Saturday, May 31, 2008

holdin-ragz! Wins Saturdays with Dr. Pauly

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

The first installment of Saturdays with Dr. Pauly during the WSOP kicked off. It was a bit hard to play and work at the same time but I managed. I also played super fast hoping to bustout or snag chips early.

22 runners were in today's event. Top 3 got paid. Special guests included ObieVIP.

I played from floor of WSOP and could see Erik Sediel from my seat. Anyway, Pings was Gigli. I missed the hand.

I went out in 18th place when my Ks-Kc-Qs-3d ran into A-A-x-x.

At the break, Tan Oprheus was the chipleader with 4.3K with 11 players remaining.

Tan Oprheus was the Bubble Boy and finished in 4th place. I had to step away from the game. When I returned, it was three-handed and Derek was the chipleader.

The chips went back and forth and all around. Bayne held the lead for a bit and so did holdinragz. Derek got crippled and was on the verge of elimination, but managed to rally back and hold on tough.

Derek finished in third place. Once it was heads up, bayne_s trailed with 6.2K to holdin-ragz!'s 26.8K. Bayne came from behind and took the lead. By the next break, Bayne slipped and holdin-ragz! jumped back into the lead.

On the final hand...

bayne_s: Qd-Jh-9c-5c
holdin-ragz!: Qc-Qs-9h-5h

holdin-ragz!'s Queens held up and Bayne was eliminated in second place. holdin-ragz! won the pot and Saturdays with Dr. Pauly!
Week 18 Money Winners:
1. holdin-ragz! - $110
2. bayne - $66
3. Derek - $44
Congrats again to holdin-ragz! for his victory. Thanks to everyone who played! See you next week.

Original content written and provided by Pauly from Tao of Poker at All rights reserved. RSS feeds are for non-commercial use only.
WSOP Day 2 - Live Blog

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

Welcome back. I'm Pauly, your jungle guide. Day 2 features the first of many $1,500 donkaments. Donkeys attract mosquitoes so there will be a slew of nasty disease-ridden pests swarming around in the Amazon room. Make sure you take your malaria pills.

* * * * *


The largest ever non-Main Event WSOP tournament, Event #2 $1,500 NL, just kicked off. This is the first year that the donkaments were split into two flights. Half the field is playing today and the rest play tomorrow.

Today we'll really find out if all the new changes at the WSOP held up. It was one thing to have a soft open with an event attracting 350+ runners where not all of the facilities have been tested.

I almost forgot about the donkament until I pulled into the Rio parking lot with Phish blasting in my no frills rental car. There were very few spots available and I had to schlep through the parking lot. Thank God it was only 87 degrees today.

The hallway reminded me of Mardi Gras minus the drunken sorority girls flashing. There was a Rio cocktail waitress shaking her booty on one of the stages in the hallway. The Sapphire strippers were back. They looked half asleep. One was too busy yapping on her cellphone while the other was being bombarded with picture requests from out of shape amateurs.

I got caught up in the clusterfuck. There's always a tinge of claustrophobia during these huge fields and a bottlenecked hallway is no place for a known pot-fiend such as myself.

When I finally gained access to the Amazon Ballroom, the speakers blasted club music. It was almost like the moment during an NBA game when they turn out the lights and announce the players. That's the vibe Shronk had and ran through the press box giving everyone high fives. I almost jumped up and gave him a chest bump.

Jeremiah Smith found me in the hallway and said that he would be in today's minefield. He was happy that I got to write for the Tao.

Maridu - photo courtesy of Poker News

Maridu, everyone's favorite spicy dish from Brasil, is also playing today. She was seated at Mandy Baker's table and looked up at the press box and saw me typing away. She came over and told me to give her some good coverage.

"I keep raising and everyone's calling," Maridu said. "I'm here to get a lot of chips early otherwise I'm going to the pool."

She bounced back over to her table as an ESPN camera crew hovered over her during the next hand that she played.

* * * * *


I busted out of Saturdays with Dr. Pauly in 18th place. My K-K-x-x ran into A-A-x-x.

Maridu told me that she had Aces twice in consecutive hands. All of the tables around her are breaking fast. There are almost 2,500 runners today and hundreds of players are already out.

Day 2 of Event #1 is about to restart in the new "green" restart area. Change100 and Mean Gene are covering that, while F Train gets his feet wet covering Day 1 of the donkament.

Since the Amazon Ballroom has less tables than last year, the donakment is utilizing tables across the hall in the satellite area located in the Tropical ballroom. In addition, there are the Buzio's tables set up in front of Buzio's seafood restaurant in the connector between the casino and the convention area.

Michele Lewis, everyone's favorite WSOP cougar, is back writing for the gang at Wicked Chops Poker. She posted a pic of me hard at work with the Donkey Bomber looking over my shoulder.

Photo by Michele Lewis

* * * * *


On one of the breaks, Jay Greenspan found me. The Big Shot is playing in the donkament. Just three years earlier we were both chained to the final tables and covering them. Now, he gets to play and I get to float around.

I spotted Phil Ivey and Amir Chaedi having a heated exchange. I was sitting in the press box and I could see the two. Vahedi was using his arms and hands and gesticulating a lot. Based on the body language, Ivey was cool and aloof as usual, while Vahedi was worked up in a frenzy about something and continuously pointed at Ivey as he sort of ignored him and focused on his cell phone while a couple of random fans tried to snap a photo of them.

Dan Michalski made an early appearance in the press box. He showed up by 2pm today which was a shocker to everyone involved.

Maridu is still alive in the donkament and was blowing kisses at me from her table. Several tables in the Amazon ballroom were already broken while the tables in the poker room and in front of Buzio's were still ongoing at the start of the first break.

With the influx of players in the donkament, the clatter of chips is almost defending. The floor is in constant motion as a sea of people make their way across the floor. Players who busted out of the donkament are making the walk of shame out of the room and into the hallways where they tell their loved ones about the bad beat they took. Random voices are on loud speakers letting the crowd know about second chance tournaments or when Event #2 will go on dinner break. Cocktail waitress rush through the aisles carefully balancing a tray of drinks in one hand. Floor supervisors are rushing over to tables to dispute arguments between angle shooters and newbies. Reporters and photographers hover over tables trying to get pics of Erik Seidel or chip counts on Shaniac.

* * * * *


In Saturdays with Dr. Pauly, it's three-handed and my brother is the chipleader!

I forgot to write about this weird exchange last night between Minh Ly and a group of us sitting in the press box. Michalski covered it in a post called Sounds of the WSOP...
Shortly before the break, Minh Ly walked past the press box...

Minh Ly (to the four of us up here): Hao ma.
Gary Wise: Blah blah blah, Ming?
Minh (still walking): Popa wow me wa.
Gary: Hep now hoo check?
Minh (shrugs): [unintelligible]
Dan (mocking): Moo wa fo ti.
Minh (almost out the door): Ya.
Gary: Did you guys understand any of that?
Pauly: Yeah, he said pocket queens beat by 3-7 offsuit.
Dan and Gary: Really?
Pauly: Really.
Yes, that's further proof that I speak Vietnamese.

By the Numbers: BJ wandered over and told me that there were 2,046 players in Flight 1A of Event #2. There are 3,524 total players currently registered in Event #2 and registration for Flight 1B is still open. There is a 2,050 player cap... so there's room for about 400+ more players.

Well, I gotta say that there's an outside chance that Event #2 gets 4,000 players. Amazing.

* * * * *


Today's smoke break is brought to you by PokerStars!

Download PokerStars

* * * * *


Congrats to holdin-ragz! for winning Saturdays with Dr. Pauly! Bayne was the runner up and Derek took third. Well done guys.

I wandered through Event #1 and checked out the action. Amanda wandered up from behind.

"I know what you're doing," she said.

"And what's that?"

"Trying to look like you're busy."

