Well, let's get to it... the second part of the 2010 Year in Review kicks off with highlights on Tao of Poker beginning in June featuring in depth WSOP coverage.
I began the month in Las Vegas covering my 6th WSOP on Tao of Poker. If you'd like to listen to different episodes of the Tao of Pokerati podcast, the fastest poker podcast on the intertubes, then you should check out the Tao of Pokerati archives page.
I got an amazing Tao All-Stars guest post from Change100 titled WSOP Fashion Report: Alarming Trends.
Here's the daily recaps of the WSOP...
Day 4: Band of Brothers and Here Comes the Russians Reprise - The Brothers Mizrachi made waves when two of them (The Grinder and Robert) advanced to the final table of the 50K Players' Championship. Also advancing to the final 8 was a mysterious wealthy Russian businessman named Vladimir Schmelev. I hopped on the phone, made contact with an old friend in Moscow, and got him to spill the vodka-infused beans about the unknown Russian.I also made a cameo on the first episode of This Week in Poker, which also featured Jen Tilly.
Day 5: Redemption Song - The Grinder Wins Player's Championship - The Grinder achieved redemption, something very few poker players have a shot at. Along the way, he had to knock out his brother and survive a heads-up battle against the mysterious Russian, Vladimir Schmelev, who proved to be a worthy adversary.
Day 6: Welcome to the Sausage Factory and the Return of Triple Draw Fargis - I arrived at the Rio in the middle of a massive dealers' shift change. That got me wondering and thinking that the WSOP reminded me of a factory -- a sausage factory -- to be precise. Meanwhile, a blast from the past, Chris 'Triple Draw' Fargis, re-emerged after stepping away from the pro circuit to take a real job on a trading desk down on Wall Street.
Day 7: The Marvelous British Invasion - After a conversation with one of the British scribes, Snoopy, I was convinced that he was warning me that the Brits were going to make a waves at the WSOP and gobble up as many bracelets as they can while the Scandis were sitting out the preliminary events. Little did we know, that Snoopy was being overly conservative about the potential British dominance during the opening weeks of the WSOP.
Day 8: Darth Hellmuth - The Dark Lord returned to the WSOP. He's the villain that everyone loves to hate. Hellmuth went deep in a donkament which got everyone inside the Rio buzzing during his hot pursuit of bracelet #12.
Day 9: God Save the Queen Reprise and Seven for Men - Less than a week after his prediction that a British player will win a bracelet, Snoopy looked like the oracle when his fellow countrymen, Praz Pansi and James 'Flushy' Dempsey shipped events. Oh, and much to the dismay of Men the Master haters (or I should say, people who despise cheaters), the slow-rolling controversial figure won his 7th bracelet.
Day 10: Most Likely You Go Durrrr's Way (And I'll Go Mine) - Tom 'durrrr' Dan had the entire high stakes poker community by the collective balls when he went deep in one of the donkaments. They all had to squirm on one side of the Amazon Ballroom, sweating millions of dollars in potential lost prop bets, as durrrr took center stage and played heads-up for a bracelet. Looking back, Day 10 was one of the most exciting nights at the WSOP that I ever experienced.
Day 11: Durrrr Hangover, Hooker Quota, and Orange Tossing - The night after the durrrr saga left many at the Rio walking around in a daze. Not much to report aside from everyone experiencing a durrrr hangover. I managed to squeeze in a bit of commentary on the decline of working girl sightings at the Rio and a witty story from Flipchip about pros betting on orange tossing during the olden days of the WSOP at the Horseshoe.
Day 12: The Kassela Chainsaw Massacre - The 10K Stud World Championship included a stacked final table featuring six known pros and two Russians: Jen Harman, Steve Zolotow, John Juanda, Frank Kassela, Chainsaw Kessler, Dario Mineri, Vladimir Schmelev and Kirill Rabtsov. After several hours of brawling, it came down to a heads-up battle between Frank Kassela and Chainsaw Kessler. The event went late into the night and was not settled until 4:20am as Kassela emerged victorious. That win would thrust him into competition for the Player of the Year race.
Day 13: The Carter Phillips Show - Going into the final table of NL six-handed, everyone assumed that Carter Phillips was going to win the bracelet at one of the youngest final tables ever assembled at the WSOP. It was essentially a race for second place as Carter joined an elite group of players who won an EPT event and a WSOP bracelet.
Day 14: No Soup for Yellowsub - I had fun writing this post which included a brief history lesson about the origins of the Beatles album Yellow Submarine. Meanwhile, Jeff 'yellowsub86' Williams made a deep run in the 5K NL event but got sunk in third-place, despite the echos of his friends chanting the chorus to Yellow Submarine.
