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.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Poker News Cup Final Table

By Pauly
Melbourne, Australia

Jordan "JL514" Lamberg playing late on Day 2

JL514 next to Jenny Son and the chipleader Kenny Ng (on the right)

Congrats to fellow blogger JL514 who is among the final eight players at the Poker News Cup main event. He has a great story why he's playing. Kaja won his seat but could not make it down under. Luckily JL514, who is studying in Australia this semester, could be a last minute replacement. And now the college student from Miami, FL is on the cusp of making the final TV table. He played great poker on Day 2 and made one sick call. For the last few hours he had to deal with the chipleader and always erractic, Kenny Ng, at his table.

Ozzie Yildiz also made the final eight. He and his fiance Angelica work at Party Poker in the Gib with Bill Rini.

Moments ago... JL514 getting some last minute makeup at the TV table

Change100, Jonno, Theo, and I will be providing live updates of the Poker News Cup final table starting around 1am EST or 10pm PCT. I'm also doing the majority of photos for Poker News during the main event so I've been channeling my inner Flipchip and trying my best. Check out all of our coverage including live updates, chip counts, photos, and videos.

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.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Poker News Cup - Day 1 Photos

By Pauly
Melbourne, Australia

Here are some pics that I took on Day 1 of the Poker News Cup's main event.

Gaz introduces Tony G

The ruggedly handsome Damon Rasheed

Sarne Lightman

Maurie Pears - The Godfather of Aussie Poker

The G

2007 WSOP bracelet winner Jeff Lisandro

"Kill Phil" co-author Lee Nelson

Aussie Sarah


Jonny 'Yay-yo' Vincent



Billy the Croc

Sam Khouiss and Mark Vos at the TV table

Nick "Frodo" Wright

Jeffrey Haas from the APPT

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.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Sundays with Dr. Pauly - Week 2 Update

By Pauly
Melbourne, Australia

Sorry for the delayed update. Been busy covering the Poker News Cup down under. I finally have a free moment to post about Week 2's results for Sundays with Dr. Pauly.

I barely slept this weekend, sweating my teams and picks. I had to get up at odd hours to watch the games which are broadcast on Monday mornings in Australia due to the time zone differential.

Anyway, congrats to Bobby Bracelet for winning Week 2 with 157 points. Unreal. Nice job, Bobby. I took third place for the week with 145.3.

In the overall standings, Bayne is on top of the leaderboard for our ten week season. I'm right behind in second place.

Bobby Bracelet and belly2bar put up more points than me in Week 2. If they can do that for two more consecutive weeks, they'll be eligible for the season ending freeroll. Just a reminder that anyone who can beat me in three consecutive weeks gets a ticket to the freeroll.

Here's what you've been waiting for:
Sundays with Dr. Pauly - Week 2 Results:
BobbyBracelet - 157
belly2bar - 153.8
Pauly - 145.3
Betty Underground - 143.5
RTrizzle - 138
Big Pirate - 137
Alpo_Splatr - 136.1
Lounge9 - 136
Expensive Wino - 135.2
ebk03001 - 134.7
bayne_s - 134.3
Chewbot - 132.3
Party Matt - 129.1
Garthmeister J. - 127.6
Mookie - 126.2
HermWarfare (Derek) - 124.9
RJ - 121.6
bonds - 118.3
Mattazuma - 116.5
jek187 - 116.2
Mark - 112.7
mush237 - 112.2
change100 - 112
Drizztdj - 111.9
Chico's Bail Bonds - 111.8
scurvydog - 111.1
Pokerpeaker - 109.6
jakehead - 109.6
Zeem - 105.3
Lord Bodak - 104.5
PokahDave - 103.7
KenB525 - 103.5
Family Guy - 102.4
BigHeeb91 - 100.5
Proehl - 100.3
donkeypuncher - 99.3
johnnieb - 98
AlCantHang - 92.2
Joe Speaker - 85.4

Overall Standings:
1 bayne_s - 326.1 (36)
2 Pauly - 308.7 (72)
3 ebk03001 - 305.3 (45)
4 RTrizzle - 303.3 (45)
5 BobbyBracelet - 296.5 (63)
6 Expensive Wino - 295 (63)
7 Zeem - 280.9 (45)
8 Party Matt - 280.2 (27)
9 jek187 - 274.5 (18)
10 HermWarfare (Derek) - 273.3 (27)
11 Big Pirate - 272.2
12 change100 - 266.4 (18)
13 bonds - 261
14 Pokerpeaker - 249.2
15 Mattazuma - 244.3
16 Chewbot - 238.4
17 donkeypuncher - 232.8
18 jakehead - 232.6
19 Chico's Bail Bonds - 229.8
20 mush237 - 228
21 belly2bar - 224.6 (45)
22 KenB525 - 221.4
23 scurvydog - 220.3
24 Proehl - 220.2
25 Garthmeister J. - 218.2 (27)
26 Mark - 215.1
27 BigHeeb91 - 210.3
28 Betty Underground - 209.9 (27)
29 Joe Speaker - 209.4
30 Drizztdj - 198.7
31 Mookie - 188.2
32 Victory - 177.2 (18)
33 AlCantHang - 164.4
34 Miami Don - 151
35 $mokkee - 140.2
36 Alpo_Splatr - 136.1 (27)
37 Lounge9 - 136 (18)
38 RJ - 121.6
39 Jack D - 121.1
40 fantasy - 116.9
41 VinNay - 106.9
42 Lord Bodak - 104.5
43 PokahDave - 103.7
44 23skidoo - 103.5
45 Family Guy - 102.4
46 johnnieb - 98
47 Otis - 90.7
48 Digger - 70.6

(Please Note: The number in parentheses is the amount of prize money won so far this season by that player. Yes, I'm leading the money race with $72. And yes, I can see your hole cards!)
Just a reminder that you cannot sign up for more than one entry. If you do, any of your multiple entries will be disqualified and only your first entry (not the highest) will be included in the promotion.

And for all you bottom dwellers who play in at least eight contests, there will be a secret Gigli booby prize for the person who comes in dead last.

Feel free to join us this week for Sundays with Dr. Pauly over at Fantasy Sports Live. Thanks and good luck out there this weekend!

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.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Congrats to Schecky!

By Pauly
Melbourne, Australia

At exactly 1:30am Melbourne time, John "Schecky" Caldwell took down Event #4 of the Poker News Cup. Nice score!

Congrats bro!

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.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Poker News Cup and Other Dysfunctional Gambling Tales Down Under

By Pauly
Melbourne, Australia

A couple of hours before I flew to Melbourne, I went to Century City in L.A. to see Wes Anderson's latest flick Darjeeling Limited with Change100. As I rounded the corner, I nearly ran into a Spice Girl. Posh Spice was pushing her hipster kid in a funky stroller with a bodyguard not far behind her. Anytime I can integrate a random Spice Girls reference into the Tao of Poker, I quickly take that opportunity.

I'm used to long flights by now. Six hour flights from coast to coast are a breeze these days, so the 15 hour journey to Australia wasn't difficult at all. Change100 got a bad beat from the start and was assigned a middle seat. The flight was full and they couldn't seat us together. I offered her my aisle seat but she knows I barely sleep on planes and declined. She popped a few Xannies and passed out for like 90% of the flight.

