Monday, August 31, 2009


By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

At the start of 2009, I was playing an average of seventy-five minutes of poker per day. Some days had longer sessions than others while I grinded (is it ground? like ground beef that they pick up off the killing floor of the slaughterhouse and make Jack in the Box burgers out of the floor scraps?) it out at the limit hold'em tables playing as many as I could at one time (but never more than 4 or 5 because I'm always multi-tasking and reading business articles, reading emails, and editing posts for Coventry).

Online poker was aways numbers game for me and I logged my time because I knew how to be a winning over the long run as long as I kept my focus and composure. The hard part was staying disciplined and playing textbook poker, which you need to do in limit. In short, those seventy-five minutes were boring but profitable.

Most of the time, I was going through the motions but the volume of the tables generated a steady flow of income... and made me a 10-time Iron Man on Full Tilt, whatever that means. The money that I won online in those months would not make my accountant's head spin. Since I was in the middle of writing a book, I took on less freelance work which meant that any extra money flowing in would be an added bonus. Playing online an hour or so every night gave me the chance to wind down the evening after an exhausting and mentally draining day locking myself in the office pecking away at the keyboards.

Online poker was also a remedy for insomnia. Instead of tossing and turning and trying desperately to fall back asleep, I decided to fire up PokerStars and fleece the EuroDonks.

Also, in the back of my mind, I wondered what it would be like playing poker for a living, or at the least playing it to seriously supplement my income. I know plenty of people who do it for a living, and some of them actually made money. But could I? And would I?

I honestly hope that it never comes to the point in my life that the only opportunity for me to make money was to play poker. If that happens, could I pay rent from my skills at the tables? Because if times really got tough, I would return to tending bar, writing $25 erotica pieces for porn shill sites, and spending the rest of the time trying to find a beatable low stakes game that my bankroll could handle.

After covering the poker scene for the last half of a decade, I know that it takes a special breed of person to be able to be successful at the tables, not to mention limiting all of the other negative variables that are obvious obstacles in the life as a pro. The cliche fits... it's a tough way making an easy living.

Alas, playing poker for a living is a job and not a lifestyle which many of you have a difficult time differentiating. And by definitions, all job suck (especially writing gigs). Some jobs have great perks like parking spaces, dental insurance, and massages from ex-strippers. But most of the time, you're going through the motions and waiting for the day to end so you can inebriate your senses or go home and watch TV or spend time with friends, family, or a loved one.

When the WSOP began, I stopped playing online poker because I had no free time. Once the WSOP ended, I was traveling and on a vacation from all things poker. Even though I'm no longer on vacation, online poker is non-existent these days. It used to be a priority, now it's an afterthought.

On the spur of the moment, I decided to host a Saturdays with Dr. Pauly for all those PLO junkies out there. Cliff won that one and we all had fun. I Also played online poker once when I was in New York City and that's because I showed up an hour late for an editorial meeting and had too much time to kill, so I sat in the food court across from the gelato place in the basement of Grand Central Station and fired up the virtual tables.

But I played online poker yesterday. Sort of. There was the Sunday morning blogger freeroll on PokerStars. The top 18 players won $109 tickets to the WCOOP. I only found out about at the last second and registered. I almost didn't play it and opted for sleep instead because I was up until sunrise the night before. After a long Saturday of writing, I tied one on Saturday night and stayed up much later partying than I wanted to. Alas, I woke up in time to play. Bad move. I should have opted for sleep.

Even though there were only 300 or so players, the freeroll was a Turbo format. Usually during freerolls, 1/3 of the field is sitting out while another third is playing like maniacs and busting out. That's the value... trying to pick off a pushmonkey with a less than marginal hand. Or taking coinflips early on in the tournament in hopes of doubling up early.

I didn't last very long. I stole a lot of blinds because everyone to me left was sitting out. That kept me about even stacked. One guy at my table kept moving all in pre-flop. I found A-K and called hoping that he had a smaller ace and at the worst, I was hoping for a coinflip since the blinds were rapidly accelerating. I found myself up against 9-9. I whiffed and lost my race. I headed to the virtual rail and sweated BadBlood and AlCantHang before they busted.

The WCOOP starts this week. There are several enticing events on the schedule. I might try a satellite or two or buy into one or two events directly... if I can finish the edits for Lost Vegas before the WCOOP ends.

Click here for the 2009 WCOOP schedule.

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

Sunday, August 30, 2009


By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

When I was in high school, I used to drink Olde English 800 out of paper bags. We bought O.E. in bodegas because the Asian or Middle Eastern immigrants who worked behind the counters never carded us. These days O.E. takes on a whole new set of meanings in my vernacular. In case you were wondering, almost twenty years later, O.E. now stands for Op-Ed.

I'm starting a new weekly assignment next Sunday. If you haven't figured it out by now, I'll be writing Sunday morning Op-Eds over at Poker News.

When I was a little kid, newspapers were titans in the media industry and still meant something then circa the late 1970s. Newspapers were the major source of news in that era before the change shifted towards TV and cable news in the 1980s and then shifted again to the internet at the turn of the century. I always held Sunday Op-Ed writers in the highest regard. They were often feature writers (who didn't write for that paper) sounding off on a hot topic.

Thanks to Matt Parvis for bringing me aboard for the rest of the year. I welcome this prestigious opportunity to tackle a slightly different aspect of poker. Check back in with Poker News next Sunday September 6th for my first contribution.

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

Saturday, August 29, 2009

2009 WCOOP Schedule

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

The WCOOP is back at PokerStars starting this Thursday. Satellites are running around the clock as we speak.

Here's the schedule...
2009 WCOOP Schedule

Event #1 $215 NL Hold’em [6-max] - $1,250,000 Guaranteed
Thursday, September 03, 2009 @ 14:30

Event #2 $215 Razz - $200,000 Guaranteed
Thursday, September 03, 2009 @ 16:30

Event #3 $215 PLO [6-max] - $500,000 Guaranteed
Friday, September 04, 2009 @ 14:30

Event #4 $215 NL Single Draw 2-7 w/rebuys - $200,000 Guaranteed
Friday, September 04, 2009 @ 16:30

Event #5 $109 8-Game [5-minute levels] - $50,000 Guaranteed
Friday, September 04, 2009 20:00

Event #6 $109 NL Hold’em -$1,000,000 Guaranteed
Saturday, September 05, 2009 12:45

Event #7 $215 PL 5-Card Draw - $200,000 Guaranteed
Saturday, September 05, 2009 14:30

Event #8 $215 FL Hold’em - $400,000 Guaranteed
Saturday, September 05, 2009 16:30

Event #9 $215 NL Hold’em - $1,000,000 Guaranteed
Sunday, September 06, 2009 12:45

Event #10 $10,300 NL Hold’em [High Roller] - $2,000,000 Guaranteed
Sunday, September 06, 2009 14:30

Event #11 $530 NL Hold’em [2-day] - $3,000,000 Guaranteed
Sunday, September 06, 2009 16:30

Event #12 $215 NL Hold'em [4-max] - $500,000 Guaranteed
Monday, September 07, 2009 14:30

Event #13 $320 7-Card Stud - $150,000 Guaranteed
Monday, September 07, 2009 16:30

Event #14 $320 Mixed Hold'em [6-max] - $300,000 Guaranteed
Tuesday, September 08, 2009 14:30

