Sunday, February 28, 2010

2010 WSOP Schedule

By Pauly
Bueno Aires, Argentina

May 27 through July 17.

That's the dates for the 2010 WSOP. The $10,000 buy-in Main Event begins on July 5th.

Start building that bankroll. Plan your vacation. Send your two week's notice around May 1st. But make sure you divorce your wife after the WSOP. You don't want divorce attorneys digging into your bankroll or tilting your during the Main Event.

Six chances at playing with fellow Broke Dicks in six different $1,000 buy-in NL events. Last year, they had one "discounted" event and 2010 features six. That doesn't count the seven $1,500 Donkaments... for a total of 13 bracelets well within the reach of the commoners. Of course you're gonna have to beat anywhere from 2,000 to 3,500 people in order to make it happen, but as they say... even donkeys have dreams.

I'll be returning to Las Vegas to cover my sixth WSOP. Gonna rage it solo again on Tao of Poker with a little help from the Tao All Stars. Sweet Jesus, is that right... six WSOPs? Six. Seems like just yesterday that I got offered a job by the Poker Prof and Flipchip to cover the WSOP. What a trip since then...

Anyway, I told myself that I wouldn't think about the 2010 WSOP until the first week in March. So here we are. The WSOP is just around the corner and the November Nine is eight plus months away (scheduled for November 6-9th).

Harrah's made some changes. Some are good. Others are neutral. A few blow. But hey, that's the WSOP. It wouldn't be what it is without someone complaining about something! But the indoor Poker Kitchen returns. The Poker Tent will finally RIP, but then where is everyone going to smoke weed?

Here's the skinny...
• 57 gold bracelet events over 51 days.

• Expanded footprint – The giant Pavilion Ballroom (58,000 sq. feet) will be in use this year for poker in the Rio Convention Center. The Pavilion is the largest ballroom at the Rio, and along with the famed Amazon Room (38,000 sq. feet), will make-up the playing rooms for this year’s WSOP. The entire convention space will be used.

• Expanded capacity – Along with expanded footprint, comes more poker tables. A record 295 tables were utilized last year, and this year’s configuration is still being plotted, but expected to offer about 20 percent more tables.

• No Food Tent – The outdoor food tent will now become an indoor food court experience. The Miranda Ballroom, last year used as a room for play, will be converted into a food court with a variety of popular food items for players and spectators.

• Sensational Structures & Starting Chips – Drafting off last year’s success, all gold bracelet events in 2010 will feature triple the buy-in in starting chips and deep structures, providing plenty of play.

• $25K 6-Handed No-Limit – A new event this year will be a $25,000 buy-in 6-handed No-Limit Hold’em 4-day event. Event #52 begins on Wednesday, June 30 at 12 noon.

• $50K Players Championship – The Chip Reese Trophy is up for grabs at the $50,000 buy-in eight-game mixed event, dubbed the Players Championship, which is being morphed from the $50K H.O.R.S.E. tournament run the past four years. This new eight-game format will serve as the true test of the game’s greatest all-around player and receive star treatment, with ESPN cameras covering the five-day event for television. Event #2 starts on Friday, May 28 at 5:00 PM.

• Still Plenty of H.O.R.S.E. – A new $10,000 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. Championship tournament will be offered, to go along with $1,500 and $3,000 buy-ins to the popular game.

• The 4th annual Ante Up For Africa Celebrity-Charity Tournament -- $5,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em celebrity and charity tournament on Saturday, July 3, (two days before the Main Event begins) featuring the opportunity for anyone age 21 or older to enter and be seated at the same table as A-list celebrities and top poker pros.

• The Ladies Only No-Limit Hold’em Championship – On Friday, June 11, featuring a $1,000 buy-in and helping to raise awareness for the Nevada Cancer Institute, the official community relations partner of the World Series of Poker.

• The Seniors Only No-Limit Hold’em Championship – On Friday, June 18 , featuring a $1,000 buy-in for all poker enthusiasts 50 years of age or older.

• June $550 No-Limit Hold’em Tournaments – Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 1:00 PM throughout June, the Rio will host new $550 No-Limit Hold’em tournaments for those looking for a Hold’em fix. These are one-day structured tournaments, and not bracelet events.

Here's the schedule this year...

2010 WSOP Schedule:

Fri, May 28th @ 12:00pm Event #1: Casino Employees NL - $500
Fri, May 28th @ 5:00pm Event #2: Player's Championship (8-Game Mixed) - $50,000
Sat, May 29th @ 12:00pm Event #3: NL Broke Dicks - $1,000
Sun, May 30th @ 5:00pm Event #4: Omaha 8 - $1,500
Mon, May 31st @ 12:00pm Event #5: NNL Donkament - $1,500
Tue, Jun 1st @ 12:00pm Event #6: NL Shootout (2000 players max) - $5,000
Tue, Jun 1st @ 5:00pm Event #7: 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball (Limit) - $2,500
Wed, Jun 2nd @ 12:00pm Event #8: NL Donkament - $1,500
Thu, Jun 3rd @ 12:00pm Event #9: PLH - $1,500
Thu, Jun 3rd @ 5:00pm Event #10: Seven-Card Stud Championship - $10,000
Fri, Jun 4th @ 11:00am Event #11: NL Donkament - $1,500
Fri, Jun 4th @ 11:00am Event #12: Limit Hold'em $1,500
Sat, Jun 5th @ 11:00am Event #13: NL Broke Dicks - $1,000
Sat, Jun 5th @ 5:00pm Event #14: 2-7 Draw Lowball (No-Limit) - $1,500
Sun, Jun 6th @ 5:00pm Event #15: Seven-Card Stud 8 Championship - $10,000
Mon, Jun 7th @ 12:00pm Event #16: NL 6-Handed - $1,500
Tue, Jun 8th @ 12:00pm Event #17: NL - $5,000
Wed, Jun 9th @ 12:00pm Event #18: Limit Hold'em - $2,000
Wed, Jun 9th @ 5:00pm Event #19: 2-7 Draw Lowball Championship (NL) - $10,000
Thu, Jun 10th @ 12:00pm Event #20: PLO - $1,500
Thu, Jun 10th @ 5:00pm Event #21: Seven-Card Stud - $1,500
Fri, Jun 11th @ 12:00pm Event #22: Ladies NL Championship - $1,000
Fri, Jun 11th @ 5:00pm Event #23: Limit Hold'em 6-Handed - $2,500
Sat, Jun 12th @ 12:00pm Event #24: NL Broke Dicks - $1,000
Sat, Jun 12th @ 5:00pm Event #25: Omaha 8 Championship - $10,000
Mon, Jun 14th @ 12:00pm Event #26: NL 6-Handed - $2,500
Mon, Jun 14th @ 5:00pm Event #27: Seven-Card Stud 8 - $1,500
Tue, Jun 15th @ 12:00pm Event #28: PLO - $2,500
Tue, Jun 15th @ 5:00pm Event #29: Limit Hold'em Championship - $10,000
Wed, Jun 16th @ 12:00pm Event #30: NL Donkament - $1,500
Wed, Jun 16th @ 5:00pm Event #31: HORSE - $1,500
Thu, Jun 17th @ 12:00pm Event #32: NL 6-Handed - $5,000
Thu, Jun 17th @ 5:00pm Event #33: PLH/PLO - $2,500
Fri, Jun 18th @ 12:00pm Event #34: Seniors NL Championship - $1,000
Fri, Jun 18th @ 5:00pm Event #35: Heads-Up NL Championship (256 max) - $10,000
Sat, Jun 19th @ 12:00pm Event #36: NL Broke Dicks - $1,000
Sat, Jun 19th @ 5:00pm Event #37: HORSE - $3,000
Sun, Jun 20th @ 5:00pm Event #38: PL Hold'em Championship - $10,000
Mon, Jun 21st @ 12:00pm Event #39: NL Shootout (2,000 player max) - $1,500
Mon, Jun 21st @ 5:00pm Event #40: Seven-Card Razz - $2,500
Tue, Jun 22nd @ 12:00pm Event #41: PLO 8 - $1,500
Wed, Jun 23rd @ 12:00pm Event #42: NL Donkament - $1,500
Wed, Jun 23rd @ 5:00pm Event #43: HORSE Championship - $10,000
Thu, Jun 24th @ 12:00pm Event #44: Mixed Limit/NL Hold'em - $2,500
Fri, Jun 25th @ 12:00pm Event #45: NL Donkament - $1,500
Fri, Jun 25th @ 5:00pm Event #46: PLO 8 - $5,000
Sat, Jun 26th @ 12:00pm Event #47: NL Broke Dicks - $1,000
Sat, Jun 26th @ 5:00pm Event #48: Mixed 8-Game - $2,500
Mon, Jun 28th @ 12:00pm Event #49: NL Donkament - $1,500
Mon, Jun 28th @ 5:00pm Event #50: PLO - $5,000
Tue, Jun 29th @ 12:00pm Event #51: Triple Chance NL - $3,000
Wed, Jun 30th @ 12:00pm Event #52: NL 6-Handed $25,000
Wed, Jun 30th @ 5:00pm Event #53: Limit Hold’em Shootout - $1,500
Thu, Jul 1st @ 12:00pm Event #54: NL Broke Dicks - $1,000
Thu, Jul 1st @ 5:00pm Event #55: PLO Championship - $10,000
Fri, Jul 2nd @ 5:00pm Event #56: NL - $2,500
Sat, Jul 3rd @ 2:00pm Ante Up For Africa Poker Tournament - $5,000