I watched a bunch of flicks such as Ocean's 13, Spiderman 3 and two documentaries. One was The U.S. versus John Lennon, which detailed his deportation trial in the early 1970s after he started supporting big figures in the anti-war movement such as Bobby Seale from the Black Panthers. I also watched a documentary on the life of French painter Toulouse-Latrec, the short hairy dude who lived in brothels in Paris, where he painted plenty of hookers. My kind of artist.

Our flight arrived in Melbourne ten minutes early. Immigration was a breeze, but we were flagged at customs. I wrote down on my entry card that I was staying at the Crown Casino and that got both Change100 and I sent to a line where my bags were inspected. Initially, I thought they were swabbing my backpack for explosives. It happened the last time I was in Oz and happens from time to time during random searches at different airports domestically and internationally. The customs agent told me that he was looking for drugs.

"Have you been in contact with any drugs?" he asked.

That's when I put on the poker face and said, "No, sir."

My backpack passed the drug test and then he quizzed me about money.

"How much cash are you bringing into Australia?" he asked.

"A few grand," I said.

"More than $10,000?"

I offered to show him my roll and he declined. He said he believed me and let us go. I was allowed entry in Australia for my second time inside of ten months. Maybe he reads my blog and knew I'd donk it off at the sports book.

Downtown Melbourne from the Yarra River

We arrived at the Crown Casino two days before the Poker News Cup started. I got a room on one of the top floors with a magnificent view of downtown Melbourne and the Yarra River. We crashed for a couple of hours before we met up with some friends for dinner at Nobu. The waitlist was a couple of months long, but Gaz is like Superman down under and has all the right hook ups. He got us a table and we joined him, Schecky, and Cory-Ann for a magnificent dinner. Change100 wrote about our fantastic meal and posted pics on her blog. The kobe and waygu beef was close to $400. Expensive but magnificent. Thanks to Gaz!

During the meal, I won a $1,500 coin flip from Schecky. The $1 AUD coins have kangaroos on it. That's the tails. There's a head of someone and of course, that was heads. You always have to go with the kangaroos down under. Home field advantage. I picked kangaroos. The coin came up... kangaroos. Ship it!

Gaz was in shock. He wanted in. Schecky told him no mas coin flips.

* * * * *

We had a full day off before our assignment began and did some sight seeing. We headed over the aquarium where we watched divers feed the sharks. We also had plans to visit Jules and Graham at their house for dinner. They invited us over for a home-cooked meal and to meet their new puppy. When I was in Melbourne in January, Jules fired up the BBQ and I had my first Aussie BBQ experience. She traveled a lot for work in the past and knew the value and importance of a home-cooked meal when you're on the road. That's why I couldn't wait to head back to her place.

Jules is an amazing cook and prepped chicken with potatoes, onions, and bacon! She was kind enough to exclude veggies from my plate. We sat around and drank several bottles of Shiraz while we caught up on my previous travels. Kat called us for a dial-a-shot. Sort of. It was 8am Canuck time when she called and she said she was still in bed.

We eventually stumbled out of their house after Midnight super drunk and passed out as soon as we got back to the casino. Nothing is better than starting your first day of work with a hangover.

* * * * *

I was up early on Monday morning to catch the football games. I was also sweating the ALCS. I bet the Indians with the money line +160 to win the series. It appeared to be a lock when they went up 3-1, but they choked and lost three straight. I flushed that ugly bitch of a bet down the toilet.

I managed to get $200 back when I took a 5% piece of Gaz in a $1000 SNG. He played with a bunch of Aussie high rollers, such as Sam Khouiss and Jim Sachinidis (who bubbled at the WPT LA Poker Classic in February). Shane Warne was also at his table. Warney as he's known in some circles is sort of like Mickey Mantle meets Michael Jordan of the cricket world. Warney was in town to appear at the opening of a brand new Krispy Kreme store at the Crown Casino. He decided to head to the poker room and play an SNG with Joe Hachem. He got knocked out and played another one at Gaz's table.

Gaz won a big hand which pushed him into the chip lead. Jim Sachinidis raised. One player re-raised and Gaz moved all in. Sachinidis went into the tank for a while and agonized over the call. He eventually folded Q-Q face up. Gaz tabled J-J and his opponent flipped over A-K. Gaz's Jacks held up which tilted Sachinidis. Gaz went onto to win the SNG and Gaz took down $4K.

The casino's sportsbook charged 20% juice on bets, so I was told to use one of the local bookies. I had to go see a guy named Billy the Croc (I swear I'm not making that up) to get in on the action. Aussies love sports. They also love to gamble. And they have an odd fascination with American sports, which means there was a lot of gambling on NFL games. There are three FOX Sports stations and one ESPN channel. One of the FOX stations regularly shows American sports like the NFL and MLB. ESPN also showed the NBC feed for Sunday night football. That was cool and I didn't miss out on any of the games.

Obviously, due to the time zones, I was up at odd hours watching the games and sweating out bets. I didn't get much sleep the first few days. I had a lot of action going this weekend with the ALCS, Sundays with Dr. Pauly, the BFFB on FSL, and my other fantasy football team with my buddy Senor. We're in a highs takes league with friends from college. We were up by a few points going into Monday night football. Our opponent had three players going (Addai, Wayne, and the Colts D). We had two... Jones-Drew and Clark. We coughed up the lead early on but made a late surge courtesy of TDs from Jones-Drew and Clark to win by 3.8 points. That pushed us to 6-1 in our league. We also had the highest point total of the week which netted us a bonus payment.

I won my Sundays with Dr. Pauly contest and finished third for the week. Stay tuned for the official update. I'm second overall to Bayne.

Johnny Moss once said, "Action is action." Words to live by. Since I haven't had much time to play cards due to work obligations, I have been laying bets all over the place from the NBL (Australian hoops league) and on various cricket matches.

I'm a complete degenerate. I was betting on greyhound racing that was simulcast from South Africa. Or maybe it was from New Zealand? Who cares. Action is action. I lost, of course. My dogs finished in second and third. Both of them were leading their respective races until... ah, I'll spare you the bad beat stories. Greyhound racing is so fuckin' rigged.

* * * * *

The Poker News Cup got off to a hot start. There have been more entrants in the preliminary events than expected, which is great news.

My buddy Barry Carter (a.k.a. Dave Shoelace) flew down to Australia to attend a wedding and decided to stop by and play in a couple of events. Carter is a British poker writer and we covered the WSOPE for Poker News together. He plays plenty of PLO cash games, but has never played a tournament. In his first ever PLO tournament, he made the final table and took 5th. A couple of hours after his bustout, he played in a NL event and made the money in that tournament finishing in 14th place. He was playing great poker until he lost a race with 10-10 against K-Q to end his amazing run. Barry Carter was the point leader in the Poker News Cup through three events. He played two and cashed in both.

One of my assignments was to cover the Australian Bad Boys of Poker, a televised $10K SNG featuring Tony G. Here were the odds from BoDog:
Jeff Lisandro 4/1
Tony G 4/1
Mark Vos 5/1
David Saab 5/1
Gary Benson 10/1
Arul Thillai 10/1
Emad Tahtouh 10/1
Billy "the Croc" Argyros 10/1
Sam Khouis 10/1
Joe Hachem was originally supposed to play but backed out at the last minute. There was a rumor that his agent didn't want Hachem to be labeled as a "bad boy" so they decided to pull out. Hachem said that he had a family engagement to attend to. Who knows what really happened? Lee "Final Table" Nelson was Hachem's replacement. He won the 2006 Aussie Millions.