Event #15 $320 FL Badugi - $100,000 Guaranteed
Tuesday, September 08, 2009 16:30

Event #16 $1,050 NL Hold’em - $500,000 Guaranteed
Tuesday, September 08, 2009 20:00

Event #17 $530 NL Hold’em Triple Shootout [10-max] - $500,000 Guaranteed
Wednesday, September 09, 2009 14:30

Event #18 $320 8-Game - $300,000 Guaranteed
Wednesday, September 09, 2009 16:30

Event #19 $320 PLO [6-max, 1R1A] - $400,000 Guaranteed
Thursday, September 10, 2009 14:30

Event #20 $320 FL Triple Draw 2-7 - $100,000 Guaranteed
Thursday, September 10, 2009 16:30

Event #21 $215 NL Hold’em w/rebuys - $1,250,000 Guaranteed
Friday, September 11, 2009 14:30

Event #22 $530 FL Omaha Hi/Lo - $400,000 Guaranteed
Friday, September 11, 2009 16:30

Event #23 $320 NL Hold'em [10-minute levels] - $300,000 Guaranteed
Friday, September 11, 2009 20:00

Event #24 $530 NL Hold’em [Heads-up Match Play] - $1,000,000 Guaranteed
Saturday, September 12, 2009 14:30

Event #25 $320 HORSE - $400,000 Guaranteed
Saturday, September 12, 2009 16:30

Event #26 $215 NL Hold’em - $1,000,000 Guaranteed
Sunday, September 13, 2009 12:45

Event #27 $25,500 NL Hold’em [High Roller Match Play] - $800,000 Guaranteed
Sunday, September 13, 2009 14:30

Event #28 $1,050 NL Hold’em [2-day] - $3,000,000 Guaranteed
Sunday, September 13, 2009 16:30

Event #29 $320 Mixed [PL Hold'em, PL Omaha] - $400,000 Guaranteed
Monday, September 14, 2009 14:30

Event #30 $320 NL Hold’em [2X Chance] - $600,000 Guaranteed
Monday, September 14, 2009 16:30

Event #31 $320 PLO w/rebuys [6-max] - $700,000 Guaranteed
Tuesday, September 15, 2009 14:30

Event #32 $530 7-Card Stud Hi/Lo - $200,000 Guaranteed
Tuesday, September 15, 2009 16:30

Event #33 $1,050 NL Hold’em - $500,000 Guaranteed
Tuesday, September 15, 2009 20:00

Event #34 $215 NL Hold’em [big antes] - $500,000 Guaranteed
Wednesday, September 16, 2009 14:30

Event #35 $320 PLO Hi/Lo - $500,000 Guaranteed
Wednesday, September 16, 2009 16:30

Event #36 $530 NL Hold’em w/rebuys [6-max] - $1,000,000 Guaranteed
Thursday, September 17, 2009 14:30

Event #37 $2,100 PLO [6-max] - $600,000 Guaranteed
Thursday, September 17, 2009 16:30

Event #38 $530 NL Hold’em [1R1A] - $1,000,000 Guaranteed
Friday, September 18, 2009 14:30

Event #39 $1,050 FL Hold’em [6-max] - $400,000 Guaranteed
Friday, September 18, 2009 16:30

Event #40 $215 NL Omaha Hi/Lo [10-minute levels] - $200,000 Guaranteed
Friday, September 18, 2009 20:00

Event #41 $530 PLO [Heads-up Match Play] - $250,000 Guaranteed
Saturday, September 19, 2009 14:30

Event #42 $2,100 8-Game - $350,000 Guaranteed
Saturday, September 19, 2009 16:30

Event #43 $215 NL Hold’em - $1,000,000 Guaranteed
Sunday, September 20, 2009 12:45

Event #44 $10,300 HORSE [High Roller] - $1,000,000 Guaranteed
Sunday, September 20, 2009 14:30

Event #45 $5,200 NL Hold’em Main Event [2-day] - $10,000,000 Guaranteed
Sunday, September 20, 2009 16:30
If you don't have a PokerStars account, you can download the software here.

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

Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday Link Dump: Man vs. Food, Inside Deal, and Twitter

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

I'm swamped with a heavy load of writing (both domestic and international), so how about some videos to keep you sedated while you wait for the weekend to begin?

Man vs. Food is one of my favorite shows on the Travel Channel. Hey, something interesting needed to pick up the slack from the departure of the WPT. Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, they aired a Las Vegas-centric episode where the host decided to try to chow down on the Big Badass Burrito at the NASCAR Cafe.

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Here's the latest edition of ESPN's Inside Deal, which keeps getting better with each episode...

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When people who have no concept of Twitter and ask me to explain it to them, I simply tell them to check out this video which succinctly explains Twitter...

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Happy belated birthday to Shane Nickerson. Since we on a Twitter theme, Shane recorded one of the most hysterical rants about Twitter. Check it out...

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P.S. I embedded three different types of video players, so all/some/one of them might not show up in whatever you use to read my RSS feed. I suggest you click through to the Tao of Poker to see these society-altering videos.

And of course, you can always follow me on Twitter. My username is @taopauly.

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

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Chicken Kyiv

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Shamus got his first glimpse of the international poker circuit when he covered the EPT Kyiv. I thoroughly enjoyed his travel-related posts. Check them out here. And congrats on winning the ET Kyiv media tournament. Well done, sir.

He pointed out a PokerNews video that was shot by a buddy of mine (Jeremy) featuring Gloria's adventures in and around Kyiv, including hanging out on a tank...

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P.S. Little League World Series picks? Chula Vista, CA upsetting Georgia in the U.S. bracket and let's go with Curacao to win today's international match against Taipei.

And thanks to Eric for pointing out this gem... Little League Pitcher Would Really Like To Plunk This Next Batter (via Deadpsin).

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

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Degenerate Wednesdays: LLWS and Betting on Baseball

By Pauly
New York City

Today is a travel day for me as I depart the hustle and bustle of sweltering New York City, as I make my way back to synthetic and sunny Los Angeles to finish up the last bits of Lost Vegas.

Only complete degenerates bet on baseball. That's partially true. There are a handful of professional gamblers and handicappers that wager on baseball only when the perfect circumstances present themselves. Since I started covering the WSOP in 2005, I met Nolan Dalla who was a handicapper in a previous life. He "knows guys" who do this for a living and once every summer, I get an email or a tap on the shoulder with a "bet the farm" pick. It's essentially free money, that is, if you can find that perfect game. Since the MLB schedule is 162 games long there's opportunity to stumble upon one of those games.

A friend of mine (name withheld for privacy issues) who used to live in Las Vegas in the 1990s, loved the baseball season more so than the NFL season because there was action every single day for almost six months versus a smaller time frame of gambling... Sundays and one game Monday night for football. He loved to hammer home dogs and made a decent living exploiting that edge in baseball.

These days, my sports betting boils down to this... action. The sums wagered are drastically lowered, but action is still action. Sports betting takes something that was lacking significance and all of a sudden it has meaning and that's the beauty of betting on Little League Baseball. Sure, children's sports, at the root, is all about sportsmanship and exercise and teaching little ones teamwork and how to follow the rules. However, once the kids step on the diamond at Williamsport, PA and under the bright lights and lenses of international media reps, the fun times and game ceases. The event metophorisizes into sports entertainment. The way I see it... if it's on ESPN, then it's OK to gamble on it.

