Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Desolation Angels

I've been busy the last few days and I have not been able to write at the great lengths which I'm used to. Now that I have some time, I'm gonna riff on some thoughts that have been festering.

When I walked into the emergency room at the hospital on Sunday, I saw my grandmother hooked up to all these machines. She was stuck in the ER because her room in the ICU wasn't ready yet due to some red tape. She was in a coma and the first thing that came to mind was "this is no way to die."

I've been a different frame of mind ever since. Whenever I'm confronted with death, all I want to do is live life. Right now, I have an attitude that... I'm not gonna take shit from anybody.

I was about to head out on the road for a month and do some living, working, and celebrating. However, for the last few days I was on the verge of not only canceling my trip to LA this weekend, but also canceling parts of my Las Vegas trip altogether. The situation with my grandmother in the first 24 hours was very grim and I had a heavy knot in my stomach. My gut told me that she wasn't going to make it and that I wouldn't be going anywhere for a while.

I haven't slept much this week. I went from 3-4 hours a night to barely an hour. I've been slipping into serious moments of self-reflection, confronting those lowlights in my life when I let my family down in more than one instance. I heard that I broke her heart when I walked out on Wall Street to selfishly seek out fame, glory, and the bohemian lifestyle as a writer. I rejected all the hard work and values that her generation tried to instill into their children/family. I know that it was the best thing for me, but she was about to go to her deathbed knowing that I failed to live up to her expectations. That dark cloud has been hanging around me the last few days. Here's the thing... aside from my brother, my family has no knowledge that I'm a blogger. They've never read any of my sites. I have no intentions of telling them either. I don't think I could fully explain to them what's happened this past year or what I exactly do for a living. They just wouldn't understand.

But what do I say? I was alone for a few minutes with my grandmother on Monday. I leaned over and spoke into her ear. I told her who I really was.

"I'm just a junkie. I drink too much. I gamble too much. And I spend way too much time in strip clubs. I treat women poorly with my brash insensitivity. I'm a selfish asshole who only thinks about himself. Everyday I say that I'm gonna improve my shortcomings and we know how that's never going to happen. But people pay me to write and send me all over the world. I make money doing something I love. I'm passionate about writing and that makes me happy. I've done more traveling than I ever imagined I would. I've swam with sharks in Jamaica. I chased the Northern Lights in Iceland. I've ridden bullet trains in Japan. I've climbed mountains in Colorado. I even got to shake hands with Jerry Garcia."

I told her sharks. I meat to say baby sand sharks.

In a completely selfish way I figured out what was the last possible day she could die without me having to cancel Vegas during the blogger weekend.

One week.

That's what I gave her. I secretly hoped that she'd die sooner than later. I'm such an asshole for wanting that. I could bullshit you and say that it would be easier for her and the rest of my family if she died sooner, but he truth was that I didn't want to miss seeing a lot of my friends. Hurry up and die so I can do shots with Al and go to strip clubs with Grubby. Yeah, I told you I'm an incorrigible fucktard.

Here's the good sappy part that you were waiting for.

The good news first bubbled up from something I heard Derek say, "Dude, I saw her open her eye."

And she did. She opened up both eyes. On Tuesday when I saw her last she recognized that I was there. She was sacred shitless and she was probably like, "Why the fuck is the tube shoved down my throat?" But I could see a soothing tone in her eyes when she saw me and Derek standing there.

Grandma's out of a coma and I'm going to Las Vegas!

There was a time in my life where I was paid insane amount of money on Wall Street to make crucial decisions everyday under the some of the highest amounts of stress possible. That's something you can't teach. Either you have it or you don't. Some days I'd have to make ten difficult decisions all day. Other days it was a hundred. Sometimes I had less than a minute to make six vital decisions with several millions of dollars on the line. I can sit back now and marvel at the insanity of what I used to do for a living. Thinking about it night makes me nervous. Every decision I made affected the reputation of my firm. If I made a mistake, I was pissing away someone's retirement fund or some kid's college fund. I was one trade away from going to prison and another trade away from going completely broke. Talk about a rush. I had no clue how I did what I did aside from the fact that I was thinking, just reacting.

I was grappling with a tough decision for the last few days. Stay in NYC or hit the road. It was driving me crazy that I had no control over the situation. I wanted to make a decision and was about to cancel my plans to go to LA this weekend. Then I got a small miracle. Grandma's not 100% but she was good enough for me to hit the road. As soon as she opened her eyes, the decision was made for me.

Now I am fortunate enough to spend the last month of the year mostly on the road. It's fitting too. 2005 was filled with plenty of travel for me this year. Most of it was business related and some of it was for pure pleasure. But I definitely was on the road more of this year than in the past five.

In 1999 and 2000 I did my most traveling both domestic and abroad. What I'm about to tell you is pretty much the material that I'm going to draw upon to write a book... someday. Some of the tales have become Truckin' stories. I was dating a hippie chick (we'll call her "Angela") from Texas and we crisscrossed America several times seeing Phish almost fifty times on different tours. One particular stretch of time involved a period of 100 days in 1999 where I was all over the place seeing Phish concerts. Sometimes we'd camp out. Other times we crashed with friends of ours. Our last resort was staying in a hotel, which I'd throw on my credit card. In the first thirty days, I flew from NYC to Dallas and drove to Kansas, Tennessee, Atlanta, Charlotte, and back to Dallas. Then I flew to NYC and drove to Philly, Boston, Northern New Jersey, upstate NY, Toronto Canada, Buffalo, NYC, Deer Creek Indiana, and back to NYC. I'm pretty sure that Daddy went to those same Phish shows in Deer Creek. Of course, I didn't know him then.

After a short rest in the city, I flew back to Texas and began another epic journey that would last 40 days. Angela and I drove from Texas all the way to Seattle, through New Mexico and Colorado to attend a music festival. After were spent a few days in Seattle, we crossed the border into Vancouver to see Phish. After a wild late night in Vancouver, we came back to America and saw concerts in central Washington (The Gorge) and a night in Portland before I headed to Boise, Idaho. Here's where it gets freaky. Human Head's wife, the lovely Mrs. Head, lived in Boise at the same time I was there. Of course, we didn't know each other and I wouldn't get to know the future Mr. Head until 5+ years later. Anyway, I ate in the restaurant she worked in. Pretty freaky, right? That's just an odd reminder that I might have crossed paths with many of you before. It's just that we didn't know it.

After Boise, we had to head to San Francisco but stopped off in Reno, NV for the night. Here's the gambling content. Angela's parents were religious hippies. They were also Baptists from Texas and frowned upon gambling. That did not deter their little angel from getting a crash course in blackjack from yours truly on the way from Boise to Reno. She end up almost $200 at the blackjack tables and I dropped a few bucks playing Stud. We should have been getting some rest but we stayed up all night gambling. The drive to San Francisco the next morning was rough. Angela yaked at the Califonria-Reno border. We saw two more concerts at Shoreline (one featuing Phil Lesh) and then drove down the Pacific Coast highway. We caught one more concert in San Diego and that night have been one of the 15 best Phish shows I've ever seen. We skipped a show in Los Angeles and headed to Mexico instead. It was my birthday and we wanted to go camping on the beach in Enseneda, drink tequila, and watch the sun rise. We drove back over the border and got back on tour in Arizona, followed by Las Cruces, New Mexico. My friend Molly was at that concert but we didn't know each other yet.

Once again, in some weird way, I've spent time in the same room/area of some people who I never knew or spoke to that would become my friends at a later date.

We got back to Texas and saw shows in Houston and Austin before we headed to New Orleans for a few days. I wanted to hit the riverboats in Biloxi, but we went to Pelham, Alabama to see a show instead. I know. Next up was Memphis and then we drove back to Texas where we saw a few Widespread Panic concerts. I flew home to NYC and saw the four final shows of their tour on Long Island and in Albany. At the end of it all, I ran up my credit card but had a few of the most amazing roadtrips in my life.

30+ cities in 100 days. Unreal.

The travel this year was not as intense but in many ways I look back on the places I've been and think... unreal. But the year is not over yet. The next stop on my journey is Las Vegas. On Friday, I depart Sin City and head to the City of Angels.

Here's where I tie everything down in the last few paragraphs and tell you that the last few weeks have been one helluva a mind fuck for me. I'm happy to be alive. One of the reasons I travel so much is because there's too much stuff out there in the world that I want to see and experience. Watching my grandmother struggle with severe health problems in the last chapter of her life reminded me that I still have a lot more I want to see... to visit... to do... to write... man, especially to write. I have at least five or six books and two screenplays in me (beside my Las vegas book which may never get done at this rate) and I have to get them out now before it's too late... before I'm hooked up to some machine and shitting myself in a diaper and regretting that I never got off my ass to write the Japan book, or paint again, or the write the sequel to Jack Tripper Stole My Dog.

I made poker such a huge priority in my life in 2005 and I'm blessed to have every second of it. But next year, I have to make some serious changes in my life. I realized that personal travel and writing (non-poker and non-freelance) is something that I want to pursue in addition to poker. I don't know if I can find a healthy balance for all three. One thing I learned about my time on Wall Street was that I had the ability to make big decisions fairly quickly and the majority of them were good. I'm going to be making a very big one pretty soon.