There was plenty of side betting on the Bad Boys. Sam Khouis and Emad Tahtouh had a $5K last longer. There was other bets on whether one of the young guns would win or if one of the veterans would take it down.

I'll be live blogging the Bad Boys of Australia event for Poker News.

Anyway, The G has been on a rush. At one point he was up $6 million for the week playing cash games in Russia. He wrote on his blog about winning a $3.5 million pot in PLO. Talk about action. He said the games were juicy. Anyone wanna stake me a couple of million to play PLO against the Ruskies??

I loved this line from The G's post titled From Russia with Love...
"Playing in USD is cheap as the dollar is a 3rd world currency these days the way it depreciates daily."
I'm going to start asking to be paid in Euros. The Swedes are already paying me in Euros. Heck, since The G is up 6 million, I might ask my boss for a raise. Bottom line... if The G is happy, that makes us happy.

* * * * *

Oh, I almost forgot. I did something that would make Lewey and the entire AlCantHang crew extremely happy. I headed to the Spearmint Rhino to check out the afternoon shift. Yeah, they have a franchise in Melbourne, just a couple of blocks away from the Crown Casino. I wandered in at 4:45pm and tagged along with Jonno and Shronk, who were shooting an interview for a video for Poker News. I didn't really need to be there, but I went anyway to investigate the afternoon shift.

Sometimes, life can be good.

There was a DVD release party thrown by James Potter, a wealthy Aussie who put out a series of instructional poker videos that were filmed at the Rhino. While I was there, I bumped into a fan of the Tao of Poker. In a strip club. In Australia. Too bad it wasn't a stripper. Instead, it was a degenerate poker player. Go figure.

* * * * *

By the way, I was asked to participate in something called The Well. Tom Murphy is a friend of mine that I met several years ago through poker. He's from Ireland and runs a site called Antes Up which caters to Irish poker players. He also runs a forum and they have a running series called The Well, where they invite someone in and their members ask a series of questions. Sometimes it last for a few days. Sometimes it lasts for over a week. The questions start out with basic poker stuff and eventually branch out into other topics.

Anyway, check out my session in The Well.

* * * * *

Random Update... It's 3:13am on Thursday. John "Schecky" Caldwell just made a final table of Event #4 $500 NL rebuy. He's third in chips! The final table kicks off at 9pm on Thursday.

I've been covering the Australian Bad Boys of Poker event across the room. The wheels fell off of Tony G's bike and he busted out in 6th place. No worries though. He only lost $10K which is peauts compared to the $6M he won earlier in the week.

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.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Cheaters, Thieves, and Angle Shooters

By Pauly
Melbourne, Australia
"For nothing can seem foul to those that win." - William Shakespeare
We're all criminals. America is a nation that is being run into the ground by suits in Washington who are nothing more than slimy used car salesmen flashing a fake smile one moment and then fucking you in the ass when you least expect it. But that's politics. And if you really believe that we have a freedom of choice in America, then I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I'd like to sell you. For cheap. And I accept PokerStars transfers.

Of course there is cheating in online poker and that's why it needs to be regulated by an independent watchdog to insure that the game is being played as fair as possible.

You can't eliminate cheaters, thieves, and angle shooters. Sure, you can make it hard for them to operate, but whenever there's any semblance of money, power, greed, love, or sex on the line... the cheaters, thieves, and angle shooters will be lurking in the shadows like the cockroaches that troll your kitchen floor late at night, only to scatter at the moment you flick on the light switch. Unless you have a big can of Raid, you're shit out of luck.

You have to be aware that the world is filled with cheaters, thieves, and angle shooters and do your best to minimize your risk when dealing with people that the Danes call "falskspillers."

Shakespeare wrote one of the most famous lines in all of literature in his epic play Hamlet. It wasn't Hamlet himself who uttered the catchphrase which he often gets credit for. Instead it was a minor character named Marcellus in Act 1, scene 4 of Hamlet who said... "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark."

The mainstream press got wind of the Absolute Poker online cheating scandal and will be beating that dead horse to a bloody pulp, until they lose interest and another sensationalist story pops up like Lindsay Lohan crashing her new Mercedes into the lobby of the Standard Hotel on Sunset Blvd. in Hollyweird after an insane coke binge.

The word is out about the AP cheating scandal and a bunch of Wonder Bread eating folks in fly over states might lose some sleep at night and avoid online poker like the plague. And yes, the religious zealots from the Bible Belt might stir up more shit in Washington and preach about the evils of internet gambling. But that won't deter the big poker machine from continuing its path.

Even if people knew a site was rigged, they would still play on it. Why? Because they're a bunch of degenerate gamblers and action junkies. Let's be honest, our society is riddled with fixed and rigged events and people still engage in those activities.

Does anyone actually believe a nimrod like George W. Bush could get elected... twice? Well, he did and the joke was on all of us who voted in the 2004 election when deep down, we all knew the 2000 race was rigged. It's an ugly truth that has riddled politics since the inception of democracy. Elections are rigged not just here in the land of apple pie and MTV, but all over the world. Joseph Stalin summed up democracy best when he said, "It's not who votes that counts, it's who counts the votes."

Horse racing has been rigged for centuries. Yet, people still continue to bet on the ponies.

Cheating runs rampant in professional sports which is a billion dollar industry. Tennis players throw matches. Boxers take dives. Players on the take throw games and shave points. Referees and umpires fix games. Yet, we still watch and root on our favorite teams often wondering if that missed foul shot or that pass interference penalty had anything to do with the point spread. MiamiDon and I both agree that the best games to bet on in Vegas are the ones where you're on the good side of the fix.

Athletes cheat. There's so much pressure involved that those industries are running rampant with cheaters, thieves, and angle shooters.

The Chicago Blacksox. Marion Jones. Floyd Landis. Barry Bonds. Those are the cheaters that we know about. Joe Niekro used to throw a spitball, yet batters still got into the box to face him.

Roy Jones got robbed at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. He lost to Park Si-Hun by a 3-2 decision in the gold medal fight. Jones pummeled Park Si-Hun for three rounds and landed 86 punches to Park's 32, yet Jones was awarded the silver medal.

Not only are Olympic judges bribed, but so are court judges. I grew up in NYC in the 1970s where the police force was infiltrated by dirty cops. It's continuously happened throughout history. Those in power who are supposed to protect us succumb to the evils of bribery and fat envelopes filled with cash.

I work in a shady business and despite the obstacles, I have achieved some success, which is why I constantly think about getting out of poker. Every day I say the same thing, "I'm waiting for the time when I can finally say, this has all been wonderful, but now I'm on my way."

But I don't and I'm still here mainly because outside of poker and Las Vegas, I'm virtually unemployable. Plus, I have made a lot of amazing friends along the way. And If I leave, I won't see them as much. I'm gonna stick around the party for a little while longer. But if more of my friends decide to bail, then the time will come when I'll sneak out the side door and I'll finally get to go home after being on the road for three long years.

My girlfriend used to work in Hollywood as a child actor and then as a studio executive and she has recanted thousands of horror stories. I thought that Wall Street was crawling with the lowest scum of the Earth until I started working in Las Vegas and immersed myself in the poker industry. Sure the suits on Wall Street are bad ass motherfuckers who will sell you out in a heartbeat, but at least there was a semblance of honor among thieves in that profession. Fortunate for me, the survival skills I learned in the trenches on Wall Street prepared me for the last three years in poker. Otherwise, I would have been screwed over at least a dozen more times.

