Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Bounced, No Bellagio... Pauly's Going on a Bender

71st out of 322. First three places won seats... I was shortstacked went all in with K-10 against A-K. I thought he was on a steal. There was mayhem at my table with someone guy cheating by letting his time expire. I'll elaborate more in the future.

Thanks to everyone who came out and watched. I was doing OK for a while... I lasted 7 levels. I had A-K five times. I was surprised to see so many of my friends and fellow bloggers hop on and watch me play. It felt good to see a little banter or friendly rooting in the chat from my fans. I'm sure I had some more railbirds who didn't join in the chat, so thanks again for your silent support. I all read your words of support in the chat... from my brother, my friend Jerry in Miami... HDouble, Grubby, Al Can't Hang... hey, was BG there for a bit lurking in the shadows? That was awesome to have a cheering section. But alas... I was shortstacked and the winter of discontent was upon me... and it was a matter of time before I got bounced. I'll play in another WPT Qualifier soon, so it's not over yet...

A complete report soon I promise. For now... some demonic howling in the middle of the street ala Howard Dean. Actually, I'll probably be taking a few days off to brood over my four costly mistakes. I haven't had a good old fashioned bender in a while... the serious mind-numbing bender like Hemingway or Hunter Thompson would unleash.

The last good bender I went on... I started drinking at a bar in SoHo. I met two Icelandic Stewardesses with my buddy Senor and we started drinking shots of vodka before we took them bowling and three days later I woke up in a seedy motel in Tijuana that reeked of donkey urine and rotten eggs, with a maxed out credit card, my bowling shoes were stolen, I had an infected tatoo (of the Virgin Mary on my arm), the worst case of cotton mouth, Senor and the ICelandic chicks were missing and a half naked teenaged old girl was passed out in the shower. I still have a rash that hasn't gone away. I'm hoping to win the WSoP so I can get enough money to get the Virgin removed from my bicep.

I'll be back after I sober up a bit and/or get bailed out of jail.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Sink or Swim: The Biggest Night of My Life
"You play to win the game." - Herman Edwards
I went to bed at 10:30pm last night. I have not gone to bed that early since the 3rd grade. Why did I do that? I wanted to get a good night's rest. I woke up at 4:30am to watch a Yankees game, so I decided that six hours would be a great night's sleep for me. You see in less than 15 minutes I will be playing in a WPT satellite on Party Poker. If I win, I walk away with a $27,000 package and a seat at the World Poker Tour Championship at the Bellagio. I have been playing poker for almost half my life, but now I find myself with a tremendous opportunity to get a shot at the big time.

I have been trying to break into the writing game in Hollwood for several years. And I had two or three chances, or meetings that would make or break my career, if you will... and none of those compare to the shot I'm getting tonight at 9pm. I'm not trying to over dramaticize or overhype the upcoming poker tournament, rather I'm honestly looking at what at's stake. Since I won the seat last Wednesday, I had the aloof approach of "it's going to be an ordinary day at the tables." However, after some recent discussions with some friends, I have come to conclusion that I had almost overlooked my chance at the big time.

Signor Ferrari recently wrote me:
I am guessing that this will be the most serious tourney that you have played in so far...
He's right. Since I started playing poker seriously over a year ago, tonight will be the biggest event I have ever played in. And you know what? I want to win it all. I'm not looking to play well or make it to the Final Table. I play to win... and I will not settle for anything less than first place. Tonight is the biggest night of my life.

Are my expectations too high? Am I setting myself up to seriously fall short of my expectations in a tournament where I have no chance of winning in a seat in an even bigger tournament where I'd be pegged as Dead Money? For some of you... the answer would be yes.