Like The Kurgan said, "It's better to burn out than to fade away."

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Meet Bobby iPod

Last night the anticpated tie-breaker heads-up match to settle the Saturdays with Dr. Pauly Champion took place. It was the battle of Michigan as on_thg took on Bobby Bracelet after they both tied for first place on the leader board. In many ways it was the most anticpaed heads-up match in the history of bloggerdom. The winner would get bragging rights, an engraved iPod Nano, and a free bikini wax job at the salon of their choice.

After encountering a minor problem finding an available heads-up SNG on Poker Stars, the two guys chose Titan Poker since they knew they'd get the table of their choice.

The match didn't last too long, probably due to the scalting blind structure. Bobby Bracelet got out to a quick chip lead and at one point had on_thg outchipped 1500 to 500. But on_thg won a big pot to get back most of his chips to even the score. He took the chiplead for a few moments before Bobby Bracelet stole it back.

On the winning hand, on_thg and his Kournikova outflopped Bobby Bracelet's A-J. Alas, Bobby rivered a straight to take down on_thg and become the first ever Saturdays with Dr. Pauly Champion.

Congrats again to Bobby and all of the prize winners.
First place: Bobby Bracelet = iPod Nano + free wax job
Second Place: on_thg = Big Lebowski DVD
Third Place: CJ = phonecall from Daddy
Boobie Prize: LifesaGrind = mystery gift (shoot me an email!)
Thanks to everyone who particpated in any of the tournaments and especially those of you who pimped them on your blogs! Extra special thanks to Poker Stars for allowing me to host Saturdays with Dr. Pauly. I think we have a good thing here and I'm excited about trying to set up more events in 2006. Stay tuned!


You should be reading: HDouble's The Cards Speak and Derek's posts on Card Squad.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Bloggers in Vegas: The Short Film

I couldn't sleep so I whipped a little short film featuring your favorite bloggers in Las Vegas from our trip last June. It's about 2.5 minutes long (it's an 8 MB .wmv file) and features a montage of still photos taken by me (and from Spaceman). The soundtrack music is from Galactic, one of my favorite New Orleans bands. Thanks to Al Cant Hang for hosting the file on his server/site. He wanted me to warn you that it's a "big friggin' file" and that I might "kill the server."

So here it is: Bloggers in Vegas (right click and save as)

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Bloggers Invading Las Vegas Tips 3.0

I will be cutting and pasting excerpts from two previous posts and rewriting parts of them on tips on surviving Las Vegas, meeting bloggers for the first time, and advice for Vegas newbies.

Feel free to print this up and hand out copies to your entourage.

I do not want to disappoint anyone who is meeting me for the first time, but I want to warn you that I am not as wild and crazy as every thinks I am. For the record, I will not be showing up in Vegas with two nymphomaniac teenage gymnasts (from a Eastern European county that no longer exists), along with an eight-ball of Colombian Snow Flake and a brick of Moroccan hash the size of Herve Villechaize. Believe me, if I had access to those kind of drugs and were able to woo nimble nymphets like that, the last thing I'd be doing would be hanging out in Vegas with a bunch of degenerates gamblers.

So here we go... my Tips on Surviving Las Vegas:

1. Cut back on sleep immediately.

As of right now, cut back on your sleep by 30 minutes every other night. Inside of two weeks, you'll be down to about 3.5 hours of sleep per night. The average Las Vegas visitor gets around 3 hours of sleep and the average poker blogger gets substantially a lot less. Cutting back on sleep right away is an easy way to get adjusted to sleep deprivation by following my simple routine. Seriously, if you are used to getting 8 or more hours per night, you're in trouble, I'd cut back 30 minutes everyday between now and Vegas.

2. Sip, don't chug.

Pace yourself with your alcohol consumption. Al Cant Hang is a machine. His blood type is 180 Proof because Al is really an alien. He's not of this world. Don't succumb to the frission of being in a casino bar with all your favorite bloggers and foolishly attempt to keep up. If you do, you'll end up clutching the porcelain God at 4am wondering why the hell that cab driver punched you out after you yaked up your dinner and a half a bottle of Southern Comfort in his back seat. Surviving the Sherwood Forest bar at 9am on the morning of the blogger tournament was a moment I'll never forget. It's a badge of courage like a soldier who managed to get through D-Day without a scratch. I'm glad that we made it through an entire weekend of partying in Vegas last December and another bender in June without anyone getting their stomachs pumped at the hospital or landing themselves in the drunk tank at the Clark County jail. Let's keep it that way. Moderation is the key to happiness.

3. Water is your friend.

Las Vegas is in the middle of the fuckin' desert. Drink water. Lots of it. I used to try to drink one glass of water per alcoholic beverage consumed. In Vegas I do my best to double that amount. Sure, I'm pissing every eight minutes, but you're head will thank you the next day when you're experiencing a hangover-free morning. One of my biggest expenses in Vegas is my water tab, well that and trips to strip clubs with Grubby.

4. Bring a cell phone charger.

Don't forget one. Since you will be staying up from anywhere from 20-36 hours straight, you might want to make sure your cell is charged before you begin your gambling session. With bloggers in town, having a phone will be necessary to arrange meetings or if you need someone to post bail money. Besides, you should throw your loved ones at home a bone every 12 hours and send them a drunken text message or get someone on the horn for a Dial-a-Shot. When you are sleeping, charge up your phone during the few hours that you're crashed out.

5. Take pictures.

Come on, I know you geeky bloggers can't wait to spice up your Vegas trip reports with pictures. I encourage it, especially if you have never been to Vegas before. Don't be afraid to go camera happy and take more pictures than a menagerie of Osaka businessmen. Bring a camera, even if it's one of those disposable ones for $7. You have to leave Vegas with at least one good story and at least one good picture.

6. Ask before you post pictures on the internet.

If you are a person who thinks they look awful in photos or is just camera shy or they want to keep their identity a secret, then by all means please tell everyone now. Conversely, if you are going to post pictures of bloggers, make sure you get their consent with the exception of anyone who passes out in my room like the Poker Geek, Bill Rini, and that freakish moment when Eva "Icey Toes" CanHang crawled into my bed and passed out after an all night bender. My ugly mug is all over the internet so snap away. And no Mr. Ten Mile, I will not be wearing any of my pestiferous shirts that I wore last December or June at the blogger tourneys.

7. Speak your mind and stay in the moment.

I never got to really hang out with Bill Rini last December and I barely had anytime to talk to Chilly or April in June. That was one of my regrets... not making enough time for everyone. I simply assumed that I'll have time later in the trip to shoot the shit and play cards with Bill, April, and Chilly. That never happened. Don't make that crucial mistake. If you have the chance to talk to someone, take advantage of that opportunity. If you see Iggy at the pisser, seize the moment to talk shop with him. You never know what might happen during your time in Vegas. With such a big group, you won't have time for "quality one-on-one time" so whenever you cross paths with a fellow blogger, whether it's Otis sitting by himself at the Pai Gow table at 4am or running into Bad Blood at the Bellagio at 2am or shooting craps with Obie at the Plaza... stop by and shoot the shit. You won't regret it.

And don't feel shy or intimidated about saying what you want to me or anybody else. Our time is limited, so speak up! If you want to ask me questions, feel free. If you want blogging advice, just ask. If you want to buy me a drink, let's do it. If you want to go to strip clubs, then hold on a second and let me call Grubby.

8. Understand that it will be impossible to spend quality time with everyone.

I have already accepted the fact that I will not be able to hang out with everyone, even my friends and even Derek. With the huge number of people inovled with this event, it will be impossible to find blocks of unfettered time to spend with everyone. Expect splintered conversations that last about five minutes or ten minutes if you are lucky. Use meals and time at the poker tables as an opportunity to get to know your fellow bloggers.

So please understand ahead of time that I'm gonna feel horrible that we didn't get to spend quality time together. However, whatever time we do spend, it's going to be special and meaningful for me... so let's just have fun and live in the moment. I'm sure we'll all get together in a smaller setting at sometime in the future.

9. Table image is a factor in real life.

A lot of us play the majority of our poker online. Some of you haven't played extensively in casinos, so here's my quick tip... image is important. How do you want to be portrayed? Like a dipshit tourist from Hootersville, Indiana who's playing poker for the first time? Or a punk-ass kid with wraparound sunglasses at a low limit table who watches too much WPT? Or a know-it-all table captain who tries to take charge of the table full of drunks? Or do you want to blend in and become a blur to your table mates? I usually cut my vocabulary in half and talk about topics like Celebrity Poker Showdown. I make sure I drink heavily in front of them, refer to women as "broads" and play one really awful hand like a donkey in the first orbit that I showdown to the river. Too bad that I'm just being myself.

