Sunday, December 30, 2007

Tao of Poker 2007 Year in Review - Part 2

By Pauly
New York City

Here's Part 2 of the Year in Review which covers June through December including the WSOP, WSOP-Europe, EPT Barcelona, and the Poker News Cup. I spent over six weeks in Europe including stints Amsterdam, Sweden, Barcelona, and London and went back to Australia for the second time in 2007.

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I started the month in Las Vegas covering the WSOP. You should probably just read through all of the June archives.

I was working in excess of 120 hours a week for Poker News, yet managed to find the time to write around 60K words in June on Tao of Poker about the WSOP. And that doesn't include assignments for other clients that I wrote.

Welcome to the WSOP was an introduction post and also mentioned my cash at a TI tournament.

Day 1: Long Lines, Shitty Cards, and the French Fries Prop Bet is about the insane lines at the Rio and how I lost an eating prop bet with Tiffany.

Day 2: The Poker Sauna, 3,000 Monkeys, and Pussy Pics was when I officially dubbed the poker tent as the "poker sauna" which was a term that would end up getting ripped off by other hacks covering the WSOP.

Day 3: MrSmokey1 Day and Matusow & Forrest $100,000 Weight Loss Prop Bet recaps the youngest ever bracelet winner (at the time).

Day 4: PLO Madness, Prop Putting, and the Return of Liz Lieu Tuesdays had some interesting highlights from 5K PLO w/ Rebuys.

Day 5: Stealing from the G, Donkey Bomber Wins, and Poker Tent Blown Away covered Pokerati's own DonkeyBomber winning his first bracelet (and it would not be his last). Also in that epic post included excerpts from Tony G's post after he caught CardPlayer stealing from PokerNews' coverage. I know that they had been stealing shit because I entered fake names into the chip count and they lifted every one... including Derek, The Rooster, one of the guys from Phish, and Sailor Roberts... who had passed away years ago.

Day 6: Burt Boutin Wins Event #7 and Brandi's Universe... Boutin was jacked up on twenty-seven Red Bulls and Brandi Hawbaker played in the WSOP and caught everyone's attention.

Day 7: One Week Down, Six to Go... man, by the time the first week ended, I was spent. But two players who won bracelets in the first week would end up having remarkable runs at the 2007 WSOP. Those two men were... Tom "DonkeyBomber" Schneider and Alex Kravchenko, who had won Event #9.

Day 8: Where's Vinnie? captured the beginning of the Vinnie Vinh Saga. Little did we all know, that he would become one of the biggest stories of the 2007 WSOP.

Day 9: Vinnie Vinh Alive and Mrs. Spaceman Takes Down Blogger Title... even on my rare day off, I still managed to write a but about Mrs. Spaceman taking down the blogger tournament after beating Grubbette heads up.

Day 10: Allen Cunningham Wins #5, Phil Hellmuth Seeks #11, and Negreanu Joins Team of PokerStars... the always quiet and super professional Allen Cunningham silently picked up his 5th bracelet. He'll have 10 by the end of the decade and 15 by 2015.

Day 11: Hellmuth's 11 and Liz Lieu Tuesdays recaps Hellmuth's record setting bracelet win.

Day 12: Shootout discussed the bank robbery near UNLV and the big hooker bust at the Rio.

Day 13: Good Morning Vietnam and Step into the Freezer is about one of the biggest disappointments of the WSOP... the infamous Bluff Tent. Here's a bit... I fear that the Forbidden City/Black Hole/Sequestarium will become Bluff's own personal Vietnam minus the hookers saying, "No boom-boom with soul brother."

Day 14: Lost Paradise was one of those pieces that 50% who read it thought it was sheer brilliance and genius, while the other 50% thought it was utter garbage and got so angry that other people loved it. My favorite line was... "All flights eventually land in Las Vegas to drop off more wretches who foolishly think they can tame the lost paradise. I'm one of them." I was super exhausted when I wrote it and that those words poured out when I sat down at the machine to write. I fell asleep at my laptop and when I woke up two hours later late for work, I hit publish instead of trying to re-write it and organize my thoughts. It might have been better, or might have lost it's punch. Who knows. It is what it is.