We're all criminals. There's no a single person among us who has not broken a law. Even the most pious of people have weaknesses and push the elasticity of rules that we have set forth in society. Every single day, people drive without seat belts. People smoke pot, shit some of you reading this are high right now. People cheat on their taxes. People cheat on their spouses. Kids cheat on tests in school. Companies sell products like cell phones and cigarettes that they know are going to harm their consumers, yet they do it anyway.

Gordon Gekko said it best. Greed is good.

Some folks are legitimate gamblers and are willing to take risks breaking the law. Others are simply sheep. If they see others getting away with stuff, they'll follow suit. And then there are folks who do bad shit because they know that there's a very small chance they will get caught and called out on it. In modern times, people are lazy even those who are entrusted to enforce the rules of our society.

Cheating has been in poker since the inception of poker itself. Cards were marked. Cheating teams developed. Heck, some of the members of the illustrious Poker Hall of Fame took part in less than legitimate games over the years. Everyone has seen Rounders. Don't forget that even our hero, Mike McD, cheated with Worm and he alluded to the fact that they cheated in the past on more than one instance. That's what made the flick real for me. There's collusion in poker. It happens everyday in Las Vegas except it's hard to prove, unlike in online poker, where's there's a paper trail.

Flipchip has told me plenty of stories about the old Las Vegas before the corporations took over and ran all the mobsters out of town. Cheating was rampant those days and if they players weren't shooting angles... the casinos were. You really had to have balls of steel to play in the crooked card games. We forget how much poker has changed over the years and how much cheating had been eliminated. Brick and mortar rooms and online poker sites have it in their best interest to run legit games, but it wasn't always like that.

As Texas Dolly often said, if you managed to avoid the cheats, you were worried about getting robbed by criminals or pinched by the police. That's why they used to play with a gun as a card capper. When you know your opponent is packing heat, you'll definitely think twice about cheating.

Those scumbags at Absolute Poker are lucky it's 2007 and not 1957. Maybe they'll get prosecuted or maybe they'll get a slap on the wrist. In Arab nations, you get your hand cut off if you're caught stealing. Back in the day of those illegal card games in the back rooms of smoke-filled saloons and syphilis infested whorehouses, if cheaters were caught, they were shot on the spot. No questions asked. Yeah, there's lots of holes in the desert.

Within the gambling world, I have seen some of the most intelligent people I ever met succumb to the dark side of humanity. I've spent enough time in Las Vegas and working in casinos to witness the depravity. I've been asked by pros to help them cheat, I've been asked by others to plant false stories, and I've been asked by others to bury stories.

Pros dump chips. Cheating teams exist and pass higher denomination chips to one another during breaks. These days, everyone has a piece of each other that you never know if they made a bad call or simply were helping out one of their horses.

The human race is cluttered with evil, corrupt, vile, and manipulative people. When large sums of money are involved, it drives people to commit atrocious acts that they never thought were possible. Fame. Sex. Money. Power. Just name any of the seven deadly sins and any one of them or a combination is the motive behind people's malicious acts.

Absolute Poker got caught with their pants down and their hand in the cookie jar. This is not the first time this has happened. Sadly, it won't be the last time. Wickedness is around all of us at every moment of the day. That's why it's important to surround yourself with positive people that you can trust and have the moral rectitude to do the right thing. There are people and companies in the poker industry who are legit. They conduct themselves with honor and integrity. I suggest you figure out who those people are and give them your business.

Of course, that doesn't mean the people at your table are not cheaters, thieves, and angle shooters. Players cheat online in high stakes short-handed games and IM each other their hands. Players have multi-accounts and abuse the system. Sometimes they get caught and sometimes they don't. We have heard about a few instances such as ZeeJustin, JJProdigy, and most recently Mark Teltscher at the WCOOP. Sites like PokerStars, Full Tilt, PokerRoom, and Party Poker do their due diligence and thoroughly investigate these matters. But it makes you wonder about these smaller sites and the ones who got hit hard by the UIGEA crunch.

Remember the first ever online poker bloggers tournament that Grubby set up on a site called Choice Poker almost four years ago? A handful of us played and most of us got fucked when the site went under and they refused to pay us back the money that we had deposited on the site. I'm still waiting for my money from those fuckers, which of course will never come. These days there's a blogger tournament every single day on PokerStars or Full Tilt and everyone can play without worrying about getting paid if they decide to cash out.

So it's a catch-22. You can play in a live game where people can cheat without any proof. Or you can play online where people can cheat but there's a paper trail. If you ask me, you have more protection online. If the sites don't back you up, you have plenty of people in the poker community, like Nat Arem and the guys at PocketFives, who will take matters in their own hands to protect the integrity of the game.

You have to always keep your guard up and watch your back. After all, we're all criminals.

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.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Absolute Cheaters and the Lone Gun Man Theory

By Pauly
Melbourne, Australia

For the past two weeks, friends, readers, and bloggers have been asking me about my reaction to the Absolute Poker cheating scandal. If you are the three people who haven't heard about what's going on, then here are some quick links:
Tough Times for Absolute Poker (By Haley Hintze from Poker News)
Absolute Poker: 'We Had a Security Breach' (By Haley Hintze from Poker News)
The Absolute Poker Cheating Scandal Blown Wide Open (By Steven D. Levitt's Freaknomic's blog)
Cheating at AP (2+2)
Haley's articles sum it up the best and you should read her work over at Poker News. Also, check out Nat Arem's blog. His investigative work helped crack the case wide open.

I initially found out about the AP cheating scandal through my buddy Royal's blog. He had been updating the progress of this situation since it originally appeared.

In the latest episode of this saga, Absolute Poker is blaming a rouge programmer. Yeah, it wasn't Colonel Mustard in the library with a rope, instead they claim it was a geek with a laptop and a personal vendetta against high ranking Absolute officials.

For the record, I do not believe their explanation. Let me repeat myself. I do not believe them. I am not buying this "lone gunman theory." It's total bullshit. A cover up. That poor geek is just a patsy.

I didn't believe the disinformation that the Warren Commission spewed out, which stated JFK was only whacked by Lee Harvey Oswald. And I don't believe the latest statement from Absolute Poker. This is my personal opinion and does not reflect any of the organizations that I write for.

Feel free to agree or disagree with my opinion. I'd like to hear your thoughts.

In a future post (maybe Monday if I have time to write about it), I will expand more on my reasons why I don't believe AP's lone gunman theory.

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.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

I'm preparing for a long journey over the Pacific Ocean to Melbourne, Australia. My next and final assignment for 2007 is the inaugural Poker News Cup. The event should be a lot of fun as Poker News makes a tremendous leap of faith sponsoring a series of live tournaments at different venues around the world. The first stop for the Poker News Cup is the Crown Casino in Melbourne. I'll be there providing the live updates for Poker News along with Change100.

I'm going to try to play in one of the preliminary events. You can check out more information at the Poker News Cup official website. I'm excited for my second trip to Oz in ten months and I'll get almost two weeks of bumming around the country before I fly back to the States. And yes, I'll be returning to Oz in January 2008 to cover the Aussie Millions for Poker News.

