Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Poker in Australia

By Pauly
Melbourne, Australia

Andi Lew (famous TV presenter in Oz) shows off the Poker News Cup

The Poker News Cup is over. It was one of the best events that I covered in 2007. Mainly because there wasn't an ominous shadow of suffocating pressure which I felt every single moment at the WSOP being part of the official media team. Conversely, the Poker News Cup was fun and relaxing. Plus, I work with several amazing people at Poker News and the owners, CEO, editor-in-chief and other suits appreciate and understand the workload, obstacles, and random bullshit that we endure when covering a poker tournament.

With the completion of the final table early on Tuesday morning, Dory Zayner won the main event and $300,000. That officially marked the last gig of 2007 for me. After an extremely long, grueling, and amazing ten months on the road, I finally get to go home to patch my bones. I don't have to cover another tournament until the Aussie Millions starts in January of 2008. Yep. I get a two month reprieve from doing chip counts and writing bust out hands. I feel like a little kid who just finished the last day of school before summer vacation.

I get the next two months off and will be enjoying every second of it, especially the five or so weeks I get to spend in New York City (and a week in Las Vegas) before I have to load up the backpack and head back down under for the Aussie Millions. I have spent almost four months outside of America so far this year. 40%. I gathered up material for a book, several Truckin' stories, and plenty of stuff to write about for my Bluff column called On the Road.

The more time I spent outside of America traveling, I gain more perspective. And I eventually return home with a stronger sense of love for my country and miss the things which make it great. On the other hand, I also return home completely infuriated because I see how other countries operate and wish the powers to be in America shared a similar philosophy to education and health care. Alas, I'll save those rants for another time. In the end, I'm very lucky to be an American and I'm even luckier that I get paid to travel and see the world. Ultimately, all of those experiences and conversations help me to become a well-rounded person and evolve into a better writer.

Once the assignment was over and I finished uploading winner's photos, I quickly headed to the Las Vegas bar in the poker room. One of the Crown officials had a running tab for the staff and I got to drink for free. At some point someone suggested that we all play on a PokerPro table. The Crown Casino has several PokerPro tables and at 2am, there were a few empty ones. Gaz purchased a stack of $20 pre-paid cards and off we went. I had just gotten off work, so I wasn't as tanked as everyone else. Suffice to say, everyone was shitfaced and in good spirits. Here's the line up:
Poker Pro Tables Kangaroo Fest:
Seat 1: Gaz
Seat 2: Cory-Ann
Seat 3: Angelica
Seat 4: Pauly
Seat 5: Danny McDonagh
Seat 6: Paul Khoury
Seat 7: Theo
Seat 8: Change100
Seat 9: Jonno
Seat 10: Ozzie
Ozzie had made the final table and busted out a few hours earlier. He had been celebrating heavily with friends. That was the first time I actually had a chance to play poker. We had tons of fun. Everyone was hammered, yelling, screaming, and pushing all in with junk. The best part of the machines is that they display your winning percentages on the screen.

Theo jumped from $20 to $280 in less than 15 minutes. That's how crazy the game was. People would bust out and Gaz would toss you another pre-paid card. We decided on an hour time limit for the table. When we reached that point, Theo had donked off the rest of his stack. Cory-Ann had over $350 and Change100 was the only other player left with chips. She had almost $80. The two girls cashed out and headed out to consume more liquor.

There's a pub located a few blocks from the Casino called Pit 5. It was owned by a former employee of the casino who wanted to have a place to drink right after work ended. It is open until 7am! It's essentially a dive with a couple of couches, two pool tables, dart boards, karakoe machine, and several poker tables. As soon as you walk inside the dimly lit bar, there's a large poker table. A group of ten people were on that. They all worked at the casino and were enjoying a few drinks... at 4am.

I'm not joking when I say that AC/DC was blasting on the jukebox when we walked inside. Thunderstruck. We grabbed a few drinks at the bar and I shot pool with Change100. Our friend Slippers set up a poker table and got everything ready. You can play poker for money in pubs in Australia as long as they don't charge a rake. You pick up a chip case at the bar. We sat down at one of the smaller six-handed tables and played a seven-handed $20 SNG. Top two won prize money with $100 to first and $40 to second.
The Pub SNG:
Seat 1: Frank
Seat 2: Jonno
Seat 3: Change100
Seat 4: Theo
Seat 5: Pauly
Seat 6: Slippers
Seat 7: Sally
I played with five poker dealers or former dealers. That was good and bad. Dealers in Las Vegas are habitually known as loose poker players and action junkies. That was the good part. The bad part is that they knew all the rules and called you on any infraction. Here's an example. On the first hand I got dealt pocket nines. Blinds were 25/25 and I picked up a black 100 chip and tossed it out. They quickly said that was just a call. They were right. I never announced raise. Even though I was drunk, I should have known better. Two face cards hit the flop and I bailed.

Frank busted out on the first hand. He flopped two pair, but Jonno caught running clubs to drag the pot with a flush. The second rules incident involved the hand where I busted Change100. From UTG, I wanted to limp. Blinds were 100/200. I tossed out three black chips by mistake. They made a ruling and I had to complete a minimum raise of 400. I had 5-4o and shrugged my shoulders as I tossed in the extra chip. Everyone called including Change100 in the big blind. Flop was 10-4-4. Change100 shoved with K-10 and I quickly called. Not only did I bust her, I ended up knocking out everyone else. I badbeated Theo when my A-10 outflopped his Big Slick. I bullied Slippers in a few pots before I busted him. My A-9 held up against Sally's A-2 and then I found myself heads up with Jonno. It only lasted two hands. On the second hand, he shoved with K-10 and I called with A-Q. Next thing I knew, it was 5am I had won our SNG.

What $500K in Aussie bucks looks like

We had a full day off to recover on Tuesday and last night, I played Chinese Poker with Schecky and Change100 at a bar on Southbank. I went on a heater and took down the session. Schecky had a $100 black casino chip left. He said whoever won the session would get to pick which six-square of roulette numbers to bet it on. I went with 1-6. It fell into #5 then popped out at the last second and fell on 25. So fuckin' rigged.

In other degenerate sports betting news...

I won one big bet on the NFL this week. Detroit +6 over Da Bears. The Lions came through. I've also been on a sick run betting on the Swedish premiere hockey league. I ran my Betsson account up from $200 to $2K since I arrived down under. When I get back to the States, I'm starting a new blog dedicated to gambling on Swedish hockey and maybe I'll throw a few greyhound racing bad beat stories in there.

I'll be in Australia for another eight days before I fly back to Hollyweird. Going to take some time and explore a little bit. First up is a drive along the Great Ocean Road. I'll take some pictures for sure. We're also going to visit Philip Island so I can show Change100 kangaroos, penguins, and koala bears. Then we'll visit friends in Sydney before we return home. Australia is one of the most amazing places I had ever visited. I'm lucky that I get to come back in two months.

* * * * *

Some quick links...

I almost peed myself when I watched Tony G's latest video blog. The G is getting fit. Check it out. Loved the bit where he's betting on the greyhounds.

Check out Mean Gene's piece over at Las Vegas Vegas titled Online Poker Legal and Political Opponents...Part 1.

Check out an interview I did with Michele Lewis. I'm one of her "Studs of Poker." Weeeeeee!

Original content written and provided by Pauly from Tao of Poker at www.taopoker.com. All rights reserved. RSS feeds are for non-commercial use only.

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