That was a good one. The truth was that I was just walking around in deep thought trying to find a story.

Sometimes people stop by and give you random food in media row. Dana and Snoopy did just that.

"I nicked a cookie from the buffet," Dana said in here very sweet and proper British accent.

That was so sweet of her. Homer, another one of the British writers, arrived yesterday and stopped by to chat. He's an encyclopedia of European players and helped get me up to speed on the best Swedish players.

I found Tom, one of PokerNews' multimedia guys, who is from Australia. He's only been in America for a few days and his only glimpse of American culture has been lurking around Las Vegas casinos. He told me about the hilarious video of Amanda Leatherman and Phil Laak that he shot yesterday.

* * * * *


FYI... 75% of the field has been decimated in today's donkament. There are 460 players remaining. Jeremiah Smith is the chipleader. Holy fuck!! Jeremiah used to write for PokerWire and does work with FullTilt. Tao of Poker's Pothead of the Year Shaniac is also among the leaders.

I had a long talk with Flipchip over the past hour. I asked him to share his thoughts about this year's WSOP.

"So far, so good," he said.

Flipchip is not a man of many words, but he's always a straight shooter. He cuts through the bullshit and tells it like it is.

What he did mention was the lack of long lines in the corridor that plagued the early days of the 2007 WSOP. They were non-existent.

* * * * *


I do weird impulsive things like a few minutes ago when I shoved a $20 bill down Amanda's front shirt while I was talking to Spaceman.

"Oohhhh. What do I have to do to keep that?" she said.

"That's such a typical Vegas question," mentioned Spaceman.

For the record, Amanda did not take off her shirt, so she had to give back the $20.

While I type this, the French media reps are closing up shop in front of us and calling it a day. Behind me, there's a heated discussion in the press box about Obama and Hillary.

"Bitch may be the new black, but black is the new president bitch," said one poker/political scholar who wishes to remain anonymous.

Michalski has been scanning my blogs looking for material to poach for Pokerati. Lazy bastard.

Oh, and yes, there's a poker tournament going on. Event #1 is on the bubble. 37 players remain and the top 36 get paid. Eli Elezra is the chipleader. Plenty of big names left in that tournament including... Alexander Kostritsyn (Aussie Millions champ), Andy Bloch, Phil Laak, Ted Lawson, Mike Sexton, Newhizzle, NeverWin, Kathy Liebert, Patrik Antonius, and Rolf Slotboom.

* * * * *


Off to Tiffany Michele's pre-birthday party! BWOP sighting in the hallway on the way to the bowling alley.

* * * * *


Wow, a lot of weirdness can transpire within fifteen minutes. Change100 and I said our goodbyes to Tiffany at Lucky Strike Lanes before we headed back to the Amazon Room. On our way, we saw a six foot tall hooker in high heels trying to pick up a a trip of frat boy in front on the craps table. We rushed past a Mexican wedding party including the bride and groom. As soon as I entered the Amazon Room, there was an announcement that Day 1A of Event #2 was complete since they got down to 225 players. Those folks will return on Monday for Day 2. Over at Event #1, there are 20 players left with Andy Bloch as the chipleader. Aussie Sarah stopped by to say hello while we chatted, a couple of security guards had to separate two players in a heated exchange. Las Vegas Metro cops were hovering around and rushed them out of the Amazon ballroom. Is someone going to jail tonight? I sent Michalksi to investigate the case.

I thought I saw one guy get led into a room across the hall.

As Flipchip said, "Getting led into a back room? That's never a good thing in Las Vegas."

Change100 said, "I saw a little of this. I think one guy was talking shit about the other's girlfriend and he threatened bodily harm."

Now, I'm on pen tilt because I broke two of my favorite pens in consecutive days. The first was a Poker News pen that I had acquired in October during a trip to Australia. That broke yesterday. My other favorite broke when I put it in my pocket and snapped when my fat ass sat on it. I stole that one from the Millennium Hotel in Queenstown, New Zealand in January.

* * * * *


Quote of the Day: I overheard two dealers talking in their smoking area... "Oh my God! I cant believe you fucked your girlfriend's mother!"

Over in the PLH event, Andy Bloch is back on top with the Finnish boy toy Patrik Antonius not far behind. Kathy Liebert is in the middle of the pack. She's seeking her second bracelet after winning one in 2004. She has two second place finishes at the WSOP. And yes, she's the all-time winning female player with over $4 million in career earnings. The Unabomber and Mike Sexton are both still alive with 15 to go.

* * * * *


I spotted Tom Sexton on the rail. He's here sweating his brother Mike. I worked with Tom last summer during the WSOP. He was a valuable asset to whatever event I was working, especially the Stud events! He also had colorful stories to share during the down time. His column on Poker News, Sexton's Corner, is a must read.

Most of the remaining railbirds have flocked to the green tables where the PLH event is still going on. There are 14 players left and Andy Bloch is still the chipleader. Maybe this will be Andy's year? Andy Bloch is probably one of the best players in the world who never won a bracelet. And he's definitely the most intelligent guy in poker. Shit, I just talk to Andy and my IQ magically raises 5 points.

I forgot to mention that my car was peppered with porn ads! One boasts VIP room service and they'll send Las Vegas' hottest babes to my hotel room. Another one had a picture of a young Asian girl named "Kim Li" who is "trained in the art of pleasure." Which means she sucks a good cock.

* * * * *


I found out that Allen, one of the Harrah's guys, went to the same college as me... just a couple of years a part. Small world. In an unrelated incident, one guy on my freshman dorm went to the same high school as Michalski, who went to the same college as Change100, who also went to college with a former Miss America, who Change100 sold pot to. And as we all know, Change100's old roommate Showcase was in Legally Blonde 2 with Reese Witherspoon, who was in Sweet Home Alabama with Fred Ward, who was in Tremors with Kevin Bacon.

* * * * *


Well, I've been here at the Rio for 16+ hours. Event #1 has been on the final table bubble for some time now and I dunno when it might burst. I mean, is anyone reading this in America? At tis point, I figure it's all Europeans checking in on Sunday morning and a few Aussies getting ready to crash on Sunday night.

I could stay here until sunrise or I have a few other options like heading back home to Scheckytown and following along with the coverage on Poker News while I cuddled in a warm bed with my girlfriend, or I could rage solo and rip bingers all night by the pool and write listening to the palm trees sway in the background.

It's Day 2 and I wanna tough it out, but the veteran in me knows I should head home and conserve a bit of energy for the rest of the series.

* * * * *


Smoke break! In honor of the second smoke break of the day, I give you... The 4:20 Guy on the Price Is Right video...

By the way, action in Event #1 is still ten-handed! I think Mean Gene is bored shitless. If you et bored, you can always check out
Flipchip's photos.

Original content written and provided by Pauly from Tao of Poker at All rights reserved. RSS feeds are for non-commercial use only.
2008 WSOP Day 1: Welcome Back to the Zoo

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

We live in a Machiavellian world and Las Vegas is the perfect example of the immoral means that will justify the indulgent ends. Over the last couple of months I struggled with the decision to cover the 2008 WSOP. I really felt as though poker was close to hitting rock bottom especially with the recent wave of cheating scandals at UB and Absolute Poker which are just the tip of the iceberg of the taboo that we dare not speak its name.

Would you want to be on a plane that's about to fall out of the sky? Or do you grab the first parachute and jump?

Yes, there's cheating in poker and there's been cheating in poker for longer than any of us have been alive. It's the fattest elephant in the room that poker has seen and everyone wanted to ignore its existence. Cheating is a harsh reality but a result of the highly competitive and lucrative nature of poker. When millions of dollars are on the line, you never know who you can trust. Sure, the majority of online card rooms and casinos do their best to curtail cheating and you often hear about the folks who got caught. You rarely hear about the ones who got away with it.

