Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Tao of Poker: 2008 Year in Review, Part 1

By Pauly
New York City

I love and loathe these self-serving masturbatory end-of-year posts. I live so much in the moment that it's rare that I'll look back into the past and relive old glory days. But for one weekend every year, I delve deep into the archives of my blogs. I laugh. I cringe. I shake my head in disgust. I find inspiration and hope and I jot down notes mostly pointing out mistakes or things I'd like to do in the upcoming year.

Blogs are ever-evolving and the Tao of Poker has gone through a metamorphosis many times over. This will always be the way of poker in my life and the corner of the intertubes where I'll document most of my journey through poker and gambling and Las Vegas. The economic world around us is changing. The ebbs and flow of poker continue throughout the Americas and in the most random corners of the globe. The gambling industry is in a state of flux as it adapts; ushering out the old and embracing the new. And I'm kinda stuck in the middle of all of it.

I actively sought to limit my international travel and condense my freelance schedule in 2008, but I still found myself circling the globe hoping that the next assignment would be my last for a while. I thought 2007 was epic with trips to Sweden and Spain, but 2008 managed to be even more enthralling with first-time visits to New Zealand, Denmark, and Hungary. I definitely had some interesting adventures along the way including covering the WSOP exclusively for the Tao of Poker.

I always recommend reading through my archives. If there's one thing I learned about blogging and writing after five plus years, it's that the posts that I like the best are often the ones that most people dismiss, and it's the posts that I think are horrible that others love the most. I have poor taste in my own scribblings, that's why you should always browse the archives at your own leisure.

Well, with that said, let the wankfest begin...

* * * * *

January 2008

I started the new year Down Under. I caught a flight out of LAX on January 1st and headed to Melbourne to cover the 2008 Aussie Millions for PokerNews.

Art and Masturbation chronicled my outlook for the new year as I questioned my future in poker. I was seeking a plausible exit strategy, but the economy tanked in the second half of the year and I had to stick around.

Drunk Poker was a blast. One night at the Crown Casino during the Aussie Millions, I played a private cash game with Matt Savage, Paul Wasicka, and Gavin Smith. Drinks flowed. Gavin spilled. Lots of Aussie bucks were donked off.

Back to Australia and Week 1 at the Aussie Millions in 4,500 Words or Less gives you a glimpse into the happening during my first week in Oz.

I took a bunch of pics for PokerNews and for myself during the Aussie Millions. Check out my 2008 Aussie Millions photo essay.

My personal highlight was getting quoted in a cricket story. There was a mini-scandal involving cricket god Shane Warne and yours truly was quoted in an AFP story.

At the raging player's party, I got shitfaced and even fell down. I took lots of photos of the drunken escapades.

I lost a prop bet betting with Change100 on who was taller... Annette_15 or Amanda Leatherman. Here's the video...

And before we headed back to the States, Change100 and I took a two week vacation in New Zealand. We stopped off at the Sky City Casino in Auckland and played cash games.

Click here to view the New Zealand photo gallery.

Click here to view the Australia photo gallery.

* * * * *

February 2008

2008 was a leap year. Within those 29 days of February, I spent time in New Zealand, Los Angeles, New York, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Las Vegas.

After a lengthy hiatus, Saturdays with Dr. Pauly returned on PokerStars in a new incarnation... Pot Limit Omaha. Time to gambooooool.

The Rooster won Saturdays with Dr. Pauly one weekend and so did I. Yep, I won my own tournament when I was in Copenhagen.

I dabbled in a little sports betting during the NFL playoffs. I had a nice score when I was in Australia. That win basically paid for our excursion to New Zealand. The Super Bowl was exciting to watch. Not only did I win money, it turned out to be one of the most exciting Super Bowls in years. I had a little something to say about that evening with I Hope Eli Got Laid Last Night.

If you like obscure inside jokes, then you have to check out this video about our hijinks over at Poker News during the Aussie Millions.

I went to Vegas for a week to do research for a screenplay. I wrote during the days and played poker at nights. I also did a fare share of writing...

Being James Madison is about my sports betting addiction.

Insomnia Poker is self-explanatory.

Nocturne in a Deserted Brickyard is about more degenerate poker and sports betting in Vegas.

Searching for Fat Elvis was a journey that I embarked on with Change100's best friend from college. She came to Vegas in search of Elvis.

And Las Vegas Hookers might be one of my favorite pieces from 2008. Here's a bit...
"Nothing shakes off a bad beat better than hate fucking a hooker," an elderly local once told me at the poker table... More
And another post that stood out included Light Breaks Where No Sun Shines.