10. Don't be Gigli.

If you don't know Bill was the first blogger knocked out in December's tournament and the Poker Nerd was busted first in June. They were both awarded the infamous Gigli DVD for coming in last place. I bought a new copy of Gigli (how sad is it when the postage costs more than the actual DVD?) which I will be giving to the first blogger out of the Holiday Classic tournament. Will it be you? And rest assured I will torment you for the rest of the year with chants of "Gigli! Gigli!" in your chatbox every time you play on Party Poker.

11. Never underestimate the importance of a $20 tip.

Do you wanna get shit done in Vegas? Tip the hell out of every person you see. I'm from New York City and we tip everyone. In a town like Vegas, most of the people working in the service industry are not paid extravagantly. They rely on tips to supplement their wages. You would be surprised how much attention you can get with a simple $20 tip. Heck that's like one big bet for some of you.

Example #1: I call this move The Grubbette. When you check into a hotel and they ask for your credit card, carefully place a folded up $20 bill underneath your card. As the front desk person is picking up the cash and card, quickly ask them if they can bump you up to a better room. It never fails. But then again, Grubbette is a lot cuter than me!

Example #2: When I was in Vegas last March, when I called around to find a reservation for dinner on Easter Sunday, I found out that every place was booked. Grubby, Senor and I made plans to meet Flip Chip and Poker Prof at Ceaser's Palace. I decided to pop into Palm to see if they had any open tables. The hostess checked her reservations book and said she didn't have any open spots for us. When I spotted two open tables, I slipped her $20 and said "Did anyone every tell ya that you have beautiful eyes? By the way, can you check again? That's Dr. Pauly, for a party of five." We were seated within five minutes.

There is only one instance where I will tell you to save your tips... and that's in a strip club. Never, under any circumstances give a stripper a tip. If I find out you did, I will smack you personally.

Now if you think $20 gets you a long way... try tipping $40 or $100.

12. Food is fuel.

If you have the opportunity to eat, do it because you never know when you might never have another chance to get some grub. Last December, I never saw Iggy eat one bite during our last trip. He was on the ciggies and Guinness gambler's diet.

13. Wear comfortable shoes.

As a native New Yorker, I walk everywhere and I'm used to trudging along for five or six miles in a day. If you are a lazy fuck who's a slave to their vehicle, then start walking a mile or two everyday to get yor legs in shape. The entrance from the Rio to the actual place where the WSoP is being held is a hike. Plus if you want to walk the Strip, everything appears much closer in the desert.

14. Bring a watch.

There are exactly six clocks in the entire city of Las Vegas and you won't see any of them in an actual casino.

15. Keep your gambling bankroll separate from your other cash.

I think this one is self-explanatory. Don't bring more cash to Vegas than you are willing to lose. Always keep your bankroll separate from your strip club money. You'll thank me later.

16. $50 bills are bad luck.

Don't feel weird about asking to change in your $50 bills. That is one superstition I've been following every since Grubby clued me in.

17. Avoid the slots.

Grubby will try to turn you over to the dark side of gambling and get you to hit the slots with him at 3am. Resist the temptation!

18. Don't tell people at your poker table that you have a poker blog.

Please for the love of God, do not tell anyone you're in town for a poker bloggers convention. Why don't we just slap the loser mark right on our foreheads and walked around with Bonus Code Iggy tattooed on our asses? I never tell "civilians" that I'm a blogger. If they recognize me, then that's fine. But never reveal who you are. Because if you do, then you can't talk about them or make fun of them in our blog!!

You're in Vegas. It's a surreal place. Make shit up. Pretend you're a fish. I lie to dealers, strippers, cab drivers, and my tablemates all the time when I'm in Vegas. During previous trips, I've told random strangers that I was a marine biologist, an aquarium salesman, a trumpet player in a Latin jazz band, a radiologist, and my favorite... that I've just got out of prison. The ladies seem to like that one. Bottom line is this: if you can't successfully lie to the people at your table and if you are unable to convince them that you are in fact an astronaut, then you shouldn't be playing poker in Las Vegas. Go home and fire up Poker Stars instead.

During this trip I intend on telling folks that I'm a proctologist or I'm thinking about being the malcontent heir to the "Spork" fortune. A spork is not a fork, but not quite a spoon. One of my fraternity brothers in college used that line to try to pick up girls in bars. He even convinced a few that he had a spork shaped swimming pool. And if I happen to stumble into a strip bar, my cover story will be that I'm the tour manager for a metal band called The Al Cant Hang Experience.

**** Newly Added ****

19. Bring a jacket and sunglasses.

Sloshr suggested that I tell everyone to bring a jacket or sweater. It gets cold in Las Vegas in December so pack something warm. It's cold in parking decks and most card rooms have high powered A/C.

***** *****

Here are some random pics that I took this past June:

Al and the Fat Guy playing video poker

My Bounty courtesy of Al Cant Hang

Poker Geek minus the light saber.

Tanya's card cappers

The Poker Prof moves all in...

Joaquin flexes while Spaceman calculates pot odds

Flip Chip in action

The Final Two: G-Vegas vs. LA

Al does a huge shot.

Bobby Bracelet's shirt

Al wears Heather's tiara

***** *****

Ok that's it for now. Those were my half-baked ideas on how to survive Las Vegas. If you can remember half of these, then you should make it home in one piece. I'm scheduled to leave for Vegas on Wednesday. And it's 12+ days and counting until the Holiday Classic at Imperial Palace....

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Saturdays with Dr. Pauly Event #4: Joanne Wins; Bobby Bracelt & On_thg Tie for First!

(Editor's Note: Full post pending... for now here's a quick update.)

Congrats to Joanne for winning Event #4!

Right now, there's a tie for first place between Bobby Bracelet and on_thg. They will play heads up at 10pm EST on Monday. Winner gets the iPod and the loser gets a Big Lebowski DVD. CJ won a phonecall from Daddy for 3rd place! Bobby also busted me and he won the bounty. Life's a Grind won the "Boobie" prize. Shoot me an email and we can discuss.
Event #4 Results
1: Joanne1111 (Calgary), $153.00 (30%)
2: dietlime (Mechanicsville), $102.00 (20%)
3: HeyKidsItsBG (Grand Haven), $61.20 (12%)
4: bob labah (Brooklyn), $51.00 (10%)
5: BobRespert (Farmington Hills), $40.80 (8%)
6: crazfn (Racine), $33.15 (6.50%)
7: Meanhappyguy (Portland), $28.05 (5.50%)
8: Timinator99 (Toronto), $22.95 (4.50%)
9: tml10023 (New York), $17.85 (3.50%)

PokerStars Tournament #14328957, No Limit Hold'em
Buy-In: $10+1
51 players
Total Prize Pool: $510.00

Tournament started - 2005/11/26 - 13:00:00 (ET)
Tournament finished - 2005/11/26 - 15:58:43 (ET)

Updated iPod Leaderboard
Top 3 Winners:
1 Bobby Bracelet 3-25-15-5 (48)
1 On_Thg 8-1-19-20 (48) = Winner Event #2
3 CJ 5-44-1-10 (60) = Winner Event #3

The Rest:
4 Joanne 25-43-9-1 (78) = Winner Event #4
5 Philly63367 12-10-6-51 (79)
5 Jen Leo 10-24-24-21 (79)
7 Sir Waffle 1-58-12-18 (89) = Winner Event #1
8 TML10023 (Terry Lane) 29-17-53-9 (108)
9 SarahBellum 23-34-43-12 (112)
10 Timinator 31-46-29-8 (114)
10 JoeSpeaker 76-3-22-13 (114)
12 Drizz 19-40-37-27 (123)
13 RickLang 63-6-38-25 (132)
14 SgtDanko 9-68-28-28 (133)
15 BG 16-79-36-3 (134)
16 Boobie Lover 50-71-8-11 (140)
17 Gary634 2-20-72-49 (143)
18 Shane Big Pimpin Nickerson 24-29-61-29 (143)
19 Maudie 21-75-7-47 (150)
20 Slimerface 93-15-26-23 (157)
21 Wyndigo 52-4-66-36 (158)
22 Mourn 98-35-14-31 (178)
23 Katitude 4-78-54-46 (182)
24 Whaaaa? 47-33-70-43 (193)
24 Derek 53-86-21-33 (193)
26 Pauly 26-77-67-37 (207)
27 Bddide 66-49-56-41 (212)
28 April98 92-92-17-15 (216)
29 BobBlahBlah 83-84-40-4 (221)
30 LifesaGrind 73-73-60-26 (232)

I would like to take the time out to thank Poker Stars for hooking me up with four Saturday tourneys in a row. And thanks to all of you who played in the tournaments. The 29 other players listed above get extra special props here because they played in every week. You guys rules. Seriosuly thanks to everyone who took the time out to play.

Based on the feedback I have gotten from readers and bloggers, I get the general feeling that everyone had a blast and that they'd like to play in more events in the future (at a much later time of course). I'll still keep the buy-ins at $10 and push back the starting times.