Event #57 - $10,000 Main Event Schedule:
July 5: Day 1A
July 6: Day 1B
July 7: Day 1C
July 8: Day 1D
July 9: Day 2A
July 10: Day 2B
July 11: DAY OFF - Media Event
July 12: Day 3
July 13: Day 4
July 14: Day 5
July 15: Day 6
July 16: Day 7
July 17: Day 8

November Nine Schedule:
November 6: Final Table
November 9: Heads Up
If you want to read the official WSOP rules... click here for the pdf.

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

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Dirty Jobs

By Pauly
Punta del Esta, Uruguay

I'm down in Uruguay covering the an event on the Latin America Poker Tour. It's never a dull day on the LAPT. In the last year... I've been in a tournament when it's been raided by federales, got involved in a bar fight in Argentina, and got robbed in Costa Rica. Like I said, it's never a dull day.

The current stop is Punta del Este. I'm covering the event for PokerStars Blog and filling in for Otis. Change100 is actually my boss on this assignment.

Anyway, we're dealing with rigorous conditions here in Uruguay. The mosquitoes are frustratingly annoying. Plus, it's difficult to concentrate with all of these Brazilian and Argentinian models roaming around the tournament area.

Luckily, our photographer Carlos Monti snapped a few photos when he wasn't busy inside the ropes.

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

Friday, February 26, 2010

More Tao of Pokerati Episodes: LA Style

By Pauly
Punta del Este, Uruguay

Here are a couple more episodes that Michalski and I recorded last weekend at Commerce during the WPT Invitational.
Episode 4: A Roomful of (Hollywood) Cliches... Michalski explains... "Your intrepid player-correspondents catch up on the first break at the star-studded WPT Celebrity Invitational to talk about how the tourney is going... I've battled back from chip-and-a-chair conditions at a table full of pros (and rebought with Pauly money) to stay alive, while Pauly has been taunted by errant nipples and offered blow in the bathroom. We're not even deep, but we're already taking note of would-be final tableist Trishelle Cannatella, too, before getting distracted by the pathos of Commerce steerage."

Episode 5: ATM Roulette... Michalski explains... "I'm still alive, but Pauly’s out. Before bringing our Hollywood poker weekend to a close, we decide we should get a firsthand taste of the real Commerce degen experience, so Pauly escorts me to the ATM to make good on an a charitable WPT rebuy acquired-at-the-table debt before he jets off to Uruguay."
Thanks for listening to the shortest poker podcast on the intertubes.

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

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Cash Plays and the Return of the Tao of Pokerati

By Pauly
Punta del Este, Uruguay

I made a token appearance on Jeremiah Smith's podcast Cash Plays over at Poker Road. The topic of discussion for this episode is Rush Poker. Other guests include Andy Bloch and Thomas Fuller.

Click here to download Cash Plays.

* * * * *

Michalski ventured out of Las Vegas and headed to Los Angeles last weekend. We recorded a couple of episodes of your favorite and quickest podcast in poker...
Episode 1: Slumming It in Not-So-Beverly Hills... Michalski explains... "As Pauly and I are prone to do whenever we get together, we couldn't help ourselves from kicking into 3-minute-podcast mode in Los Angeles this weekend as we both got ready to take on the Hollywooded up field at the WPT Celebrity Invitational for the LAPC... and explore How-TF we got into the field in the first place."

Episode 2: Commerce She Bangs... Michalski explains... "Pauly and I arrive at the Commerce to see more big-name degens than we do celebrities, but it's still early..."

Episode 3: Newcomer's Welcome... Michalski explains... "We were still waiting for cards to get in the air at the WPT Celebrity Invitational when we found the red-carpeted smoker's terrace at the Commerce. The first ever PartyPoker Party in LA, too -- LA: It's Very Different than America -- as Tao of Pokerati runs into its first ever security issue."

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

Monday, February 22, 2010

The WPT Celebrity Invitational, Part 2: I Could Use Some Brass Knuckles

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

I made my way through the tables inside the black-draped tournament room at Commerce Casino. Record-setting field of Johnny Dramas and Troy McClures. 567 players in all, but not a single PokerStars pro in the room (all in Vegas playing at the NAPT Venetian or on the EPT/LAPT) with a sprinkling of Full Tilt Pros all around. Big dogs like Seidel, Jesus, Lederer, Matusow, and Bloch. I passed Mike Sexton and Linda Johnson along with a couple of the Van Patten clan. I spotted a few more pros. Sebok. DeVo. YellowSub. Chainsaw. Todd Brunson. Unabomber. Liz Lieu. Kristy Gazes. Scott Clements. JC Tran and Chino wandered around as alternates checking out the hot tail inside the ropes. They were not used to seeing so many glamorous people at a poker table.

The entities known as Wicked Chops Poker wandered into place. I had hoped that Snake and I would be seated together. He was anticipating an early evening since he planned to run the Pasadena Marathon on Sunday morning. If he was gonna play loose and dump chips... I wanted to be one of the recipients.

I took my seat around 8:03, three minutes after the scheduled start time and found myself the only one at my table. The adjacent table featured Jesus and Jerry Buss, which meant that one of the many Asian girls in his harem would be sweating their sugar daddy. In case you're wondering... Buss wears white Nike socks. But does Buss gets Nike socks for free, or if one of his bitches fetches a new package for him every week?

Trishelle from the Real World Las Vegas took a seat at the table behind mine. She established herself as one of the original reality show trollops after a steamy threesome in the hot tub. Trishelle is a Swahili word for "mountainous regions", which was apparent after I got a close up of her twin donuts. Wow. Lemme tell ya... them some tig ol' bitties. No fancy lighting or camerawork there. I salute her plastic surgeon.

After a couple of minutes of me chatting up the dealer, one player finally sat down -- a French-Canadian pro named Rene who wore a turtleneck. A gold necklace dangled around his neck and he looked like one of John Gotti's crew. I noticed that Rene sported his WSOP bracelet around his wrist. Normally that's sort of gauche, but this was one of the acceptable instances when bling matters.