The powers to be really don't want media types hyping up stories about cheating scandals because lets face it, we're not here for journalistic purposes. We're here to fluff up the poker industry and transform douchebags into rock stars. Poker has become a massive moneymaking machine and the WSOP is the extension of an unsentimental storm that gobbles up everything in its path.

The 2008 WSOP has reached the pinnacle of greed and poker has become another casualty of the capitalistic mutation of all things cool in the world. If something is cool and deemed cool by the people participating in it, it's just a matter of time before the misanthropes swoop in and ruin everything pure about the game.

Alas, I'm not a purist per se and I'm not really anti-corporate. I loved it when Dylan went electric. There are many positive things that Harrah's did to advance the WSOP brand and continue its tradition, but then there are other things that happen that make you think... what where they thinking?

For example, poker has a rich history full of colorful characters and some of the greatest card players of all time. Harrah's made a positive gesture in trying to pay homage to former WSOP champions by hanging banners containing their portraits all over the Amazon ballroom. Except... you can barely see them unless you stand up real close. The views have been obstructed by dozens of advertisement banners shilling products like Betfair, Bluff,, Milwaukee's Best, Bicycle Cards, Planters, Corum, All In Energy Drink, and Everest Poker. Those ads block out the faces of the greatest poker players of all time.

What's the point of the portraits if no one can see them? In Japan, artists create murals to honor their champion Sumo wrestlers. They are hung up in various public places where people stop to pay honor to their heroes and the people they look up to and admire and emulate.

Yet, instead of lining the hallways with more advertisements, Harrah's should have hung the champion's portraits in the corridor leading up to the Amazon Ballroom and call it the Hallway of Champions. That way everyone could see them and snap photos next to their favorite legends of poker.

The corridor is prime real estate and that's why those huge Milwaukees Beast beer cans (that were funny in 2006 and now their just eyesores) clutter the halls. Even a strip club got higher priority than honoring poker pros. Sapphire's booth was populated by bunch of lazy leftovers from the afternoon shift with c-section scars and back tattoos. Sex sells and the other bastards of corporate greed such as Pizza Hut and Krispy Kreme also had stands in the hallway. After all, more unhealthy food options are more important than honoring the best in the world.

I caught a glimpse of the new harem of Milwaukee's Best girls. They used to dress like skanks but they got a new wardrobe which is less revealing and less tantalizing. They no longer look like a hooker strolling Tropicana at 3am. Shit if you are going to hide the tits and ass, the Milwaukee Best girls might as well wear those archaic Little House in the Prairie dresses like those Mormon wifes from one of Warren Jeffs' polygamist compounds. Seriously, the 2008 version of the Milwaukee Beast girls is sort of like watching an edited version of a porn move with all the penetration shots cut out.

But shit, it's not my party. The WSOP is Harrah's gig. They bought it and own it and can do what they want with it. Sadly, they chose to whore it out to the highest bidder. And what do the players get in return? Well, just before Event #1 began, the powers to be announced that if you win a bracelet, you will give Diamond Club status at all Harrah's properties. That's worthless. Grubby has Diamond Status. I've eaten in the lounges and it's nothing special. The only thing worth a shit is that you can jump to the front of the line of restaurants, valet parking, and the taxi line. Now if hookers gave you discounts for Diamond Club status, that would be worth something.

OK, but there were some obvious improvements like color-coding the table numbers, which will help alleviate confusing on days with multiple tables. Even the satellite room across the hall in the Tropical ballroom had a different color. The Poker Tent was ditched and replaced by the Poker Kitchen which returns to being outside instead of in the casino. And then there's the press box which is cool because you can see out onto the floor.

But would the improvements save poker in a period of economical turmoil? The boom had slowed down. Was poker's growth in North America on a plateau? Perhaps on a rapid decline? Did it bottom out and ready to bounce back up? Or are things only gonna get worse?

I definitely had a lot of different questions that I hoped I could answer during this year's WSOP. Did the slumping economy, housing crisis, rising gas prices, and the poker decline negatively effect the city of Las Vegas. And will any or all of those external factors help send poker to its bitter end?

Poker is not going to go anywhere but you have to be honest and admit that it's in bad shape. The best thing for poker is that the WSOP has one of their best years ever. And you know, aside from the banner issue (and a minor clock software malfunction) Day 1 progressed smoothly. Day 1 almost felt like Day 11.

By now I know that the first few days of the WSOP are consumed with reconnecting with old friends and bumping into people you haven't seen in weeks, months, even years. That's the fun part, catching up and talking to people from all over the spectrum... media, players, floor people, dealers, suits, interns, readers, and even a few odd locals.

It's funny how people that you'll run into at the WSOP that you haven't see since last year's WSOP and are so happy to see them, then all of a sudden it's four weeks later and you can't stand them.

The first person that I recognized when I walked into the Rio was Capt. Tom's Penis. His face was a haunting reminder that Brandi Hawbaker offed herself several weeks earlier. In fact, she could have been one of the many hideous ghosts that shouted taunts at me as I nearly sprinted down the hallway.

I also saw Eskimo Clark and recalled how he almost died last year and then was so sick that he pissed himself at one final tables. Could the ghost of Vinnie Vinh be just around the corner?

Oh yeah, there was some poker to be played. Event #1 $10K PLH kicked off and the event attracted some of the biggest sharks in poker. The field was top heavy with a lot of established Vegas pros, a horde of Europeans, a smattering of Aussies, and several of the top internet players. Over 352 players started and over 80% of the filed failed to advance to Day 2.

I spent some time at the Hooker Bar for the first time this year. I didn't see any hookers, which was surprising. Maybe rising gas prices deeply affected the local girls and they decided to turn tricks closer to home? I guess a good indicator of a recession/depression is the price of a hooker. If prices for a blow job are dropping by 50%, I don't need Warren Buffet to tell me that times in Sin City are tough.

I also walked into McFadden's where the old Tilted Kilt used to be. I sat down and drank a pint at the bar. So many things were not right. No scantily clad waitress and no Otis. Oh well, looks like I need to find a new place to drink.

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

Friday, May 30, 2008

WSOP Day 1 - Live Blog

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

Well, this is the day that everyone has been waiting for (except me). The 2008 WSOP officially kicks off at Noon PT. The Tao of Poker will be providing hourly updates (in compliance with strict media guidelines).

Here's the formula for Tao of Poker at the 2008 WSOP... I will be doing two posts a day. The first post is a "live blog" featuring hourly updates. That's what you see here. You can come back throughout the day or refresh for those updates. Then when the day is over, I'll sit down and write my end of day recap (similar to last year) which will be published before most of you wake up the next day.

I will be sacrificing sleep and Pai Gow to bring you the straight dope over the next seven weeks. No days off. Nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. The revolution will be blogged. Urination tales. Hooker bars. Bad beats. Empty chairs. Lime tossing. Fooling around on the course. Bad language. Smoking grass. You know, poor caddying.

So wake the kids. Call the neighbors. Send a text to Eddie (your degenerate gambling cousin from Teneck who constantly asks you to transfer him $20 on PokerStars) and tell him that Tao of Poker's coverage of the 2008 WSOP has begun.

* * * * *


Wake and bake by the pool. Seven minutes later, I dropped the kids off at the pool.

Yes, Scheckytown has an amazing pool and is among the best features of the house. The pool contains a mini-waterfall. The mellow sounds of rushing water is very zen and ultra relaxing and I like sitting outside and writing in the morning before the Nevada sun starts blazing down and before I have to get into my gas-guzzling coffin and drive to the Rio for my work furlough assignment.

I have come a long way from the Redneck Riviera. No more potential meth labs blowing up in the complex next door, thank God. I'm sheltered from the plight in a semi-gated community with neighborhood watches and high walls to keep out all the tweakers and gang bangers.