Last week, I was hired by a company from Stockholm, Sweden called The OnGame Network which includes sites such as PokerRoom, Betsson, Chan Poker, and Mansion Poker. I will be writing eight articles for the Ongame Zone, a magazine which focuses on the poker industry. My first article should be published on Monday. Take a peek. Thanks to Kim and all the folks over at OnGame for the opportunity to collaborate with them now, and in the future.

Also, I was recently hired by Bluff Magazine to write a column called On the Road with Dr. Pauly, about my behind the scenes experiences while covering poker tournaments all over the world. Thanks to Matt Parvis for hooking me up with the monthly column. My first piece should be in the November issue. I recently finished writing my third column for Bluff about my time in London. I'm extremely pleased with that one, which should be in the January issue.

I also still have a bi-weekly column in Poker Player Newspaper. My subject is supposed to be online poker, but editor-in-chief Lou Krieger lets me get away with writing about almost anything. Next time you see Poker Player Newspaper in your local card room, pick it up.

As always, I'm a contributor to Las Vegas Blog (most recently a couple of strip club reviews) and other side projects such as Truckin', my music blog, and the one that started it all... Tao of Pauly. Just ask the Rooster, he'll tell you that's better than Tao of Poker.

Before I go, head over to AlCantHang's blog to read about how you can win a free trip to the Aussie Millions in his BBT2. Sadly, there's no incentive for me to play since I have to cover the Aussie Millions. I'll be sitting that one out.

One last plug... go buy Wil Wheaton's latest book The Happiest Days of Our Lives. Trust me. It's his best work to date.

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.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sundays with Dr. Pauly - Week 1 Update

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

First of all, thanks to everyone who pimped SwDP over at Fantasy Sports Live. We got a great turnout of 41 players, which was more than I anticipated. Good to see a lot of degenerate fantasy sports fans out there.

Congrats to Bayne who topped the leaderboard for the first week of our ten week season. I had a decent showing in Week 1, which means that only five of you bested my score. If Bayne, Voctory, Zeem, ebk03001, and RTrizzle can do that for two more consecutive weeks, you'll be eligible for the season ending freeroll. Just a reminder that anyone who can beat me in three consecutive weeks gets a ticket to the freeroll.

Here's the overall standings:
Sundays with Dr. Pauly - Week 1 Results and Standings
1 bayne_s 191.8
2 Victory 177.2
3 Zeem 175.6
4 ebk03001 170.6
5 RTrizzle 165.3
6 TaoPauly 163.4
7 Expensive Wino 159.8
8 jek187 158.3
9 change100 154.4
10 Party Matt 151.1
11 Miami Don 151
12 HermWarfare (Derek) 148.4
13 bonds 142.7
14 $mokkee 140.2
15 Pokerpeaker 139.6
16 BobbyBracelet 139.5
17 Big Pirate 135.2
18 donkeypuncher 133.5
19 Mattazuma 127.8
20 Joe Speaker 124
21 jakehead 123
22 Jack D 121.1
23 Proehl 119.9
24 Chico's Bail Bonds 118
25 KenB525 117.9
26 fantasy 116.9
27 mush237 115.8
28 BigHeeb91 109.8
29 scurvydog 109.2
30 VinNay 106.9
31 Chewbot 106.1
32 23skidoo 103.5
33 Mark 102.4
34 Otis 90.7
35 Garthmeister J. 90.6
36 Drizztdj 86.8
37 AlCantHang 72.2
38 belly2bar 70.8
39 Digger 70.6
40 Betty Underground 66.4
41 Mookie 62
Please note that you cannot sign up for more than one entry. If you do, any of your multiple entries will be disqualified and only your first entry (not the highest) will be included in the promotion.

And for all you bottom dwellers, there will be a secret Gigli booby prize for the person who comes in dead last.

Feel free to join us this week for Sundays with Dr. Pauly over at Fantasy Sports Live.

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.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

No Surprises

By Pauly
New York City

I walked out of the post office in my old neighborhood and spotted Vinny the barber. He stood in front of his shop across the street and waved me over.

"Yo, Pauly!" he shouted. "Come here!"

I followed Vinny the barber into his store. His brother, Leo the barber, sat in a barber's chair and thumbed through the NY Daily News while NPR played in the background. The store did not have any customers. Business was slow, which was rare.

"We saw you on ESPN," Leo the barber mentioned. "In the background of the WSOP. Looked like you had a good seat."

"Leo is thinking about playing the WSOP next year," explained Vinny. "Think he's got a chance?"

"You're gonna spend all your tip money at a shot at the big time?" I asked.

Leo shrugged his shoulders and said, "If that Jerry Yang could win..."

He didn't have to finish the sentence. I knew what he was thinking. If Jerry Yang could win the most prestigious tournament in all of poker, then anyone could win.

"How's your relationship with God?" I joked.

"Not as good as Jerry's," said Vinny the barber.

For the next ten minutes, I discussed poker with Vinny and Leo. They both made fun of Phil Hellmuth and Vinny referred to him as "that tall crybaby who crashed the car." We briefly touched upon other subjects involving Italian-Americans like the Joe Torre and Rudy's run for President.

Vinny and Leo were born in the old country. They emigrated to the Bronx as kids and have been living the American Dream for several decades. They've owned their own hair cutting business in the neighborhood for as long as I could remember. I went to Catholic school with their kids. They're devout Catholics and couldn't believe all that praying that was flying around the final table.

"It's gambling. You can't ask God for help with gambling," Leo said.

"Well according to Jerry Yang, you can. Believing in God is the ultimate coin flip," I mentioned before I got cut off.

A couple of customers walked in and our symposium on poker, God, and the Yankees had come to a quick halt. I scheduled a haircut for the next day and said that we'd postpone our discussion until then.

* * * * *

What I love (and loathe) about New York City is the "bump into." You never know who you might encounter while walking down the street. Inside of the same hour, I bumped into Vinny the barber and then my uncle. He asked me where I was flying to next. I told him about the Poker News Cup in Melbourne, Australia. I mentioned that I might play in one of the lower buy-in preliminary events.

"So can I follow your progress on Poker News like I did during the WSOP?" he asked.

"Yep," I said. "Just follow the live updates."

"Is Phil Ivey going to play?" he asked.

"Probably not," I answered and then explained that Ivey skipped the WSOP Europe and how he'd rather play high stakes cash games since tournaments (especially non-bracelet tournaments) are a waste of his time.

"Well if Ivey isn't playing," he said, "then I probably won't follow the updates."

He was being serious. Phil Ivey 1, Pauly 0.

* * * * * *

I played in three different blogger tournaments over the past week. That might be a record for the year. I never have the opportunity to play in any events anymore. I made an effort to play in MiamiDon's Big Game a few times and I won the one he hosted on Chinese New Year. Aside from a few Mookies, I've been absent from the blogger circuit. The majority of blogger tournaments cater to east coasters. I've been spending most of my time in other time zones, either on the left coast or overseas which means I miss out on the action.

The Yankees got knocked out of the playoffs, so I had a couple of free evenings last week. I played the Mookie and busted out after the first break when I was short-stacked and pushed with 7-7, only to run into K-K. I played in Kat's Friday Donkament. That was a lot of fun. I only invested $5 ($1 + $1 buy in, $2 in rebuys, and $1 for the add-on). I busted out when my 9-9 ran into Iakaris' Hilton Sisters.