I'm in the process of figuring out some dates for the next series of Saturdays with Dr. Pauly afternoon tourneys in 2006. The only problem is finding time. I'm all booked in December and I'm looking at sometime in January. I don't have my schedule set, but I'm trying to get an assignment to cover the WPT-PCA in the Bahamas. If that doesn't happen, I might be taking a trip to Costa Rica. But for the most part, I wanted to take a hiatus/vacation from blogging in January to finish up my book. I was planning a trip to Thailand/Nepal for February, but that has been shelved. However, Senor wants to go to South America... somewhere... so like I said, it's gonna be hard finding out some available time. No worries. I'll make it happen. I had too much fun tis time around, so stay tuned for more details!

Thanks again for playing.
Rough Waters

After I finally published the latest issue of Truckin', cranked out two freelance articles, finished a project for All In Magazine, penned a poem about Keira Knightley's nipples, and worked on my Vegas book... I made an effort to play a ton of tournaments on the day after Turkey Day. The results? Not impressive whatsoever. I cashed in only one of my last 10 MTTs and I only cashed in 3/8 SNGs. If that wasn't bad enough, the junk kicking spilled over into cash games. I dropped a buy-in at the $5/10 tables on Party Poker and got my arse kicked playing $3/6 on Full Tilt with Daddy. My balls are still swollen.

MTTs Results:

SNGs Results:

Recent Poker Playing Music...
1. The Funky Meters
2. Medeski, Martin & Wood with John Scofield
3. Beck
4. Jerry Garcia Band
5. Widespread Panic with Trey Anastasio

Let's hope I play better in my tournament today and in the GPC satellite on Sunday.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Truckin' - November 2005, Vol. 4, Issue 11

Editor's Note: This is a repost. I prematurely published this month's issue of Truckin' by accident. This is the actual issue! I also apologize to Jaxia for omitting her from the original publication. Because Jaxia is a Texan, and a heavily armed lesbian, I offer up my most humblest of apologies. I don't want to have a Valerie Solanas/Andy Wharol situation when Jaxia attempts to knock me off in Las Vegas next month. I'm afraid that she's a much better shot than Valerie. Anyway, here's my "final cut" or the November issue including Jaxia's poem(s) Gemini. Thanks again! McG

Yes, I finally published another issue of Truckin'! Thanks to everyone who particpated this month. It looks like it turned out to be one kick ass issue. After all, anything from AlCantHang is a bonus!

1. Las Vegas Blvd. Hookers by Tenzin McGrupp
The Joker wanted me to teach him how to spot a hooker in Las Vegas and I gave him a quick tutorial. We identified the ladies as they walked right next to us... More

2. Dead of Night by Joe Speaker
I shade my night eyes toward the floor, groping with my left hand for the chair I know is there somewhere, cradling my pen and pad in my right. Sleep has eluded me again, pushed aside by the wall of thoughts stacking impenetrably in my head... More

3. To Be Determined by Human Head
The only two people he had ever been exposed to with that name came in the form of a television show about a retard named Bill, and his grandpa, who smelled like a mix of body odor and dirt... More

4. The Shit House by Al Cant Hang
I think I recently killed my new co-worker and friend. I'm not saying that I murdered him, but I think my actions led to his demise... More

5. Walk by Scuba Steve
After getting bleary-eyed on Buddha, nothing is better than a Marlboro and a Mountain Dew. Man, what I wouldn't do for a Mountain Dew right now... More

6. Me, Bob and the Blonde by Tom Love
We walked a couple of more blocks, eyes bloodshot, eyelids puffy. In front of a pharmacy, we were approached by two cute British girls in miniskirts who started a flirting conversation with us... More

7. Gemini a poem by Jaxia Kiley
To pulverize a living, beating heart... More
Saturdays with Dr. Pauly Final Event

Don't forget that tomorrow is the final event of Saturdays with Dr. Pauly.
11.26.05 @ 1pm EST
Poker Stars
Tournament #14328957
$10+1 NL Hold'em
Password = hiltons
The first place winner gets a copy of Phil Gordon's new book. Whoever busts me gets an itunes gift card.

We will also find out who wins the overall prizes:
1st place = iPod Nano
2md place = Big Lebowski DVD
3rd place = phone call from Daddy
Last Place = Mystery Gift

Top 10 on the iPod leaderboard:
1. On_Thg 8-1-19 = 28 (Event #2 Winner)
1. Philly63367 12-10-6 = 28
3. Bobby Bracelet 3-25-15 = 43
4. CJ 5-44-1 = 50 (Event #3 Winner)
5. Jen Leo 10-24-24 = 58
6. SirWaffle 1-58-12 = 71 (Event #1 Winner)
7. Joanne 25-43-9 = 77
8. Gary634 2-20-72 = 94
9. Drizz 19-40-37 = 96
10. TML10023 (Terry Lane) 29-17-53 = 99
I hope to start up a new series of tournaments in January or February. Stay tuned for more details. See ya tomorrow.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

A Day of Thanks

Sometimes the hardest things to say are the most simple. Thank you everyone... for everything.

Just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone in the community... bloggers and readers alike. This has been a sensational year for me and a lot of my success has been inspired, spurred on, and fueled by you. Whether you are a friend, a reader, or a blogger... please note that this amazing run could never have been possible without your support.

I am eternally grateful to have crossed paths with so many of you. I have met some amazing people this year. I do not have the time to personally mention and thank everyone, but you guys know who you are. There's also a someone in particular out there who I've spent a lot of time getting to know and I'm super lucky to have developed a friendship with her.

There are 10+ people that I have to take the time out to recognize.

To "my entourage": Special thanks goes out to my brother Derek for all the love and support and to my close friends from college, Senor & Jerry, who have been cheering me on for almost half of my life. I could not have gotten where I'm at without the help of my assistant Jessica who gets the thankless job of editing all of my work. Also thanks to Haley and (her mom) who have been extremely helpful with giving me career advice and reminding me to maintain a healthy balance of hard work, play, and friendship in my life. Extra thanks to Briana who made some serious sacrifices this year and allowed me to put my writing first. This year has been special for us and all of you are an integral part of all of this. In the words of Johnny Drama... "Victorrryyyyy!"

Thanks to Otis and everyone at Poker Stars for all their help and generosity, especially in Barcelona. I also want to thank Wil for all his help and support this year. He saved me during the WSOP when I was losing my shit with some advice that I still use to this day.

Lastly, special thanks to the Poker Prof and Flipchip. The Prof took a chance on me and gave me one of my first jobs in the poker industry with Poker Player Newspaper. Without his friendship and confidence in my writing ability... I would never had gotten to where I'm at today. And thanks to Flipchip and his wife who took me into their family when I lived in Las Vegas. I definitely would not have survived the WSOP and living at the Redneck Riviera without his help, guidance, fatherly advice, and Vietnam war stories.

I am sincerely inspired by everyone who has been a part of my life prior to this year along with everyone new that I got to meet along the way. I've developed plenty of new friendships this year and strengthened old ones. When I look back at what's happened to me this past year, I do not look at the huge leap in my career, or the money, or the accolades. What makes 2005 special has been the people in my life that I am fortunate to call my friends. An excellent testament to a person's character is to examine the circle of people they consider their friends. I look around and I am blessed that I stand in the middle a gigantic circle of greatness. I'm where I'm at today because of my friends. I'm the luckiest person I know.

Before I go, I would like to thank the folks who send me traffic, especially Iggy!
Here are the Top 10 Referrals in November:
1. Wil Wheaton
2. Poker Prof's Las Vegas & Poker Blog
3. Iggy
4. Aaron Gleeman
5. Up for Poker (CJ, Otis & GRob)
6. Jeff Pulver
7. Tao of Pauly
8. Steal the Blinds (Jaxia & Beck)
9. Double As
10. Card Squad

Here are the Top 10 Referrals in 2005:
1. Las Vegas & Poker Blog (Poker Prof & Flipchip)
2. WWdN (Wil Wheaton)
3. Guinness and Poker (Iggy)
4. Up for Poker (CJ, Otis & GRob)
5. Aaron Gleeman
6. Tao of Pauly
7. Chris Halverson
8. 2 Hole Cards (Nick)
9. Double As
10. Al Cant Hang
Thanks again everyone. Have a great holiday.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Spaceman in the City and the Rooster Flies at Midnight

A few things...

Firstly, thanks to Otis and Poker Stars who added some cool stuff to the Holiday Classic. $2000 added to the prize pool is a generous donation from one of my favorite online poker sites.

Secondly, I won a MTT at Full Tilt the other night. I forgot to blog about it. It was a super-staellite and the top two won seats to the GPC satellite on Sunday. It's for the Global Poker Challenge that Andy Bloch told me about when we were hanging out at Foxwoods. And if I win on Sunday I get to play in a televised event at the Palms in December. I always welcome railbirds, so if you are bored Sunday night, stop by and sweat me! Anyway, when it got heads up the other guy wanted to play it out for real, so I got some extra practice playing heads up. I came from behind to win. The funny thing is that I was supposed to meet Briana and instead I was playing in the satellite. She kept calling me saying, "Where are you McFucker?" She was kinda pissed that I was two hours late but was thrilled I won a tournament. I came in 2nd in a MTT on Party a few weeks ago, but this was my first big win since chopping the Brad-o-Ween tournament with Wes.