* * * * *


Yesterday, I attended the first of two Poker News pre-WSOP staff meetings. It was held at Lucille's at Green Valley Ranch. All you can eat BBQ. I thought last year's staff was big, but shit, there's twice as many as last year. Talk about impressive and intimidating at the same time. I caught up with Haley Hintze, who will be onsite this year. BJ and I are writing features for Poker News and will be working with her more so than the rest of the crew.

I got to meet some of the new team members. I also caught up with reporters who worked last summer (Mean Gene, Garry, Logan, Zeke, Chris, Matt, Dave, Felipe) and other Poker News staff that I worked with in Australia or Europe (Snoopy & Dana, the always hugable Amanda Leatherman, the always sassy Tiffany Michelle, Jeremy, and the Aussies... Tom & TassieDevil). And then there a couple of newbies like F Train and Shamus who I'm sure will do a fantastic job.

Seeing everyone reminded me that the first few days also include meeting up with friends you have not seen in a months or since Jerry Yang won the 2007 WSOP. Sadly, Otis won't show up for a few more weeks.

Change100 had to attend a second staff meeting at the Rio. I went back to Scheckytown to write sweat the Lakers/Spurs game. Lakers won but didn't cover. I bet the Spurs. It was a fuckin' push.

Anyway, our fifth roommate moved into the house. It's none other than... Kristy Gazes. Talk about one interesting house... Schecky, Jen Leo, Change100, Kristy Gazes, and myself.

Kristy is hilarious and tons of fun. She showed up with like eighty-seven bags of snacks from Whole Foods. I had not see her since the Aussie Millions so we caught up and watched the last episode of Top Chef. We were both shocked that Spike got booted instead of the dyke. Note to self: avoid frozen scallops.

* * * * *


Happy Birthday to my roommate... Jen Leo! She turns 26 today.

FYI, if you like Widespread Panic, I posted a mix of songs from Panic's Oct. 2007 Nashville show over at Coventry. That will keep me sane on my ride to the Rio.

* * * * *


The drive to the Rip was quick. What happened to all the traffic? Although the walk down the corridor of the Rio was haunting. The meandering ghosts were taunting me as I quickly rushed down the hallway in search of my badge. I ignored all the shit on the hallway walls and the new vendors. I'll have plenty of time to investigate those things.

I secured my badge so it's official. I'm here until the end or until I get kicked out... whichever comes first. Schecky suggested that I work less hours and have more fun. Sounds like a plan. There's a tiered media perch on the floor and I set up shop in front of the DonkeyBomber mural.

I was bombarded by a blur of familiar faces such as Nolan Dolla, Gary Wise, Lance Bradley, Aaron, Jen, Hux, Charlie, Jack Effel, and Jeffrey Pollock. Gary brought two bottles of tequila. He's properly prepared for battle.

In the immortal words of John Bell, "That same rowdy crowd that was here last (time) is back again."


"You should title this post, 'Viva Viagra'..." said Marissa Chien. The UNLV marching band walked into the room and marched through the tournament area and I kept wondering if someone slipped me a tab of acid. They formed a line and then belted out a lackluster version of "Viva Las Vegas." I felt bad for the one dealer who had to sit in front of the horn guys.

Jack Effel spoke along with Jeffrey Pollock. They said that all bracelet winners will achieve Diamond Club status at all Harrah's property.

Pollock handed over the mic to Doyle Brunson who flashed his trademark smile. "Everyone fasten your seat belt. Let's shuffle up and deal," said the legendary Doyle Brunson.

Cards are in the air for Event #1 $10K PL Hold'em. There are approximately 300 runners in the first event. There is only one tournament today.

Terrance Chan is playing in today's event. I joked around with him that he's using his $9,300 refund from the UB cheating scandal to freeroll into today's event.

There's a new mural of the DonkeyBomber right above my head.

"DonkeyBomber stinks," said Lance.

I'm thinking... BO? Shitty poker player?

"Smell the banner. It's brand new and has that chemically smell."

I inspected the banner and took a huge whiff. Wow. talk about a buzz. My head is still spinning.

* * * * *


We're taking turns sniffing the DonkeyBomber banner. Man, talk about seeing Lucy in the sky with diamonds.

In the meantime, I spotted Eskimo Clark wander into the Amazon Room in a slight daze. Just at the same time, Shannon Elizabeth was rushing past media row in a huff. Aaron and I looked at each other. We both knew that from her mannerisms that she was not rushing out of the room on a piss break or a smoke break.

"She doesn't smoke," said California Jen.

Well that narrowed it down. What really happened was that our favorite American Pie actress had her aces snapped off... twice... in brutal fashion. The first time her Aces were cracked by Beth Shak's sixes and she before she got kicked in the cookie again when her Aces were topped by tens.

Today's field in Event #1 is pro-heavy since it's a $10K buy-in. Despite the hefty buy-in (which was double from last year's $5K buy-in which was won by Allen Cunningham and had 398 runners), Flipchip thought that there was tons of dead money in the field.

"Some of these guys shouldn't be spending $10 let alone $10,000," he cracked.

I asked Flipchip about his first WSOP. "It was the one that Amarillo Slim won. I have a pic of Frank (aka the Poker Prof's grandfather) hovering over the final table."

Mike Paulle make a token appearance. He's been doing this stuff since I was a wee one shitting myself. Mike said some very flattering things about my writing.

* * * * *


My roomie Kristy Gazes is out of Event #1. Other eliminations included Katja Thater, Jen Tilly, Chau Giang and RainKhan.

During the first break, a procession of poker pros made their way past the media perch. Robert Williamson III gave me the "head nod" as he sauntered by. Steve Wong was busy speaking into a mini voice recorder. Both Bermans (Bradley and Lyle) were catching up. An animated Phil Laak chatted Dewey Tomko's ear off. DonkeyBomber wandered by and drooled over his own banner as I was sniffing it for the 117th time today.

On break, I wandered out to the Poker Kitchen which is where the Poker Tent was located last year. This year's new touch is a shitload of Capriatti sandwiches. There is a Capriatti's in Red Rock casino and I've eaten there many times. Capriatti's and their white-paper wrapped sandwiches is a welcomed addition considering the rest of the food at the Rio is more fit for canines or inmates. And what's the deal with chicks only eating half of their food? California Jen only ate half of her wrap and gave me the rest, while I also ate half of Change100's turkey sub.

Change100 commented that the Poker Kitchen resembled a high school cafeteria. One table had all of the online whiz kids. The UK players were seated at one table. Jen Tilly and The Unabomber were at another. All of the Asian pros were sitting together and exchanging bad beat stories in their dialects. The media reps sat in one section while the older Vegas grinders huddled in the corner.

* * * * *


Jamie Gold was eliminated when I happened to walk past his table. Fossilman is also busto along with Barry Greenstein. Tough day for Team PokerStars players, eh? Young gun Vivek Rajkumar is the current chipleader.

I caught a glimpse of the Milwaukee's Best girls. They used to look like skanks but they got a new wardrobe which is less revealing and less tantalizing. Shit if you are going to hide the tits and ass, the girls might as well wear Little House in the Prairie dresses like those Mormon wifes from one of Warren Jeffs' polygamist compounds. Seriously, the 2008 version of the Milwaukee Beast girls is sort of like watching an edited version of a porn move with all the penetration shots cut out.

And Survivor's own Jean-Robert Bellande couldn't even survive to the dinner break. Big Bad Bobby Belande = Busto.

* * * * *


Smoke break. Today's smoke break is sponsored by Fantasy Sports Live! For all your instant fantasy sports needs, visit They're currently running baseball and NASCAR contests.

Bonus Code: Pauly

* * * * *


Ted Lawson's wife brought the media two batches of homemade cookies. Wow. She's so sweet to do that. It's not the first time. She's always on the rail sweating Ted and realized the underappreciated work that we had been doing... so she did something nice and made everyone cookies.