Day 15: Dude Looks Like a Lady and Get Baked - Every year, the Ladies Only tournament stirs up controversy. How come most people are silent 364 days a ear (and 365 on leap years), and then only bring up the issue on the eve of the event? At any rate, even though at the root, I'm against Ladies events, I sounded off on the reasons why I would never play in a Ladies Only event (simply put -- out of respect). As long as it's on the schedule, let them play I say.
Day 16: God Save the Queen... Thrice - The third Brit, Richard Ashby, collected a bracelet in a two week period and by that point, the mainstream poker press caught onto the British Invasion, even though thanks to Snoopy, we were chatting about this story before it even happened. Oh, and all of this happened on the same day that the US tied the English's squad in World Cup play.
Day 17: Durrrr's Grandma, Dutch Boyd 2.0, and the French Win...a Ladies' Bracelet - A little fun with captions after I saw a hysterical photo of an old woman sitting at the same table as Tom 'durrrr' Dwan. Oh, and just in case you missed it... new bracelet were awarded to the (still) controversial Dutch Boyd and a French woman who won the Ladies Event.
Day 18: Sammy Farha Wins a Bracelet, Flushy Leading the POY Race, and Orphaned Notes - The ever cool Sammy Farha took down a bracelet, meanwhile one of the British bracelet winners jumped out into the POY lead. I also shared a bunch of orphaned lines from my notebook. I figured that even though they didn't fit in anywhere specific, they were too good to flush down the toilet.
Day 19: Shorthanded Eels, the Russian Surge, and the Year of the Yang - I hoped that I bet on the right side of the fix as the NBA finals were coming down to the wire, and everyone's favorite degen sports bettor, Phil Ivey, took center stage as more media were interested in what he was betting on, than the cards he was playing. Alas, I embedded myself on the rail and noticed some unusual things such as the run that former world champion Jerry Yang was making.
Day 20: Femme Fatales, Hallway Punches, and the Bubbling Eel - Another dull day inside the ropes, but lots of action outside the ropes. I caught a pro bringing a hooker back to his room and someone sucker punched David Levi in the hallway. Meanwhile, a friend from Madrid, Spanish pro Javier 'anguila' Etayo, had bubbled off the final table of a 6-handed event.
Day 21: Pappa Johnny Road - The official end of the third week mark of the WSOP was not without any side drama not to mention -- drunken girls roaming around the Amazon Ballroom and the Rio's hallways. I also breakdown the game plan that different pros have when deciding what events to play in the WSOP.
Days 22-24: OFF
Day 25: Phil Ivey Beats Supercomputer for Bracelet Ocho - Phil Ivey is the real fucking deal after he beat a supercoputer heads-up for his 8th bracelet. Ivey also collected an unknown sum (worth millions I'm told) in prop bets. One thing is for sure, humans prevailed over the machines in this battle as Ivey proved that he is truly superhuman.
Day 26: Dispatches from the Razz Event - Swollen Testicles, Ivey's Hoodie, and Vigorous Confusion - Razz is never fun to watch, but one good story to come out of this event was the Phil Ivey hoodie story involving Mickey Doft.
Day 27: Kassela Wins Dos, Sinking Norwegian Queen, and Ivey's Bracelet Ceremony - Frank Kassela distanced himself from the rest of the pack when he won his second bracelet inside of a month. And the pavilion was a buzz during Ivey's bracelet ceremony, meanwhile, Annette Obrestad came up short in an attempt make a final table American WSOP debut.
Day 28: About My Very Tortured Friend, Phil Hellmuth - I couldn't believe that I was going to write about Phil Hellmuth again, but I did trying to fully understand what it's like to be the tortured soul.
Day 29: Redemption Songs, Part II: Gavin Smith and Dean Hamrick - Bracelets were won by two people seeking redemption. Las Vegas is a city where a lot of people are looking to exorcise past demons, but very few people get an actual shot at doing so.
Day 30: The Sun Wields Mercy; Gavin Smith Wins First Bracelet - Breakthrough day for Gavin Smith as he won his first bracelet.
Day 31: TOC Hoopla, Flashmob of Brazilians, and Erik Seidel Goes for Number Nine.... Number Nine... Number Nine... - It was TOC day at the Rio, and I sound off on all of the controversy surrounding the event from the voting to players trying to big-time the event thereby changing the schedule of the event. I also gave my suggestions for three different versions of the TOC.