On Sunday afternoon, I played in the PokerStars blogger championship while I watched the pathetic Jets/Eagles game. Over 1,300 bloggers signed up. That makes like 1,000 blogs I had never read before. I decided to play like a loose cannon. I took a hit early when my Jacks ran into a set and lost 35% of my stack. I busted out early in 1131th place when my A-K could not improve against J-J. At least I outlasted Waffles. By two spots. I lost a last longer with Change100. The good thing about donking out early was that I could concentrate on football since I had more money at stake on NFL games. Of course, I was keeping my eye on the progress of my team in the Sundays with Dr. Pauly contest over at Fantasy Sports Live.

Editor's Note: Congrats to Derek for going deep and making the money in 48th place. I was sweating his table (Bad Blood was moved there later). I also watched Shirley Rosario snag the chiplead with about 80 to go.

* * * * * *

I cannot explain why, but I've been dabbling at the HORSE tables. I've been playing a lot of 3/6 HORSE on Full Tilt and at PokerStars. I'm a rock during O8 and although Razz rubs me the wrong way (like rubbing my testicles on a rusty cheese grater) I have been turning my biggest profit during the Razz levels. I forgot how much I enjoyed Stud. I don't play it too much online. You need to pay attention to all the cards so multi-tabling is putting you at a disadvantage.

I have been playing PLO to get my action junkie fix. I sat at a few 2/4 PLO tables and always had three rebuys ready just in case I found myself in an old fashioned gun fight. Nothing special to report there.

I had an interesting snafu occur on Full Tilt at a 1/2 PLO table. I was dealt Ah-Ac-Ts-9h in early position and I bet the pot. A very loose player in late position called. Heads up. The flop was Ad-8h-7d. I flopped top set with an open-ended straight draw, minus some outs because of the diamond draw out there. Sadly, I didn't have any diamonds. I bet the pot for about $20. He called. The turn was the Jd. I turned a straight but the same card made a possible flush. I bet 2/3 of the pot or $45 to find out where I was. He raised the pot to over $165.

I thought and thought and thought. I had some outs to make a full house. If any of the cards on the board paired, I'd be ahead with a boat or possibly quad aces. I was pretty sure I was behind and decided to gamble. I put him on a baby flush... the only thing that had me beat. I was ahead if he held any other set. Maybe he turned a set of Jacks? Or perhaps we both had the same made hand and he turned a straight with 10-9? In Omaha, your opponent could have just about anything. At least I was drawing to the nuts. I said fuck it and hit the call button and my hand was instantly folded.

What. The. Fuck?

The time expired and my delayed action caught up in a glitch. The site didn't register my call. I just threw up my hands in the air. In the end, that glitch might have saved me a few bucks. Then again, I might have felted the fucker.

Oh well, just one of those odd quirks that can only happen playing online poker. Online Poker Gods 1, Pauly 0.

* * * * *

Sometimes in life, you just gotta say fuck it and throw all logic out the window. I took a shot at the 50/100 limit hold'em tables. I never ventured past the 30/60 demarcation line. My bankroll could not handle the swings at anything past that. Plus I'm concerned about collusion. If players were to cheat online... those would be the limits to target.

There were two European pros at the table that I knew, so I sat down. Basically, those two were heads up in a lot of pots against each other while everyone else folded and watched those two slug it out. I only played a couple of orbits and broke even. I wish I could write something special about my experiences at the highest online stakes I played. It was anti-climatic although I was pumped up when I sat down. It had been a very long time since I felt like every hand mattered. In the end, the action was nothing too exciting. I raised with As-Js from the cut off and got two callers (both pros). I missed the flop but they both checked to me. I fired out at the pot and they folded. And that was the only hand of utter significance to report.

I have been grinding away at the 15/30 and 10/20 tables. I haven't been doing too hot at 30/60 and decided to lay off that level for a bit while I concentrated on 10/20 and 15/30 since that's been the level where I've been making the most money. Bread and butter. Grinding it out at the tables is very boring. ABC poker. I have become a bot. A bot, am I.

I played a couple of bad 15/30 sessions over the past week. Sure, I had some big hands cracked and I missed a lot of big draws, but I played too many hands out of position. I tried to outplay my opponents instead of waiting to get my money in at a better time. My weekly 15/30 losses should be bigger (I lost two monsterpottens with set over set), but I got lucky one time and backdoored a straight when I missed a nut flush draw. That pot made up for all the horrible decisions I made during that session. I bailed myself out with one lucky river card.

Last night at the 10/20 tables, some nit called me a fish when I rivered him to scoop the pot. I didn't say anything in the chat. Silence. If you ignore the nimrods in the chat box, then it drives them more crazy. If you respond, you're only falling into their hands by giving them the attention that they desperately crave so much. I kept my mouth shut and let him waste his energy typing away gibberish. I couldn't even tell you what else he wrote since I stopped paying attention to his verbal abuse and focused on playing my other tables. If I did write anything in the chat, I would have told him that he misplayed his hand on two instances and succumbed to fancy play syndrome (FPS).
Dear Nimrod,

You let me catch up in the hand and I got there on the river. Tough shit. Suck it up. If your head still hurts, buy a fuckin' helmut. Then shove a tampon up your ass to stop the bleeding. And if you're still steaming, then go hate-fuck a hooker while screaming your mother's first name.

I made a note on the player and will seek him out next time I'm online. I want players like that at my table - people who completely refuse to take responsibility for their actions will often overlook their weaknesses/mistakes and chalk up the end result as a error on their opponents' part and not their own. Instead of blaming themselves, they are blaming others. That's a losing formula for him and an opportunity for me to pick up some loose change.

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.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Key West Videos and Photo Gallery

By Pauly
New York City

I finally completed my Key West photo gallery over at Flickr. Some of the food photos were added to the Pauly Food gallery (now 195 pics strong).

* * * * *

I also spliced together a couple of videos about our hijinks in Key West. Take a peek. The first one involves a tray of Jello shots...

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

In the second video, some of the gang decided to take on the mechanical bull at Cowboy Bills.

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

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.

Friday, October 12, 2007


By Pauly
New York City

2:07pm. I should be working on an article for the Swedes, but I'm not.

I'm sitting on my brother's couch while watching a NY Knicks pre-season game and flipping back and forth between the game and reruns of The OC on the soap opera channel. It's the episode where Mischa Barton's character experiments with lesbianism. Hot girl of girl action. Much more interesting than the inept Knicks.

I fired up PokerStars. I'm a junkie. I can't contain myself. I have to play sometimes. Anything. I put myself on the wait list for a PLO table and found a seat at a 15/30 limit hold'em table. I sat out one hand and posted my blind.

First fuckin' hand... I'm dealt Ac-As at the cutoff. UTG raised. Player in middle position re-raised. I capped it. Big blind joined the mix. Four players. The flop was Kh-10d-7c. UTG bet out. Player in MP folded. Time to figure out if he had K-K or Big Slick. I raised. the BB folded. UTG re-raised. Well fuck me. Maybe he's got a set of 10s? I called. Turn was 8s. I check-called. The river was the 3h. I check-called again. He showed 7s-7h for a set of 7s. Aces cracked on the first hand.

14 hands later, I found 8-8 in the small blind. I called a raise from late position and then the big blind three-bet. I flopped top set and cracked the big blind's 9-9. I almost recovered the remainder of the funds I lost on Hand #1.

I forgot how cute Rachel Bilson is/was. Delicious. I completely stopped watching the Knicks game.

On the next hand, Karma swings back the other way. I picked up 9-9 and raised. Four players. The flop was 8 high and I lost to a player with 8-8. Ugh.