By 8:15, my table began to fill up. I sorta recognized the guy next to me but like so many actors and actresses in the room, they looked vaguely familiar.
My Starting Table:
Seat 1: Local pro who wore sunglasses
Seat 2: Guy with tattoos (then later... Kirk Acevedo aka Joy Toye from Band of Brothers)
Seat 3: Rene the French-Canadian pro
Seat 4: Loud Fat Guy who does voices for cartoons
Seat 5: Unknown actor
Seat 6: Erik Palladino (from ER)
Seat 7: Unknown Woman (not an actress but someone in the industry)
Seat 8: Mark Thompson (local L.A. weatherman)
Seat 9: Nick Gonzalez (2009 runner-up)
Seat 10: Your Hero
I quickly found out that Nick Gonzalez lost to Freddy Deeb heads-up in last year's WPT Invitational. He held the distinction of being the last celebrity standing. That juice goes a long way in celebrity poker playing circles, and anyone in this town will tell you that any type of buzz is good buzz, especially since he was running around for auditions sweating it out during pilot season.

Change100 went downstairs to play cash games and I sent her a text inquiring about the actors at my table. I figured that I'd consult the former Hollywood exec about the background of my thespian tablemates.

"Palladino got fired from ER after two seasons for mouthing off to the show's producers," she texted me. "And Nick is a hipster actor who was in The OC and the new Melrose Place."

Ah, that's where I remembered Nick, from his role as D.J. the yard guy who was schtupping Mischa Barton's character in The O.C.. Like most of the actors that I meet in Hollywood, I was much taller than him in person. Since Nick Gonzalez was the celeb who went the deepest the previous year, he garnered a significant amount of attention from the cameras. For the first couple of levels, the WPT film crew hovered around our table. A constant flow of photographers snapped photos and I accepted the fact that my ugly mug would be the "most cropped" photo at the WPT Invitational.

Nick said hello to me when he sat down and everyone else pretty much ignored me. A couple of friends in the media stopped by like BJ, Foiled Coup, and Matt Waldron, along with a few random pros who said hello as they wandered past my table. At that point, the folks at my end of the table realized that I might be someone important.

"You look familiar. How do I know you? You a pro?" asked Nick Gonzalez.

"No. I'm a writer. Do you read Bluff Magazine?"

Nick Gonzalez mentioned that he had just met my editor at Bluff, Lance Bradley, when he played in the PokerStars NAPT Celebrity Charity tournament less than 24 hours earlier in Las Vegas. The drunk guy from ER sitting across from me was super drunk and he kept apologizing for his high state of inebriation. He wanted to know where else I wrote. I told him that I'm also the author of Lost Vegas.

"Lost Vegas? Oh, I read that. Good stuff," barked the drunk guy from ER as he took a swig of his vodka cocktail.

I didn't have the heart to call his bullshit. I picked up an obvious tell... Lost Vegas hasn't even been published yet, but that's the sort of shady shtick that the denizens of Hollywood sling back and forth. Even if you have no idea who someone is, you always tell them that you admire their work. It's such a terrible Hollyweird cliche, but deep down actors really want to know that they are relevant... even if you have to lie to them to massage their egos.

"Thanks," I said. "You're no slouch yourself. You practically carried ER during your time on the show."

That was a low blow on my part, but sometimes writers have to put actors in their place.

The continual cameras were my least favorite part of sitting next to Nick, although that's just a relatively minor gripe because I certainly understood the purpose. And hey, who knows if I get on TV so my mom can see me. Regardless, the positives of sitting next to Nick far outweighed the negatives. For example, Nick is a handsome actor who knew an impressive number of actresses in the room. A steady stream of starlets stopped by our table to flirt, schmooze, and sneak in a few seconds of camera time. I didn't mind the starlet parade one bit.

Trishelle sat only a few feet away and spent a lot of time leaning over to talk to Nick, but of course, always within camera shot. I can't tell you how many times I turned my head to be greeted by Trishelle's misty mountain tops. I snuck a few peeks down her dress like a leering deviant out of a Bukowski poem. Judge me all you want. You would have done the same fuckin' thing. Magnificent. The melons are currently in season.

One starlet, who played one of the cheerleaders from Friday Night Lights, became a frequent visitor to our table often bouncing by with the grace of a ballerina. She had recently gotten engaged and happily showed off her ring.

"How many carats?" asked drunk ER guy.

"3.4," she proudly announced.

Jaws dropped. Silence. Even drunk ER guy was at a loss for words. The rock on her finger was the size of a bull's testicle. If she sported that on the NYC subway, she'd get her hand lopped off in seconds. God knows how many miners from Botswana shed blood for that warped symbol of eternal love.

The table banter was fun, friendly, and at times kinda loud with most of the chatter was down on my end between ER guy, the weatherman, and Nick. The obnoxious fat guy who did voiceovers asked everyone if they were going to rebuy. The Invitational was a freeroll (only the final table getting paid out with $100,000 to first place), but you had a chance to rebuy until the first few levels with $200 going to Chrysalis, a local organization that helps homeless people find jobs. Mostly everyone at the table acknowledged that they would rebuy.

"I don't make money," he barked. "I'm a former child actor. My parents stole all my money. That's why I'm doing cartoon voices for Nickelodeon. Being fat is funny when you're a kid. Not anymore. Only the pretty people in Hollywood make money."

The looseness of the tournament equated into less hands per hour. The action was slow. S....s.....l....l...l....l.....o....o....o....o...o...o...o...w. Seemed like everyone was Hollywooding it up on every hand for the cameras. Gah. Fuckin' actors. The excruciating pace might have driven me nuts if I didn't have Twitter to keep me occupied during the downtime or the fragrant-smelling starlets buzzing by Nick to keep us distracted.

ER guy showed up a little late to the table because he was drinking at the bar. We got involved in a hand together on the first hand we played. I had As-Qs in the big blind. He had K-K. The flop was Queen-high and I'm lucky that I didn't lose any more chips than I did. I lost another hand shortly after with Q-Q and within the first forty minutes, I said goodbye to 40% of my 10K starting stack. To complicate matters, I went card dead for a couple of levels and rarely played a hand.

Due to the lack of cocktail servers, the drunk ER guy took matters into his own hands and fetched beers at the cash bar. He took a huge chiplead when he busted two players on the same hand. Woman in seat 7 shoved on the flop of a rainbow Jack-high board. The fat guy who did the cartoon voices also shoved. ER guy had them both covered. He tanked as he and the fat guy jawed back and forth for several minutes. ER guy took a couple of long pulls off of a bottle of Michelob Ultra and finally called all-in with K-J. Both of his opponents tabled A-J. He was fucked until a King spiked on the river. ER guy jumped out of his chair. Cameras swooped in. Beers got spilled. One of the girls from Jerry Buss' harem curiously wandered over. The two players he busted were stunned by the sick beat. The fat guy lost his shit because wasn't going to rebuy. He was dunzo as the drunk ER guy raked in a pot worth over 55K.

My stack continued to shrink until I doubled up before the break. David Plastik had just busted from a different table and wandered over to talk to Nick. I had the small blind. Drunk ER guy limped. New guy to his left raised 1K. Nick popped him to 3K from the button. I woke up to A-A and shoved for 6K. Drunk ER guy slurred an eloquent speech before he folded. New guy asked the dealer which one of us was the button. With all the chips on our end of the table, the button was buried underneath. The dealer dug it out and he folded. Nick tanked. Without fail, the one time I have Aces and I'm in a hand with Nick, the camera crew took a break. He reluctantly called. I asked him if he had Jacks as I flipped over my Aces. He shook his head and tabled Kd-Jd. The flop was 10-7-8 rainbow. Fuck me.