Day 32: Le Boucherie, Ripple In Still Water, and TOC Day 2 - The donkanments have turned into something that would resemble a butcher shop, meanwhile, the TOC seems like it's more of nuisance than a celebration as the middle of the fifth week of the WSOP becomes a dead zone.
Day 33: You Are What You Eat and Watch What You Tweet - Food and social media are among the topics of discussion. Ah, I also three everyone a bone and included an installment of Last 5 Pros I Pissed Next To...
The month ended on a high note with the publication of Lost Vegas.
I started the month in the South for Phish tour after I took off a couple of days to relax before the start of the Main Event. Luckily, I relied upon the Tao All-Stars to keep things afloat. Check out two of their stellar posts...
Frightfully British Invasion by Chris HallOnce I returned to Las Vegas, I was ready to tackle the arduous task of covering the Main Event. Here's those daily recaps...
Everything All the Time: The WSOP's Identity Crisis by Change100
Day 39 - Main Event Day 1A: The Seekers - The Main Event is off and running and I pay homage to the courageous souls who said, "I don't give a fuck!" and plopped down $10,000 in pursuit of a dream.FYI, here's the 2010 Main Event Semi-Live Blog Links: Day 1A - Day 1B - Day 1C - Day 1D - Day 2A - Day 2B - Day 3 - Day 4 - Day 5 - Day 6 - Day 7 - Day 8
Day 40 - Main Event Day 1B: Great Expectations - Annette Obrestad's first WSOP Main Event and all of the hoopla surrounding the 21-year old Norwegian wunderkind's first appearance on US soil is the subject of my musings. I also wondered if she could ever live up to the hype and hysteria that we created for her in the media? It also made me question how much of an impact that we the media have in potentially setting up certain pros to fail?
Day 41 - Main Event Day 1C: The Odium of Hellmuthstein - Ah, the spectacle of the Phil Hellmuth Entrance. If you hate him you can skip this one. If you really hate him, you'll end up reading it twice.
Day 42 - Main Event Day 1D: The Unluckiest Champion in the World - Robert Varkonyi took his seat in the Main Event, but without the pomp and circumstance of other former champions. I examine the story of the unluckiest champion in the world.
Day 43 - Day 2A: Moneymaker - The Shadow of a Dream - I love comparing Chris Moneymaker to Jay Gatsby. While Robert Varkonyi chases Moneymaker's shadow, Moneymaker has to constantly chase his own shadow. Will he ever win a second bracelet or does it not even matter because after all, he's Chris Moneymaker?
Day 44 - Day 2B: The Last of the Mohicans - I was wicked hungover after getting hustled in bowling the night before. I phoned it in for this piece. Don't even bother reading it. My apologies.
Day 45: OFF - Media Day
Day 46 - Main Event Day 3: Johnny Fucking Chan, the Butcher Shop, and Here Come the Scandis - Johnny Fucking Chan made a run and I got to proudly write "fucking" instead of bleeping out his infamous nickname. The field continued to thin itself out on Day 3 while a couple of Scandi sleeper cells were activated and sprung into action.
Day 47 - Main Event Day 4: I Want to Take You Higher - Inspired by a Sly and the Family Stone song, I riff about the ghosts wandering around the Amazon Ballroom, brutal casualties of the killing fields.
Day 48 - Main Event Day 5: Fookin' Bonkers, Scandi Ambush, and Disco Inferno - Tony Dunst began the day as the leader while most of the Amazon Ballroom began to empty out as the field was thinned to just 204. The Scandis continued their assault while a Dutch pro named Fokke Buekers became everyone's darling. Meanwhile, California's Breeze Zuckerman became the Last Woman Standing in the Main Event.
Day 49 - Main Event Day 6: Never Mind the Mizrachis, Here Come the Scandis - The Scandi sleeper cell was in full effect as everyone remaining in the Main Event was jockeying for a spot during the homestretch of the November Nine. Meanwhile, all four Mizrachi brothers cashed in the Main Event, but Robert and the Grinder could not replicate their 50K Players' Championship feat with both of them advancing to the final table.
Day 50 - Main Event Day 7: Shine A Light - With 27 players remaining, the next superstar was sitting in front of me. I reflect on previous Main Events specifically on the first hand that I can recall watching from the rail that each former champion played leading up to the final table.
Day 51 - Main Event Day 8: Meet the November Nine - The Grinder advanced to the final table after a marathon November Nine bubble.
I appeared on a couple of radio shows/podcasts plugging Lost Vegas including Gavin Smith's final episode as the co-host of Poker Road Radio and a cameo on Jesse May's podcast.
And in non-WSOP postings...
Uncle Ted gave a dramatic reading of Lost Vegas.
