva Can Hang. They started a cash game. Otis stood in his driveway hosing down a few coolers. It seems like yesterday Otis and I were sitting at the Hooker Bar at the Rio on dinner break at the WSOP marveling at the thirty-second time in two weeks he hit quads on the video poker machines.

In the cash game, I played with Al's chips and built his $25 stack up to $75 before I lost it to G-Rob on one hand with J-7o. He had pocket sevens when I put him on "The Hammer!" Oh well.

We returned to Casa de Bad Blood for pizza and the Bad Blood home tourney. Mrs. Blood got me addicted to putting butter on pizza. Yeah, she busted out the tub of margarine and lathered my slice with butter which quickly melted. It tasted awesome and I could feel my cholesterol levels rising a few points with every bite.

We awaited everyone to arrive. It was a mixture of G-Vegas locals and legends (TeamScott Smith, Shep, Axeman, and The Mark) along with some of your favorite poker bloggers. Of course, Bad Blood and Mrs. Blood played along with Otis, me, Derek, Iggy, and Daddy. Some of the St. Louis crew were playing like Marty, Brian, and Dr. Jeff. CJ and his twin Lefty showed up along with Heather, one of the Aprils, Gamecock, and special guest... Maudie. Yeah, even Maudie showed up and she managed to keep that a secret. She didn't even flinch when Bad Blood cracked over the head with a metal chair. Double As was running late so he missed the tourney but stopped by half way through.

The tourney was a $30 freezeout. 20 players were in. The top four players paid. Bad Blood has this really cool tournament software so you could see what the blinds and limits were. You started with $120 in chips and blinds began at $1/2.
My first table at Casa de Bad Blood:
Seat 1: Daddy
Seat 2: Al "No Puede Colgar" Cant Hang
Seat 3: The Mark
Seat 4: Your Hero
Seat 5: Marty
Seat 6: Otis
Seat 7: Lefty
Seat 8: Tommy the Axeman
Seat 9: Heather
Seat 10: April
7:30pm... Cards are in the air.

7:40pm... Al Cant Hang and two others limped in and I moved all in from the LB with KK.

7:56pm... Al Cant Hang was the first player eliminated when his AQ lost to Daddy's J-10s. Daddy flopped a straight when K-Q-9 fell.

8:13pm... Heather and her top pair ran into Mark's pocket aces was she was knocked out.

8:30pm... Derek was knocked out by Gamecock when his Hammer lost to Gamecock's Hiltons.
Final Table at Casa de Bad Blood:
Seat 1: Daddy (Hilljack, IN)
Seat 2: Mrs. Blood (G-Vegas, SC)
Seat 3: Otis (G-Vegas, SC)
Seat 5: Pauly (New York City)
Seat 5: April (Austin, TX)
Seat 6: Maudie (Norman, OK)
Seat 7: G-Rob (G-Vegas, SC)
Seat 8: Marty (St. Louis, MO)
Seat 9: Tommy Axeman (G-Vegas, SC)
Seat 10: Gamecock (Columbia, SC)
9:12pm... I had about the average stack at the final table and Gamecock had a lot of chips. I tired to steal the blinds with 10-7s on the button. April called from the LB. She checked the flop of: A-J-8. I overbet the pot and she called. I showed the railbirds my hand. The turn was a miracle 9 and I caught my gutshot. She checked again and I tossed out another huge overbet and moved all in. She thought about it and called with A-x. I apologized as my straight held up. As Mike Sexton would say, I "got my hand caught in the cookie jar," but somehow ended up hitting a four outer to win my first big pot of the night. I had $330 in chips at that point.

9:26pm... Mrs. Blood's AJ lost to G-Rob's AK and she was the first player eliminated from the final table.

9:31pm... April was knocked out in 9th place when her 10-9 lost to Maudie's A-10.

9:35pm... Daddy's Hiltons got spanked by Gamecock's pocket aces. He finished in 7th place.

9:49pm... G-Rob's 8-7 was busted by Otis' QJ. G-Rob finished in 6th place and attempted to tilt the cash game table. Otis was the chipleader by far.

9:53pm... I knocked out Tommy in 5th when my 2-2 won a race with Big Slick. Tommy bubbled out. And by the way, Tommy was one of the many readers who constantly clicked refresh on my blog during the WSOP... thanks for the support!

10:05pm... Gamecock made the money and took 4th place when his J-10 lost to Otis' K-9.

10:24pm... Maudie's Q6 lost to Otis' A9 and Maudie was eliminated in 3rd place.