Alas, I am not you. And thank God I am not. I'm not content with playing it safe or being comfortable. I take risks. I put myself on the line. I thrive on pressure. I do not shy away from competition. I put a tremendous amount of pressure on myself when I write and when I play poker. I will not settle for second best. If you allow that way of thinking seep into your brains, then you become lazy and complacent. None of this passive-positive-reinforcement, "Try your best!" bull-shit. That won't suffice in the cut throat business of high stakes poker. There's no way I am going to allow the pussification of America and all this political correctness sway how I approach tonight. I am grateful for my time in the trenches on Wall Street. If there's one thing I learned during my time there...
Second place is for pussies.
I will not lie to you... I will be devestated if I do not win tonight. I cannot recall a more important event in my life that came across at such an unexpected time. It shows you that no matter what happens in life, you need to be prepared to step it up when that time arises. The time is tonight, and will I bring it and show everyone how I play poker? Or will I wilt in fear at the first glimpse of the tremendous shadows of the all-in bullies?

Life comes down to a few moments. What will you do what you get your shot? Do you raise or fold? Do you walk away and avoid these sorts of confrontations that test all your abilities? They push you to the limits and you finally see what type of person who you really are. I have led a fortunate life. I have lived an opportunistic life. I've had the greatest experiences in my life because I was willing to test myself under the most difficult of circumstances. Tonight will be on such instance. The pressure is immense. My armpits sweat profusely when I think about the ramifications of tonight's game.
"The quality of decision is like the well-timed swoop of a falcon which enables it to strike and destroy its victim." - Sun Tzu
Am I prepared? Have I played enough poker against good players? Have I been tested mentally? Did I do all my homework and read every poker book ever printed? All those questions will be answered tonight... and even if I am prepared, I'm still at the mercy of the Poker Gods. Will cards fall my way tonight? WIll I have to make too many tough decisions early? Will I be able to capitalize on my opponents mistakes? Will I be able to implement my game plan when things go horribly wrong? Time will tell.Tune in to Party Poker tonight to find out.

HDouble from the infamous poker blog The Cards Speak recently wrote:
Tuesday night P-money will attempt to parlay his $24 into a 25K seat at the WPT Bellagio championship, after winning his way into the $325 satellite with a 3rd place (of 135) finish in the super satellite last week. Picture Pauly bluff raising Gus Hansen all-in at the final table of the WPT championship. Mind-boggling, and possible. Good luck my man. TV ain't ready for you Pauly!
I wanna piece at Gus and Phil Ivey and Phil Hellmuth and everyone of those guys and gals I have seen on the WPT on TV. All I have to do is win tonight and I'll get my shot to play against the best poker players in the world. Somedays, I know I belong there. Will tonight prove me that I am right?

Before I go, Coach wrote me some sound words of encouragement:
My best advice would be to lay back and do nothing for as long as possible and let the field winnow itself down. That, and, resist the temptation, even with AA or KK to go all in before the flop.

You have a lot of players you'll have to get through. Just because you double up and knock someone out with AA or KK holding up early on hardly guarantees you a WPT slot. I would let the fools and their money part themselves without your involvement, and concentrate on stealing blinds and working with good flops for as long as possible.
Alas, Coach is right. I will play smart and play passive early, and when the time comes in the middle rounds, I will wake up and switch gears and start making some moves to begin my run.

Again, second place is for pussies. I'm going to go all the way tonight. I'm playing this to win it all. Bellagio... Las Vegas... here I come. Lock your doors. Hide your daughters. My name is Pauly. If I'm at your table, I'm going to kick your ass silly. I will make you cry. Get fuckin' ready. I'm going to make history tonight.

I posted this entry to my regular blog earlier today...
Countdown... 13 Hours

WPT satellite tonight on Party Poker! Took the day off yesterday from playing cards to rest. Tonight, I hope to win it all.

Monday, March 29, 2004

Ugarte's Purple Haze

Ugarte posted a write-up of Ferrari's home game from last week. It was a great read. He's finally catching up in his poker writing. Check out his other posts.

Anyway, in his latest entry, Ugarte comically compared himself to Joey Knish from Rounders. Knish is a total pothead by the way. He looks completely baked the entire time in every scene. How else could you sit there and grind out rent money and alimony payments unless you're stoned out of your tits?