I've been doing fairly well since the LLWS began and now we're getting close to figuring out the Final Four. There are two games on Wednesday.... Mexico plays Japan in the international pool and a team from Staten Island is taking on San Antonio in the U.S. bracket. On the Mexico/Japan game? The nod goes to undefeated Mexico who is 3-0 since the tournament began. Japan is 2-1 and they are going to be tough to beat. Since I'm in NYC and played little league in the Bronx many moons ago, I'll have to go with Staten Island... even though I think San Antonio is strong enough of a squad to win a close game. Gotta root for the local kids and I love the fact that they all got Italian last names... kids of wiseguys playing against rednecks from Texas. Man, I should be covering the LLWS instead of the WSOP.

So those are my picks today.... Mexico and Staten Island.
* Disclaimer: These picks are for entertainment purposes only. After all, gambling is illegal in parts of rural America. The Tao of Poker is not a registered investment adviser or broker/dealer. Readers are advised that the material contained herein should be used solely for informational purposes. Tao of Poker does not purport to tell or suggest which games that readers should wager for themselves. True gamblers should always conduct their own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. Tao of Poker will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by a reader's reliance on information obtained on Tao of Poker. Readers are solely responsible for their own investment decisions, especially when wagering upon little league baseball players who may or may not be injected with growth hormones..
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By the way, last night I attended my first game in the new Yankee Stadium. I went with my brother who has already visited the new digs a couple of times. The last time we went to see a baseball game together, he got into a fight at Dodger Stadium last summer.

Anyway, click here to see a complete gallery of new Yankee Stadium photos.

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

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

PartyGaming Buys WPT

By Pauly
New York City

I read the news today, oh boy. Even John Lennon, if he were alive, would have to say, "Holy shit, Yoko! PartyPoker just bought the WPT."

If you have been underneath a rock during the last 24 hours or don't pay attention to press releases, here's the skinny.... Peerless Media Limited (a subsidiary of PartyGaming) outbid another group for the sale of the World Poker Tour Enterprises (WPTE). Peerless Media Limited are paying $12.3 million (in addition to another 5% depending on the revenues generated by other assets included in the deal).

The deal included $1 million up front in cash to the WPTE, which will eventually be funneled to pay off Gamynia Limited (a company associated with Playtech, who is the parent company of iPoker). The $1 million is a kill fee from the WPTE in order to back out of an original arrangement with Gamynia Limited/iPoker who originally bid of just a little over $9 million. Yeah, only a few weeks ago it appeared that the iPoker group would be the new owners of the WPT. However, at the last moment, the suits at PartyGaming executed a swift move to snatch the WPT out of their fingertips.

Did PartyGaming aka PartyPoker save the World Poker Tour? We'll have to wait and see the final results, but my initial gut reaction was that this deal will have a positive impact in the poker industry at some point down in the future.

Perhaps PartyGaming can infuse some much needed buzz and energy into the fledgling WPT. Buy-ins and prize pools have been down across the board over the last few years for a number of reasons. Some of those obstacles (such as the faltering economy, the UIGEA, and poker's waning popularity among hipsters) were beyond their control, however, many of the WPT's problems were generated by their own success and their own stubborness. Like many companies in the poker industry, the WPT grew too big, too fast, as their company exploded during the poker boom. I had many run-ins with WPT staffers during the pinnacle of their success who honestly acted like they created the poker boom. That was their elitist attitude and you either got in line or got the hell out of their way. That's how big they were at the time in 2005. Even I knew my place and stepped aside and kept my mouth shut.

Sadly, the success of the WPT went to the heads of the people in power and they were unable to make necessary changes and adapt to the new world order of poker in the wake of the UIEGA. They launched an online poker site which ended up a tremendous failure and sucked out a vast amount of financial resources.

Roughly at the same time, PokerStars launched a highly successful tournament circuit in Europe (the EPT) and used that model to expand to other booming regions in the world such as Latin America (LAPT) and the Asian-Pacific market (APPT). At that point, there wasn't much "world" tournaments in the WPT especially after France stiff armed them and said no more WPT events at the Aviation Club. In addition, the PCA and the WPT drifted apart and were no longer partners. When you have four events every year from the Bellagio which makes up almost 1/3 of your schedule, you're actually running the Bellagio Poker Tour. Meanwhile, PokerStars continued their successful expansion.

The current WPT stops in Europe are not controlled by the WPTE. They sold off the franchise rights to outside entities who put on the tournament individually, even though it's being run under the WPT brand name. For example, Chili Poker was the sponsor of the WPT stop in Morocco.

I can only assume that PartyPoker saw an opportunity to use the WPT brand name to build up a stronger presence in Europe to possibly rival PokerStars' EPT. That's a positive thing for the poker industry because competition is a healthy thing. It will force the EPT to step up and improve some of their weaker points. However, it is interesting to note that PokerStars is the current sponsor for the current season of the WPT.

Meanwhile, business as usual will continue with the fledgling WPT in North America. I'm assuming that the move to purchase the WPT was more of a gamble (or hedge depending on how you view the gaming industry or the financial world) for PartyGaming. They're obviously waiting to return to the American market after they took a conservative approach after the UIGEA and left. They even volunteered to pay the Department of Justice a lump sums of cash for their wrong doing.

There have been whispers and conspiracy theories about of a secret union between PartyGaming and Harrah's (aka Caesar's Entertainment). All you have to do is look at the hiring of Mitch Gerber (former PartyGaming CEO) whose task included taking control of expanding the brand of the WSOP and

At this point, PartyGaming's strategy is fairly obvious... wait until both the economy improves and online poker returns to the American market. And if both happen at roughly the same time, they will be in an extremely advantageous position.

Just one year ago, I had sources in Europe telling me that Full Tilt Poker was on the verge of buying the WPT. All signs indicated that they were interested and infused a nice chunk of capital towards WPT's which secured them some promotional branding during the show. At the time I was in London and I recall having a conversation with an British industry insider who suggested, "Why doesn't Full Tilt just buy the whole bloody thing?"

And that whole bloody thing he was referring to was the WPT. Well, just a few weeks ago, it looked like the iPoker network was about to step in but now it's PartyGaming.

Do you remember back to 2005 when Doyle Brunson was rumored to be a part of a group who was seeking to buy WPT for $700 million? Nothing ever came of it, but the stock blew up on rumors of Texas Dolly trying to buy it. The SEC investigated Texas Dolly to see if there were any shenanigans in is involvement. Was his interest in buying legitimate or was it an old fashioned "pump and dump" scheme in order to boost up the price of WPTE?

$700 million is nothing like $12.3 million. Oh, the mighty have fallen. PartyGaming swooped in at the last moment and outbid their competitors to gain access to WPT, which at one time, was considered the premiere poker circuit in the world. They paid chump change when you think about how much rake they generate on a daily basis.

The last few years have been nothing short of a nightmare for WPT execs ever since the UIEGA hit. They have been under a constant siege of problems including juggling hostesses, the removal of Linda Johnson as emcee, switching channels (from the Travel Channel to the Game Show Network to Fox Sports) and whispers that Vince Van Patten and/or Mike Sexton were about to be bounced. Heck, they are not even on the sidelines for the final tables like they used to be. They just insert their commentary during the post-production process. The WPT used to be a major staple of televised poker viewing. Much like Monday Night Football, you used to know that Wednesday nights were dominated by the WPT on the Travel Channel. Once that union was dissolved, the WPT has been floating in limbo and they lost a significant amount of loyal viewers during their search for a new home.