10:25pm... Outchipped by Otis, I offer him a "chop." He laughs in my face but admits he has to pee really badly.

10:26pm... On the second hand of heads up play Otis moved all in from the small blind. I called with A-3s and his K-6 held up to beat me. Hey, second place ain't too bad. Congrats to Otis who won the Casa de Bad Blood event on the eve of Brad-o-Ween.
The Money Winners at Casa de Bad Blood:
1. Otis
2. Pauly
3. Maudie
4. Gamecock
After the tournament we headed downtown to Main Street to drink at Otis' favorite dive bar. I think the dive was called The Bait Shack. There's one in every town and city in America and I've gotten bombed in my share of these places over the last decade or so. I'm sure I've made some of the worst decisions of my life in dives like Otis' favorite saloon.

We all congregated to the back. The floor was sticky like you'd expect in most bars of the similar caliber. The walls were splattered with Sharpie graffiti. The regulars are awful spellers and were ruined the walls with uncreative tags and phrases. We spotted "Anal is kool!" written in a green marker at least a half a dozen times.

The clientele in the Bait Shack was an eclectic mix of hipsters, stoners, folks from the other side of the tracks, frat boys, and a few meth addicts who were working off their 72 hour tweak session. There were few decent looking girls knocking back cocktails in plastic cups at the bar and they were too engrossed in their conversation to realize a band played a few feet away, off to the left. Daddy described the lead singer as the "white Stevie Ray Vaughn." I occasionally called out for a few Widespread Panic tunes which was met with a cold reception from the band. The trudged through several covers and for a bar band, they were above average.

The drink special was a bucket of beers for $15. That's like the cost of 1.5 drinks in New York City, so it was a good deal for me. We ordered some chicken fingers and they came with ranch dressing. BG and Big Mike finally showed up and within an hour of their arrival, I did a shot with Al and Big Mike and persuaded BG to drink the melted ice water in one of the "buckets" that the beer special was held in. Basically, a six pack of Miller Lite was tossed into a bucket with ice. I looked down and saw a puddle of ice water a couple of inches in depth with a decent amount of ice still left in the bucket. I showed BG the bucket and blurted out, "Dude, will you drink this for $5?"

Iggy quickly added, "I'll give you $20."

BG looked at the bucket and said, "Sure. Why not for $25?"

He knocked back the bucket while several bloggers snapped photos. He drank the water and admitted it had a "tinty" flavor to it. I paid the man his money and took the bucket to the adjacent booth where Otis was sitting with Heather and April and a few other folks. I showed the bucket and told them the story. I spotted a small cup of Ranch dressing and handed it to Otis.

"$5, buddy."

Otis inspected the ranch dressing for three seconds and knocked it back. It went down smooth, like a shot of tequila. And I quickly handed him $5. I picked up the empty cup and brought it back over to the other table. I told them the Otis story. Iggy had been offering $100 to someone if they drank a similar cup of ranch dressing and couldn't find anyone to do it.

We eventually left just before closing because Al Cant Hang and Big Mike made the Bait Shack run out of SoCo twice. Looks like the local booze halls were ill-equipped for a visit from Big Mike and Al Cant Hang.

Late night at Casa de Bad Blood, we started a $2/4 HORSE game.
Late Night Horse Lineup:
Seat 1: Derek
Seat 2: Bad Blood
Seat 3: Daddy
Seat 4: Pauly
Seat 5: Iggy
Somehow I won $30. Derek dropped most of is buy in. He lost a huge Razz hand to Daddy with 675 versus 674. I was up around $160 for the day when I crashed. I almost won enough money to cover my airfare dwn to G-Vegas.

****** ******

Stay tuned for the next installment called Brad-o-Ween 5: Bloggers in G-Vegas Episode 2. It will feature more stories about:
1. My first place chop in the Brad-o-Ween Poker Open
2. Recap of Team Good's loss in the Drunk Olympics
3. Three words: wet t-shirt contest
4. Three more words: high school girls
5. Eva bartends
6. Does Otis fall down?
Yeah, I'll be back on Tuesday with pictures and more musings on the South including why I love sweet tea so godammed much.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Coming Soon: Why I Love Mississippi...

And yes, there was a wet t-shirt contest.

Friday, August 19, 2005

G-Vegas Weekend

Derek and I are off to G-Vegas for the weekend to attend the Brad-O-Ween festivites. Trip report will be posted upon my return. Until then, feel free to read part one of my Boulder trip report.