I got sidetracked for a second. Caught up in Ugarte's haze, eh? OK, so Ugarte also commented on the change in pace of the game when a female showed up. Here's my favorite bit of the last home game:
Fortunately, an angel smiled upon me. Having actually found the felt in front of him, Coach decided to pack it in and just as he left, Marie arrived. Her arrival changed the vibe at the game dramatically and for the better. A pretty girl (um, woman) will do that.

Of course, pretty and dainty aren't the same thing. Nothing says "treat me like one of the guys" like dropping a c-bomb on the table, but that is just what our fair Marie did. I can't even remember the context. All I know is that "cunt" rolled off of her lips in an always-classy British accent and almost knocked me out of my chair.
Hey New Guys!

I just posted links to ten new blogs that I just started reading over the past week. Some good stuff. If I don't have you linked up, drop me a line and I'll do my best. I've been behind in my poker blog reading.

I had to catch up on my "I think I might want to be a stripper when I graduate H.S." or my favorite London hooker turned blogger reading. Alas, my interns have been busy. Paris is still away on holiday and two of my NYU interns had some "personal issues". One kid couldn't keep up with my voracious drinking binges and he ended up with a maxed out credit card bill and is now layed up in rehab somewhere in a seculded center in upstate NY. He will be missed. And the other kid never returned home from his Spring Break trip to Hong Kong a few weeks ago. I suspect he was drugged and kidnapped by Chinese organ thieves. Oh well. That's poker, right?

I'll post some mini-reviews and pimp sites a little later this week. Until now, the links have been added.
Congrats to Poker Genius

Mas over at Genius of Poker won the first event on Planet Poker. Good job. Check out his write-up of the night's events. I mistook him for Grubby! Here's a bit:
I couldn't believe my luck! And surely there is a lot of luck involved in any poker tournament win. And even if I didn't come away with the victory it would still have been great to play with fellow poker bloggers. It's just more fun without the morons and other idiots you sometimes encounter in the bigger site tournaments. Plus the chat was pretty funny and entertaining the whole way through.
Nice win Mas! I'll have my eye on you next week!
Poker Bloggers Flog

My photo log project: Pokerbloggers has finally been updated. Check out pictures of everyone's favorite bloggers Iggy and of course... NYC's own... Ugarte. had been down the past month fixing up their server problems. It's all better now. If you have a picture that you'd like to post... send it to me! Thanks again.
Late Night Party

After I got bounced from the PJK tourney on Planet Poker... I hopped on Party Poker. My brother finally made the leap to online play and he joined Signor Ferrari in downloading and signing up for a real money account (using my bonus code: TAO4). I watched him play some low limit and he got his ass handed to him by serious bad beats. I saw both his AA and KK cracked by river straights or flushes. Whenever he had top two pair, he'd lose the showdown on the river to a guy hoping to catch an inside straight or a four card flush on the board. Oh well.

Myself? I got smoked playing NL Ring games. I have been getting schooled all weekend. I played for ninety minutes last night and did not play one hand outside of my blinds. When I had KQ suited in the big blind and I flopped top two pair (all rainbows) I went all-in to be called by the biggest stack at the table. He was on a open ended straight draw but caught runner-runner to get his flush. Ouch. I lost $20 on that hand. Now, my Party Poker bankroll took a huge hit since last Wednesday.

Time to hunker down before tomorrow night's WPT super staellite.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Mean Gene KO'd Me with the Hammer!!

Ugh! I just got bounced from Felicia's PJK tourney on planet Poker and finsihed in 13th place out of 21. I was shortstacked and limped in UTG with A-8 suited. Rick Blaine called and so did Mean Gene in the little blind. The flop: A-2-7. The 2 & 7 were spades and I had top pair with a nut flush draw. I went all-in and Rick and Mean Gene both called. Of course, Mean Gene has the Hammer! And his two pair took out Rick's AQ and my A8. D'oh!

Felicia got knocked out on the first hand with QQ. She ran into Grubby's AA. When I left TPFelt was the chip leader.