Day 15: Clements Time, the $18,000 Weed Prop Bet, and Brandon Schaefer Crushes Day 1 detailed a bet I wanted to make with a pothead friend of mine.

Day 16: Congestion Mutation and the Ghost of Vinnie Vinh chronicled the zoo-like atmosphere at the Rio because of the fans and the amateur paparazzi who take non-stop photos of their favorite pros.

Day 17: Hellmuth's 60th Cash and Eskimo Clark Lives was one of the shorter posts I wrote all summer. As Michalski would say to me, "You totally phoned it in there."

Day 18: Down Goes Eskimo, Hellmuth's 12, and Liz Lieu Tuesdays included a heated exchange between an unknown internet pro who stood up and bullied Hellmuth as they jawed back and forth for a few hours.

Day 19: The Ghost of Stuey Ungar and Katja Thater Wins Razz Bracelet is the post that a lot of close friends (and people I deeply respect and admire) thought was one of my best pieces from the summer and one of the best things written at the entire WSOP. If I had known it was going to get so much attention, I would have spent more time on it.

Day 20: Hoyt Corkins Wins Bracelet and Heads Up Prop Betting recapped Hoyt Corkins bracelet run.

Day 21: Late Night Hijinks, Lisandro's Breakthrough Victory, and Fantasy Sports Live... might not have been the best thing I wrote all summer, but I recall that I had the most fun writing it. This is why... "As soon as my event ended, my pharmaceutical cocktail of generic Vicodin and NyQuil Day medicine (which Ed from Gutshot pointed out was actually called DayQuil) finally kicked in. Wired. Eight hours too late. That's what I was so I wandered around in a buzzed state."

Day 22: I Never Thought I'd Make It This Far was another short piece which I most likely phoned in..

Day 23: Live Poker Is Rigged, Tilting CK Hua, and How I Cashed in Event #38 detailed Day 1 of the only event I played in at the WSOP. I made it to Day 2 which ensured a cash in my first open WSOP event. I had made the final table of the media event in 2005

Day 24: 119/2778 = $4,740 is were I recapped Day 2 of the only event I played at the WSOP. I ended up getting busted by Erica Schoenberg.

Day 25: Horse Day 2 and Liz Lieu Tuesdays included the 50K HORSE event.

Day 26: Horse Day 3 and Wednesday Pimp included more recaps of HORSE.

Day 27: Lindgren Wins $340K Golf Prop Bet and $50K HORSE Final Table Set discussed how Erick Lindgren almost died from an insane golfing prop bet... and how I was one of the only people who bet on him and not against him.

Day 28: Freddy Deeb Wins $50K HORSE and I was there in the front row doing color commentary for Poker News. The final table ended at 5am.

Day 29: Sartre's Lobster was inspired by a conversation about Jean-Paul Sartre that I had with Benjo during the final table of HORSE. I had been worrying about things out of my control and that had been eating away at my soul. Once HORSE ended and after my conversation with Benjo, I felt a thousand times better. Although I was physically worn down and mentally battered after a month of insane work, I felt that a tremendous burden had been lifted off of my shoulders.

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The month began deep into the WSOP.

Day 30: Donkey Bomber Wins Second Bracelet and Bill Edler the Stunning One Wins First Bracelet is about a rare day when the good guys actually won.

Day 31: European Invasion discussed all the Europeans who showed up for the $10K PLO event.

Day 32: Doyle's Eleven and Liz Lieu Tuesdays covered Texas Dolly's run for bracelet #11.

Day 33: Smells Like Happiness was written on a rare day off where I went to see Widepread Panic play at the old Aladdin Theatre, now called Planet Ho. Anyway, I listed the first 51 bracelet winners of the 2007 WSOP in that post.

Day 34: Hello Cleveland summed up some of the odd sports betting that had been going on during the WSOP and why only a small percentage of players who won online seats would actually show up.

Day 35: Seidel Captures #8 and the Disease of Conceit included my praise for Seidel winning his 8th bracelet and the circus that takes over up in the Rio shortly before the Main Event.

Day 36: Main Event Day 1a... the title says it all.

Day 37: Main Event Day 1b is where I wrote... If Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons was covering Day 1b of the WSOP, he'd say, "Worst WSOP ever." I can't explain what was wrong. I described Day 1a as "poker on Valium".