As always a hearty thanks to Wil, who dug the intro to my last post. He linked it up in his most recent post called Eveything we need to know. Of course, Briana is going apeshit over getting her name blogged on Wil's site. I blog about her all the time and she doesn't even blink an eye. But as soon as Wil blogged that excerpt, she called everyone on her speed dial and emailed the link to every poor soul in her email address book... even her parents... who hate me even more.

Moving on...

Four bloggers walk into a bar... sounds like a punchline to a bad joke, right? But it's what went down last night, except we walked into several bars. I had not gone drinking with bloggers in NYC since Otis came to town for the Poker Stars party when I drank fruity rum drinks in plastic coconuts with Isabelle Mercier. I got wicked sick that night and puked in the middle of the street. I have not drank that much since then.

Derek and I hung out with Spaceman last night after his Millionare interview. Joaquin suggested Brother Jimmy's which was funny because it's a Southern BBQ place. I think he wanted Spaceman to feel at home. Our waitress copped an attitude right away with us. I hate that. She didn't even give us a chance to piss her off! That's where we started our bar hopping run that would span several bars on the Upper West Side. We pretty much followed Joaquin around and I got to catch a glimpse of where he goes to troll for drunken NYC chicks. The guy loves women and he hit on a ton. We walked into one bar in particular and he started chatting up the cute bartender.
Pauly: So did you hit that?
Joaquin: No.
Pauly: Not even a blow job?
Joaquin: She gave me a handjob.
Derek: Totally useless. Why do women do that? You're better off stroking yourself.
I'll let Joaquin write up his sexual conquests, but I had to share that conversation we had. We also stopped off at Yogi's near the Beacon Theatre. They play a ton of country & western music and Joaquin sang along with almost every tune. We drank PBR out of a can, and it might be one of the cheapest bars in the city. I used to drink there sometimes with Haley.

Anyway Joaquin tried to chat up a table of women from South Africa and then he zeroed in on he two drunkest chick in the bar. The blonde and her ugly friend. He gave the ugly one a certain blogger's email address. I won't say which one. But if some random chick emails you in the next day or so... please let me know. The blonde was playing darts. Drunk people should never be around sharp objects. She nearly took one guy's eye out with a throw.
Joaquin: Do you know who this is? (Pointing to me)
Blonde: No? Maybe? He looks familiar.
Joaquin: He's a celebrity. Do you watch poker? (He pointed to the TV with had ESPN and the WSOP final table on)
Blonde: Sometimes.
Joaquin: That's Dr. Pauly.
Blonde: Awesome! (as she shook my hand) I thought I recognized you. Didn't you play in the WSOP, right?
Pauly: Yeah in two events... and I made the final table in one.
That's right. I used the WSOP final table line to pick up a soused chick in a dive bar in NYC. It's not really a line... because it's true. At least I didn't waste that line on her friend.

At some point AlCantHang called for a dial-a-shot. He won a feeroll at the Boathouse. I think the Spaceman got sick of having to step outside to smoke ciggies, especially since it's been friggin' cold as fuck in the city.

At Bourbon Street, Joaquin and I ordered drinks. After I told the female bartender what we wanted, Joaquin added, "And your phone number." You gotta love seeing The Rooster in action.

Spaceman had a rough night and spent some time in the bathroom. I walked in to check up on him and he was clutching the porcelain god. When he got out he muttered, "BG pukes and passes out. Spaceman pukes and keeps partying."

Yeah not only did Spaceman reference the infamous Brad-o-Ween incident involving BG (which we'll dub "Nap-gate") but Spaceman also referenced himself in the third person.

It's not a real trip to the big city unless you blow chunks in a random bathroom, while the Rooster milled around outside trying to pick up chicks waiting in line for the ladies room.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Spaceman and the Blue Parrot
"Yous fellas gonna be playin' Texas Hold'It?" - Ferrari's doorman
Wow, Derek scooped me on the Blue Parrot post! I was up until 6am writing the Vegas book and then I forgot I had to go eat lunch with Briana and her mother, who hates me. She's suspicious that I'm just after her family's money. "I'm not," I told her, "I just like sleeping with your daughter." No wonder the woman loathes me. Rich people hate it when you tell them the truth. Briana's father likes me only because he knows that her mother doesn't like me. I'm just a pawn in their world. The good part is that the old man has taken an interest in my poker career and I even got him to sign up for a Poker Stars account. I'm trying to get him to stake me in the Wall Street game which is a juicy $5K buy-in 10/20 NL game, which he admits he drops two or three buy-ins a week. But that's a post for another time.

Moving on...

Check out Derek's recap of where he specifically mentions his love for public urination. I have a sneaky suspicion that he and Spaceman are gonna piss in Joaquin's stairwell tonight.

If you don't know, Spaceman is in NYC for his Who Wants to be a Millionaire? interview. So what better way to prepare for that big moment than to play some poker at the infamous Blue Parrot? Ferrari got a game together at the last minute in honor of Spaceman's arrival in the big city. This was Spaceman's chance to play some cards against some of the best legal minds in the city along with the collection of other hipsters, bohemians, degenerate gamblers, and yuppies that often fling chips around the Blue Parrot. We had some regulars including a few first timers like Joaquin and Mike. We have not played since I got back from Vegas in August. With everyone's busy schedule and the recent busts in NYC card rooms, the felt at the Blue Parrot had not seen any action.

Here's the lineup:
Seat 1: Spaceman... Shit, you guys know about him! He rules and is one of my favorite bloggers.

Seat 2: Diane (early) then Joaquin (late night)... Diane is a former resident of the East Village. She's a slam poet, musician, singer, writer, blogger and has played plenty of times at the Blue Parrot.

Seat 3: Mike... a financial analyst by day and he's a devoted reader of my blogs. He even showed up at Al Cant Hang's Boathouse Bash! He regularly plays in the clubs around NYC.

Seat 4: Marie... Meet the entrepreneur. She adds a tinge of class and grace to the Blue Parrot. I think it's her British accent but she's often dropped a C-bomb or two at the table, which makes her just one of the gang.

Seat 5: Ferrari... a legal eagle by day and the owner and proprietor of the Blue Parrot by night, our awesome host let's his cats roam around freely and even leaves the windows to his 19th floor apartment wide open. And yes both his cats love to sit on the edge. Don't we all?

Seat 6: F Train... the a former teen idol pop singer in Norway quit the music industry and went to law school instead. Every once in a while a thirtysomething Scandinavian female (and former fan) sends him a pair of her unwashed undies. Sometimes he let's me sniff the dried pussy juice.

Seat 7: Om... Meet the Helmut Newton of the Blue Parrot. He's got the one job we all want (even me). Om is a fashion photographer and gets to be around hot, scantily clad women all the time. Dammit. I have to pay big bucks to get the action he gets everyday. Lucky fucker.

Seat 8: Derek... the self-admitted "Don Swayze" of poker bloggers. You guys also already know my brother Derek who spends most of his free time cranking out material for Card Squad when he's not lurking at the Razz tables on Full Tilt.

Seat 9: Joaquin (early)... Meet the Rooster. Joaquin is known to many as the "Rooster." If you don't know Spaceman actually has a rooster named Joaquin. No bullshit. Anyway, the Rooster is really a pimp and that's how he is able to purchase an unlimited supply of NY Yankees hats and fund his 75/150 Stud sessions in Atlantic City. He keeps encouraging me to hang out with that hot Puerto Rican chick I met at Jury Duty last year. She's the one that bitched to me that she got called for a "fuckin' murder trial." She was hotter than Jessica Alba and she stole my copy of Wil Wheaton's Just a Geek after she admitted she used to have a crush on Wil.

Seat 9: Ugarte (late night)... Meet the Comedian. Ugarte is a former attorney who walked out of his job and started a career as a stand up comic. He's funny. Seriously. The next time you are in NYC, you have to see one of his shows. He's also a stickler for the rules, so if you have poor poker etiquette, you're gonna catch a mouthful from Ugarte. He keep all of us slackers in line.

Seat 10: Pauly... I've actually stopped writing all together about six weeks ago and moved to a secret location on a papaya farm in Negril, Jamaica with Briana. I've hired 6 college students as writing interns and outsourced 3 more from Malaysia and they are the keeping up all my 32 blogs and writing articles for eight different publications. I love sub-contracting. I get to keep 95% of the pay for doing none of the work. I am paying off the broke and easily impressionable college kids with Oxycontin and free iPods. I've been sending autographed pictures of F Train to the Malaysian kids. Who knew he was such a big star in the Pacific Rim?

It was a full house at the Blue Parrot and Coach was noticeably absent. He was on a rare vacation with Mrs. Coach. The shaggy version of Ugarte (who's in his "hippie let's grow my hair out and start growing British Columbia dank on my roof" phase) arrived late and has lifted his personal exile from the Blue Parrot. It seems like ages ago since he and Ferrari decided it was best for the Blue Parrot that he not play there anymore. But I'm a big draw and Ugarte makes exceptions once in a while. He's good like that.