Don't forget to sign up for Sundays with Dr. Pauly over at Fantasy Sports Live.

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

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Sundays with Dr. Pauly.... an Inside Look

By Pauly
New York City

If you haven't figured it out yet, Sundays with Dr. Pauly is 10 week contest that I'm hosting over at Fantasy Sports Live. If you were hoping for a series of online poker tournaments, well you're shit out of luck. However, if you are a fantasy football junkie and would like a shot at playing against me along with winning some prizes in the process, then I encourage you to participate in Sundays with Dr. Pauly.

If you don't have a Fantasy Sports Live account, you can create an account here. My bonus code is Pauly and you will get a sign up bonus.

If you have been participating in the BFFB, the structure and format are very similar. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, please read on.

Here are the rules.

1. Sign up for an account, which you can fund with a credit card. Fantasy Sports Live is 100% legal and within the boundaries set forth by the UIGEA.

2. Weekly contests are $10. Total investment over the duration of Sundays with Dr. Pauly will be $100. We're starting at Week 6 and ending at Week 15.

3. Sign up for any contest that is listed as Sundays with Dr. Pauly. You will be setting up a fantasy football team consisting of a 1 QB, 3 WRs, 2 RBs, 1 TE, 1 K, and 1 D using a salary cap format.

4. Every week, sign up for a new contest and create a new team. You're competing against the players in your individual contest. The top 3 in each contest wins prize money (1st - $45, 2nd - $27, 3rd - $18). Places 4 thru 10 get zilch.

5. You are also competing against me even though I might be in a different contest. To make this fair, I'm only allowed one entry per week.

6. We will be tracking the overall progress of everyone who participates. The top 3 overall point winners over the duration of Sundays with Dr. Pauly will win prizes. See below.
Overall Prizes for Sundays with Dr. Pauly:
1st Place - $100 cash and $50 added to your FSL account
2nd Place - Any football themed DVD of your choice (e.g. Rudy, Any Given Sunday, Brian's Song)
3rd Place - a copy of Blind Side by Michael Lewis
4th Place - a phone call from Daddy

Bonus: If you get more points than me in three consecutive weeks, you win an entry into a season ending freeroll with $100 added to the overall prize pool.

That's it for now. Any questions about setting up an account at Fantasy Sports Live or how to play fantasy football? Shoot me an email.

Best of luck everyone. We will be posting updates of Sundays with Dr. Pauly here and over at Blinders blog.

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.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Soon Come: Sundays with Dr. Pauly

By Pauly
New York City

Stay tuned for more info. Thanks to Mookie for the banner.

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.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Eat a Peach

By Pauly
New York City

I missed playing online poker. Not just the physical act of playing, but also the entire ritual behind my sessions. It had been almost a full year since I would be blessed with two straight weeks in New York City without having to hit the road and go somewhere. One year. That's how long it's been since I had regular chunks of unstructured time where I could lurk around the fish-infested waters for several straight hours of online poker.

I prefer to write early in the mornings (4am to 11am), which leaves the rest of the day free for other activities including poker. During those halcyon obsessive-compulsive poker days, I played during three different times of day. Late afternoon/early evening (4pm to 7pm). Prime Time (8pm to 11pm). And late nights (1am to 4am). Sometimes I played all three; hitting and running during two spots and grinding out a lengthy session into the wee hours of the morning.

It is essential to have a clear and peaceful mind before you do anything in life. Driving a car. Attending a sales meeting. Having a family dinner. Playing poker. Especially poker, where there's your money is on the line and your opponents make a living from your mistakes and your lack of mental well being. I always look for the tilty guys at the table to pick on. Tilt implies that they are not making accurate decisions. There's my edge. Fleece the weak.

If you sit down and play poker after getting into a fight with your girlfriend or if you're on life tilt for some other reason (family, work, society), you're not playing optimally. Obviously, you should not be playing. But the availability of online poker makes it so easy for anyone to play, which means that more often than not, your opponents are playing distracted.

That's why I would have a routine to ease myself into playing and to make sure I was in the right frame of mind. Whether it's poker or writing, before I can do either, I make sure I have a nice smoke. Then I seek out a comfortable place to sit for a lengthy amount of time. It sounds pretty obvious, but I know friends with laptops that like to sit in different places (like in their kitchen, sitting on the couch, lying in bed, or even at Starbucks). That's fine for an hour or so, but for a serious grind out of a session, you need to be sitting in one area where you'll comfortable. If you are playing a tournament with a five minute break every hour, you have to maximize your break time and be close to a bathroom or kitchen. In a NYC apartment/studio everything is close by.

Next, I make sure there's no distractions. The door is closed. The cell phone ringer is off. The AIM and Skype is off. Heck, sometimes I shut down the entire player chat on the site where I'm playing. No distractions. 100% focus.

That's been my problem. I'm a multitasker. I can watch TV, play online poker, text back and forth with friends, and answer emails. I play my best poker when I limit the distractions, block out the external world, and focus on the task at hand.

Music is the next step and the most vital in my book. Music is the soundtrack to life and I always have music playing around me as much as possible. When I write. When I play poker. When I'm on a plane or waiting for one in an airport terminal. Music is an essential when I'm driving or even riding shotgun in Change100's car as she speeds through the hills of Hollyweird. Sometimes, I watch sports with the sound off and music blasting. I like my commentary far better than those nimrods on TV. I can't sit in a bar with a jukebox that is not playing songs. I immediately go over and feed the machine a few bucks to hear something. I think I've watched to many Martin Scorsese films.

The right kind of music is important. There's music that's great for playing in the background during dinner parties. There's dancing music. There's make out music. There's driving music. There's workout music. There's smoking weed music. There's poker music. There's writing music. And there's sitting in the dark totally depressed and wanting to die music.

When selecting the right genre of music, I want something that I don't have to think about. Sometimes I simply hit shuffle. But then you get a song or two that just doesn't fit and then you start skipping those, thereby messing with the entire philosophy of the shuffle. Making playlists is the key. I have a few specifically for writing, driving, running, and poker.

For poker, I usually want to hear something where I could join in and start singing during down points, but it also has great groove which keeps me focused on the task at hand. I seek out full albums to listen to. That's an hour or so. I set aside three or four and have them ready.

The tough part is finding an entire album where you can listen to everything without having to get up and skip to the next track. Kind of Blue by Miles Davis comes to mind. That gets a ton of play time when I write or when I play poker. Blonde on Blonde by Bob Dylan is another favorite of mine along with American Beauty from the Grateful Dead. Over the summer in Las Vegas, I found myself writing a lot to Note Bleu: The Best of the Blue Note Years 1998-2005 by Medeski, Martin & Wood.

Since my return to New York City, I have been religiously listening to Eat a Peach by the Allman Brothers Band. I had not picked up that amazing piece of music in several years and forgot what I was missing. I could write a book about the significance of that epic album from 1972.

Eat a Peach was recorded in the year before my birth and released just five months before I was born. Lead guitarist Duane Allman was killed in a motorcycle accident on October 29, 1971, several months before it's release. Eat a Peach was a mixture of left-over tracks (such as One Way Out and Mountain Jam) from their previous double album Live at the Fillmore East. Duane Allman's electrifying guitar work appears on several of the new tracks, which they managed to get down in the studio before his fatal accident. The rest of the album was finished after his death.