Even the number of participants in the WPT have been way off this season. The Bellagio Cup numbers were anemic and the latest stop for the Legends of Poker also represented a 25% decrease in numbers. Even the Borgata in Atlantic City decided to drop the $10,000 buy-in event for the 2009 Borgata Poker Open and settled on a $3,300 + $200 buy-in (scheduled for September 19th). The gang at the Borgata understand the current marketplace and were not about to let the WPT's standardized $10,000 buy-in put a blemish on their amazing series.

It is also interesting to note that the cash raised from the sale of the WPTE will not be disbursed among the shareholders, even though the shareholders approved of the sale. The bigwigs at the WPTE will be using that cash to develop ventures outside of the poker and gaming industry.

Maybe they should have called Texas Dolly's bluff in 2005 and sold the WPT for $700 million? For now, $12.3 million is the price tag for something that used to be one of the most recognizable brands in poker.

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

Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday Morning Link Dump: Young Russian Wins EPT Kyiv and Steven Begleiter Leads Shrunken WPT Legends Field

By Pauly
New York City

I'm already having a relaxed Monday after a fun weekend where the Yankees took two from the Red Sox at Fenway and I won both of my Little League World Series Bets (I have Mexico today).

As the summer winds down and we're crawling towards the conclusion of the Main Event and the November Nine, one of the nine remaining players is making some waves... Steven Begleiter. He's the former big wig at Bear Sterns and currently the chip leader after Day 1 in the WPT Legends of Poker at the Bike. Speaking of Steve Begleiter, his bio by JuliusGoat is a must read.

BJ Nemeth is at the Bike and he mentioned that The Devil advanced to Day 2. You might have seen him on the opening episode of the Main Event coverage on ESPN. He was the freaky guy smashing the cymbals.

Over in the Ukraine, the new season of the EPT kicked off. Originally, the first stop was Moscow, but then the Kremlin gave the middle finger to casinos and poker. PokerStars scrambled to set up a tournament at the backup stop of Kyiv in Ukraine, the bread basket of the former Soviet Union. Maxim Lykov, a 21 year old from Moscow, took down the event for €330,000.

Here's the video...

One of my favorite financial writers from NYC, Kid Dynamite is back from Vegas with a trip report titled To the Felt. He hooked me up with tickets to Phish at Shoreline but I had to help sell his two extras which he paid $50 a piece. The market was saturated and extra tickets for lawn seats that were going for as little as $10. I managed to get $70 for him... plus a lot t-shirt that said "Melt Your Face" which was an amazing fetch considering people were practically giving tickets away.

Lastly, LJ's cousin is in need of a miracle. Maybe you can help?

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

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Ascent of Money

By Pauly
New York City

I had a rough batch of insomnia last night and re-watched a documentary on The Ascent of Money with Niall Ferguson. It's a must see considering the current economic woes plaguing our world right now. Here's the play list which includes a six hour PBS special (spliced up in thirty sections) on the history of the modern financial world...

I also highly recommend reading Niall Ferguson's book... The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World. It definitely blew me away when I picked it up for the first time.

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

Saturday, August 22, 2009

NFL Season Approaches

By Pauly
New York City

The local papers in NYC are having a field day with Mark Sanchez. The Rooster calls him the Great Mexican Hope as millions of Jets fans are looking to ride Sanchez's shoulders to the Promised Land. It's something that Brett Favre promised them last season which turned out to be nothing more than a wet fart.

I don't remember Broadway Joe Namath in a Jet uniform. I'm old, but not that old. The first QB for gang green that I can recall was... Richard Todd, who became the whipping boy for sportswriters in the late 1970s and early 1980s who had a field day with the guy who had a tough role to fill. I still had his poster on my wall. When you're an eight year old Jets fan, the QB is your own personal hero along with 3B for the Yankees at the time... Graig Nettles.

Since then, the role of the Jets QB has changed hands many times. A few familiar faces ended up leading the Jets, but they always appeared in the twilight of their careers with their best days behind them. Ken O'Brien and Vinny Testaverde stood out, aside from Vinny's interception woes. My favorite Jets joke used to be... "Did you know that Testaverde translated from Latin means 'color blind'."

And then there was Chad Pennington. Clyde Frazier would call him paper mache for being too injury prone. Pennington always had a nasty rumor following him around like a lovesick puppy. I hated those rumors that Randy Moss will sign with the Jets in the offseason because Pennington was his favorite QB all-time after the two smashed records at Marshall together.

And yes, over the years I've had to endure Sundays with Richard Todd, Ken O'Brien, Tony Eason, Mark Malone, Browning Nagle, Jeff Blake, Boomer Esaison, Glenn Foley, Bubby Brister, Neil O'Donnell, Ray Lucas, Rick Mirer, Vinny Testaverde, Jay Fieldler, Brooks Bollinger, Chad Pennington, Brett Favre, Kellen Clemens, and now... Mark Sanchez at the helm.

Anyway, the NFL season is less than three weeks away so it's time for all of you fantasy sports junkies to wake up from your slumber. Right now, we're in the final stretch of the baseball season over at Fantasy Sports Live just in case you want to get your beak wet before football season begins.

This year, I'll be participating once again in Sundays with Dr. Pauly over at Fantasy Sports Live to get your fantasy football fix. Stay tuned for more info.

Buffalo66 is one of the most successful players since we kicked off Fantasy Sports Live. He recently developed a website called Daily Fantasy Projections that gives you some vital information in making your daily fantasy selections. He's giving away his baseball projections for free so enjoy them while you can before he moves to a subscription based model for the NFL season.

If you don't have a Fantasy Sports Live account, you can sign up for one here.

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

Friday, August 21, 2009

Flash Forward: Reunion

By Pauly
New York City

This originally appeared on Tao of Pauly...

I glanced at an invite to my 15th college reunion in Atlanta. I almost tore it up into several hundred tiny little pieces but decided to open it up and see what was going on. I smirked at the "mEmory lane" gimmick. College was full of memories for sure, but sadly the friends of mine that I partied with the most were not the type of people to show up at these kinds of social functions.

I loathe reunions especially the people who love going to them and chatting my ear off about useless crap. The 5th reunion was to brag about how awesome of a job they landed. The 10th reunion was to show off their spouses and children. God knows what sort of bullshit I have to endure at this stage of my peers' lives.

Change100 was remotely interested in attending her 10th college reunion on the very same weekend. She might go if her friends made the journey. I asked Change100 if she would be interested in going to mine and she said she'd consider it if she didn't go to hers. Me? I have no desire to go to her 10th, let alone my 15th, so the point was moot. I dunno why I asked.

Anyway, if I did go to mine, here's how I pictured Homecoming Weekend...

* * * * *

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Flight on Wednesday night was delayed from LAX to ATL. Begrudgingly took early morning flight on Thursday and got stuck next to a crying baby for the entire flight. Popped a Xannie and read a copy of a book that a classmate wrote about 200 coal miners dying in China. Cab driver got lost and then we got stuck in traffic on the way to the hotel.