The buy-in at the Blue Parrot is $100 with the games being dealer's choice. The games get a little wild and it's not uncommon to leave with $300 or $400 after a few hours of play. Raises get very little respect at the Blue Parrot and most of the time, the betting is capped preflop. We usually play $2/4 Hold'em and Omaha 8 with $1/5 spread limit for Stud games. Since we had 10 players, we were limited to Hold'em and Omaha 8. After Midnight when the game gets shorthanded, it gets very wild and the other random games like Anaconda gets called or the limits get bumped up.

I started a new rule last night. If you get your Pocket Aces cracked... you get a hug from F Train.

7:00pm... Spaceman, Derek, and I participated in my normal Blue Parrot tradition of me eating at the Cheyenne diner. The pre-game 1 lb. cheeseburger with sauteed onions, mushrooms, and bacon helps soak up the impending booze and bad beats.

7:23pm... It was pouring out in the city, which sucked because neither of us had an umbrella. It always rains when I play at the Blue Parrot. Nothing is worse than having to walk back to the subway in the hard, cold, bitter rain after dropping two buy-ins and not having enough money for cab fare, so you have to take the subway with all the drunks, freakazoids, homeless people, and other forms of crazy people who wander around the city at 4am.

7:57pm... Cards are in the air! Diane got the button and she called Hold'em.

More updates and pics coming...

I flopped Quads with this Omaha hand

The Rooster's view

My chips: red (quarters), black ($1), green ($5), blue ($10), white ($25)

8:03pm... Diane's Big Slick beats my Kournikova. Diane 1, Pauly 0. That would be the beginning of several heads up battles I would have with Diane. I'm not saying she's a calling station, but she's gonna call every bet I make down to the river no matter what each of us have. We actually had good cards that instance.

8:25pm... Battle with Diane, Round 2 was won by me. With the Jackhammer I rivered a four after we both flopped a Jack. She had J-10. Diane 1, Pauly 1.

9:29pm... Om didn't have to wait until Midnight to get Ferrari on tilt. With K-5, Om rivered a full house to crack Ferrari's straight.

9:31pm... Joaquin was to my right so I did a live straddle during his big blind. I had Q-7 and it was capped. F Train didn't look ay his cards and raised it up. I took down a big pot from the Rooster.

9:56pm... Ferrari had a tough night and finally won his first pot.

10:05pm... Pauly 2, Diane 1 with my new favorite hand Q-7, and again who doesn't love four gappers? I turned a straight on Diane. She had 2-3s and the board was 4-5-6-8.

10:07pm... Derek won his first pot.

10:09pm... "I'm a total donkey," I admitted to Spaceman. At that point I was up over $200. I had $300 in chips on the table in two hours of play. Joaquin also had a hefty stack. He scooped a few monster pots in Omaha. Diane and Mike were playing in a lot of pots and were even. Om took an early hit and bled through his stack in the first hour. Ferrari, F Train, and Spaceman couldn't catch any cards. Derek and Marie were either playing super tight or they weren't catching cards either. I on the other hand was playing superb donkey poker. I was up $200 without one high pocket pair. Grubby and I have been developing a strategy that will not only tilt some of the psychological inept players at the table, but also pick up some big pots against any form of donkey, fishy tourists, Southern California players, online maniacs, and calling stations. Sir Waffle witnessed me putting that to use at Foxwoods and Grubby and I had been testing it out at Sunset Station and the Excalibur in Las Vegas.

10:10pm... With Q-7 (this time it was soooted), I took down another pot from the Rooster when the flop was 7-2-2.

10:14pm... I lost a monster pot to Diane. She flopped quad aces. I flopped a boat. Diane 2, Pauly 2.

10:35pm... During Omaha Hi, I flopped a set of Queens with K-Q-Q-9 double suited.

10:40pm... +140 after Seven-card Stud, I had split Kings to start A-K/Kand caught trips by fifth street.

11:05pm... +178. The Rooster might be the best Stud player (aside from Coach) to set foot in the Blue Parrot. But I took a nice pot off of him with Kings up versus his Queens. +178.

11:35pm... After a nice run in stud, I was up +190 after catching some cards in hold'em.

11:39pm... Marie got her aces cracked and she got a hug from F Train. He made ou on that deal more than she did!

11:40pm... The Hand of the Night! The pot was three way between Mike, Ferrari and Derek. The flop was 10-8-5. The betting was capped on the flop with Derek rerasing twice. At that point I put someone on a set and someone with a high pocket pair. The way Derek was betting it looked like he had a set. Mike folded on the river, but Ferrari turned up 8-8 and Derek showed 10-10. It was by far the biggest pot of the night and Derek went from being down a buy in to being up $50.

11:46pm... Ferrari dropped the Hammer! But it didn't win. He lost to Diane's A-Q.

11:47pm... Ugarte arrived. I forget when but sometime around this time. Diane and Marie left early.

11:50pm... Diane had been slowly morphing into the Tiffany Williamson of the Blue Parrot because she kept taking forever to make calls. At one point, Om got frustrated and started eggging her on. He wasn't even in on the hand. Derek and her were heads up and Derek made a raise on the river. After Diane kept pondering a call, Om snapped, "What are you taking so long for? This is not $20/40 at the Bellagio. This is $2/4 at the Blue Parrot. Derek is going to show his hand no matter what," as he pointed to Derek's cards and picked them up (without showing her the actual cards). She called and Om showed the table Derek's pocket aces.

12:20am... I hate Omaha 8. +160.

12:55am... I hate Omaha 8. +115

12:59am... I flopped two pair with 9-7. It was sooted. Anyway Ferrari had 4-4 and Joaquin dealt the turn before Ferrari could act. The 4 of spades was exposed and would get killed. Ferrari mucked. Om and I were still in the hand. We reshuffled the 4 of spades into the deck. F Train joked, "I've seen the card come back out before. It's happened." And instantly, the four of spades was dealt in the river.

1:13am... After five hours of play, Spaceman finally got to call a round of Omaha Hi. That's how long it took for the deal to make its way around the table once. Play was slow last night at the Blue Parrot.

1:15am... +155 after Omaha Hi.

2:10am... +95. I hate Razz.

2:40am... +130 after Stud Hi/Lo. I scooped a big pot with a flush.

2:42pm... Mike rivered a royal flush in Derek during Stud! He got one at Foxwoods last month.

That's it for now. It was another fun night at the Blue Parrot and although Spaceman didn't catch any cards, he still had fun and sample a Blue Parrot game. They are rare these days, which make them even more fun. When it was time to cash out, the bank was short, which has never happened. We think Joaquin and Diane made a mistake when they cashed out/cashed back into the game.

Here's the final tally:
Pauly +135
Ugarte +105
Diane +77
Joaquin +50
Derek +11
Om +8.50
F Train -35
Mike -54
Marie -80
Ferrari -92
Spaceman -130

Monday, November 21, 2005

Las Vegas Bloggers Prison Pact

I won't be talking about the 60 Minutes piece on internet gambling. My stance is pretty clear. We should legalize online gambling, marijuana, and prostitution... then tax the hell out of fit.

Moving on...

The bloggers in Vegas trip is coming pretty soon. Heck, I'll be in Las Vegas in less than 10 days! I think it's time to start talking about the upcoming trip. Here's the deal. So far we've been a well behaved bunch of bloggers in Las Vegas. Two trips resulted in zero arrests. A few of us have passed out but no one has gotten tossed into county lock up... yet.

I propose that we honor the first blogger who gets arrested by bailing him/her out of jail. It's the prize for winning the prop bet: First Blogger Arrested in Vegas. Before you decide, you might want to take a peek at possible situations that could happen.

Potential Blogger Arrests:
  • Iggy (public intoxication and you have to be really fucked up to get thrown in the drunktank in Vegas)
  • Daddy (Beastiality, sodomy, necrophelia & sexual misconduct with a donkey)
  • Bobby Bracelet (indecent exposure)
  • AlCantHang (illegal gaming activities on a casino property without a permit)
  • Gracie (detained indefinitely by Homeland Security)
  • Bad Blood (assault and intent to maim with furniture)
  • April Texas and Heather (breaking & entering into Phil Gordon's house)
  • Maudie (grand theft auto)
  • CJ ("lookout" for a crack dealer at the Redneck Riviera)
  • JoeSpeaker (prostitution - selling himself)
  • Pauly (prostitution - trying to pick up hookers at MGM)
  • Poker Nerd (shoplifting batteries)
  • HDouble (possession of an illegal firearm)
  • Travis (draft dodging from the Canadian Air Force)
  • Otis ("Peeping Tom")
  • Boy Genius (removing a wine steward's left eye with a corkscrew after he accidentialy brought BG the house Merlot)
  • G-Rob & Shelly (robbing a liquor store)
  • Drizz (disorderly conduct: starting a food fight at the Bellagio buffet)
  • Grubby (fraud: sliding a pinky finger into his Wedny's chili)
  • Alan (stalking Celine Dion)
  • California April (intent to distribute narcotics: setting up a meth lab in her hotel room)
  • Felicia (marijuana possession)
  • Derek & the Poker Geek (illegally importing spider monkeys from Brazil)
  • Joanne (wanted by Mounties for "moose-icide" after running over sixteen moose with her car in the last 18 months)
  • -EV (imitating Phil Hellmuth at Cheetah)
  • Wil (public urination for pissing in the pool at the Bellagio, the Mirage, the Hilton (twice), the Flamigo, the Venetian...)
  • Jaxia (excessive groping of dancers at Olympic Garden)
  • Spaceman & Joaquin (running an 3 card Monte game on Las Vegas Blvd.)
  • Big Mike (executing a bartender on the spot for running out of SoCo)
  • Bill (tresspassing after trying to scuba dive in the Bellagio fountain)
  • on_THG (pickpocketing toursists during the Fremont Light show)
  • Dr. Jeff, Chilly, Marty & Brian (selling Oxycontin and Viagra to Catholic high school kids)
  • Human Head & Chad (busted as couriers for a Shanghai/Las Vegas illegal organ snatching scheme)
  • Poker Prof (hacking into Party Poker)

Sorry if I didn't get to mention everyone. I ran out of time.