"How about a nine," said Plastik as I flashed him my best version of the evil NYC stinkeye.

"Keep it low dealer," I said under my breath.

The turn was a blank. The river was a ten. The new guy smashed his hand on the table. He obviously folded A-10. Nick went silent as he pushed over some chips. I won a small hand before the break and found myself around 16K.

I opted not to rebuy. I made a couple of donations to Haiti earthquake relief, even though I technically had not worked since November. I skipped the rebuy and went downstairs for the duration of the break. My buddy Chicago Bob stopped by to sweat the event and I met up with Change100 who took a break from her cash game session. Michalski and I recorded an episode of Tao of Pokerati where I described the tournament area as a "room full of cliches." I used the rest of the break to jot down notes.

On one of the first hand back, we had major fireworks. A couple of players limped. The new guy raised on the button. The weatherman in the small blind agonized over a decision. He eventually shoved. Nick re-shoved from the big blind. The new guy insta-called.
New Guy: A-A
Weatherman: 10-10
Nick: K-K

The Aces held up (he actually made a four-flush). Last year's runner up was out, along with the weatherman. Both busto on the same hand. The new guy was over 60K in chips at that point while the drunk ER guy bitched, "Way to go. You just knocked out the pussy magnet."

That was the wisest thing he said all night. The starlets and busty Trishelle weren't stopping by to see us... they were there for Nick... well more for the cameras surrounding Nick.

Nothing happened for a level while the drunk ER guy continued to drink and the new guy bullied everyone around the table. Rene started making moves and chipped up. I increased my stack to 16K after I won a hand with 9-9. I opened in middle position with a raise. Five callers including drunk ER guy. Flop was 5-4-2. I shoved. Everyone bailed while drunk ER guy tanked and tanked. He begged me to show if he folded. I shrugged my shoulders and he folded anyway.

"Show! Show!"


"You're now my enemy."

Awesome. Now, I knew that I could trap him with a big hand and I waited for a spot to re-steal against the new guy who kept 3-betting everyone preflop. Two players limped. New guy raised from the button for 2.2K. I re-raised for 7K without even looking at my hand. I had about 14K behind. He tanked and tanked and kept shaking his head. He looked like he wanted to re-raise and pulled out a couple of orange 5K chips, but he pulled those back and called my raise. As the dealer fanned out the flop, I peaked at my cards for the first time... Jd-9c. The flop was A-A-4 with two diamonds. I shoved. He asked for time and replayed the hand aloud. He counted up his chips and wondered how much he'd have if he lost. That told me he had diamonds. Now I definitely didn't want him to gamble, but perhaps he held 10d-9d and then my Jack-high would be good. He finally folded and said that he couldn't chase the draw. Who knows.

On the next hand, I woke up to Kings on the button. Guy in early position raised. New guy 3-bet him. I 4-bet him with my cowboys. He smooth called. The flop was K-x-x with two spades. He checked. I bet out and he folded Q-Q face up. He said that he almost 5-bet-shoved preflop. I wish he did.

On the very next hand, I found As-Js. Action folded to me. I raised. Rene defended his big blind. Flop was A-high with all hearts. Rene checked. I bet small and he folded. I was over 40K at that point after winning three consecutive hands.

Kirk Acevedo (you might remember him from such roles as Joe Toye in Band of Brothers) joined our table...

Joe Toye was with us for less than an orbit before we got into a hand together as the time approached Midnight with less than 400 players still remaining. Woman next to me opened for 2.5K. I called with Ah-Kh. Joe Toye called on the button and the blinds folded. The flop was 9h-5x-2h. Original raiser c-bet. I shoved and Joe Toye couldn't have said "I'm all in" fast enough.

Joe Toye flopped a friggin' set. Why else would he shove? Shiiiiiiiiiiit, I totally forgot about him in the hand. Joe Toye had me covered by a few thousand. The woman next to me folded Ace-rag (sans hearts). I flipped over Ah-Kh. If my big draw hit, then I'd pass the 100K mark. And if I whiffed? Then I was heading to the sports bar with Fun Warren.

Joe Toye tabled 9-9 as expected and begged the dealer for no hearts. The turn was a baby heart to Toye's dismay, and I took the lead... temporarily. Toye still had outs if the board paired. The river? 5h. Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck me. Out in 390th place or so.

"At least I got busted by Joe Toye," I said as I shook his hand.

Toye smirked and said thanks. He put my chips to good use and ended Day 1 fifth overall with 163K. Some dude named Otis held the lead with over 242K. Sportscenter alum Rich Eisen also finished in the Top 5 in chips. And Snake from Wicked Chops Poker? He remarkable finished in the Top 10 only hours before he was supposed to run a marathon in Pasadena. He was among the media colleagues who survived the cut including WhoJedi and Matt Waldron. Riki Lake, Trishelle, the dude from Mallrats, and Drunk ER guy were the celebs who advanced to Day 2.

The apocalypse is rapidly approaching. Trishelle advanced to the final table of the WPT Celebrity Invitational. Cue the raining frogs.

Many thanks to Matt Savage for the invite. I hope that I can sneak in again next year.

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

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The WPT Celebrity Invitational, Part 1: Welcome to Hollyweird

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

What a long strange trip it's been.

Robert Hunter penned that lyric in a well-known Grateful Dead song. I often find myself uttering those words when I find myself in unbelievable and ephemeral situations... like Saturday night as I walked into Commerce Casino to play in the WPT Celebrity Invitational.

"Look," cried Michalski. "William Hung is here."

All I saw was the back of an Asian man with an orange shirt.

"Dude, it's Commerce," I explained to my gawking colleague. "There's probably at least a dozen guys in here who look like William Hung. Stop being one of those racist Texans."

Just as I finished my sentence, the Asian man in the orange shirt turned around. Shit. It was William Hung. I quickly apologized to Michalski.

"He's the most famous person I've seen here," Michalski said as Bobby Bellande scribbled down an autograph from an elderly fan wearing a white hat with a Lexus logo.

I caught Jerry Yang out of the corner of my eye. I quickly tweet'd that I spotted Hung and Yang. I'm sure somewhere out there in the annals of the adult entertainment industry that Hung and Yang has to be the title of a really really bad low-frills tit flick.

Change100 overheard a bit of Jerry Yang's conversation with his guest, "Oh man. I should have probably worn my bracelet."

Probably so. That's the kind of petty shit that matters in Hollywood... what kind of car do you drive... what brand of watch do you have on your wrist... who are you fucking.... where do you work out... who is your agent... where do you get your cocaine... all of those seemingly annoying questions cause many micro-celebrities to hyperventilate at the thought of not having a cool and hip answer to that question.

I fuckin' love Hollywood for the absurdity and plasticity. Stephen Elliot, author of The Adderall Diaries, wrote that L.A. is the perfect place to be discovered and hide out simultaneously. I'm paraphrasing here... but since everyone in the City of Angels is desperately seeking attention, all you have to do is stand still and you'll disappear. That's one of the most accurate description of L.A. and Hollywood that I've come across. Elliot simply summed up one the main reasons why I migrated to the left coast and settled down in La-La Land -- it really is easy to disappear within the city limits and become invisible. Lost in the shuffle.

All I had to do was stand still at Commerce to harness my powers of invisibility... which is something I actually prefer to do most of the time. As a writer, I obtain better material when I can be the fly on the wall and record what I see anonymously. On Saturday night, I was surrounded by poker's aristocracy and a bevy of familiar faces in the entertainment industry. Some of the Hollywooders were genuine poker enthusiasts, while a bunch of them just loved the distinction of being a "celebrity" which entails walking the red carpet and having their photos snapped by paparazzi. For those seeking the warmth and adulation of being famous, it doesn't matter if it's Paris Hilton's dog's birthday party or a poker tournament, because they'll show up to anything if they think it will make them look cool.