Spaceman sighting (actually a couple of hours ago). He's looking more and more like Jim James from My Morning Jacket.

Finally... a long anticipated Foiled Coup sighting. He told me that his coverage will resemble the "99 cent version of Wicked Chops Poker."

Foiled Coup is the pussy detector at the WSOP. If an exquisite piece of ass even enters the Amazon Room, Foiled Coup knows about it.

"Did you see the sexy new dresses on the cocktail waitresses in the casino?"

I conducted a thorough investigation and they definitely reveal more. I wandered over to the old space where the Tilted Kilt used to be located. It's now a McFadden's and I drank a pint by myself at the bar. I was sort of sad because I really missed the old joint. Plus their waitresses are not as scantily clad as the Tilted Kilt chicks. What a waste.

I got shut out at the Rio sports book. I wanted action on the Celtics/Pistons game but the Rio doesn't book bets on the Celtics. Conflict of interest because Harrah's CEO Gary Loveman owns 2.7 percent of the Celtics. Boooooooooo. Now I have to drive to the Palms to place my bet.

By the way, there is some sort of stripper booth in the hallway. Sapphire is back with several girls dressed up in bathing suits. The rag tag bunch resembled leftovers from the afternoon shift. I gotta say that this batch was super lazy. They were supposed to hand out VIP passes or something and talk to the horny guys wandering down the hall yet a couple of them were sitting down on the job. I'm gonna get Flipchip to take a few photos.

* * * * *


I ran into super poker agent Brian Balsbaugh. I recently caught him on an old episode of Top Chef from season one which also included Phil Hellmuth.

Michalski finally arrived... at 5pm. I had a bet with California Jen. She set the arrival time at 3pm. I knew Michalski wouldn't show before 5pm. Sure enough he waltzed in at 5pm on the nose. I collected my first prop bet win of the WSOP.

Michalski and I took a tour of the facilities including the satellite area located in the Tropical Room across the hall.

Recent eliminations included Doyle Brunson, Daniel Negreanu, Gavin Smith, The Grinder, Daniel Negreanu, Steve Z, Hoyt Corkins, Josh Arieh, Orel Hershiser, DonkeyBomber, and ZeeJustin.

* * * * *


Players returned from a dinner break. Patrik Antonius confidently strolled past us with Dan Shak right behind frantically focused on his crackberry. When the floor guy announced that cards were back in the air, a slew of players ran past the media box... Juanda, Bloch, and Jesus.

Today has run somewhat smooth compared to previous Event #1. It almost feels like the ninth or tenth day of the WSOP.

I haven't see hordes of tourists like in previous years. I expect that to happen this weekend. For now, it's a steady flow of gawkers and amateur paparazzi. One guy with a sideways hat and lathered in tattoos stopped an impeccably dressed Marcel Luske and asked him to pose for a photograph.

"You're my favorite player Marcel," I heard him say as I wandered past them and the Pizza Hut stand.

Max Pescatori showed up today with a busted arm. The Italian Pirate supposedly got into fight. I wonder what the other guy looked like? I also saw his fellow Italian, Dario Minieri, who was scarfless but sported a guady watch that looks better on the wrist of one of the guys in Fiftycent's posse.

And by the way, the Celtics won and covered. Motherfuckers. I went to the sportsbook earlier in the day because my buddy Senor from Providence told me that he was gonna bet the Celtics and the moneyline. I was going to bet the Celtics getting 5, but he convinced me to go with the moneyline bet. You see a guy like Senor is married with two kids and has to be tight with money. He's rather spend it on his wife or on the kids or on a golf than gamble it away. He rarely gambles so when he's betting big on something you know it's gotta be a lock.

Sadly, the Rio wouldn't book bets on Celtics games. I was too lazy to walk across the street to place the bet at a different casino. Yes, another bad beat on a bet that I never put down.

* * * * *


This blurb is dedicated to Amy Calistri. She won't be at this year's WSOP because she has a real gig back in Austin. As much as that's awesome for her (and we're all a little jealous of anyone who can get out of poker), we're all sad that Amy's not here.

"I miss her," said Michalski.

Yes, the best boobs in poker is missed in many ways, among them, being my scratching post where I could randomly grope her.

Three years ago, Amy showed me the ropes on the first day of the 2005 WSOP I walked into the Rio. I had no idea what the fuck I was doing. I was the new gunslinger in town and she took me under her wing. I wouldn't be here today without her friendship and tutelage. She taught me how to work a hallway and gather material, which I continue to do.

And in the hallways, I roamed and didn't see the influx of Friday night hookers that usually swarm. Perhaps the Triad hasn't smuggled them into Vegas yet.

I'm trying to answer some questions this year - figuring out if the economy, housing crisis, rising gas prices, and the poker slump has effected the city of Las Vegas. I guess a good indicator is the price of a hooker. If prices for a blow job are dropping, I don't need Warren Buffet to tell me that times in Sin City are tough.

* * * * *


I ran into a G-Vegas legend... The Trooper! He told me that he's dealing The Grand Series down at the Golden Nugget. Binions and the Venetian are both running special events this summer so not all of the poker action will be at the Rio. I will do my best to check out the action at some of those other properties.

By the way, back by popular demand...
Last 5 Pros I Pissed Next To:
1. Kenny Tran
2. Ram Vaswami
3. Vince Van Patten
4. Hassan Habib
5. Jared 'TheWacoKidd' Hamby
* * * * *


I've been at the Rio since 10:30am. I noticed that other outlets rotated in a fresh batch of troops for the night shift. Well, shit I'm still here.

I wandered over to the Hooker Bar for a drink with Michalski. We hung out with Spaceman, Matt, and Martin. EPT Copenhagen winner Tim Vance was hanging out in the corner of the Hooker Bar sloshed to all hell. The American was recanting stories about his magical run in Denmark when he beat down a slew of Scandis.

I was disappointed in the lack of hookers at the Rio. I expected the Hooker Bar to be crawling with ladies of the night. The only working girl I saw was lurking around the Amazon ballroom with a trio of guys. I wonder which poor schmuck she's gonna roll tonight?

And in true Michalski slacker fashion, Pokerati's big toe put in a half of day on Day 1. He arrived at 5pm and escaped before Midnight. That's what I call a savvy veteran move.

* * * * *


Day 1 of the WSOP has come to an end. Out of 352 runners, there are 70 remaining in Event #1 and Eli Elezra is among the chipleaders, if you care about those sorts of things.

Well, I must say, I had a blast on Day 1. I was dreading today and in all honesty, it was one of the most fun days I ever had at the WSOP. I mean, it's only Day 1 and I almost had a better day today than my best day at last year's WSOP (it's hard to top cashing in the only event that I played in 2007). But seriously, today was fun and I really hope to have more fun tomorrow and the day after and the day after that.

Before I go, I wanna thanks everyone for following along. You guys have been a great crowd. See you tomorrow.

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

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Almost the WSOP: Won't You Step into the Twitter

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

Well, well, well, the boozehound has returned. The WSOP doesn't officially start until tomorrow, but I figured that I'd sort of kick things off with an early pre-WSOP post.

As you know, I'll be writing primarily here on Tao of Poker in addition to a several posts a week on and a couple of feature articles for Poker News.

But I also have some other cool things planned for the 2008 WSOP. The first one involves Twitter. If you already have a Twitter account, you can follow me here.

If you have no clue about Twitter, here's a FAQ.

Basically, Twitter gives you an opportunity to get exclusive updates from me from my mobile device to your mobile device. You can also choose to follow along online at my twitter page or your own page (if you sign up).

Twitter is a free service and a new tool that I have been using over the last couple of weeks. For example, I used Twitter to give my friends live updates and setlists information at a couple of different concerts I saw.