Psycho Killer: Ron Fanelli the Mad Yank is my reaction to the news that a former poker player murdered his girlfriend in Thailand.
The month ended with Recap: 50K Players' Championship, a piece about the televised version of the 50K Player's Championship that was won by the Grinder.
I took off most of the month off. But I managed to squeeze in a few tidbits including Cocaine Cowgirl: Paris Hilton Arrested in Las Vegas for Cocaine Possession and Overall Stupidity. The title says it all.
I posted Want a Job in Poker? Read Lost Vegas and Watch Almost Famous, a bit of sound advice that got lots of eyeballs.
I started watching episodes of the 2010 WSOP Main Event on ESPN. I didn't bother writing about the plethora of episodes about Day 1, and instead I started with Day 2. Check out... Recap: 2010 Main Event Day 2A on ESPN - March of the Mizrachis and Dannypalooza.
Wolynski shared some of her favorite photos from the WSOP.
I ended the month with a conspiratorial rant titled The Lone Gunman. Here's a toke:
"Poker is riddled with cheating even though all the powers to be do their best to keep the game clean. It's in the industry's best interest to run a fair game. Unfortunately, angle shooters are constantly concocting get rich quick schemes in an attempt to exploit flaws in the security apparatus. When in doubt, if you can't circumvent the machines, you can always bribe a human to look the other way while you do your dirty deed. Those shitstains have no qualms about ripping off players and undermining the credibility of the online sites. They have a skewed sense of entitlement and pathological criminals who operate without any semblance of remorse (similar to the Worm character in Rounders)."
For the comforts of my own couch, I recapped episodes of the 2010 WSOP Main Event on ESPN. Here's those...
Recap: 2010 WSOP Day 2B on ESPN - Happy Jacks, Action Dan, the Jenny Crank Diet, and Pancakes with the DonkeyBomberJust when you thought that the nosebleed action was drying up, the second installment of the Durrrr Challenge kicked off with The Durrrr Challenge 2.0: Tom Dwan vs. Dan "jungleman12" Cates.
Recap: 2010 WSOP Day 3 Main Event on ESPN - The Rudiments of Gruel
Recap: 2010 WSOP Day 4 Main Event on ESPN - Money Money Money
Recap: 2010 WSOP Day 5 Main Event - Wie Geht's Detlef Schrempf and OMG Runs Good
Recap: 2010 WSOP Day 6 Main Event - Life Is Just to Die
I posted another installment of Tao of Five and interviewed Las Vegas cabbie Mr. Funk from the Las Vegas Cabbie Chronicles.
British scribe Chris Hall posted another Tao All-Stars guest post with Brit Watch: The New Golden Age.
Oh, and I made a second appearance on This Week in Poker and got to discuss Lost Vegas.
More philosophical musings with The Reykjavik Gambit.
I sounded off on the importance of WSOP bracelets in something titled Bracelets: Nouveau Riche Bling or Traditional Badges of Honor?
I continued to write recaps of the 2010 WSOP Main Event on ESPN with only one in the month. That was titled Recap: 2010 WSOP Day 6 Main Event (Continued) - The Surging Scandis and the Lone Mizrachi.
I made a cameo on the Hardcore Poker Show and got to plug Lost Vegas.
Michalski's dog died and I posted a special tribute episode of Tao of Pokerati, the one when Michalski's dog won't stop sniffing my pocket.
I wrote Casino Magic, a story about my college days in the South including our introduction to riverboat gambling in Biloxi. Here's a nugget:
"the Brazilian lived across the hall. He was like a suave micro-version of Ricardo Montalban, but maybe that's a little too obscure of a reference, so the Brazilian was more like a younger version of that guy in the Dos Equis commercial, you know, the "most interesting man in the world." The girls in Theta (the sorority with all the hot Southern girls) swooned over the Brazilian, and they loved everything about him, especially his his impeccable neatness because he compulsively wore a white Polo dress shirt, with sleeves rolled one quarter of the way up his forearm and perfectly tucked into a pair of khaki pants. On random afternoons, the Brazilian blasted the soundtrack to Phantom of the Opera and drank an exotic cocktail called a Mojito, which he made with limes and a special bowl and tool that he had brought back from his last trip to Rio de Janeiro. I'd walk down the hallway and peek into his room and he'd be mixing a cocktail in one hand, dragging a Dunhill in the other, as a dozen Thetas somehow squeezed onto his couch and uncontrollably giggling and groping one another. I was perplexed. We were in awe of the Brazilian's ability to attract swarms of gyrating women. A decade later, the Brazilian came out of the closet which explained the fancy cocktails, show tunes, and the fact his room was Mecca for all the Southern fag hags at my school."Change100 and I embraced a self-indulgent project called Rounders Reprise when we get to share our half-baked commentary of Rounders. You have to view the videos in Rounders Reprise... Part 1: Mike McD loses his roll at Teddy KGB Game & Part 2: Joey Knish is a stoner and the Judges Game and Part 3: Mike McD Has a Shitty Girlfriend and Meet the Worm & Part 4: Worm and Mike McD = Old Partners.