Met a fraternity brother for dinner. He announced that he was getting a divorce and asked me to score him coke. He proceeded to get drunk and make fun of mostly everyone we went to college with. We decided to go to one of the first events on the reunions schedule... Alumni Art Exhibit. The last thing I want to be is at an art opening with pretentious douchebags, but if there's any place to score good drugs all weekend, it will be with the art freaks.

Despite my numerous attempts by making the rounds at the party, I was unable to find any cocaine for my buddy, but I did manage to score a couple of painkillers from one of the caterers and one Adderall from the security guard. I got pestered to join Facebook and scoffed at everyone who asked me why I wasn't on there.

I got very depressed looking at the magnificent water colors painted from one of our fellow classmates. She was a quadriplegic exchange student from Botswana and used her thoughts rigged up to a computerized paint brush to paint compelling images of the civil war ravishing her home country. I realized that I was a talentless hack and offered to use the blood money I earned in poker to buy one of her paintings. It turned out that she had the best cocaine in the room, but she overcharged my fraternity brother because she thought all frat boys were assholes.

We decided to skip the classical concert in the new music hall and instead we went to strip clubs on Cheshire Bridge Road.... me, my soon-to-be divorced fraternity brother, and the quadriplegic exchange student from Botswana. One of the dancers went to our school but dropped out after freshman year when she got knocked up by a football player from Georgia Tech. She's got bigger boobs and lots of collagen injections since I saw her last, and she's been on the pole ever since. She asked me why I'm not on Facebook.

At 2am, I pulled a pubic hair off of my pecan waffle at Waffle House and wondered how the fuck did it get there as my buddy stumbled back from the bathroom where he puked his nads off and then snorted the rest of the quadriplegic exchange student from Botswana's blow.

* * * * *

Friday, September 25, 2009

I started drinking heavily at lunch with a handful of other college friends and fraternity brothers. Everyone asked me why I wasn't on Facebook and people spent more time on their iPhones than looking each other in the eye.

And everyone has changed drastically. Less hair. Bigger guts. A couple of kids. A few tattoos. One guy has a scar from being bit by a bear in Yellowstone in 2003. No one has any good drugs, which means everyone smokes my dope while we all wait for the quadriplegic exchange student from Botswana to score us more blow.

We wandered over to the Sustainable Food Fair because I'm convinced that was the best place to score drugs because where there's sustainable foods... there's hippies. I ate a peach cobbler and scored an ounce from a Spreadhead and snubbed one ex-girlfriend who absolutely tore my heart out of my body sophomore year. I also lied to one guy who used to live in my dorm. He wanted my cell phone number so we could have dinner before the 1994 Pre-Reunion Mixer. I gave him the wrong number.

I skipped the new Psychology Building Dedication even though I was conflicted. I'm sure I could have found some head shrinker to write me a script for Adderall, but opted to go drink with a different group of fraternity brothers instead. Too many pictures of their kids and not enough pitchers of beer, so I ditched them and headed to the Mixer. Some of the hot Tri Delts got fat after they had kids. A few of the girls from the southern sorority were total MILFS, while a few ugly chicks all of a sudden turned smoking hot. Everyone asked me why I wasn't on Facebook.

After being bombarded with pro-breeding propaganda, I decided that every time a classmate tells me a story about their kid, I quickly return with the story about French poker players visiting a brothel in Budapest. They usually left me alone after that point.

We ran into someone who used to date one of my roommates. She was one of those uber-rich Southern daddy's girls who never worked a day in her life. She was with her fiancee, who was a raging drunk bigot from New Orleans who admitted that he "was happy to see those colored folks drown after Katrina." He was also being an aggressive asshole to my buddy for no reason. While our classmate stepped away for a second to interject in a different conversation, I got up in her fiancee's face and said, "Your wife to be sucks great cock. She had a lot of practice after blowing 75% of the guys in my fraternity. A few of them were brothers too."

He started a fight, but luckily, one of my fraternity brothers is a former CIA agent who is well trained in close quarters hand-to-hand combat and put the guy in a sleeper hold before we could even react. We decided to leave the lame Mixer and went to strip clubs on Cheshire Bridge Road. A tweaker puked on himself in the parking lot of Waffle House and the waitress remembered me from the night before when I left her a $5 tip on a $8 meal. The waitress asked me why I wasn't on Facebook because she wanted to send me a friend request.

* * * * * *

Saturday, September 26th, 2009

Spirit Day! That's what they called homecoming and I couldn't wait for the day to end before it even began. I was full of spirit all right and was reminded why I bolted after college ended. After drinking for two-non-stop days trying to relive old glory days, I was hungover to all hell. I ate the rest of my Vicodin and gobbled the Adderall just to be able to get out of bed.

I skipped the 5K run through Lullwater Park. Running? Are you serious? When I was a senior at Emory, we used to ingest psychedelics and wander around the park at night. We often thought about rescuing the primates from the Yerkes Center adjacent to the park, but were afraid because that's where the government does secret testing.

Instead, we crashed the Sorority Life's 50th Anniversary luncheon. My soon-to-be-divorced buddy is convinced he'd pick up a couple of college chicks because he drives a Mercedes and has a country club membership (although he's about to lose the house in Alpharetta in the divorce). I got recognized by one student who's a huge fan of Tao of Poker and she tells me her online screen name is PokerPeachy on PokerStars. She aspires to be the next Vanessa Rousso and I wish her the best of luck and tell her to go to law school instead of becoming a professional poker player. She asked me why I wasn't on Facebook.

I felt like a pedophile wandering around the Sorority lodges in search of intoxicants, but I scored some more weed. I got a few wives of my fraternity brothers stoned because by the third day of this reunion they were bored shitless, sweating balls, and hungover to all hell.

Spirit Day included a snoozer of a tailgate party for a soccer game with music by the Indigo Girls. Since Emory does not have a football team (um, what kind of educational institution in the south does not have a football team? That's right... my college) we gathered on the main field to get drunk on cheap wine before a soccer game against NYU. We're all wasted and stumbled into the stadium. My buddy Armando is Brazilian and he tries to get all of us to chant Brazilian soccer hooligan songs. We fuck it up, but it's funny to see middle-aged soccer moms and guys with beerguts and iPhones singing in Portuguese.

I skip out on the dinner and we decide to go right to the strip clubs on Cheshire Bridge Road. While sitting in Waffle House at 2am, my fraternity brother decided that he was going to get back together with his wife because he got rolled by a stripper in the VIP room. He has two bloody nostrils and lost the keys to his Mercedes and the rest of his dignity.

Me? I got indigestion, a dozen solid tweets out of the weekend, a half-baked post for Tao of Pauly, and 1,073 friend requests on Facebook.

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

Thursday, August 20, 2009


By Pauly
New York City

It's been a fun summer. I spent six weeks on the road traveling through 24 states while I followed around one of my favorite bands. I saw 23 concerts and gathered up enough material for a new book and even a screenplay.

Phish was a band that had broken up in 2004 and got back together in March 2009. During that stretch of time, I filled the music void with poker. By now, you've read extensively about my journey covering the poker scene in Las Vegas and all over the world. It's been one wild ride as I carved out a comfortable living grinding away as a poker writer and a whore to the online poker industry.

To try to put my summer experiences in poker lingo... Phish's reunion was sort of like that scene in Rounders when Worm gets out of jail and Mike McD is confronted with a fork in the road. Does he continue the straight and narrow path or does he follow his lifelong buddy and return to the underbelly of the beast? You know how the movie goes.