Day 38: Main Event Day 1c is where the action picked up a bit. I watched Jose Canseco bust out and sweated Antonio Tarver while I caught a glimpse of Nelly. Oh and Phil Hellmuth crashed his UB racing car in the parking lot. Fun stuff.

Day 39: Main Event Day 1d... wait there was a 1d? Yes, and Phil Hellmuth showed up in true Hellmuthian fashion.

Day 40: Main Event Day 2a... was Todd Phillips Day at the WSOP. I guess that sums up how boring it was.

Day 41: Main Event Day 2b and yes, by the end of the day I was searching so hard to find a story... any story... about the 2007 WSOP main event. I guess the biggest story of note was Vinnie Vinh showing up on Day 2 after skipping out at the end of Day 1.

Day 42: Main Event Day 3 - Bubblicious recapped the money bubble.

Day 43: Main Event Day 4 - Dealing for Dario centered around Dario Minieri's run at the front of the pack along with several unknown European players.

Day 44: Main Event Day 5 is when the field thinned out and we first got to see who was going to make a run for the final table including Scotty Nguyen and RainKhan who was that crazy guy who ran around the ballroom with a chair on his head.

Day 45: Main Event Day 6 - The Final 9 was the day that everyone was waiting for... who would make the final table?

Day 46: The Main Event Final Table Bios is self-explanatory.

Day 47: Jerry Yang Wins the WSOP Main Event... and after seven long weeks, we had a new champion.

WSOP Epilogue: A Leap of Faith is something that I wrote a day after Jerry Yang won the WSOP main event.

Before I moved out of Las Vegas, I managed to play a little bit which inspired the posts... Unusual Dysfunctional Gambling Tales and The $80 Tip and a Trio of Crazy Asian Ladies.

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August was an interesting month. I spent time in Hollyweird (and unwinding on the beaches of Malibu) and conjured up Kafka's Shake.

I headed back to NYC for a bit, where I wrote Butterfly Dreams and Paranoid Android, which happened to be inspired by the song by Radiohead with the same title.

I moved to Amsterdam for two weeks. I rented a canal apartment with Benjo and Jonny Mushrooms. Hijinks ensued.

Here's a video of the Amsterdam apartment.

Click here to view the video via RSS or Bloglines...

While in Amsterdam, I penned Low Life, the Rat Pit, and George Washington's Poker Blog which discussed the book Low Life by Luc Sante that I finished reading shortly before my trip to Europe.

While in Amsterdam, Tao of Poker turned four years old.

I got flown up to Stockholm, Sweden for a conference with the OnGame Network, which I chronicled in Sweet Sweet Sweden.

I eventually made my way to Barcelona and I rented an apartment with Change100 while we were in town to cover the EPT Barcelona. Upon my arrival in Spain, I wrote Inspiration Daydream.

My coverage of the EPT Barcelona on Tao of Poker included:

Day 1a: Avoid the Local Sausage and Day 2: The JFC Factor and Pros Love Barcelona.

Check out my summer Amsterdam photo gallery.

Also, check out my Sweden photo gallery.

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I started the month in Barcelona and finished up covering the EPT Barcelona for Poker News. And guess what? Another Scandi won a EPT event, which inspired Scandis Continue to Dominate the EPT.

Our next gig was the WSOP-Europe in London where Change100 and I spent two long weeks covering the event as an official media provider for Poker News.

Day 1 - Think of London, Small City summed up my thoughts and experiences on Day 1 of the WSOPE.

Day 3 - German Thomas Bihl Beats Jen Harman for First European Bracelet and yeah Harman was so friggin' close to winning a bracelet... and just missed.

Day 4 - Dario Alioto Rips Tony G Apart at PLO Final Table and yes, The G made a final table and almost pulled off a victory.

Day 5 - Main Event Day 1a: The Phil He11muth Show centered around all the attention that Phil Hellmuth got during the first day of the main event. He was in rare form and got shitfaced at the featured table.

Day 6 - Main Event Day 1b: The Antonius Factor recapped the amazing run from the Finnish boy toy.

Day 7 - Main Event Day 2a: The Gus Hansen Experience... not to be outdone by Antonius, Gus Hansen but on a show of his own.