The Hall of Fame committee welcomed Dan Harrington and Erik Seidel as the inductees into the 2010 Class of the Poker Hall of Fame.
And how about a Tao of Pokerati flashback? Let's go back to 2008 and Budapest with special guest Benjo.
Election Day came and went and I posted the most apolitical politically-themed post titled Apolitical Poker Politics: Harry Reid Sucks Out on River, GOP Revolution, and Real World Celebrity Politics.
Timtern wrote up the 2010 November Nine Profiles as a guest post for the Tao All-Stars.
I headed back to Las Vegas for the November Nine. I covered the event in a semi-live blog as the final table went from 9 to 2, and I also covered the heads-up match in a semi-live blog. If you don't know by now, Jonathan Duhamel won the Main Event.
Before I left Vegas, I squeezed in a degen session of Pai Gow, which meant I posted another installment of The Pai Gow Diaries titled The Cult of the Dragon. Here's a bit:
"The Pai Gow tables are not brushed as often as it should, and a thin layer of ash covers some of the farthest corners of the torn and frayed felt, as black bits of expired cigarette papers mix in with shades of grey and white that form miniature mountains of soot. Remnants from previous gamblers are warning signs to those who want to be warned, because the last person who sat in your space attempted to chain smoke their way out of their losing streaks, and in the end all they had to show for it were a couple of watered down cocktails, an empty pack of Reds, and a series of bad beats from a porcelain doll-like dealer from Vietnam named Hong."I covered the NAPT Los Angeles in my adopted hometown. The final table of the Main Event was moved from the Bike to the Crystal Casino in Compton. Here's the Dispatches from the NAPT Los Angeles...
Moneymaker Survives the Cut, Meat on a Stick, and the Ice Cream Man ComethOn Turkey Day, Dr. Chako won Turkey Cup.
Meatsticks and Spoons
When I Called Off, I Got a Sawed Off
Joe Tehan Wins NAPT LA Main Event
Eric "Basebaldy" Baldwin Wins NAPT Shootout in Compton
The month ended on a high note with a couple of my favorite pieces of the year such as Bingo Halls: Dots Across America. Here's a sample:
"Four Loko is a dangerous energy drink, sort of like the PCP of Malt Liquor, and it will put hair on your chest -- that is, if you can actually wake up the next day after blacking out, but not before you chugged three Four Lokos, took a dump in the back of a taxi cab, then punched three holes in your bathroom door by head-butting it."I offered up another installment of the Pai Gow Diaries with Lucky Cards. Here's a bit:
"This bot was non-Asian, which through me off for a few minutes because she looked like someone I knew. That's when I figured it out -- my dealer was the 40-year old version of Kelly Osbourne. She was relentless. She was brutal. She was an incorrigible and continuously beat down any of my stellar hands. I got caught in that horrible bad trip where she constantly beat me out by the slimmest of margins. If I had a straight and a pair of sevens, well she had a bigger straight and a pair of eights. If she showed J-10 up top, I was behind with J-9. I couldn't win anything. Even when I tossed in a desperate chip to the Insurance circle, I came out a loser."And the last thing I posted in November was something called Anatomy Is Destiny. Yeah, the title is an obscure reference, but it was definitely a standout because I got to piss off a bully.
I let you have a glimpse into the frantic mind of a sportsbettor in The Portland Sweat.
Tao of Poker got the perennial nod from Bluff Magazine for Best Poker Blog. If you like what you have read here, then please vote for Tao of Poker!
I returned with yet another installment of the Pai Gow Diaries titled The Whale, the Goldfish, and the Toothless Old Man.
I headed to Vegas with my brother for the annual WPBT bloggers gathering. I penned a two part trip report with a "Moving on Up" theme... The Dream, Moving the Line, and Stay Away from My Sister and Coolers, Proposals, and Buy the Fucking Dip.
And I couldn't end the year without tales of degen gambling on sports and Armageddon.
If you haven't seen it yet, here's Part 1 of the 2010 Year in Review.
And if you like what you read, I encourage you to vote Tao of Poker for Best Poker Blog in Bluff's Readers Choice Awards. Thanks for your support.