Much to the dismay of some of you, I skipped out on 20 days of the 2009 WSOP and embedded myself with hippies during the traveling carnival called Phish tour. I definitely made the right choice. Once the WSOP ended and the November Nine was set, I jumped back on tour and partied for a week straight in Colorado. We flew back to LA and loaded up Change100's car and drove up and down the west coast for a trio of shows including a camping trip to The Gorge. If you haven't figured out how much one band means to me, then you will after this next sentence... I drove from Seattle to L.A., then flew from Burbank to New York City, where I rented a car and drove to Hartford, CT to rejoin my friends on Phish tour and catch the last three concerts.

I can't emphasize enough how amazing the summer ended up on so many levels. The traffic on Coventry Music blog reached new heights. I got to hang out with friends I had not seen in years who knew me before I was corrupted by poker. I picked up a lot of douchebaggy habits after living in Las Vegas on and off the last five years. I was slowly evolving into an angle shooter in real life and luckily my friends pointed out all of those less-than-desirable habits that I had acquired. (Then again, these are people with hippie names like Tree and Saturn. Some of them have morbid addictions and even a few are prone to snort horse tranquilizers off of car keys before they get up in the morning.)

I desperately needed time away from this crazy poker machine. There's never any down time. There's two seasons in poker... the WSOP and not the WSOP. Right now, we're at the cusp of new seasons with the WPT, EPT, APPT, LAPT, et al. And online? FTOPS this month. WCOOP next month. Plus, the November Nine is inching closer and closer. Shit, it's almost September and I haven't spent more than a couple of days in a row in my apartment in LA since early May.

It was so hard to pull myself away from the poker scene with Lost Vegas due out in late October. It took the psychedelic circus to sweep me away and allow myself to gain perspective on the final edits of the book. That's the good news. I'm in NYC as we speak and in the middle of a series of editorial meetings and all the feedback has been promising. Aside from myself, only five people have read the most recent draft. My brother is a harsh critic and even he liked it. Although he did say, "How can you have a typo on the first page?"


But the summer was not a total loss. I played some of the best poker of my life and won something like $15K in a one week period including first place for Dream Team Poker. Most of that money will be used to fund future Phishy travels and used as seed money to publish a novel in 2010 and the Phish book in 2011. Yes, Jack Tripper Stole My Dog will finally be released on 10-10-10.

I also gambled heavily while on Phish tour. As one buddy said in his G-Vegas twang, "You boys been riding dirty?"

I have not heard that expression in a very long time. And it did not occur to me that I was, especially during a short stint through the South.

Besides testing the elasticity of illegal narcotic laws, there were plenty of opportunities to get gambling action considering I hung out with a couple of random poker friends along the way. Since Phish is a band that has a vast repertoire, they often play three or four concerts before they repeat a song. That's part of the reason I can see them 20+ times this summer. Every night is different which gives degenerate gamblers opportunities for action. Phish usually plays two sets of music and an encore (one or two songs) and we wager on what songs the band will open or close a particular set. There's also opportunity to bet on what cover songs the band will play or sometimes I give odds on rare songs they ave not played in years. Before the shows, we have a live draft and scribble down names of songs like we're filling a roster for a fantasy football team.

G-Rob took me for $20 at the Columbia, MD show when they opened up with Tweezer when I was damn sure they were going to play Stevie Wonder's Boogie On Reggae Woman. I ran good on the last night at the Gorge and collected a few bucks from my buddy Wildo.

In the world of illegal substances, I got my undergrad degree while following the Grateful Dead in college. During a stint in Seattle, I completed my masters in street drugs, but it wasn't until Phish tour in 1999-2000 until I finally achieved a doctorate in pharmocology. All of those skills came in handy this summer. At one point, I collected so many different pills in various parking lots around the country, that I forgot what each pill did. I took inventory and looked up pill descriptions on the intertubes. It's the dosages that I was most concerned about.

At Shoreline in Mountain View, CA, all I had to do was sit in a lawn chair in front of Change100's car in the parking lot and a swarm of dealers quickly interacted with me. I had a couple of extra tickets to sell and everyone was trying to unload molly (pure powder form of MDA or ecstasy) when I was seeking out cash or Adderall. I managed to score a fistfull of pain killers that afternoon. I scored one generic Adderall pill in the parking lot at Red Rocks from an ecstasy dealer with dreadlocks. Wish I had more then I can stay up for a week straight and write a screenplay and finish Lost Vegas.

I turned down more drugs than most of you have seen in your lifetime. I caught almost a dozen sober shows (mainly because I had a lot of long distance driving to do after the show) but definitely headed off the deep end a few times courtesy of a Colorado legend named Mushroom Dave and his infamous chocolates. I declined oxycontin at Red Rocks and turned down morphine pills in Hartford mainly because the kid was trying to rip me off at $20 a pill when the street value was $15.

When I was his age, I was slinging pharmies in the lot. Oh to be 26 again. These days, I sling online poker. Play PokerStars.

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

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Favre Trumps WSOP?

By Pauly
New York City

Did anyone else say, "What the fuck?" when the WSOP was bumped back 20 minutes because of the Brett Favre press conference?

I hope Favre didn't fuck up your TiVos like he fucked up the Jets last season. Ah, I'm just bitter as a lifelong Jets fan. Favre was good, but he was no Browning Nagle. It looked like Favre was about to lead the J-E-T-S to the promised land until Favre's aging body and Coach Mangini's ineptness sent them spiraling to the depths of ugliness for the second half of the season. But heck, we have Mark Sanchez to the rescue. Let's hope he doesn't turn into a Ryan "Grand Theft" Leaf.

Otis wrote an open letter to Brett Favre. Worth a peek.

Drizz had a witty remark about his new QB... "It's like Jessica Biel standing naked at my front door ready for sex with my wife standing right behind me."

Anyway, enough about football. My brother and I watched the Main Event on ESPN last night.It's been a tradition. The first WSOP we watched together was the epic Moneymaker year. The next year, we eagerly anticipated Raymer's victory since we had already knew he won. The 2005 WSOP was my first year covering the event and Derek I spent plenty of time scanning the background for glimpses of myself. Even Derek got a few seconds of air time during a preliminary event when E-Fro won his first bracelet.

In 2003, just before poker programming exploded on TV, there were only a few places to get your poker fix. TheTravel Channel (for the WPT) and ESPN (for the WSOP) aired the only bits of poker programming. How dated in 2003? Back then, I played Party Poker on dial-up and I used to tape episodes of the WPT on my VCR (4 per tape) and send them to Iggy because he did not have cable TV on the farm he lived on in the sticks. That's a true story.

These days, you can watch the episodes within an hour of airing thanks to something I recently discovered call the internet. Aside from a shitload of porn and Armageddon warnings about 2012, there's plenty of opportunity to get your poker fix. Shit, I haven't watched an actual episode of High Stakes Poker on TV... it's all bee via YouTube.

If you missed any of last night's programming, someone out there has a torrent or YouTube'd it already. So if you missed the last 20 minutes of the first batch of episodes of the 2009 WSOP because of the Favre press conference, then you have a chance to get caught up to speed.