The fabrication of cool. I can write a book about that. Hey, I'm not trying to put down Hollywood or poker. I'm just calling it like it is. I've carved out a good life for myself because of my ability to fabricate "cool" within the poker industry. Some of your favorite poker pros that you see on TV are among the most immoral twats in the universe, but I'm very good at hiding their secrets and whitewashing their sordid past, sort of like how the White House press corp maintained a wall of silence during JFK's short reign. Bill Clinton got nailed for getting his cock sucked by one chubby intern. God knows the field day that today's voracious gossip hounds would have while lapping up fodder about Jack Kennedy's nightly beaver hunting trips.

While the pretty people of Hollywood and the titans of the poker industry rubbed shoulders upstairs in the tournament room, the unwashed masses on the gaming floor barely noticed the Gatsby-esque scenes raging above them. The Commerce Casino, like many regional casinos, generate their income on the degeneracy of locals. If you have never set foot inside Commerce, let me tell you, the facility is massive with dozens of rooms connected to each other with hordes of crazy Asian gamblers. The casino floor reeks of desperation, body odor, and Korean BBQ. At least Vegas has a semblance of normalcy (CUT TO... a young family on vacation pushing a stroller through the Bellagio flower observatory) and a sense of revelry (CUT TO... a rabid pack of frat boys chugging Jager Bombs at a black jack table). But sometimes, taking a stroll through Commerce at 2am is sort of like making the rounds at an insane asylum.

I never thought that I'd ever get a chance to play in a WPT event, yet somehow that's what happened. I'm used to being on the media side of major events, so this rare experience was sort of like the help getting invited to the feast.

Flashback to 2006. I made the final table of the L.A. Poker Classic media event and the winner's trophy sat on the far end of the table. Fredrick Remington, aka the cowboy sculptor, designed the trophy. I didn't care about the trophy as much as winning the media tournament. First place earned a seat into the WPT Celebrity Invitational and I wanted a shot. The WPT was the shit back in 2006 and the Invitational was one of the most popular events on the tour. Man, I was so close to getting a seat because with three players to go, I held the chiplead. The other two players were a local newspaper columnist and pro Barbara Enright. I suffered a couple of bad beats and busted in third place courtesy of Babs, who by the way, was a ringer! Oh well, it's not every day you get eliminated by the only female to make a final table of the WSOP Main Event. I was pissed off but honored. Anyway, that was my one shot at the WPT Invitational and I missed.

Flash forward to 2010. Matt Savage, tournament director extraordinaire, is running the show at Commerce including their highly popular L.A. Poker Classic tournament series. The LAPC also included two events in conjunction with the WPT... the $10,000 championship event and the Celebrity Invitational. Savage extended a couple of seats to a few of us in the media. It was an awesome gesture and demonstrates why Savage is one of the most popular figures in poker.

It wasn't officially official until I checked in at the desk. I always have a moment of panic when the person with the list flips through pages in search of my name. Yep. I was indeed invited and they handed me two wristbands; a black band with my table and seat assignment written in a silver Sharpie, and a grey band for my +1 guest. I gave Change100 her +1 wristband and headed upstairs to the free bar and swanky buffet spread. The first person I spotted was Thor Hansen, the Godfather of Scandi poker. Did he want any side action on the rest of the Olympics? I'll bet against any Scandis in any event except the biathlon.

I arrived at the heart of cocktail hour. The key to surviving these in Hollywood is to drink heavily and surround yourself with a couple of your friends so you can stand in a circle and make other adjacent circles highly uncomfortable by laughing uncontrollably. Nothing freaks out Hollywood hipsters than someone having a better than than themselves. I circled the wagons with Parvis, Change100, Laney, and Michalski as a sullen Eskimo Clark walked by us in slow motion. He clutched an unlit cigar that I saw him bum off of someone in the hallway before he wandered towards the buffet. Eskimo did not have a players' wristband, rather a grey spectators' band wrapped around his hairy wrist as he piled his plate with chicken satay before he disappeared into a crowd, ignoring the wine-induced conversation around him.

I devoured a couple of tepid yet tasty Kobe meatballs... passed on the prawns because as a rule of culinary thumb, I avoid shellfish inside casinos... watched Karina Jett bust Michalski's balls for posting erroneous info on Pokerati... wondered if Joe Stapleton's +1 was a Craigslist hooker or a Russian mail order bride... and then I hopelessly attempted to make eye contact with Tia Carrere, the object of Wayne's obsession in Wayne's World, a flick popular among Gen-X stoners such as myself.

Instead of linking up with Tia, I stood face-to-face with... William Hung.

I don't pester people for photos, but this was a rare opportunity to make a few friends of mine in the music industry chuckle. William Hung politely agreed to be photographed. I think he was happy that someone noticed him as he wandered around the buffet area in a slight daze with not a soul paying attention to him. Nothing against Hung, but he's the byproduct of one of the worst facets of the sensationalistic media after the producers on American Idol aired his horrendous audition when he butchered Ricky Martin's smash hit She Bangs.

Hung went on to record an album because of his astronomically high Q-rating buoyed by the trainwreck value of his atrocious singing. The freak is far more entertaining than the melodious voices of the best amateurs because the current American past time is reveling in the dismay of others. Fifty years ago, you usually had to do something good or accomplish a noteworthy achievement to draw attention in the press. These days? Just do something stupid, moronic, or retarded and you'll achieve immortality on YouTube.

A bunch of people in the tournament room fell into that category, while the majority of the other celebrity players were hard-working actors constantly worrying about their next job. I couldn't tell you the names of dozens of somewhat familiar faces that I came across. In my notebook, I scribbled down things like "the dude from Freaks & Geeks" or "Wil Smith's brother in the Fresh Prince" or "Joe Toye from Band of Brothers."

I discovered a pecking order among actors. Many of them loathe reality TV stars. I overheard a couple of snarky comments at my table about fame and reality TV. But these days, the lines in Hollywood have been blurred. Sometimes it's hard to distinguish between the two. With that said, the meatheads and the spray-tanned orange chick from The Jersey Shore were not in attendance, which meant that I'd have to find some other celebs du jour to mooch drugs from.

To be continued...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Hotties from the Danish Curling Team and the WPT Invitational

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

I dunno about you, but I'm obsessed (let me repeat... obsessed) with the members of the womens' curling team from Denmark. Everyone knows my penchant for blondes. Maybe it's the short skirts? Jules thinks my infatuation has to do with their "opaque tights and gutteral accents"... and that definitely helps. I dunno. I guess I have a thing for Goth chicks tossing stones and screaming "Harrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrd!" (Albeit in Danish)

Thanks to @NOLABigChief for pointing out a spankworthy pic of Madeleine Dupont. Yes. We got nip We got nip!

* * * * *

The WPT Celebrity Invitational kicks off tonight at Commerce Casino in LA. I'll be playin' and tweetin and Twitpicin the event. Red carpet starts at 6pm local time. Cards are supposed to go in the air at 8pm.

Follow @taopauly for updates.

And stay tuned for a recap here on Tao of Poker.

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

Friday, February 19, 2010

Lost Vegas Podcast: Episode 3

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

We're back with a new episode of the Lost Vegas Podcast. Change100 and yours truly dish the dirt with the behind the scenes of Lost Vegas: The Redneck Riviera, Existentialist Conversations with Strippers, and the World Series of Poker.

Lost Vegas Podcast

Episode 3 - Inspiration Inebriation... Change100 ambushes Pauly about the real inspiration behind Lost Vegas, and she gets him to reveal trade secrets.

Click here to listen to Episodes 1 & 2.