Thanks to Felicia for setting this up! More to come.
Online Gambling Policy Violates Law

Signor Ferrari sent me this link: U.S. Online Gambling Policy Violates Law, W.T.O. Rules which was written by Matt Richtel and appeared in the NY Times. Here's a bit:
The World Trade Organization, in its first decision on an Internet-related dispute, has ignited a political, cultural and legal tinderbox by ruling that the United States policy prohibiting online gambling violates international trade law.

The ruling, issued by a W.T.O. panel on Wednesday, is being hailed by operators of online casinos based overseas as a major victory that could force America to liberalize laws outlawing their business.

But the Bush administration vowed to appeal the decision, and several members of Congress said they would rather have an international trade war or withdraw from future rounds of the World Trade Organization than have American social policy dictated from abroad...
Truckin' March 2004 (Vol. 3, Issue 3)

The latest issue of my blog-zine: Truckin' has been posted. Here's you go:
The Ides of March have passed us and now we are in the middle of the mayhem called March Madness. The current issue has to be one of my favorite to work on in the past year! I wrote two amazing stories: Neon Kisses... is another Miami story and Sad Amy is about my most recent trip to Foxwoods Casino. Richard Bulkeley submitted an auspicious tale about speed and freedom. Old staffers Jessica and Tom Love returned this issue with colorful stories. And I'd like to introduce a brand new writer... BG, a fellow poker blogger, who shared a hilarious list that all of you divorced readers will get a nice laugh out of. So sit back, relax, and enjoy. Thanks for coming back, McG

1. Neon Kisses by Tenzin McGrupp
My fatigued face was numb. My rugged nose was running. My sleepy eyes thobbed with a sharp pain because they have not rested in over three days... More

2. Each Unforgiving Minute by Richard Bulkeley
I was grinning as I gently leant to the left. Even though it was a still day, the air was beating against my face, the sun was shining, and the gentle vibration of the bike forced me into a good mood... More

3. Ten Warning Signs That You Might Be Married To My Ex-Wife by BG
She doesn’t find anything the least bit wrong with surreptitiously dating other guys... More

4. Summer of Love, Winter of Haight by Tom Love
I remember San Francisco the Winter after the Summer of Love, January 1969... More

5. rancor. by Jessica E. Lapidus
The guy who shot up the Burger King on Washington Street, they called him Hochner. Ilka never saw him walk in the place. How could she have?... More

6. Sad Amy by Tenzin McGrupp
You see, Sad Amy might not be that sad. I really have no idea. She always looks like one of her four cats just died. At any moment she could burst into tears. I wondered if she had a copy of Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar in her locker, because she walks around with a blank, suicidal stare and a gaze that illicits a sympathetic response from McGrupp... More

Saturday, March 27, 2004

PJK I at Planet Poker

The third event in the WBT is set for Sunday, 9 PM EST... or 2 PM on Monday, Penguin Standard Time. For more information visit PJK Tournament Musings from Felicia where she gives you instructions on how to navigate the site at Planet Poker. I am looking forward to the event and I checked to see that I am signed up. If you haven't gotten your act together and funded your account, do so ASAP! By the way, Felicia says there will be celebrity guest poker player. Who could it be? Stop by Planet Poker to find out.
Saturday NL Party with Al Can't Hang & Signor Ferrari

I hit the tables this morning on Party Poker and guess who joined my table a few minutes into my session? Al Can't Hang... he tracked me down! He was just in time too to see me get knocked around by a slew of bad beats. Big Slick was taken down by J-9. I had K-Q in the lil blind and flopped two pair only to lose to a river straight. I was really pissed when my Cowboys fell victim to a Q-5. But I held my cool like Walt Clyde Frazier, and waited for a good hand to play.

In the middle of those bad beats, one guy at our table got pocket aces 3 times in less than thirty minutes. He staretd with $25 and was well over $150 in a matter of minutes. Insane, indeed.

I discovered that Signor Ferrari was playing a NL ring game and invited him to our table. He showed up right away and I had Ferrari to my right a few seats and Al Can't Hang in the corner on my left. I was pretty pumped to play with those guys online.