Day 8 - Main Event Day 2b: The Biggest Game in Town captured my favorite day in London when Michael Craig introduced me to the legendary Al Alvarez and I chatted with Tony Holden about writing.

Day 9 - Main Event Day 3: Bursting the British Bubble... and yes the money bubble broke at the WSOPE.

Day 10 - Main Event Day 4: Gus Hansen Bubbles Off Final Table... after a week of poker, the final table was set and the Great Dane missed it by one spot.

And when the dust finally settled... Annette_15 Wins WSOPE Main Event & Becomes Youngest Bracelet Winner.

On my flight back to NYC, I suffered a Transatlantic Bad Beat Story.

While on vacation in Florida, I spent time with my good buddy Jerry and wrote Lizard Tails in his dining room.

Then it was off to Key West for a week with the AlCantHang posse. One of our daily misadventures included spending time in strip clubs. Hence, another installment of Existential Conversations with Strippers was spawned. The latest edition was titled Vol. III: Identity.

The rest of the gang showed up a couple of days later. Some of our hijinks were chronicled in The Ghosts of Key West Gambling.

Check out my Barcelona photo gallery.

Check out my London photo gallery.

Check out my Key West photo gallery.

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I started the month in Florida, flew to NYC, and then to Hollyweird for a bit before I flew to Australia for the second time in 2007.

More Existentialist Conversations with Strippers: The Afternoon Shift... was also inspired by a visit to strip clubs during the day with the AlCantHang posse.

Here's a bull riding video of Key West hijinks...

Click here to view the bull riding... via RSS or Bloglines

While in NYC, I dug up some old CDs and started to religious listening to Eat a Peach by the Allman Brothers Band.

Before I left NYC, I managed to write No Surprises.

While I was in Melbourne, the Absolute Poker scandal got blown wide open. My response was titled Cheaters, Thieves, and Angle Shooters.

Schecky won Event #4 of the Poker News Cup and I was doing lots of degenerate gambling down under.

JL514, a fellow blogger, made the final table of the Poker News Cup.

On my last night in Melbourne, I managed to play some poker and I won an SNG against some Aussie poker dealers, which I highlighted in Poker in Australia.

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With my final assignment of 2007 complete, I took off two months to write for myself and travel and rest up for the remainder of the year.

Change100 and I flew to Sydney for a week. I had to go to the ER, which I succinctly wrote about in A Day in the Life.

When my finger healed, I sat down and wrote a detailed account of my trip to the ER and a visit to the Worst Poker Room in the World with Nigel.

While down under, I was interviewed by a reporter investigating the NYC poker room killing. I got quoted at ABC News.

And here's a cute video that I shot that has koalas.

Click here to view the koalas video...via RSS or Bloglines

After I got back from Oz, I finally got to spend some quality time in NYC. Three full weeks! I started work on a new writing project but I managed to write a few poker posts such as Simple and No Accidents.

I got nostalgic about living in Las Vegas with Grubby and wrote up Milestones and Run the Voodoo Down.

I got to play a private tournament with Al Alvarez and Tony Holden and I also got an autographed copy of Wil Wheaton's latest book.

I also posted the latest version of my Surviving Las Vegas Tips 5.0.

Check out my second Australia photo gallery.

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It almost seems pointless to post the highlights of December, but I'm going to do it anyway.

Pusherman was one of my favorite posts that I wrote in 2007. It definitely makes my Top 5 list.

Chip Reese passed away and the entire poker world lost a legend and a true gentlemen.

Don't miss the blogger gathering reports...
Act I: Cowboys, Brits, and Bloggers
Act II: The Procedure and the Final Table Bubble
Act III: After Midnight
And the 21 Day Itch was also noteworthy.

And check out my Las Vegas Flickr gallery.

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And that's it for the 2007 retrospective. Of course, what I posted here is only what I think is the best of the Tao of Poker. There might have been a post or two that I missed, that's why I encourage you to re-read my archives to discover some hidden gems.

Thanks to everyone for their support in 2007. Special thanks goes out to one of my sponsors... PokerStars. Most of what I do could not be possible without their partnership, assistance, and support.

Best of luck to you at the tables in 2008.

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

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