Don't forget that you can follow @LostVegasBook on Twitter.

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

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thursday Poker News Link Dump: Play Dough, UB Hand Histories, and Isildur 2.0: Donk Harder

Thursday Poker News Link Dump: Play Dough, UB Hand Histories, and Isildur 2.0: Donk Harder

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Real links to real poker news. OK, maybe it's not real news, or maybe it is? Since the keepers of the echo chamber determine a story to be newsworthy and no one questions it, well, then it is what we say it is.
Shamus pontificates about the murly world of credit card processors and online poker. (Hard Boiled Poker)

Party Poker switched up their play money policy. Bill Rini offers up his two cents on play money. Wait, make that bhats. By the way, stop writing about relevent things. And post more pictures of 17-year-old Thai working girls! (Bill's Poker Blog)

Over the last month, Haley Hintze has been combing and digging through a haystack looking for needles. In this instance, it all began with a series of UB hand histories. She came across "choppy" hand histories. She posted more on the topic of choppy Barry. She also posted a couple of conjecture posts (labeled Part 7 and Part 8) in her attempt to connect the dots. Glad that someone is one the ball with the UB superuser saga. (Haley's Poker Blog)

PokerStars will be offering games in Kips or the currency of Laos. Thank God. The US Dollar has been in the shitter almost a decade and the Euro is plunging every day. (Melted Felt)

The Swedish action machine returned to the high-stakes tables on Full Tilt. Isildur1 padded his roll after knocking off ZeeJustin over the weekend for a half mil score, and then he proceeded to won over a million in a 30 hour period. His mini-rush was not over. He took on Brian Hastings on six different $300/$600 PLO tables. Isildur1 prevailed with a winning session worth a half a mil. But then disaster struck last night... when the Swede donked off a million or so. Zee Justin got back $250K and Brian Townsend siphoned $658K. All eyes were on pro Viktor Blom yesterday when he arrived to play on Day 1B of the EPT Scandinavian Open in Copenhagen, Denmark. Is Blom the Clark Kent to Islidur1's Superman? One thing is for sure... Isildur1 was not logged online during the time that Blom was playing in the EPT. And within ten minutes of his reported elimination, Isildur1 was logged onto Full Tilt seeking action. How long does it take to walk from the tournament area to a hotel room? (Poker News)

Fun Warren wrote some pretty funny stuff about the Kara Scott and British bad boy Luke Schwartz during the Party Poker Premier League matches in Las Vegas. (Party Poker Blog)

Benjo wrote something about Lost Vegas. But it's in French. So I have no idea what he's talking about. If you can read French, check out Lost in Translation. (Las Vegas, Off the Record)

Tao of Poker Flashback! Almost one year to the day... "Busto Brad" was one of those epic throw away posts that became a hugh hit. I definitely had fun writing it. Check it out... Busto Brad. (Tao of Poker)
That's it for now. Get the hell out of my office and get back to work, you friggin' slacker!

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

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Home Stretch of the L.A. Poker Classic

The Home Stretch of the L.A. Poker Classic

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

I haven't had much free time to hang out at Commerce Casino for this year's L.A. Poker Classic. However, I will be making a cameo this weekend for the WPT Invitational on Saturday.

I think there was some sort of mix up, but I got an invite to play in the WPT. Yeah, shocker. I have no idea why I get to play, but I'm definitely excited for the opportunity, even if there was a clerical error and I got Tobey Maguire's invite by mistake. I've never played in a WPT event before, even though this one is a glorified freeroll with second tiered celebrities and other entertainment industry types trying to look good in front of the cameras.

I'll definitely be tweeting my progress at @taopauly.

* * * * *

A few weeks ago, Matt Savage interviewed Linda Johnson. He mentioned that she should be in the Poker Hall of Fame. Check out the video...

You can view more Matt Savage videos from the LAPC.

Here's the Tao of Five interview with Matt Savage that we did last month.

Follow @SavagePoker and @LAPokerClassic on Twitter.

* * * * *

Here's the rest of the LAPC schedule...
2/17 - Event #36 $1,065 H.O.R.S.E.
2/17 - Event #37 $1,585 Chinese Poker
2/18 - Event #38 $1,065 NL
2/18 - Event #39 $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship
2/19 - Event #40 $335 NL Shootout ($100K guaranteed)
2/19 - Event #41 $1,065 Six-handed PLO with rebuys
2/20 - Event #42 WPT Celebrity Invitational
2/21 - Event #43 $2,100 Iron Man NL
2/22 - Event #44 $335 NL ($200,000 guaranteed)
2/22 - Event #45 $3,085 Six-handed NL
2/23 - Event #46 $1,065 NL
2/23 - Event #47 $10,000 Heads-up NL
2/24 - Event #48 $545 NL shootout
2/24 - Event #49 $5,100 NL
2/26 - Event #50 $10,000 WPT NL Main Event Championship
2/28 - Event #51 $25,100 High Roller NL

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

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lost Vegas Podcast: Episodes 1 & 2

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

On a total whim, Change100 and I decided to experiment with a Lost Vegas Podcast. We recorded two short episodes around 3 minutes each, in which we reveal some of behind the scenes details regarding Lost Vegas: The Redneck Riviera, Existentialist Conversations with Strippers, and the World Series of Poker.

Lost Vegas Podcast

Episode 1 - Final Draft... The re-write is over and Change100 explains how she knew how/when Lost Vegas was finally done. She even tosses a Wonder Boys reference into the mix, while I remain moody and evasive.

Episode 2 - Lost Translation... Change100 and I discuss the French version of Lost Vegas, which is currently being translated by Benjo. Chapter 1 in French is complete and we figure out how my favorite (yet grossly overused term) "douchebag" gets properly translated.
In case you were wondering, the due date for Lost Vegas is sometime before the WSOP. The French translation will be released later in 2010. The re-write phase is over and the book is in the hands of two trusted editors. When this current phase is over, we can start the next phase... publication.

Don't forget that you can follow @LostVegasBook on Twitter.

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

Monday, February 15, 2010

HSP - 1 A.B.

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

High Stakes Poker... Year 1 after the crucifixion of A.J. Benza. Another casualty of the new American Past Time... downsizing. Benza was replaced by an entire call center in Banglore, India who will be mis-pronouncing the last names of this year's rounders.

AJ Benza's banter was noticeably absent. Listening to Gabe Kaplan's solo play-by-play was on the dry side and his jokes lacked the "bounce" and "bite" that they used to have. No AJ to play off of. Kaplan's solo act was kinda depressing, sort of like first time you jerked off after you got dumped by your girlfriend.

The only new wrinkle that I approve of is the addition of former EPT hostess Kara Scott. Yummo. Kara Scott is and will always be fetching. I love her sultry "finishing school" accent. Reminds me of Maude Lebowski in The Big Lebowski.

Kaplan was at the top of his game in the sarcasm department. His best zinger... when he remarked that Hellmuth had an uncanny following in Europe which made the Poker Brat the "David Hasselhoff of poker."

I prefer to watch High Stakes Poker in bunches of two or three episodes in a row. That's my alternate or backup time killer when I'm on the road, stuck in an airport, or in a hotel room with nothing on TV except a Mexican soap opera and infomercials. I watch episodes online or download them. I rarely watch High Stakes Poker at home on TV, let alone live during its normal broadcast time, yet that's what happened. The Olympics were in the middle of a section of... well, um... less than masculine events such as figure skating. Luge is kinda boring now because the track is less dangerous and those damn Germans are so fuckin' good. Two man luge is... well, um... falls under the banner of suspicious flamboyant behavior.