Speaking of speed... it was cool to see Mike Matusow plugging his book Check-Raising the Devil that Amy Calistri and the Poker Shrink helped write. Matusow got a lot of face time but Winky Wright did not. One of my favorite boxing names of all time failed to advance to Day 2.

Chris Moneymaker looked hungover in every single shot. I mean, I've seen Moneymaker in the most random places all around the world as the money with the grinder helping plug PokerStars. He's in a perpetual state of jetlag and hungover (which is par for the course for mostly everyone involved on the international circuit from players, staff, dealers, and media). However, he always looks so exasperated on ESPN and they always seem to catch a perfect glimpse of the subtle pressure that Moneymaker is constantly under.

On a separate note, Moneymaker ran good down at Tunica. He won a $500 PLO tournament and then made the final table in the Main Event of the Gold Strike World Poker Open. That $60K score for third place was his largest live cash since he made the final table of the WPT Bay 101 in 2004 when Phil Gordon won.

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

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

WSOP Main Event on ESPN Tonight

By Pauly
New York City

This is the moment you have been waiting for... the 2009 Main Event will be aired on ESPN tonight at 8pm ET. Episodes are an hour long and they'll be airing two episodes every Tuesday. Check local listings for more info.

This year, ESPN expanded their Main Event coverage and de-emphasized preliminary events aside from the made for TV snoozefests in the Champions Invitational and the celebrity/charity Ante Up for Africa event. As you already know, the $50K HORSE event was not televised and the special anniversary $40K NL was aired instead.

In the last few years, I avoided watching the WSOP on TV mainly because the summers are the toughest part of the year for me and watching the episodes triggers a flood of bad memories.

This year, it's different and I can't wait to see the expanded coverage of the Main Event. 441 Productions (the crew who shoots and splices together the episodes for ESPN) does an amazing job telling stories about the unknown players. You know about a couple of the November Niners like that Phil Ivey guy and Happy Shulman (who I actually saw at a Phish show in Colorado a couple of weeks ago), but the other seven are sort of a mystery... until now.

Since I caught the poker bug, ESPN and the WSOP have had a symbiotic relationship and that partnership will continue for another seven years.

The November Nine
Photo by MeanGene

Here's some of the Main Event coverage on Tao of Poker...
Day 37 - Main Event Day 1A: Summer of George?
Day 38 - Main Event Day 1B: Theme from the Bottom
Day 39 - Main Event 1C: Welcome to the Psychedelic Circus
Day 40 - Main Event Day 1D: No Soup for You
Day 41 - Dollar Bill Blues and What Does Benjo Think, Vol. 4
Day 42 - Main Event Day 2B: Schadenfreude
Day 44 - Main Event Day 3: Two Frenchies, One Cup
Day 45 - Main Event Day 4: Bubbles, Leap Frog, and What Does Benjo Think Vol. 5
Day 46 - Main Event Day 5: Rapido and The Rise of the DonkeyBomber
Day 47 - Main Event Day 6: When I'm 64
Day 48 - Main Event Day 7: Evil Lurks on the Cusp of Greatness
Day 49 - Main Event Day 8: Phil Ivey Advances to November Nine

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

Sunday, August 16, 2009

2 Months, 2 Million Debuts Tonight

By Pauly
New York City

A new poker-themed show hits the airwaves tonight on G4TV called 2 Months, 2 Million. It was shot this summer in Las Vegas and it follows the paths of four different online pros in their quest for global dominance. Those pros? Dani 'Ansky' Stern, Emil 'whitelime' Patel, Jason 'pr1nnyraid' Rosenkrantz, and Brian 'Flawless_Victory' Roberts.

Here's a trailer (and clip of when Playboy Bunnies visit their digs)...

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

Friday, August 14, 2009


By Pauly
New York City

I can't decide if this short film is about Otis or Benjo. Or maybe it's just what it is... a film about a very sad cat.

Thanks to Disco Sis #1 for pointing this out.

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

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Vacation Videos

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

My summer vacation is almost over after a hectic domestic traveling schedule. I'll be back to posting regularly on Tuesday.

Over two weeks ago, I began my journey in Los Angeles with Change100 when we flew to Denver, Colorado for a week (four epic Phish shows at Red Rocks) then flew back to LA, where we loaded up the car and embarked on a lengthy road trip towards the Pacific Northwest. We stopped off in the South Bay Area for two nights before we drove up to Portland, spent another night in The Dalles, Oregon, before we drove to The Gorge in the middle of Washington state. After camping out there for two nights we drove to Seattle for two nights (including catching a Mariner's game with Dr. Chako and Brandon Schaefer and seeing where Zeem works) before we made the journey back down the coast to LA.

As I type this, I'm about to get on an airplane and fly to New York City where I'll be making side trips to Hartford, Baltimore, and upstate New York, before I finally settle down in New York City for ten days or so where I'll engage in a series of editorial meetings for Lost Vegas. Then I fly back to LA at the end of the month and complete the finishing touches for the looming October due date.

As you can tell, I've been quite busy since the WSOP ended. Here's one of the many videos I shot over the last two weeks. It's a montage of our hijinks from The Gorge...

You can check out more videos here. I also posted some pics (with more on the way) here.

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

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

LLT: The Summer of Liz

By Pauly
Seattle, WA

Hello all. I'm still on vacation in the Pacific Northwest. In the meantime, check out another sizzling installment of Liz Lieu Tuesdays...

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

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Videos: Dream Team Poker

By Pauly
Portland, OR

I make a cameo. Check out this video of the WSOP installment of Dream Team Poker...

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

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Hump Day Link Dump: WPT Sold for $9M, Justin Shronk Memorial Scholarship, Face the Ace Flounders, and the New Poker News

By Pauly
Mountain View, CA

I'm on the road again, so I don't have too much time to post. However, here are some interesting links that you check out...
Face the Ace Has Room for Improvement (Wicked Chops Poker)... Face the Ace was more than a dud.... it was just awful. Then again, it has potential to be an amazing marketing tool for Full Tilt and online poker in general. That's why they need to improve the leaks in the show ASAP. Los Hombres at Wicked Chops Poker offered up a few suggestions. They actually stopped snorting blow and wanking off to Swedish pissing porn long enough to write something coherent. Kudos.

Letter from the Editor: The New (Poker News)... In the poker industry world, it's a little known fact that people switch jobs and positions a few times a year. That's why whenever we run into each other on the road the first question we ask is... "Where you working?" If it's not for various online poker rooms themselves, there's plenty of rotating jobs for shill sites or other media outlets that are propped up by the online poker rooms. There's lots of movement before and after the WSOP. In the weeks leading up to the WSOP, there was a change up at Poker News at the CEO position when Robbie Davies took over for the ruggedly handsome Damon Rasheed, who was instrumental in Poker News' success over the years.

Also, there's a new sheriff in town over at Poker News as Matt Parvis takes over as the Editor-in-Chief. Matt was the reason why I started writing for Bluff. As Bluff's former Editor-in-Chief, he gave me an column where I detail all of my exotic travels covering poker all around the world. Parvis allowed plenty of artistic freedom which is rare in poker media, and of course, I got in trouble a couple of time pushing those limits (e.g. Key West stripper story). Matt recently took over the reigns at Poker News when Haley Hintze "stepped down" from the top spot. She's been under the weather the last few months and has been working brutal hours since she joined the company. Get well soon, Haley.