And at the end of the month, I went to Europe. I wrote in the cafes in Amsterdam and I headed over to Copenhagen, Denmark to cover the EPT Scandinavian Open. When I returned, I wrote In Paths Untrodden and reflected on visiting five countries on three different continents in less than four weeks.

And for all of you Deadheads, I posted a couple of videos of the Grateful Dead in Las Vegas.

Click here to view the Copenhagen photo gallery.

Click here to view the Amsterdam photo gallery.

* * * * *

March 2008

Content was sparse in March. I spent most of my time away from the tables. I hung out with friends down in Florida for the Langerado music festival. I got into some prop betting hijinks including the infamous ice cooler prop bet that I won.

Check out the video here...

March Madness is my favorite time of year. It's like a salmon run for sports betting junkies. I posted some March Madness Betting tips and live blogged almost every day of action during the opening rounds.

The few literary highlights from March included...
The Apotheosis of 10-8 Suited
Bosnian Snipers and Dog Tranquilizers
Weird Fishes
During March Madness I went bowling at Red Rock with my brother, some friends, and MiamiDon. Here's that video...

Click here to view the Langerado photo gallery.

* * * * *

April 2008

I had a mellow April and spent most of it writing in Los Angeles. I also was fortunate to have a guest post from BJ Nemeth. The topic? His take on the WSOP Final Table Delay.

Sometimes you have to have fun with your blog. I recall having a blast when I scribbled Nothing to Do and Nowhere to Go. It was one of those times when I realized that I was lucky to be where I was and on the verge of making a big decision about my future.

When the Circus Comes to Town was my response to Brandi Hawbaker's suicide.

I threw together a NSFW video homage to AlCantHang...

I finally wrote about poker in Daggers in Men's Smiles.

I also discovered that I had an addiction to PLO in Taste.

And at the end of the month, I made a decision about my summer in Soon Come... 2008 WSOP. I turned down big bucks to write for numerous outlets in order to have 100% creative control and cover the WSOP exclusively on the Tao of Poker.

* * * * *

May 2008

May is always an odd month, sort of the calm before the storm. I have a mellow schedule and engage in a slew of non-pokery things in order to prepare for a grueling seven-week assignment in Las Vegas.

I shared a bit on a screenplay that I was working on called Poker Movies: Harold and Kumar Go to the World Series of Poker.

Iggy, GMoney, Bobby Bracelet, and StB ventured to NYC to hang out. Hijinks were documented in a post titled Big City Prop Bets; Trannies, Taxi Cab Racing, the Kentucky Derby, and the $447 Sumo Burger.

Catcher in the Razz is about my least favorite game and one of my favorite novels of all time.

The Last King of Scotland became the first player to win back-to-back titles in Saturdays with Dr. Pauly.

White Light, White Heat proves that sometimes short and sweet is the only way to blog.

Broken Walls of Ruin was a post that centered around remembering the last time you were in Las Vegas.

One of my favorite posts of the year had to be The Road of Excess Leads to the Palace of Wisdom. Here's a bit...
The attractive lights flickered as you sped down the mountain and raced at 92mph towards the brute void. Perhaps, you glimpsed out the window of your plane with the intensity of a leering sexual deviant. The Luxor light captured your attention. The poignant beacon of promise was where the unreliable patron saints of gambling gathered. St. Coulda. St. Would. St. Shoulda. They all jeered at your unanswered prayers, yet you continued to worship them like a lazy sod.
I dedicated Just Because You're Not Paranoid, Doesn't Mean They're Not After You to all of you tin foil hat wearing freaks. That included pics of Benjamins with chop marks.

The gang at BoDog listed me as a 16/1 longshot to be the one blogger who lasted the longest in the WSOP main event. The good money would have been on Iggy

This might be one of my favorite poker videos of 2008 featuring Rury and Danny Boy in Monte Carlo...

In order to get into a WSOP kinda mood, I posted a Best of the Tao of Poker at the 2007 WSOP. Lots of heady links to my coverage from two summers ago.

And then... I moved back to Las Vegas to cover the 2008 WSOP. It kicked off at the end of May and I was ready to tackle my fourth straight WSOP.

Day 1: Welcome Back to the Zoo officially kicked off the 2008 WSOP.

Click here to view the NYC photo gallery.

* * * * *

That's it for now. I'll return shortly with Part 2 of the Tao of Poker 2008 Year in Review, which will include highlights from the 2008 WSOP.

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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