Boulder Part I

I took a van from the Denver airport to Boulder. The guy that drove the van looked like a roadie from the Allman's Brothers Band. He gave me extra special attention and let me ride shotgun because I gave him a huge tip before I even got in the van. Remember, I just got off the plane after living in Las Vegas for nearly three months. That $7 tip must have given me some extra groovy karma for the weekend.

The Joker
picked me up in front of the historic Boulorado Hotel. Someone famous drank themselves to death in one of the upstairs rooms, but I forgot who it was. We quickly hit downtown and Pearl Street which is basically a pedestrian mall with cool shops, bars, cafes, and restaurants spread out over eight to ten blocks. After we parked, we walked by a t-shirt store. In the window was a Phish t-shirt. That was a heady reminder of the type of town I wandered into.

"Notice you don't see too many fat people," the Joker pointed out right away.

He was onto something, Boulder is one of the fittest towns in America. In the summer, everyone spends every second of daylight outdoors hiking, running, or biking. On a late Friday afternoon, Pearl Street was crowded. There were dogs and kids everywhere. Hippies take their little ones and animals everywhere they go. It's not image conscious like South Beach or LA. People are fit in Colorado because they genuinely feel a sound mind and body leads to a healthy life.

At the Boulder Cafe we sat down outside and watched a few street performers on the corner. I ogled at all of the cute college girls and hippie chicks. I spotted people from all walks of life. I should clarify, I saw all kinds of white people from all walks of life. You had a few Type A personalities, like the chick on the phone in the corner. Real Estate is her game and she spent most of the time pontificating about her vast knowledge of the local real estate market and the rest of the time on the phone "wheeling and dealing," as Clyde Frazier would say.

I ordered these tasty French fries with three kinds of dipping sauce. The first was a tangy BBQ which I only tried once. The second was a spicy sauce that looked a like like 1000 Island dressing. The third was a creamy dijonaise which tasted good as well. Colorado is home to tons of micro brews and I just picked the third one that the waitress rattled off. It didn't matter to me, because all of the beer in Colorado is better than those Coronas I can get at the hooker bar in the Rio.

One of Joker's buddies were in a band called Luna Sol. They were playing a gig a few blocks down. We headed over there and discovered that they were playing at the opening of a restaurant. We were actually crashing a private party and didn't know it. They place reeked of hipsters and yuppies, but the Spanish flamenco music was soothing. The owners had these weird drink specials that took ten minutes to prepare each specialty drink. I just ordered a beer because I knew it would come fast. They served all kinds of interesting foods like fried bananas and empandas with a spicy sauce.

We also found out that there was a cool band paying in a small town just outside of Boulder called Louisville (pronounced Lewis-ville). The Joker ate breakfast frequently at The Buff which was owned by this hot woman. She had two sons who were in a band called Rose Hill Drive that kicked ass. One fan described them as a power trio. Just a drummer, guitar player, and bass player, who was the lead singer. The Joker said they looked like a rock and roll band. All the members were long hairs and had stage presence. They sounded a little bit like Led Zeppelin and had a grooving G'ovt Mule vibe to them. The lead singer's voice was commanding and the guitar player displayed serious chops. They were all under 21 years old. Damn, they could fucking play.

Anyway Rose Hill Drive played an outdoor show for the Louisville Main Street festival. Inside the tent were tons of local high school girls. All I could think about was that line from Dazed and Confused... "That's what I like about highschool girls. I get older and they stay the same age."

I felt like Wooderson. The band impressed me and the local talent in the crowd was even more impressive.

After the show ended we headed down to a loft party in Denver that one of Joker's friends threw. It was after dark and lights of Denver just appeared out of nowhere on the drive down from Boulder. The Joker's buddy lived a few blocks from Coors Field where a slew of new converted lofts began to spring up. We stayed for a little while and I ended up doing a shot of tequila which went right to my head after drinking beers all afternoon long in the mountain altitude. Some guy in the kitchen shouted out, "Hey who likes sleeping with girls?"

A few people put their hands up, including me and one artsy looking girl sitting on the couch. Yeah the lesbian happily outed herself. You know there's one artsy girl at every party, who gloomily sits on the couch flipping through a magazine, contemplating suicide or secretly writing the first draft of a poem inside her head called "Loser and Poseurs at Cocktail Hour."

We left soon after and headed back to Boulder. We had a long day prepared for Saturday with two bands playing at Red Rocks. After all that's why I came out to Boulder in the first place. Stay tuned for Part Two.