Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Return of the Sun King

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Online poker is the simplest way to get my immediate gambling fix -- like walking down the block to the corner pub, hopping on a stool, and salivating when old Sully the bartender pours you a cold frosty one.

I didn't believe it at first. My poker spreadsheet was missing entries from February 2010. Not a single session was entered. Could that be right? It had to be a mistake. Did a 13-year-old Russian computer geek hack into my Excel files? No, that chicanery seems highly unlikely. Did I overlook a day or so? Quite possibly. I'm a midnight toker and not getting any younger. But seriously, did I not play a single hand of online poker in the month of February?

I retraced my steps and although I logged on a couple of times in February to sweat the nosebleed tables to research a couple of of my columns, I only remained a railbird and resisted the temptation to chase the dragon. I know... Rush Poker and I had an unfortunate incident... and I haven't completely repressed those demoralizing memories, but we finally came to terms with our abusive and volatile relationship. But that's not the reason why I avoided the tables.

I only had one horrendous live session in January during the annual porn convention. It as one of those Vegas nights that you want to forget, but you can never escape those traumatic episodes of suckout after suckout and rebuy after rebuy, as the carnage spilled over three casinos and it felt like I had gotten violated by a King Kong dildo. I retained a semblance of my dignity when I finally busted my slump at the Mirage at 6am against a player so drunk that he kept forgetting his hole cards.

At the start of the new year I wasn't running hot at the online tables, but at the least I was outrunning the rake which sometimes is all you can hope for. I didn't take a break to cool off or recharge -- simply, I was too busy to play. Unfettered time was something that I could only wish for, because any spare time was devoted to writing or watching the Olympics. I was bogged down with work at the beginning of February and the end of the month went towards prepping for a trip to South America for a gig.

During my month long hiatus, I supposedly had a bonus waiting for me on Full Tilt. My buddy sent me an email from Antarctica (no bullshit, he's a scientist working down there) and he emailed me to remind that FT bonuses were about to expire.

Online bonuses? Talk about the proverbial carrot in front of the fuckin' donkey. The bigger the carrot, the faster that I haul ass.

I decided to check and sure enough, I had one waiting for me. I had not played online poker over a month, but all of a sudden, I felt the itch to play like Pavlov's frothing dog with streams of drool rushing out of my mouth like tiny waterfalls. How can I pass up free money?

I shook off the dust and opened up Full Tilt. You know you haven't played in a while when you're prompted to a "new software to install" button. I moaned for a couple of minutes during the installation and then fired up a couple of short-handed 5/10 tables. I also conducted a thorough "Search a Fish" scan of the site and found one or two of my favorite donators. I was shocked that they still had money left since the last time we played together. Makes you wonder how some of the worst players around are able to fund their accounts. They must be independently wealthy and the maladroit son of an uber-rich lawyer. Hey, I don't care where the fish/donks/tards/mutts get their money -- as long as they bring it to the tables where I have a high percentage chance of winning it. I stalked the marks, joined the wait list for their tables, and returned to the grind. Before I knew it, I blazed through 50% of my bonus.

I didn't really give a shit about the bonus during March Madness. I employed the hit and run method with multiple spurts over four days, specifically during innocuous games when I had no financial attachments to the outcome.

I've been dangerously dabbling with Rush Poker PLO. Man, that's flirting with doom, sort of like the weekend warriors who limit their cocaine usage to the weekends. They stumble into the office on Monday mornings with bags under their eyes and a nasty case of the sniffles. But I've been good about it. I try to double or triple up and then log off and sit out for at least 24 hours before I plunge into the darkness once again.

My recent March Madness binge included a confluence of sports betting, online poker, and heads-up Big Deuce against Change100. We're closing in on almost 500 hands, which is a significant considering that we play on average of 20 hands a session (roughly 40-45 minutes). We played about 50 hands/day since we began keeping score. I complete a sick sick sick comeback after trailing for 192 straight hands. You have no idea what it felt like to finally break even and take the lead!

We both got addicted to Big Deuce when Rey introduced us the game in Uruguay. I re-introduced the game to the G-Vegas crew during Mastodon Weekend and they also succumbed to the addictive nature of the Big Deuce, probably because of the tremendous variance. One moment you're up 50 points and three hands later, you're only up by 3 and on the verge of losing your mud and overall lead. Big Deuce requires some skill, but at the core, it is a hardcore relentless action game where the momentum swings back and forth.

I would be playing more online poker if it weren't for my affinity to Big Deuce. But I need to start playing more online poker in order to fund my summer vacation after the WSOP. I have trips planned to Berkley, CA and Telluride, Colorado along with a few other weekend excursions. I'll have to fly a lot this summer much to the dismay of those granola-eating eco-freaks, which is to say that my American Express bill is going to be quite hefty in the upcoming months.

I spent all of my Dream Team Poker winnings, but nothing degenerate like pissing it away in a PLO cash game in Moscow, or blowing it in the pits shooting dice with TJ. Rather, I used my poker winnings to fund creative endeavors and my favorite hobbies. More than half of the winnings paid my rent when I took off the last part of 2009 and the first two months of 2010 to finish Lost Vegas. I used the remainder of my winnings to fund an insane three-day long Halloween party in Palm Springs and an epic four-day blowout in Miami to end the year.

I'm not counting on an unexpected score like last summer's Dream Team victory with Tao of Pokerati. Rather, I'm going to grind out the necessary income over a period of six months. With March Madness, online poker, and playing more cash games in Vegas during the WSOP -- I could theoretically pay for at least 50% of my summer vacation. And if I do really well for the rest of March Madness, I might be able to cover 90% of my expenses.

I'm a staunch proponent of bankroll management, especially reinvesting in your roll, but sometimes you have to have faith in yourself and your abilities at the table to win money with a specific purpose in mind -- a new monitor, buy-in for a WSOP event, trip to Hawaii, or braces for Sally.

Whatever your goal may be, best of luck. I often forget how fortunate we really are to have an outlet where we create financial wealth from nothing -- and to have been able to do so without risk of imprisonment from the federales. Not to sound too corny, but online poker can truly make our some of our dreams come true. Well, maybe not all of your dreams, but you can definitely buy a bunch of cool stuff. Right?


  1. lightning361:00 PM

    I fear the feds... too stupid to do the right thing.

  2. anonymous coward5:52 PM

    Famous last words:

    With March Madness, online poker, and playing more cash games in Vegas during the WSOP -- I could theoretically pay for at least 50% of my summer vacation. And if I do really well for the rest of March Madness, I might be able to cover 90% of my expenses.

  3. Pauly9:31 AM

    Anonymous coward indeed. At least I had the balls to put myself out there.