So if we all take note of each other's vices and weaknesses and help everyone stay clear of trouble, we should have another arrest free weekend in Vegas. Best of luck to everyone. And here's the best part... the winner gets their mugshot posted on everyone's friggin' blog. So who's gonna get busted by the pigs first?

Sunday, November 20, 2005

En Fuego: Congrats CJ!

Editor's Note: I apologize for the delay in posting this recap. I've been on the road all week and finally got back to NYC.

CJ won Satudays with Dr. Pauly Event #3 on Poker Stars! If you haven't been paying attention, or just started your poker blog last week and have no clue about CJ... he's been on a rush playing MTTs. Last week I dubbed on_thg as one of the best blogger tournament players. This week, I'm going to call CJ the "Most Improved Tournament Player" among us. In a short time span he's gone from admitted "dead money" to a top notch tournament threat. He's proof that if you become a student of the game and work on your play, while taking the advice of your fellow bloggers, you can achieve great things at the tables. Congrats again to CJ on a job well deserved. By the way, I can I borrow $2K?

I played in the third Saturdays with Dr. Pauly event in Rhode Island in Senor's basement, with his two-year old running around like bonkers. We were planning on leaving at 4pm to drive to Wallingford, CT to see a concert, so I hoped that the tourney would end as quickly as possible. It last about 15 minutes longer than I could stay, so I apologize that I missed the last 4 or 5 bustouts at the final table.

This tournament was big because it would set the tone for the few remaining players trying to win an iPod (1st place), The Big Lebowski DVD (2nd place), or a Christmas phone call from Daddy (third place). I'm also giving out a special "Boobie Prize" to last place overall. As of now, here's who has the best shot at the iPod:
Top 5 on the iPod Leaderboard:
1. On_Thg 8-1-19 = 28 (Event #2 Winner)
1. Philly63367 12-10-6 = 28
3. Bobby Bracelet 3-25-15 = 43
4. CJ 5-44-1 = 50 (Event #3 Winner)
5. Jen Leo 10-24-24 = 58
Best of luck everyone next week and thanks again to everyone who played this week and in previous events. The next tournament is this upcoming Saturday on Poker Stars! It will be the last one this year. Although I am trying to organize a New Year's Eve tournament on Poker Stars. So stay tuned for those details.

Here are some random notes from event #3:

1:00pm... I found Wil Wheaton at my table to start, but he was sitting out so I assumed he was still sleeping. Here was my first table:
Seat 1: Rod
Seat 2: Pauly
Seat 3: Wil
Seat 5: Mofo888
Seat 7: JenLeo
Seat 8: SoxLover
Seat 9: GCox25
1:05pm... I was quickly moved to a new table. Here's that lineup:
Seat 1: JHartness
Seat 2: GCox25
Seat 3: BG
Seat 4: BadBlood
Seat 5: Bddie
Seat 6: Pauly
Seat 7: JoeSpeaker
Seat 8: Lifesagrind
Seat 9: Whaaaa?
1:22pm... I'm 24th out of 72 remaining players.

1:25pm... I dropped the Hammer at my table with an Ace on the board. JoeSpeaker said he folded K-K.

1:33pm... I raised preflop with 10-9o. I was the first player in the pot. On the button, JoeSpeaker called with 10-10. The flop: J-8-3. I bet out, Joe raised and I moved all-in. He thought for a while and called. I had the open ended straight draw and Joe did not have any of my outs which was good, but it still didn't help me. I was busted in 67th place. Congrats to JoeSpeaker won won a free iTunes gift card!

1:45pm... I started packing for my trip and logged on to play a cash game with Wil Wheaton, Rod, Joanne, CJ, BobbyBracelet and DrChako. I let Senor play for me for a while and he won a few hands.

The Final Table

PokerStars Tournament #14328938
Buy-In: $10.00/$1.00
78 players
Total Prize Pool: $780.00
Tournament started @ 13:00:00 (ET)
Tournament finished @ 16:18:43 (ET)

Money Winners for Event #3:
1: Up4Poker (Lafayette), $234.00 (30%)
2: Crossroads9 (Middleton), $156.00 (20%)
3: SoxLover (Jersey City), $93.60 (12%)
4: TraumaPoker (LaGrange), $78.00 (10%)
5: jerge88 (Ames), $62.40 (8%)
6: phily63367 (lake saint louis), $50.70 (6.50%)
7: Maudie (, $42.90 (5.50%)
8: Boobie Lover (Vale), $35.10 (4.50%)
9: Joanne1111 (Calgary), $27.30 (3.50%)

CJ: Saturdays with Dr. Pauly Event #3 Champion

That's it for now. Thanks again for playing. See you all on Saturday!
iPod Leaderboard

Updated thru Event #3

Top 10:
1. On_Thg 8-1-19 = 28 (Event #2 Winner)
1. Philly63367 12-10-6 = 28
3. Bobby Bracelet 3-25-15 = 43
4. CJ 5-44-1 = 50 (Event #3 Winner)
5. Jen Leo 10-24-24 = 58
6. SirWaffle 1-58-12 = 71 (Event #1 Winner)
7. Joanne 25-43-9 = 77
8. Gary634 2-20-72 = 94
9. Drizz 19-40-37 = 96
10. TML10023 (Terry Lane) 29-17-53 = 99

The Rest:
11. SarahBellum 23-34-43 = 100
12. JoeSpeaker 76-3-22 = 101
13. Maudie 21-75-7 = 103
14. Wes Big Pirate 91-2-11 = 104
15. SgtDanko 9-68-28 = 105
16. Timinator 31-46-29 = 106
17. RickLang 63-6-38 = 107
18. Donegal (Chad) 67-7-35 = 109
19. Shane Big Pimpin Nickerson 24-29-61 = 114
20. Human Head 6-62-51 = 119
21. Blink182 20-37-64 = 121
22. Wyndigo 52-4-66 = 122
22. Seadog46 41-65-16 = 122
24. Boobie Lover 50-71-8 = 129
25. BG 16-79-36 = 131
26. Mofo888 14-87-32 = 133
27. Spaceman 11-54-69 = 134
27. Columbo 62-9-63 = 134
27. Slimerface 93-15-26 = 134
27. Iphist 35-74-25 = 134
31. Katitude 4 78 54 = 136
32. Mattazuma 51 16 71 = 138
33. Presdlee 7 56 76 = 139
34. John1984 46-64-34 = 144
35. Mourn 98-35-14 = 147
36. Whaaaa? 47-33-70 = 150
37. Derek 53-86-21 = 160
38. Arcon 49-41-74 = 164
39. John Shecky Caldwell 82-55-27 = 164
40. Skitchorama 48 45 75 = 168
41. Pauly 26-77-67 = 170
42. Bddide 66-49-56 = 171
43. Rod 86-31-59-176
44. April98 92-92-17 = 201
45. LifesaGrind 73-73-60 = 206
46. BobBlahBlah 83-84-40 = 217
47. Change100 74-93-55 = 222

Friday, November 18, 2005

WPT Foxwoods World Poker Finals - Final Table

Foxwoods is my home casino. It's not just the birthplace of poker-porn-funk, it's also where I developed into a real card player. It's also been the original source of material for my poker blog. Without Foxwoods, the Tao of Poker would never exist. I used to blog my trip reorts on my main blog, the Tao of Pauly. My non-poker-playing friends staretd a mutiny and begged me to move my poker stuff onto a different blog. Thus, the Tao of Poker was born in August 2003 and the rest has been history.

When I first started to play poker seriously two summers ago, this was the place where I spent many hours improving my low-limit Hold'em game and witnessed the poker boom shake up Foxwoods. I eventually moved up in the ranks from 2/4 to 4/8 to 5/10 to 20/40, while the players in those middle limits got fishier and fishier. I also played dozens No Limit tournaments at Foxwoods including live SNGs satellites to try to get into the main event at the World Poker Finals. I eventually introduced Foxwoods to Derek and again this was way before either of us played online at Party Poker or Poker Stars.

Yeah, it's been a long strange trip.

