Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Middle Road

By Pauly
Cincinnati, OH

I will be back in Las Vegas in less than one week to finish out the WSOP on a strong note. I'm actually jonesin' to return to the mix, but I don't miss all the horrible things that you have to endure while working a grueling seven-week assignment.

The third week of the WSOP is where I develop the thousand yard stare and shuffle around the Rio like a zombie cranking out sentences that were nothing more than derivative themes that I had beaten to death over the four previous WSOPs. The middle weeks drain the life force out of me and the Vegas demons suck the bone marrow out of my body. Plus, my writing gets stale and I can't stand to look at another chip count without throwing up in my mouth.

I'm always left flying on vapors for the Main Event. Over the last few years I desperately tried to figure out how to maintain my stamina for the Main Event and allow my writing to peak at that specific moment. Sadly, there was no possible way for that to happen aside from one alternative solution... skip the middle weeks. Over the previous four summers, that was impossible to do. I was a one-man show. But this year? I made a risky decision.

When Phish announced their summer tour, I was irked that it fell smack in the middle of the WSOP. The band is the subject of my next non-fiction book and the source of amusement for dozens and dozens of friends that I had not hung out with in a very long time. Upon closer inspection of the WSOP schedule, I realized that I could have the best of both worlds. I figured out a way to have fun, see my non-poker friends, conduct necessary research, and cover the WSOP without killing myself. Luckily, the Tao of Poker All Stars stepped up and helped provide coverage of the WSOP during my absence.

Yes, I missed out on some stories like Shronk's cousin winning a bracelet, Brock Parker snagging two bracelets, Phil Ivey also winning two bracelets, and Roland "Hungry Like" de Wolfe completed the elusive Triple Crown of poker. But if history is correct, there will be plenty of drama and story lines to write about once the Main Event rolls around.

The time away from the grind will be beneficial once I hit the ground in Las Vegas in less than a week's time. I'll be fresh and more importantly, I'll have a burning desire to write about poker... when it counts the most... on the cusp of the $50K HORSE and the prestigious Main Event.

I'm always miserable in June. But this year? I have acquired a rare semblance of happiness and a porn mustache. Yes, I miss my friends in Las Vegas, especially my girlfriend, but sometimes you have to go against the grain to achieve an artistic goal.

Thanks for your patience and understanding and allowing me to deviate from the path to embark on my own journey. I shall return.

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Here's a music related link dump...

If you have no idea what Phish is all about, you must read Otis' astute observation of the band and fans and community after experiencing his first show. Check out... Phirst Time.

And yes, Bruce Springsteen sat in with Phish at Bonnaroo and played three songs on Sunday night. I would have preferred David Byrne from the Talking Heads for a sit in, but the Boss did not disappoint. Click here to download that entire show. Click here to view the video of Phish with the Boss.

I went to Bonnaroo music festival last weekend in a caravan that included two RVs and two cars. We were 20 people strong. Here's a pic of our RV crew.

Are you a Lost fan? Check our our group costume.

We covered Phish tour and Bonnaroo over at Coventry Music Blog and on Coventry's Twitter feed. If you want to follow my adventures over the next few days, check out those places.

If you want a good laugh about my friends' narco/sexual hijinks, read the "Best Of" tweets from Bonnaroo.

I posted several videos of our adventures. Click here for a highlight reel of Bonnaroo.

I also uploaded several pics of my recent road travels. Check out... Bonnaroo & Phish Summer Tour photo gallery.

And if you want to read a brief recap of my experiences, check out.... Wake Up and Rage.

Here are some of the highlights from Bonnaroo, including a pistachio eating contest....

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And before I go, here's poker-related link dump...

Congrats to LJ for going deep, way deep, into the $1,500 HORSE event. She finished in 10th place (so close to a final table) and I gotta say that I was refreshing Change100 and Katkin's F-Train & Don Peter's coverage of the event. LJ took my empty seat in media row when I left. I wonder if I'll get it back after she quits her gig at Card Runners and goes pro.

Also, Congrats to Marty Derbyshire. That fuckin' Canuck slayed a few donks along the way en route to a 29th place out of 2506. Nice catch, sir.

Some of the better writing about the 2009 WSOP has come from Shamus. Check out Hard Boiled Poker. Sensational stuff. If he wasn't so swamped with other assignments, I would have hired him for the Tao of Poker All Stars.

The Poker Shrink has a running series called Poker Mind In Depth featuring Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth, and Mike Matusow. Check it out.

And I can't get enough of BJ's photos at Poker Road.

Yes, it's true. I met the elusive Julius Goat in the parking lot of a Phish show in Camden, NJ. He is indeed real. I haven't figured out if he's human or some sort of alien hybrid. Alas, it was awesome to cross paths.

Oh, and the new issue of Truckin' has been published. It's the birthday issue. Truckin' turns 7 years old this month!

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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