So if you're bored off your ass in a meeting or stuck seeing the new Sex in the City movie with the girlfriend, then I'll brighten up your day with a personal text message telling you about Vinny Vinh's empty chair or the Last 5 Pros I Pissed Next To.

Pretty cool, eh? Tao of Poker and Twitter iare just one of the many different instruments that I'll be using at the 2008 WSOP. If you have any questions about Twitter, shoot me an email. But I will warn you now, Twitter is like cocaine or any other fun drug... its tons of fun and highly addictive.

* * * * *

In case you were wondering what's on deck for the next few days...
The First 5 2008 WSOP Events:

$550 WPA Mega Satellite
Thu, May 29th @ 12:00 PM
Structure Sheet

Event #1: $10,000 Pot-Limit Hold'em
Fri, May 30th @ 12:00 PM (3-Day Event)
Structure Sheet 

Event #2: $1,500 NL
Sat, May 31st @ 12:00 PM (4-Day Event)
Structure Sheet

Event #3: $1,500 Pot-Limit Hold'em
Mon, Jun 2nd @ 12:00 PM (3-Day Event)
Structure Sheet

Event #4: $5,000 Mixed Hold'em (Limit/NL)
Mon, Jun 2nd @ 5:00 PM (3-Day Event)
Structure Sheet

Event #5: $1,000 NL w/ Rebuys
Tue, Jun 3rd @ 12:00 PM (3-Day Event)
Structure Sheet

* * * * *

photo by flipchip -

By the way, don't forget to check out Flipchip's 2008 WSOP Photos. He was at the Rio the other day and already got a couple of sneak peaks like the one above.

Bouncin Round the Room... Flipchip told me that there's some obvious changes regarding corporate sponsors at the 2008 WSOP. Some of the old guard is nevermore. For example, Party Poker is no longer on the felt on each of the 2008 WSOP tables in the Amazon ballroom. The one-time ubiquitous Party Poker logo has been removed as the official table sponsor and replaced by an Everest Poker logo. I also heard an unconfirmed rumor that the current deal was for an amount lower than what Party Poker originally paid in previous years. Maybe Pokerati will spill the beans on actual numbers... that is if we can sober Michalski up to a point where he can do some digging.

* * * * *

Lastly, I wanna thank Mookie for hooking me up with a new logo on super-short notice.

Feel free to add any of these banners to your blog to help pimp my coverage of the 2008 WSOP. I certainly appreciate the help.
120x60 -

240x120 -

500x250 -
Thanks again to Mookie. That's it for now, kids. See ya tomorrow...

Original content written and provided by Pauly from Tao of Poker at All rights reserved. RSS feeds are for non-commercial use only.
2008 WSOP Schedule

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

Here's the 2008 WSOP Schedule...
Event #1 - May 30 $10,000 World Championship Pot-Limit Hold'em
Event #2 - May 31 $1,500 NL Hold'em
Event #3 - June 2 $1,500 Pot-limit Hold’em
Event #4 - June 2 $5,000 Mixed Hold'em (Limit/NL)
Event #5 - June 3 $1,000 NL Hold'em w/Rebuys
Event #6 - June 3 $1,500 Omaha Hi-Low Split-8 or Better
Event #7 - June 4 $2,000 NL Hold'em
Event #8 - June 4 $10,000 World Championship Mixed Event
Event #9 - June 5 $1,500 NL Hold'em Six Handed
Event #10 - June 5 $2,500 Omaha/Seven Card Stud Hi-Low-8 or Better
Event #11 - June 6 $5,000 NL Hold'em Shootout
Event #12 - June 6 $1,500 Limit Hold'em
Event #13 - June 7 $2,500 NL Hold'em
Event #14 - June 7 $10,000 World Championship Seven Card Stud
Event #15 - June 7 $1,000 Ladies NL Hold'em World Championship
Event #16 - Junee 8 $2,000 Omaha8
Event #17 - June 8 $1,500 NL Hold'em Shootout
Event #18 - June 9 $5,000 NL 2-7 Draw Lowball w/Rebuys
Event #19 - June 9 $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha
Event #20 - June 10 $2,000 Limit Hold'em
Event #21 - June 11 $5,000 NL Hold'em
Event #22 - June 11 $3,000 H.O.R.S.E.
Event #23 - June 12 $2,000 NL Hold'em
Event #24 - June 12 $2,500 Pot-Limit Holdem/PLO
Event #25 - June 12 $10,000 World Championship Heads Up NL Hold'em
Event #26 - June 13 $1,500 Seven Card Razz
Event #27 - June 13 $1,500 NL Hold'em
Event #28 - June 14 $5,000 PLO W/Rebuys
Event #29 - June 14 $3,000 NL Hold'em
Event #30 - June 15 $10,000 World Championship Limit Hold'em
Event #31 - June 15 $2,500 NL Hold'em / Six Handed
Event #32 - June 16 $1,500 NL Hold'em
Event #33 - June 17 $5,000 World Championship Seven Card Stud 8
Event #34 - June 17 $1,500 PLO W/Rebuys
Event #35 - June 18 $1,500 Seven Card Stud
Event #36 - June 18 $1,500 NL Hold'em
Event #37 - June 19 $10,000 World Championship Omaha8
Event #38 - June 19 $2,000 Pot-Limit Hold'em
Event #39 - June 20 $1,500 NL Hold'em
Event #40 - June 21 $2,500 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball (Limit)
Event #41 - June 22 $1,500 Mixed Hold'em (Limit/NL)
Event #42 - June 22 $1,000 Seniors NL Hold'em World Championship
Event #43 - June 23 $1,500 PLO8
Event #44 - June 24 $1,000 NL Hold'em w/Rebuys
Event #45 - June 25 $50,000 HORSE
Event #46 - June 25 $5,000 NL Hold'em Six Handed
Event #47 - June 26 $1,500 Seven Card Stud 8
Event #48 - June 26 $2,000 NL Hold'em
Event #49 - June 27 $1,500 NL Hold'em
Event #50 - June 29 $10,000 World Championship PLO
Event #51 - June 29 $1,500 HORSE
Event #52 - June 30 $1,500 NL Hold'em
Event #53 - July 1 $1,500 Limit Hold'em Shootout
Event #54 - July 3 $10,000 World Championship Main Event NL Hold'em
Event #55 - July 7 $500 Casino Employees NL Hold'em
On July 2nd, there's the $5,000 buy-in Ante Up For Africa charity event.

Please note that the schedule is always subject to change. For more information, check out

Download PokerStars Here

Original content written and provided by Pauly from Tao of Poker at All rights reserved. RSS feeds are for non-commercial use only.
Team Moneymaker and PokerStars Giving Away 200 WSOP Seats on June 15th

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

On Sunday June 15, PokerStars will be giving away 200 seats to the 2008 WSOP. The 200+ winners will be awarded a $12,500 prize package (10K buy in plus 2.5K in spending money) including round-trip airfare to Las Vegas and a hotel for two weeks.

Last year 7,377 runners played in a similar event. PokerStars originally planned on 150 seats and when it was all over, 220 players won seats.

Due to last year's popularity, there might even be as many as 250 and possibly 300 seats up for grabs on June 15th of this year.

Overall, PokerStars is guaranteeing at least 2,000 seats. As of today, over 1,200 players won seats. There are 800 left. Here's your chance to snag a shot at glory otherwise another donkey dipshit from Humpyourmama, Mississippi will gladly take your place.

* * * * *

I read a post that Otis wrote for PokerStars Blog titled, "PokerStars celebrates Moneymaker anniversary." Has it really been five years since Moneymaker's victory over Sam Farha in Benny's bullpen rippled through the cosmos?

Like so many people in the poker industry, I am here today because of Chris Moneymaker.

To commemorate Moneymaker's five year anniversary of his 2003 WSOP victory, PokerStars is running a special promotion called Team Moneymaker.