The new season of HSP features three Euros including Italian Wonder Boy Dario Minieri, and two Scandis... Andreas Hoivold and Gus Hansen. Hoivold the Laconic Norwegian arrived with perfectly messy hair but sans a garish hoodie. Durrrr is representin' the cult online Gen-Yers, while the other seats are filled by regulars Phil Ivey, Daniel Negreanu, and Antonio Esfiandari.

And how could I forget that scoundrel Phil Hellmuth? The Poker Brat walked onto the set as a major mark, like a fish anxiously spending his first night in prison. The bad news is that Hellmuth lost his buy-in. The good news is that the annihilation of his stack happened so fast that we hardly noticed.

Gus Hansen was in the middle of one of his worst online losing streaks when filming began at the Golden Nugget in early December. The Great Dane had dumped $3 million during the five weeks leading up to the taping of the first episode. Durrrr also dropped almost $6 million in same time frame after he was ravished, pounded, and violated by the ghost of Isildur1.

Ivey, on the other hand, looked relaxed after the November Nine hoopla finally ended. He quickly went to work gobbling up most of Hellmuth's stack on two hands. Ivey and Hellmuth pushed each around pre-flop. Hellmuth played A-J fast, like a Scandi on speed. But he ran into Ivey's Q-Q. Ivey shoved while Hellmuth gave a mini-speech and folded. Durrrr's $2,000 offering to Ivey to show his cards if he had a pair of Jacks or better was dismissed by Ivey. "I don't like to show..." was Ivey's curt answer. That's why Ivey is the best of the best. He doesn't get off on showing cards. He'd rather let Hellmuth sweat it out a couple of months.

Hellmuth lost half his stack early on and didn't last very long. On his final hand, Hellmuth found himself all in with a Jack-high flush draw and an OESD against Ivey's pair and King-high flush draw. The flush filled in on the river and Ivey stacked Hellmuth. The Poker Brat sulked off. No rebuy for the Brat after he quickly pissed away $200,000. Ah that's nothing. All he has to do is make a couple of those self-affirming motivational speeches and he'll recoup his HSP losses.

Thought to ponder... plenty of NAPT Venetian commercials from filling the commercial breaks. I haven't seen any online poker commercials during the Olympics... yet.

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

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Olympics Rant and the Sunday Afternoon Link Dump: Kevin Smith Is Too Fat to Fly on SouthWest Airlines, Wonder Drugs, the Hammer, SI Wankfest, and NBA

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Interesting weekend capped off with St. Valentine's Day. Little Man Nate from the Knicks won his third slam dunk contest. Knicks still suck, though.

I watched some of the nauseating coverage that NBC passes off as the Olympics as my internal anger seethes while I gaze at Bob Costas' bad hair dye job. The NBC suits basically give us peasants a whole ten minutes of Olympic footage per hour, with the rest of the air time filled with Patriotic propaganda, sentimental horseshit, and an endless bombardment of ads reminding us to keep up the voracious consumerism.

By the way, those snowboard chicks from Colorado are cute as hell and we all know that they are raging stoners. The IOC drug tests for weed, which means the local drug dealers are going to have a field day slinging nugs, blow, and pharmies in the Olympic Village when events are completed.

The Olympics offer degenerate gamblers like myself constant opportunity to wager on obscure winter sports. I have a prop bet with Schaubs. Overall medals. USA vs. Canada. He's a Canuck and went with the home field advantage even though a Canadian has never won a gold medal on their home soil. It felt good to take a 4-1 lead after the first full day of action. I also have a prop bet with a friend of mine from Norway. Overall medals. USA vs. Scandinavia. I know he's gonna clean up in the biathlon, but I should get some money back when we switch to PLO.

Anyway, here's some items that came across my desk in the slums of Beverly Hills...
Speaking of the slums of Beverly Hills, one of my former next-door neighbors is still alive on this season of American Idol. Everyone's favorite Hollyweird blonde, Change100, shed more details in her recent Idol update... Hollywood Week. (Pot Committed)

Dear SouthWest Airlines... the next time you randomly screw over a portly customer, make sure he doesn't have over 1.5 million followers on Twitter (@ThatKevinSmith). SouthWorst Airlines fucked with the wrong fat guy. Read all about the comedic-drama surrounding Kevin Smith's ejection from a SouthWest flight because he was... too fat... and a safety risk. Listen to Kevin Smith's version. (Defamer/Gawker and Smodcast)

The origins of poker terms. Shamus wrote about a few such as The Nuts, the Wheel, and the Hammer. Awesome to see tribute paid to Grubby! (Betfair)

I love a good riot. I wish I was in Vancouver but not to cover hockey or curling, rather, nothing stirs up my creative juices than an old fashioned riot. Anarchists and Anti-Olympic protesters in masks smashed windows of big business entities. (Wall Street Journal)

Is the NBA doomed? One blogger was bold enough to equate the NBA's situation (expected losses of $400 million this season) to Greece. Yikes. Anytime someone says your business is similar to the economic woes of Greece... then you're fucked. (Wall Street Journal)

Pharmaceutical companies sell their customers false hope, juts like our politicians. The Wonder Drug Myth is a wonderful read and made me itching to pop (more) pills. But shit, I'm a painkiller addict and let me tell you something... Vicodin and Percoset are both wonder drugs. I'm jacked up on Percs right now as I write this and lemme tell ya... I feel wonder-fuckin-ful. The warm fuzzies allow me to watch the Olympics without howling and putting my foot through the TV to knock the atrocious rug off of Bob Costas' head. (The Atlantic)

It's that time of year for the SI Swimsuit Issue. I spent many moments of my youth wanking off to pics of Elle Macphearson. Anyway, Los Hombres have plenty of SI Swimsuit coverage. Check it out. Pull it out. Wank accordingly. (Wicked Chops Poker)

By the way, Lost Vegas is on Twitter. (@LostVegasBook)
That's it for now.

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

Friday, February 12, 2010

IHYGLF Not Necessarily Poker News Link Dump: My Way Shanking, Jesus Smuggling Weed, Wall Street Thugs Taking Over Vegas, and Writers Are Poor

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

What the fuck is IHYGLF?

"I Hope You Get Laid Friday" is an acronym for this random link dump. Seriously, I hope you get laid at some point this weekend. if not, fabricate that orgasm with porn, poker and/or sex toys.
Do you want to get stabbed by an angry mob and bleed to death for singing Frank Sinatra's My Way? Then don't sing Old Blue Eyes' classic tune at a karaoke bar in the Philippines. The savages will gouge out your eyeballs. You can get away with butchering Total Eclipse of the Heart, but don't even consider belting out My Way. (New York Times)

This relationship has 'doomed' spelled all over it. Wall Street is trying to treat casinos like the stock market. Cantor Fitzgerald (a firm that I was thisclose working for once upon a time in a galaxy far far away) has taken over management of The M Resort's sports book. Yikes. (Wall Street Journal)

Dumb ass pot smugglers got busted at the El Paso/Juarez border for trying to stash 30 pounds of Mexican ditch weed into paintings of Jesus Christ, otherwise known as our Lord and Savior. I know that it's "hard being a dope fiend" but next time, try the Virgin Mary like they did in Lost. (CNN)

Writers are poor because they are paid peanuts. File this one under "NO SHIT SHERLOCK!" (The Millions)

Thanks to Spaceman for pointing out this gem... Guide to sex, drugs, gambling, and living large in South Florida. I spent a week at the end of the year raging it up in Miami for New Years Eve and let me tell you... the information in that article is 110% accurate. (New Times)

Your favorite anti-hero fell off the wagon. It's not a sad tale, rather a funny, sweaty one which will someday be included in my L.A. novel (due out in 2016). The sordid and warm fuzzy details are here... Sweating Like Patrick Ewing. (Tao of Pauly)
That's it for now in this installment of IHYGLF!