For many years, music fans believed that the reason the album was called Eat a Peach was because Duane Allman was run over by a peach truck in Macon, Georgia. Although Duane Allman died three hours later in surgery due to internal injuries, he didn't collide with a peach truck, rather it was a construction truck. The "eat a peach" reference originated from a comment he made in an 1970 interview with Ellen Mandel from Good Times Magazine. She asked him, "How are you helping the revolution?" The always slick Duane replied, "Every time I'm in Georgia, I eat a peach for peace."

A bizarre and ironic tragedy hit the band 13 months after Duane Allman's death. Bass player Berry Oakley also died in a motorcycle accident in Macon, Georgia, just a few blocks away from the spot where Duane crashed. For decades, rumors circulated around that Oakley died when he collided with a watermelon truck. Much like the rumors about Duane's accident involving a peach truck, Oakley's fatal crash was not caused by a runaway watermelon truck, rather he was run over by a city bus. Fruit trucks did not kill two members of the Allman Brothers Band, even though it's a great myth.

Eat a Peach has a strong historical significance for me. It many ways it could be used at different times as a soundtrack in my life. Although Eat a Peach was not the first ABB record I ever bought, it was the one I listened to the most in college. I borrowed the CD from my friend Wilkins, who lived at the end of the hall on my freshman dorm during my college days in Atlanta. Wilkins was a good ol' boy from G-Vegas and was one of the best guitar players I had ever met. He played in several bands and taught me how to play electric guitar. He was also responsible for turning me onto bands such as Widespread Panic and Phish.

Anyway, I borrowed Eat a Peach and made a copy on a cassette tape. I couldn't fit the entire thing on one side and ended up taping Mountain Jam on Side B. Mountain Jam was an epic 33:43 song. If I could pick one song to get a lap dance to... it would be Mountain Jam... almost thirty-four minutes in length. If there's one song I want played at my funeral, it's Mountain Jam.

Mountain Jam is not just a really long song without any lyrics or an improvisational jam. It's a journey and an original masterpiece of music where you realize the amazing abilities Duane Allman was blessed with as a guitar player. He was a visionary and we were robbed when he died at a young age. Only 23. This is the same hippie redneck kid who outplayed Eric Clapton on Layla by Derek and the Dominoes.

Duane Allman had a unique sound then and still does today. Allman was heavily influenced by Miles Davis and John Coltrane and often tried to imitate Coltrane's saxophone with his guitar. He played slide guitar using an old Coricidin bottle, originally used to hold cough syrup. The tiny Coricidin bottles fit perfectly around his finger. The slide enhanced his already one of a kind sound.

I listened to Eat a Peach on a constant loop when I first moved to Park Slope, Brooklyn in the mid-1990s after college. Filled with 20s angst, I was an extremely angry and confused individual. I wanted to be a writer and felt the creative energies pulling me in that direction, but I had the beginnings of a successful on Wall Street as a bond trader. Money, comfort, and stability did not appeal to me then and I made the difficult decision to sacrifice those things and wander on the road less traveled. The transition didn't come without heartache and the bittersweet melodies of Eat of Peach kept me sane in an insane world.

When I moved to Seattle, Eat of Peach followed me. Sadly, it would not leave Seattle. I sold my copy at a used bookstore a year later when I ran into financial difficulties. Before I got rid of it, I recall many fond memories writing a screenplay with Eat of Peach blasting at top volume in my tiny room. Eat of Peach also played in the background on my porch during sessions of supercool banality as I watched the rain fall with my slacker housemates, while we drank cheap beer, smoked cigarettes, and complained how we were all broke and uninspired artisans of one type or another.

I endured a dark and dismal summer of 2003 and sunk into the depths of despair. I managed to write my way through it and penned parts of my novel The Blind Kangaroo while listening to a copy of Eat of Peach that a friend was kind enough to burn for me.

Although some individual selections from the album made it into my musical rotation, I had pretty much put the entire album aside. I rediscovered it upon my return to NYC and it's been playing nonstop... from beginning to end... since that moment of reconnection.

As soon as I played the first few notes of Ain't Wasting Time No More, I dove head-first into a psychedelic pool of flashbacks. So many memories of my teen-aged years. My 20s. My early 30s. And my recent travels.

Last Sunday morning, the sunshine felt like rain.... are the lyrics from Ain't Wasting Time No More, the first song on the album. From the very beginning, the boys are setting the mood. Sure it's sunny out there, but I'm fuckin' miserable so it might as well be raining. The opening song has so many influential lyrics that I could go on and on all day writing about them.

Even the title of the opening track on Eat a Peach gets me all fired up. Ain't Wasting Time No More. Whether it's writing, poker, or life... that's a perfect a mantra. Duane Allman died when he was 23. Just another spiritual nugget to remind you that life is short. Too short to be bummed out or depressed or making excuses. Whenever I hear a bit of that song, I'm instantly reminded that it's time to step up and do something meaningful with my life.

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.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Sundays with Dr. Pauly....

By Pauly
New York City

In 2005, I introduced Saturdays with Dr. Pauly which was an instant success. One week from today, I'll kick off Sundays with Dr. Pauly. Stay tuned for more details.

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.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Truckin' - October 2007, Vol. 6, Issue 10

By Pauly
New York City

And we're back with a brand spanking new issue of my literary blogzine!

Truckin' - October 2007, Vol. 6, Issue 10

1. AlCantHang and I Walk Into a Bar... by Paul McGuire
Whenever you walk into a bar with AlCantHang, you're immediately assuming full responsibility for your actions. You always know what you are getting yourself into. There's no false pretense. You will drink and drink and drink and drink as life unfolds around you. You surrender to the flow of the liquor... More

2. Morrissey by Betty Underground
I did my usual, obvious, snooping about, inviting myself in to use the powder room after the long drive. I knew my way around. I knew what it looked like the last time I was there. I was looking for signs. Girl things. Grown up girl things. A woman's touch in the decor. Pictures of the happy couple. Anything. Nothing... More

3. Driving to See Mama by John "Falstaff" Hartness
Well, there was six of us in that car, and we'd been drinking and smoking cigarettes since we left base, so when Briggs rolled down that window, all that smoke just chimneyed up out of that window and that policeman had to jump back... More

4. A Mawmag's Dream by Sigge S. Amdal
I was flirting, no, I was dancing with my own future's certain death. And why? There was no love to speak of. Love can come later in some cases, I know, but if there's nothing, no great emotion to ride on – why on earth was I still dancing? ... More

5. What Might Have Been by Sean A. Donahue
The struggles of life are few and far between. We walk through life looking for the elusive, looking for the elite, or looking to be the elite. Sometimes in our search for what we want, we find what we really need. But we are too self absorbed or blind to see it... More
The October issue Truckin' features a gem from Falstaff and includes returning authors Sigge S. Amdal and Sean A. Donahue. I published another installment of the Existentialist Conversations with Strippers series in a piece titled AlCantHang and I walk Into a Bar.... Betty Underground is making her first appearance in Truckin' with an impressive showing by hitting a home run on her first submission.

If you like these stories, then please tell your friends about your favorite stories. It takes a few seconds to pass along Truckin'. The writers certainly appreciate your support. Feel free to shoot me an e-mail if you know anyone who is interested in being added to the mailing list.

Thanks to the writers who exposed their souls to the world, and did it for free. Thanks for inspiring me and taking that leap of faith with me.

Thanks again to everyone for wasting your precious time month after month with Truckin'. Until next time.

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.