Here's what Otis wrote...
From now until until the middle of June, PokerStars is running twice-daily $39 qualifiers into the Team Moneymaker finals. There, on June 15, the top 15 players will get entries to the World Series Main event to play on Team Moneymaker. The winners will receive:

** $10,000 buy-in to the World Series 2008 Main Event.
** Hotel accommodation at the Palms in Las Vegas.
** $2,500 for expenses.
** Dinner with Chris Moneymaker and the Team.
** Team Moneymaker merchandise and other commemorative items.
** Special Team Moneymaker feature in the PokerStars Blog.

The qualifiers run every day at 3:00 PM and 9:00 PM (ET). You can find them in the PokerStars Tourney/WSOP lobby.
Sounds like a pretty epic way to win your seat into the WSOP... via a $39 Moneymaker Special.

With the WSOP moments away from starting, PokerStars is offering up a variety of satellites to the big dance.

If you don't have a PokerStars account you can.... download PokerStars here.

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

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Broken Walls of Ruin

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

You always remember the last time you were in Las Vegas.

I'll pause for a moment while you close your eyes and let your mind wander.


So what was it like to feel the pile of chips of that monster pot you won? Did you taste the shrimp cocktail? Could you smell the cheap stripper perfume? Hear the relentless cacophony of slot machines? Feel the thickness of desperation that filled the artificial air?

I can't stop thinking about the last time I was in Vegas. It's one of those weird things that you have instant recall for, sort of like what you were doing the day RFK was assassinated or where you were when Flight 173 smacked into the south tower.

The last time I was in Las Vegas was with my brother and friends for the second week of March Madness. When the trip was over, I fled Sin City faster than a mass refugee evasion of Milosevic's Serbia. Despite a category 6 hangover, I somehow completed the solo drive back to Los Angeles without puking on myself or shitting my pants somewhere in bat country on the edge of the desert near Barstow. I may or may not have gotten food poisoning because I was sick for two days after Vegas. It very well could have been all the booze and all the partying or it could have been a batch of bunk food. Regardless, Vegas kicked my ass the last time I was here so I wasn't exactly looking forward to returning.

On Tuesday, the drive from Hollyweird to Las Vegas was uneventful. It took us four hours to arrive at the city limits and another half hour drive to the house in Summerlin which we nicknamed Sheckytown for lack of a better moniker for our new humble abode. Change100 and I are sharing a house with Schecky and Jen Leo for the next two months. Jen Leo was excited to have us. I was excited for the pool. I already sampled the frigid waters that gave me a severe case of shrinkage.

I packed super light this summer; only clothes, a printer, and enough pharmies to keep Paula Abdul jacked up for the next two seasons of American Idol. Change100's "shoe bag" was bigger than the backpack that held all of my clothes. The most abundant item that I brought with me were 15 pairs of underwear which means that I don't have to do laundry for at least two weeks.

My roomies were kind enough to set up a desk in the corner of an underutilized room. I really don't require much to get work done... just a lamp, a desk, and chair. I have all three in an area sort of isolated from the common areas. No more excuses. I'm ready to write.

The WSOP officially begins on Friday. Since I'll be a features writer at Poker News this summer, I have to attend a Poker News staff meeting on Thursday. I really didn't have too much time to myself before I slip into WSOP mode.

Everyone in Scheckytown crashed early and I found myself in a familiar situation... everyone was asleep, with nothing on TV, and I was lacking inspiration to write. I was wide awake and took the opportunity to drive over to Red Rock Casino to play poker. I only stayed for an hour or so and played 1/2 NL with a couple of loose locals.

Here are a few tawdry hands from yours truly...

The first one involved a pot that I won at a showdown with 9-high! That's right. It was so fuckin' ugly too. I raised with 9d-8d and had two callers. I flopped a gutshot and a flush draw and jammed all the way to the river. I bet 1/2 the pot on the river and bluffed at the pot with nadda. One player folded and I was shocked that the other guy called. I almost mucked my hand but I tabled my cards and said, "You got me."

He flipped over 7d-6d and also had a busted flush draw. His 7-high was no good. The guy who folded on the river had a pair of fives. My opponent only called because he was the big stack at the table (with over 1.2K) and said he wanted to see my cards.

After that hand, my table pegged me for a crazy donkey.

I had a short stack pay me off with Big Slick. The flop was King high and I was looking good with TPTK. My opponent shoved on the turn and I insta-called. She tabled two black Queens. My hand held up and inside of fifteen minutes I had almost tripled up.

I spewed chips when I had trips cracked by a flush.

And then I sucked out which tilted the table. My opponent, a guy in his 60s with a severe golf tan, was so pissed off that I thought his eyeballs were going to pop out of his sockets and blood and goo would ooze out of his eyes and run down his leathery face.

I have to admit, it was a suck out, but he could have played his hand better. Two players limped. I re-raised with Ac-Kd preflop. Eyegoo guy called from the cutoff. Everyone folded. The flop was Qc-7d-2c. I bet and Eyegoo called. The turn was the 9c. I bet 2/3 the pot and Eyegoo called. The river was the 3c. I fired out and Eyegoo re-raised all in for is last stack of reds. I called with my nut flush. He showed Qs-7h. He got even more pissed when a couple of guys at his end of the table told him that he played his hand poorly.

Most of my profit disappeared when I had my Kings cracked by J-10. My opponent flopped two pair. We got it all in on the flop and I couldn't improve. After that hand, I racked up my remaining chips and headed for the cage. I lost that burning desire to play poker and I finally found the inspiration to go home and write.

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

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

UB Cheating Scandal: Notes from the Underground

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

Shamus mentioned that I should post this important message on my blog and now, I'm suggesting that you do the same.

If you play online poker (especially if you are one of the blind fools still playing on UB), it's in everyone's best interest to spread the word on this important thread...

Superusers and Silence: How UltimateBet let players get cheated for millions by Steven Ware & Cornell Fiji (2+2)

Here's a sample:
I believe that it is important for online poker players to know about the unethical business practices of UltimateBet and Absolute Poker. It is also imperative to understand that these unscrupulous activities are not an indictment on the entire online poker industry. As you read this thread please keep in mind that UltimateBet and Absolute Poker are owned by the same company. They are also regulated by the same puppet regulatory commission. Most poker sites are run with the utmost integrity and security. UltimateBet and Absolute Poker are the exception and not the rule.

I urge the concerned reader to pass word of this summary on to other interested parties. The spread of this information will ultimately protect poker players from unknowingly exposing themselves to the corruption detailed below...

The players on UltimateBet were victims of a serious crime: grand larceny facilitated by a company that operates virtually outside the law. I hope that the efforts spent investigating and publicizing this story will help the victims of these crimes find restitution. I hope that this story will also highlight the need for independent regulation in the online poker industry.

Please use this thread to discuss the the best way to convince UltimateBet to come clean about their involvement in this theft and to provide restitution for these crimes. Please also use this thread to discuss the best ways to ensure that a scandal such as this one does not taint the game of poker occur ever again.... More
And if you don't have a blog, email the thread to all of your poker friends.

I know that I definitely pissed off several industry insiders by bringing attention to this morbid atrocity in the poker world, but I had to say something since a lot of major media players are avoiding it or they are simply too busy prepping for the WSOP to shine the light on another cheating scandal.

The truth is out there. Trust no one.

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

Monday, May 26, 2008


By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

Today is Memorial Day and I'm taking the day off. If Tao of Poker was a TV show, this would be the perfect time to air a rerun. So here's a chance for you to read some of my favorite posts on the Tao of Poker from the last couple of months...
Cheaters, Thieves, & Angle Shooters
The Procedure
After Midnight
Art & Masturbation
Las Vegas Hookers
Light Breaks Where No Sun Shines
Bosnian Snipers & Dog Tranquilizers
Apotheosis of 10-8 Suited
Weird Fishes
When the Circus Comes to Town
The Road to Excess Leads to the Palace of Wisdom
Next stop... Las Vegas.