The Hand of the Week: QQ vs. AK

I forgot who said it in their book (TJ, Sklanasky, Doyle?)... but I'm paraphrasing here something to the effect of:
You have to win pots with AK and you also have to beat AK to win bigger pots.
Al Can't Hang is the LB. UTG raises 50cents. I reraised to $2 with Q-Q. The button called and the LB reraised $5 more to make ita $7 preflop bet. I let all my time expire before I called him. For some reason I felt he had AK or JJ. I dunno why I thought that. I called and was a little worried when the button called as well.
The flop: 8-8-Q.
Nice, very nice. Monster nice. UTG bet $1. I called. Button went all-in. UTG called and I reraised all in my stack and UTG called that. I beat out AK and the button didnt show his hand. The guy had the balls to write: Nice catch in the chat. I had him beat preflop. He didn't have to call my re-raise to put him all-in. What a tool. It was a $65 pot. Nice, monster nice. Taking down Big Slick with the Ladies.

I won a pot heads up with Ferrari when my 99 took out his A9. Both guys weren't getting anything and I got badbeated a few more times and my stack dwindled. Of course, I got ambushed with a fullboat. I walked into it blindly like a dumb, hungry mouse trying to fetch a morsel of cheese in a gluetrap. I was playing against I guy who I pegged for a big time bluffer (in previous games over the last two weeks), and the one time he had the nuts... I called him. Bad play. I had a straight and I figured he missed his flush draw. He took me once again after he flopped a set and slowplayed me.

I was happy with the call against AK so a loss today isn't so bad considering I think I took my worst barrage of bad beats ever on Party Poker... all within a 3 hour span. I had great cards too... plenty of AK, AQ, AJ and tons of medium pairs.

Al Can't Hang lost his buyin. Signor Ferrari had a nice rush. He had AA and QQ inside of a few hands and took some money off of the big stack on the table. When I left he looked like he was doing a little better. I dropped $8/hr playing NL ring games today. But... it's always cool to play with Ferrari and Al Can't Hang.

Friday, March 26, 2004

A Friday Afternoon Quickie
"Don't gain the world and lose your soul,
Wisdom is better than silver or gold."
- Bob Marley
I'm frisky. It was almost 70 degrees here in the Big City. Truly the first day of Spring... and I milled around Central Park for a little bit before I went over to my brother's place and behold... Derek McGrupp... installed Party Poker onto his new laptop! I quickly hit the tables... and kept my hit and run style of playing NL ring games, ready to trap the fish. I flopped a Q high flush and had two fishies betting into me and I took down a $60 pot. I walked away with a $21/hr win rate today... and lost $11 in a $10 SNG when I busted out in 6th place. I was doomed from the start when I was playing A-Q out of my blinds and lost to a jerkoff who played 9-10 and flopped and river'd a 10 when I had top pair on the flop. Like one of my fraternity brothers once said...
"I'd like to punch three holes into that guy and take him bowling..."
Anyway... more to come for sure, now that I have weekend access to another non-Mac with Party Poker... I'm fired up at the thought of being able to play at peak fishy hours.
Tuesday Night Poker: Another Ferrari Home Game

The day was switched, but the song remained the same. One new player joined the mix and it was another fun night at Signor Ferrari's.

The Players:
Seat 1: Sam
Seat 2: Rick Blaine
Seat 3: Signor Ferrari
Seat 4:Ugarte
Seat 5: (early shift) Coach
Seat 5: (late shift) Marie
Seat 6: Pauly
Time seems to fly in those games now. I looked up at the clock and noticed it was 9:11pm. I played for over ninety minutes and it seemed like ten. I was down $11.

9:19pm EST... Anaconda was called. I told myself that I've lost too much money playing and bluffing at pots in Anaconda. I decided that I would only play premium hands. First time out... I had four of a kind... 5s! I was dealt three and Sam passed me one. Alas, the pot wasn't too big, but I was a winner.