And, in case you were wondering, former managing editor, Lance Bradley (formerly of The Poker Biz which used to be one of my favorite poker sites), is now the big cheese over at Bluff Magazine.

Gamynia Buys WPT (Pokerati)... Yep, it's true. WPTE sold off the WPT and PPT to Gamynia (a holding company who is partners with a different firm whose clients include iPoker aka Titan Poker). The WPT used to be the big dog on the block. For a while, a close source to the Tao of Poker insisted that Full Tilt was going to buy WPT in 2009 and run it in the same manner that PokerStars runs their international tournament circuits (EPT, APPT, LAPT, et al). Alas, Full Tilt focused on NBC and network TV instead. Let's see if Gamynia can revive the fledgling WPT.

Justin Shronk Memorial Scholarship (Poker Road).... Brian Lemke, the cousin of Justin Shronk, won a bracelet this summer and recently helped organize a scholarship to Shronk's alma mater at Temple University in Philly. Here's a bit... "The Justin Shronk Scholarship will provide scholarship support for students majoring in Broadcasting, Telecommunications and Mass Media within the School of Communications and Theater, which was Justin's major as a student."
And yes, I'm back on the second leg of Phish tour and conducting research for the Phish book. I'm seeing six shows in five different states in the next week or so after catching a tantalizing four-night run at Red Rocks in Colorado during a five-day bender. You can head over to Coventry Music Blog to read the recaps of the four-day bender at Red Rocks. You can also check out my videos here and Colorado pictures here.

And as always, you can always follow my hijinks via Twitter.

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

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

ESPN Inside Deal Debuts Tonday Online; Champions Invitational Airs Tonight on ESPN

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Andrew Feldman will be hosting an online poker show on which debuts today. Check it out.

Here's the press release that I got... is expanding its poker coverage with ESPN Inside Deal presented by, an original web-only weekly poker show on that will debut Tuesday, August 4. The show – co-hosted by ESPN The Magazine contributor Laura Lane, professional poker player and columnist Bernard Lee and poker editor Andrew Feldman – will not only feature some of the biggest players in the game and cover poker news each week, but take an inside look at the lifestyle in the world of poker.

The three-month series will conclude with the completion of the World Series of Poker main event final table and along the way will interview and analyze each of the remaining nine competitors. In addition to original Inside Deal content, viewers will also see never-before seen hands and features from the World Series of Poker broadcasts.

Throughout the series, fans will be able to submit questions to their favorite pros via email, Twitter and Facebook. Fans will also be given an exclusive chance to participate in a sweepstakes where one lucky winner will experience the November Nine in a unique way.

The featured guest for the first show will be Chris Moneymaker, the 2003 World Series of Poker main event champion. Moneymaker turned a $39 satellite victory on into a $10,000 WSOP seat and then into $2.5 million after defeating 839 players in his first WSOP appearance. He is frequently credited with sparking the poker boom in the United States, often referred to as the "Moneymaker effect." Others featured players for Inside Deal will include Daniel Negreanu and Joseph Hachem.
This should be an interesting program as ESPN's TV coverage for the WSOP Main Event slowly rolls out over the next few months leading up to the November Nine.

* * * * *

Photo by Flipchip

Just in case you were wondering, this week's poker programming on ESPN will feature the Champions Invitational. It will be aired from 8pm to 10pm ET. Check local listings for exact times of the Corvette Freeroll, a made for TV event, that included former Main Event world champions (minus Russ Hamilton, of course).

During Dream Team Poker, Tom McEvoy was at my table and told me that he sold the car.

Click here to see pics of the Champions Invitational from Flipchip.

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

Monday, August 03, 2009

Addiction: The Fine Line Between a Hobby and a Habit

By Pauly
Denver, CO

The problem with being an addict is that you can't stop. I should clarify that... it's because you don't want to stop due to a physical and/or psychological dependency.

That glorious feeling when you sink down to the warmest and comfortable levels of inebriation is what you've been waiting for all day. The rest of your time was utter hell while waiting for the opportunity to self-medicate. And that can addiction with anything... cigarettes, playing catch with your kid, soaking your sorrows in booze, meditating in yoga class, shooting heroin, cooking dinner, gobbling pills, going to a prayer group, or playing online poker.

Moderation is the key to successful excess but the greatest pleasure in life are those bursting with excess. That's why a city like Las Vegas is often the locale for some of the most extravagant moments in your life and conversely, it's also the location from some of the lowest and humiliating moments. But as one of my my fraternity brothers said it best, "In order to win big... you gotta (be willing to) lose big."

I'm an addict in some many things in life. It's in my nature to wander over the double yellow line of moderation on the highway of life. I find it easy to maintain self-control in many areas, but there are a handful of instances where I struggle immensely with those issues. Therein lies my weaknesses and serious flaws in my character. I'm nowhere near being perfect. Until I reel in those life leaks, I will never evolve and reach my full potential. Then again, if I ever do plug those life leaks, then I'll cease to lose my originality and I'll become a completely different person. After all, it's our addictions which dictate our decisions and make up our personalities.

There are somethings (drugs/booze or different forms of gambling) that don't appeal to me one bit. I can be around them at all times and not be tempted. I enjoy a fine ale and cocktail, but there are periods of time when I got days and weeks without a sip. I can sit or stand in a bar and not drink and still have a good time (although most of the time, I probably just lit up a doobie or might be on some sort of pharmaceutical cocktail). I can walk through a casino, especially the pits, and not feel like a slave to my addictions.

TJ Cloutier is a sad, yet humorous cliche. Everyone in poker knows that he's an accomplished poker player (Hall of Famer and best player from his era to have never won the Main Event) but his weakness is craps. He literally cannot walk past a craps table without having a roll and then losing his shirt. It's sort of like an alkie who can't walk past a bar without stopping in for a drink.

These days TJ has been using one of those scooters to get around. Although he might have a legit medical excuse for the scooter, he looks able bodied and able to walk around without any problems. The big joke among my friends was that TJ got the scooter so he can get from the Amazon Ballroom to the craps table as fast as possible. I've seen it happen plenty of times... TJ wandered through the room and found someone to give him a couple of hundred bucks and then he hopped on his scooter and sped all the way down the convention center, past the Hooker Bar, and right up to the craps tables.

TJ will be a degenerate craps player until the day he dies. Sadly, he'll be known mostly for his utter weakness rather than be known for his achievements.

I'm dumbfounded by my ability to avoid many more dangerous and addictive substances when I cannot say not to lesser ones. I cannot fathom how I'm able to maintain a rigid discipline towards writing, yet I'm unable to apply a similar method to other areas of deviancy in my life. It's one thing for me to say that I have major character flaw when it comes to addictions, but after a closer examination, it seems as though I don't have an addictive personality, rather there are odd things that I find myself addicted to.

Some addictions have ebbs and flows. I'm able to stomp out those burning desires and itches most of the time, but there are other days when I'm unable to control myself. I used to think that it was much easier to dive head first into the abyss than exhibit self-restraint. After all, everyone wants to seek pleasure rather than stifle it, but these days, it's far more easier to maintain control than it is to jump head first into addiction... mainly because you know that the pleasure comes with one long list of consequences.

And there is nothing more worse in life that juggling multiple addictions. At some point, one of those balls is going to drop and when it does, all hell comes bursting through the doors.

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