Two years ago, I was so broke that I'd buy a Greyhound bus ticket on my credit card or borrow $26 for a bus ticket from my ex-girlfriend (and part-time soap opera actress) Haley. I had no concept of bankroll management and I would buy-in my entire bankroll and sit at a 4/8 table. This was way before I started playing online, so I took weekly trips to Foxwoods and slowly built up my bankroll while grinding away in the underground clubs in New York City or at home games like the Blue Parrot. I never once expected that two years later, I would walk into the poker room at Foxwoods, be spotted by regular readers of my blog, then pick up a copy of Poker Player Newspaper to discover my article on the front page.

All roads on my poker journey lead back to Foxwoods.

There was a time, many moons ago, when I first played $1-5 Stud at Foxwoods. That's when they allowed smoking in the poker room, and it looked like London on a foggy evening. Back then the room wasn't as crowded because you also had the option to play at Mohegan Sun 15 minutes down the road, which also had a poker room. In fact, Senor and I prefered playing at Mohegan Sun (the $3/6 game was excellent) but the tribal commission closed their room due to a slight scandal involving cocaine and hookers (and I'm not making that up or exaggerating) and we're still waiting for them to open up their poker room.

And now I get to live blog the final table of the World Poker Finals at Foxwoods. Sure I've covered the last ever WSOP main event final table in Benny's Bullpen, blogged the UPC at the Plaza, done WPT events at the Borgata and Bellagio, and even announced a final table on the EPT in Barcelona... but this has been the most special week for me as a blogger, writer, and poker player. Foxwoods is a homecoming of sorts.

In many ways the past year of success has flown by so fast and after living out of a suitcase and traveling all the time, it's been extremely hard for me to adjust to all of this and fully live in the moment to soak it all up. This past week, I was very conscious of how lucky I am and how cool it feels to return to the place where it all began. It didn't sink in until I stepped back into the poker room for the first time and a wave of humility bombarded me.

Just a quick note, there are a few tournaments over the next three days:
Friday @ 4pm ET
Poker Stars
WWdN: HeyKidsItsBG! Invitational
$10 + 1
Tourney #14992726 (check under private tournament tab)
Password = monkey

Saturday @ 1pm EST
Poker Stars
Saturday's with Dr. Pauly
Tournament #14328938 (check under private tournament tab)
$10 +1 NL Hold'em
Password = hiltons
Winner #1: SirWaffle
Winner #2: on_thg

Sunday @ 3pm EST
Full Tilt Poker
WPBT Shootout
$10 +1 NL
Only open to people who will be attending the Dec. 10th WPBT event in Vegas. Email Bill for password (for those who played last week, same password). This is the last one so if you miss out, you miss out.

Moving on...

We're at the Grand Pequot Ballroom at majestic Foxwoods Casino in Ledyard, Connecticut for the final table of the main event of the World Poker Finals. I'll be sitting in press row on the set of the WPT providing some live blogging updates and a picture of two.

Here are some quick stats:
Entrants: 783
Remaining Players: 6
Chipleader: Nick Schulman $3.5M
Current Level: Blinds $15K/$30K with a $5K ante
Average Stack: $1.3M

Top 6 Chipleaders:
1. Nick Schulman (New York City) $3.502M
2. Anthony "Tony" Licastro (Long Valley, New Jersey) $1.412M
3. Allen Cunningham (Las Vegas, NV) $795K
4. Lenny Cortellino (Lewiston, Maine) $773K
5. Bill Gazes (Old Westbury, NY) $693K
6. Lyle Berman (Las Vegas, NV) $659K

1st $2,142,000 + $25K Seat in the WPT Championships at the Bellagio
2nd $1,035,000
3rd $759,000
4th $483,000
5th $345,000
6th $276,000
***** Live Blogging Updates *****

3:30pm... Arrived early and set up in press row. Sitting in between Larry Kang from Bluff and Heather from Poker Wire. I got Lyle Berman in the media pool. Here's who has who:
Sharla: Anthony Licastro $1.412M
Jen: Allen Cunningham $795K
Larry: Lenny Cortellino $773K
BJ: Bill Gazes $693K
Pauly: Lyle Berman $659K
4:01pm... I signed up to play in Wil Wheaton's tournament since we are running late. I got seated at the same table as my brother which always sucks.

4:11pm... Wil Wheaton won a pot with A-A.

4:20pm... This is Bill Gazes and Allen Cunningham's second WPT final table. Lenny Cortellino won a $5K event last week and is the WPT World Poker Finals Player of the Year. Tony Licastro cashed in a WSOP event this year and also finished 11th at the WSOP Circuit in San Diego.

4:24pm... I was busted early in Wil's tourney when my A-Q lost to WhoisPain's J-J.

4:25pm... Cards are in the air.

4:30pm... Here are some pictures of the players from today's final table:

Allen Cunningham

Lenny Cortellino

Anthony Licastro

Lyle Berman

Chipleader: Nick Schulman

Beind the scenes at Foxwoods

The Final Table

4:37pm... After picking up a few early pots, Allen Cunningham reached the million dollar mark.

4:48pm... On Hand #14, Tony Licastro moved all in preflop with 10-10 and Lenny Cortellino called with 8-8. They both flopped sets! Alas Lenny's hand did not improve and he finished in 6th place. He won $276,000. Tony Licastro now has about $2.1M in chips.

4:54pm... Bill Gazes doubled up against Tony Licastro when his K-K held up against Q-Q. Bill now has about a million in chips. Nick has $3.6M.

5:14... On hand #25, Nick Schulman had A-K against Lyle Berman's A-J. Lyle Berman's hand did not improve and he was eliminated. He won $345K for 5th place.

5:26pm... Players are on a break. Here's an updated chipcount:
1 Nick Schulman $4.6M
2 Tony Licastro $1.2M
3 Allen Cunningham $ 1M
4 Bill Gazes $930K
5:40pm... Play has resumed. Blinds are $25K/50K with $5K antes.

5:49pm... On hand #38, Allen Cunningham moved all in preflop for $970K with J-10 against Nick Schulman's K-K. Cunningham's hand did not improve and he finished in 4th place winning $483K. So far Jen, Larry, and myself are out of the pool. Three players remain and Nick has well over $5 million in chips.

5:59pm... Updated chip count:
1. Nick Schulman $5.92M
2. Tony Licastro $1.05M
3. Bill Gazes $650K
6:00pm... BTW, if you want to download the curent issue of Poker Player Newspaper, you can click here to snag the pdf. I wrote the cover story.

6:15pm... Bill Gazes doubled up when his 3-3 held up against Tony Liscastro's Ah-Jh. Tony turned a nut flush draw, but it didn't hit. Bill moved up to $945K. Tony slipped to $850K. Ad Nick has all the remainder of the chips.

6:30pm... Bill Gazes moved all in with A-A and Tony Licastro called with K-10. Bill had him covered. Tony flopped a straight when 9-Q-J fell. Bill's aces got cracked and he doubled up Tony. Bill has $1.1 million. Tony has $1.3M and Nick has about $5M plus.

6:48pm... Players are on a break. When the resume, we will be on a new level. Blinds are $40K/80K with $10K antes. Nick had $5.36M. Tony has $1.35M and Bill has $1.12M.

6:54pm... The biggest pot of the day so far just went down. Nick Schulman raised and Tony Licastro moved all in for over the top of Nick for $1M with A-9. Nick called with A-5s. Tony's hand held up and he doubled up against Nick. Tony has $2.1 to Nick's $4.3M. That was the first big hand that Nick lost today. He had stayed out of trouble and avoided playing big pots and won several small ones until he doubled up Tony.

7:20pm... We were om a short crew break as they changed tapes. Here's an updated chpcount courtesy of Poker Wire:
1 Nick Schulman $4.11M
2 Tony Licastro $2.75M
3 Bill Gazes $980K
7:35pm... On hand #85, Nick Schulman just busted Bill Gazes in 3rd place. Bill had K-8 and Nick flipped over A-Q. Nick flopped an ace and his hand held up. Bill Gazes won $759K for third place. We have reached heads up play. Nick has about a 2 to 1 chip lead over Tony Licastro.... with $5.1M to $2.6M.

7:50pm... Play was paused for the money presentation. Three Native American women were dressed up in the traditonal Pequot garb and presented the money in three hand woven baskets.

7:58pm... On hand #89 and the fourth hand of heads up play, we have a winner! Nick Shulman turned a flush against Tony Liscastro's two pair to knock him out in second place. Tony $1,035,000 for second place and Nick took home $2,142,000 and a $25K Seat in the WPT Championships at the Bellagio! Congrats Nick!

Nick Shulman: 2005 WPT Foxwoods World Poker Finals Champion

8:44pm... That's it from Foxwoods. It's been a fun week, one of the best assignments that I've been on this year! Thanks to the WPT, Foxwoods, and everyone in the media. Thanks for reading and stopping by all week. You can read a final recap on Las Vegas and Poker Blog in a few hours. Now I'm going to Amy Ruth's with BJ for some fried chicken, waffles, and sweet tea.

The next poker tournament I am covering will be the WPT Five Diamond Classic at the Bellagio in Las Vegas in mid-December. See ya then.