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

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

El Diablo

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Why should I have sympathy for the devil?

What has that fucker ever done for me? Well, except get me laid, wasted, and led through a maze of debauchery, so much so, that I have enough stories to fill up four books and material for a few screenplays and an HBO mini-series. When I listen to the devil, I always get caught up in the most awful scenario possible. How bad? Imagine getting stuck in an elevator for 48 hours with Ted Kennedy but there's not any booze... or imagine a bad acid trip where you have to drive a busload of humorless Nazis and rabid political pundits through rush hour crosstown traffic and the only thing on the radio is the polka station. That's what happens when you hang out with the devil on a good day.

When you walk the straight line and follow the choir of angels into heaven, you find inner peace and eternal salvation. But isn't that.... dare I say... boring? I always pictured heaven sort of like having Easter Sunday brunch at Tavern on the Green with your grandparents. Everyone is well dressed, the culinary choices are delectable, but the conversation seems too stifled and everyone around you is stiff as shit.

Hell is a whorehouse in Tijuana with cockroaches crawling over piss-warm beers, hookers older than Joan Rivers, Coldplay screeching on the jukebox, a midget eating a jar of pickled eggs, and a bandito in the corner fondling a butcher knife.

That's the beauty about life. Someone might find Tavern on the Green as a personal hell, while others hope to God that heaven is a brothel south of the border.

Who knows for sure? That's why you play the game. Why waste time and energy worrying about the big questions in life? What's the point?

We're born. We live. We die.

We do a lot of stupid shit in the middle and blow most of our slave wages on useless material crap. But that's the point. It's what you do with the little time you have that makes life worth living. Money isn't the root of all happiness, but it can buy you a lot of stuff to make you feel happy. And for some people, that's good enough.

If you're not a complete degenerate gambler, or a fucked up head case who is addicted to losing, or a lonely soul looking for conversation... then you play poker to make money. That's the point, right? To win enough money so we can keep playing more poker tomorrow. Next week. Next month. Next year. The good players can deposit $500 to a single site and run that up to hundreds of thousands of dollars while never having to reload. The shitty players get stuck digging into their personal wealth and savings to fund their poker hobby. Let's face it, if you're constantly losing at poker and don't blink twice to reload your bankroll, then poker is just another expensive hobby like hang gliding or golf. Those are the fuckers that I want to play against. Dotcom millionaires. Japanese industrialists. Trust fund kids. Son of a sheik. Heir to the Spork fortune. Colombian cocaine traffickers. Old school Texas oilmen. They are all white whales.

Did you know that Isildur is Swedish for whale? Maybe it's not. Babelfish is so unreliable these days.

I heard a story about a guy who lost his entire sporting goods business because of gambling debts. Wait, maybe that was a plot line out of a Sopranos episode? Who cares. Regardless, go to any GA meeting and you'll find some schmuck in tears who admits that he lacks have self-control. You wanna be cruel? Wait for him to get out of his meeting and ask him to flip coins for $100. He can't say no. That's why drug dealers hang out in parking lots of AA and NA meetings -- to drum up new business.

It's a fuckin' cruel reality that given the chance, any degenerate gambler would run up his spouse's credit card in order to make one more bet to get unstuck. Life longer losers roll away their rent money or have no qualms about fleecing Little Johnnie's college fund that grandma had set up. I say go for it. Bet it all on black. College is overrated these days. Why the fuck do you want to drop a quarter of a million to send Little Johnnie to Stanford where he'll end up a fascist frat boy with a penchant for date raping coeds snookered on Jell-O shots, or worse, he'll become a hash-toking-commie-pinko-eco-freak-tree-hugger?

Or how about this.... stake Little Johnnie at the tables. To hell with being a Little League coach or a Soccer Mom. How about teaching Little Johnnie how to play a wrap in PLO8 instead of trying to hit a curve ball? Online poker is a far more lucrative and a more exciting adventure than wasting money on an investment in one's education. Why send your kid to private school when you can send him to public school and fund his online poker account instead?

Right now, Swedish children as young as eight years old are sitting on seven figure bankrolls. These kids are fuckin' hellcats, sort of like Children of the Corn except with messier hair and designer sunglasses. How many 2nd grade drop outs do you know who have Swiss bank accounts?

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

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Bernard Lee Gets Sponsored by Foxwoods Casino

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut just announced a sponsorship deal with Bernard Lee, pro and co-host of ESPN's Inside Deal. That means when you see Bernard Lee playing in a live event, he'll be sporting a shirt and/or hat with the Foxwoods logo. In addition, he'll be the acting as the official spokesperson for the poker room. Lee has been a regular player at Foxwoods since its opening in 1992.

Bernard Lee first made waves on ESPN during his deep run in the 2005 Main Event. Since then, he's done one of the better jobs at capitalizing on his initial "fifteen minutes of fame." He became a columnist at the Boston Herald and for In addition to the Inside Deal, Lee also hosts his own show on Boston AM radio.

Interesting business decision from the Pequots, who are the Native American tribe who own Foxwoods. When Mohegan Sun closed the doors to their poker room in September of 2004, Foxwoods instantly controlled a monopoly on poker in New England. They didn't have to do anything marketing wise because the players came to them. They had zero competition until Mohegan Sun re-opened their poker room after a four year hiatus. And just recently, Mohegan Sun inked a deal to host a event on the newly formed NAPT. Foxwoods had to come up with a creative way to market their room -- which is how the Bernard Lee sponsorship fell into place.

In a day when online poker rooms are constantly battling each other to sponsor pros (both live and online), it's rare to see a brick and mortar room sponsor a player. Scotty Nguyen and Cherokee Casino quickly comes to mind, but aside from Scotty, I can't think of any other players who are backed by a land-based casino. Foxwoods signing Bernard Lee to a sponsorship deal sets a precedent, so expect to see other casinos follow suit. This opens up the market to a slew of potential partnerships.

Will Harrah's, the Bellagio, or the Borgata eventually sponsor players? And which pros will strike gold with B&M casino sponsorships? I guess we'll have to wait and see.

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

Monday, February 08, 2010

Monday Morning Link Dump: Pot House Murders, Haiti, Tiffany Michele, and Porn Stars

Monday Morning Link Dump: Pot House Murders, Haiti, Tiffany Michele, and Porn Stars

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

While I'm slowly getting back into the swing of things, here's a link dump to keep you busy on the Monday after the Super Bowl.
The Pot House Murders of Las Vegas is a chilling read. Marijuana will always be a cash crop, especially during an economic downturn. Besides, ever wonder what people are doing with all those vacant houses in Vegas? Growing the Kush, that's what. (Las Vegas Now)

Yes, I won money on the Super Bowl betting the Saints money line and getting the points. Easy payday. Looks like fading Maya Angelou and going with Bob Weir's pick helped. Read more... Bob Weir's Super Bowl Pick - Who Dat? (Coventry Music)

I love a well-written Las Vegas trip report. The venerable Kid Dynamite posted the last two parts of his recent sojourn. Check out Part 3 and Part 4. (Kid Dynamite's World)

In case you missed it, Tiffany Michele appeared on Neil Cavuto's show on FOX News a few weeks ago. Here's the transcript. (Bill's Poker Blog)

Poker Generosity Baffles Haiti is another witty piece from across the pond. But, kudos to PokerStars and others in the poker community who helped raise a couple of million of dollars for Haiti relief. (Melted Felt)

Flipchip's 2010 AVN AEE photos is worth a peek. Yes, that's a lot of porn stars. Not for the weak. (Las Vegas Vegas)

New issue of Truckin' is out and I contributed two short stories; Lymie Malibu and China Rider. (Truckin')
That's it for now.

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

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Rush Poker Epilogue: I Said, No

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

I'm back. See you at the tables.

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