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

Sunday, May 25, 2008

WSOP Flashback: Tao of Poker at the 2007 WSOP

By Pauly
Hollweird, CA

I leave for Las Vegas in less than 48 hours.

While I make necessary preparations for my journey, I don't have much time to write. Instead, this is a perfect opportunity to glimpse into my madness from last year's WSOP. In my opinion, the Tao of Poker's best year at the WSOP was... 2007. A lot of you might disagree, but that's one opinion where I value my own above yours.

Covering something like the WSOP is about what you can achieve in a very short period of time under the most exhausting of circumstances. Most of what you're about to read (or re-read) are sloppy first drafts written sometime before sunrise. Some instances, I had less than an hour to get everything out and up.

In 2007, there were some weeks where I logged 120 hours a week working for Poker News, yet I managed to find the time to write around 60K words in June alone on Tao of Poker. And that word count doesn't include assignments for other clients that I wrote.

I'm intimidated by my output from last year and hope that I can bring the same energy and intensity to this year's WSOP.

You can always sift through my archives from last summer: June archives and July archives.

Or if you prefer, here's every single post that I wrote at the 2007 WSOP over a period of seven weeks...

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.

Playing in Event #38
(Photo courtesy of PokerNews)

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.

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.

Me with BJ covering the Main Event
(Photo courtesy of Flipchip)

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.

* * * * *

That's it for now. Oh, and don't forget about Flipchip's 2007 WSOP Photos. He's been the best damn photographer in Las Vegas and has been covering the WSOP for over three decades.

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

Saturday, May 24, 2008

CSauve Wins Saturdays with Dr. Pauly; Thwarts Three-Peat for Last King of Scotland

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

The Saturdays with Dr. Pauly title quietly rested on Scottish soil over the last fourteen days after ResdentEvil won two weeks in a row. He was looking for his third title while everyone else was trying to prevent him from winning... for a third week in a row.

We had a good turnout for a holiday weekend with 28 runners. The top 5 were paid prize money.
My starting table:
Seat 1: boscodon
Seat 2: Derek
Seat 3: CSuave
Seat 4: opticloop
Seat 5: USC55ND24
Seat 7: DrPauly
Seat 9: L0K1
I missed the hand, but LJ went out first and took down Gigli honors.

I nearly doubled up early on and leaped out to the front of the pack. I found Ad-Kd-Kc-4h and raised. AcerbicOne called. The flop was Qh-10h-7s. I fired out the pot and AcerbicOne called. The turn was the Jc and I improved with a Broadway straight. I bet the pot and AcerbicOne called. The river was the 6h. With an active flush out there, I checked and AcerbicOne checked behind. My straight held up against AcerbicOne's smaller straight and he mucked his hand.

Early on, Meeshelle busted vitobullets and chitwood on the same hand to take the chiplead with 8.5K. At that time, I was fourth with 3K.

ResdentEvil was eliminated in 17th place when Capt. Homer took him out. No three-peat for the Last King of Scotland as his marvelous run ended. I dunno if anyone can ever win back-to-back tournaments ever again. It's a tough feat for sure.

Just before the break, I flopped quad treys in four-way pot and got zero action. At the break, there were 14 players remaining. Meeshelle held the commanding chiplead with 9.5K. I was 5th in chips with 3.1K.

Shortly after play resumed, I flopped two pair and then turned a boat against Mr Nick UK. I got him to call a value bet on the river with an Ace-high flush. I dragged the 3.8K pot as I increased my stack to 6K. I was in second place behind meeshelle.

The final table seated rather quickly and I found myself third in chips behind meeshelle's 9K stack.
Final Table:
Seat 1: meeshelle (9030 in chips)
Seat 2: opticloop (5130 in chips)
Seat 3: Mr Nick UK (4575 in chips)
Seat 4: Capt. Homer (4155 in chips)
Seat 5: Astin (2010 in chips)
Seat 6: bayne_s (1625 in chips)
Seat 7: CSuave (3060 in chips)
Seat 8: L0K1 (6960 in chips)
Seat 9: DrPauly (5455 in chips)
LOK1 busted meeshelle as the two big stacks battled. LOK1 won their skirmish and took over the chiplead. I slipped to 7th with eight players to go.

CSauve and LOK1 traded the lead back and forth as I improved my stack to 5.5K. Astin was shortstacked for a while and held on for as long as he could until he bubbled out in 6th place when Bayne busted him with a straight.

When the money bubble broke, there were five players remaining. I was 4th in chips with 6.3K.

On the last hand before the second break, Capt. Homer was taken out by LOK1. At break, I was 4th out of four with 6.2K. LOK1 was chipleader with almost 19K.

When action resumed, I switched gears and aggressively went after orphaned pots. I won the first two hands after the break to move to second in chips. The lead traded hands from LOK1 to CSauve and even I held it for a bit as I ran my stack past the 16K mark.

Bayne bailed out in 4th place when he had his Aces snapped. I was in first with three to go. That's when I lost big pot which was the beginning of my demise.

I had Qd-7s-6c-4c in the big blind. L0K1 checked from the small blind. The flop was Kd-8s-5h. L0K1 bet 1,200 and I called. The turn was the Qc. He bet 2,400. I tried to win the pot right there and raised to 6,000. I wanted him to fold, but he re-raised all in. I had L0K1 covered. I was priced in and called. The river was the 7c. I made my straight, but L0K1 won the pot with a nine-high straight.

A couple of hands later, CSauve busted me in third place. I cashed in my third Saturdays with Dr. Pauly.

Once heads-up began, L0K1 had almost a 2 to 1 advantage... 27.2K to 14.7K. CSauve won the first hand of heads up to almost pull even. The two would slug it out for almost an hour.

They even had a A-A vs A-A situation. Both players were all in preflop with As-Ad-9d-3s vs Ah-Ac-Qs-5c. The board ran out Kc-10s-6d-Jd-8d. LOK1 was ahead preflop and rivered a Broadway straight, but CSauve rivered a flush to take it down. CSauve increased his stack to 29K.

CSauve won a big hand with a full house against L0K1's straight and seized momentum. A couple of hands later, it was allover.

On the last hand, L0K1 was out-chipped 5 to 1. Both players checked from the blinds. The flop was As-Qs-9c. CSuave bet 2,400 and L0K1 called. The turn was the 10s. L0K1 checked. CSauve bet 3,600. L0K1 called all in.

L0K1: 9h-7s-6s-2s
CSuave: 9s-8s-6d-3c

CSauve was ahead with a bigger flush. The river was the Qd and CSauve won the pot. L0K1 was eliminated in second place, while CSauve won Saturdays with Dr. Pauly. Congrats!
Week 17 Money Winners:
1. CSauve - $112
2. L0K1 - $67.20
3. Pauly - $44.80
4. Bayne - $33.60
5. Capt. Homer - $22.40
Congrats again to CSauve for winning this week. Thanks to everyone who played and pimped the event.

And yes, despite the fact that I'll be working the WSOP, Saturdays with Dr. Pauly will continue to run every single Saturday over the next seven weeks.

Hope to see you then. Until next time...

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

Friday, May 23, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend Edition: Saturdays with Dr. Pauly

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

Resdent Evil won consecutive Saturdays in Dr. Pauly. The Last King of Scotland is trying to win three in a row. I'm gonna do my best to bring the title back home to America.

If you have problems finding the tournament, you can always do a player search for DrPauly. Otherwise look in the Tourney tab, and then the Private tab.

Previous winners include Grouse14, The Rooster, Buddy Dank, DrPauly, StB, Bikom, Family Ice, Bettercheck4, 23skidoo, USC55ND24, I_CrackQuads, Bayne, Grouse14, MrMojo, and Resdent Evil (back-to-back)...

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