10:10pm EST... Up $30 after Ferrari called a round of pot limit hold'em. I knew that I had to play tight but aggressive. I had 4-4 UTG and raised pre-flop. A few callers and on the flop... a few high cards, perhaps A-x-J. I ended up heads-up with Ferrari and there was $14 in the pot. I bet the pot limit and he folded. During a round of Omaha 8/b, I took down a huge pot with A-A-Q-Q when there was no qualifying low. Thanks to Annie Duke's Omaha tips... I have been improving my Omaha game... primarily by playing less hands.

10:31pm EST... Heads up with Rick playing hold'em. I raised on the button with 9-4. Rick had 6-6 and played back. I called and caught a monster flop something like A-9-4. I most likley check raised on the turn and he folded right there.

10:42pm EST... Rick gets revenge. I dunno why, but I seem to always be heads up with Rick playing seven card Stud. Either he has the nuts or he's bluffing (sounds like me!). I had rolled up 6s... 6-6/6. Rick had a three card flush showing on fifth street. I was hoping to pair any of my other cards to beat his fullboat... if he wasn't bluffing it. However, when a fourth clubs hit on sixth street, I knew I was fucked... and I should have bailed but I wanted to see one more card. Yep, Rick had an ace high flush and I was down $7 for the night. That pot cost me dearly.

11:07pm EST... Coach left. He had been getting beat up all night and he wasn't getting good cards or helpful flops. I dunno what happened, but it appeared that he got out kicked a few times or had solid starting hands cracked on the river. I think he won one pot all night, which I ended up splitting with him in Omaha. Anyway... our new player, Marie, finally arrived. She played at the Mirage with Ferrari in the previous week, but she only knew Texas hold'em, so we ended up palying a ton of hold'em with Marie in the game, which was fine with me. There was some debate on why Marie did for a living. She had a British accent, but she joked with Rick that she was an actress. I know that Haley has gone hours, days, weeks... speaking in odd dialects... (you know those actor types)... but I pegged Marie for a legit Brit. She definitely knew what she was doing... aggressively raising pre-flop on many instances.

Midnight... the rounds of hold'em were kind. I was up $50 after I won a big hand with Big Slick.

1:03am EST... Heads up with Ugarte playing seven card roll'em. My Queen high flush was no match for Ugarte's King high flush. Ouch.

1:27am EST... Omaha 8/b... I was heads up with Marie and I had the nut straight. She was betting into me with a smaller straight and I just called instaed of going back and forth all night. Then on the next hand, I won a monster pot. My starting hand: A-2-3-5. I took down the entrie pot with The Wheel! It was huge and I was then up $65. But then, I got sloppy. I made a rookie mistake just like when I bet into Ugarte the previous home game when I thought I had a higher full house. I made a similar move. Ferrari had me beat showing... my full house 3 & 7s would never had held up against his higher boat (he showed: 10-10-J-10-X). Plus add the fact he was bluffing the full house and had four 10s! I lost some more cash there and I was lucky to walk away up $26.50 considering I played not so good poker and getting some great cards.

The Final Tally:
Ferrari +186
Ugarte +57
Pauly +26.50
Marie +22
Sam -88
Coach -93
Rick -99
So far to date, I have won +150 since I first started playing at Ferrari's. Count the $50 or $60 that Swish took from me, and add all the bonehead mistakes I made including playing extremely loose like a drunken Ruskie sailor in Anaconda... and I could be up twice as much. The moral of the story: play tighter in general.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

I Wasn't Going to Play Today, But...

I had played ten straight days on Party Poker. I intended to take a break today, but I had to pick up something at my Mom's, so I fired up Party poker. After a horrible $10/hour loss rate on Monday & Tuesday, I rallied back with a $15/hour win rate. I played a $10 SNG and came in second place. I'm on a roll. I could have won, I was the chip leader, but lost several heads up all-ins. The last one... my A-J up against A-Q. 2nd place still pays well.

I haven't had the chance to do a write-up for last Tuesday's home game at Signor Ferrari's. I'll try to do it after the games tonight.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

3rd place!! Yesterday the Dog Bit Me... Today... I Bit the Pooch!
"Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. Sometimes it rains. Think about that one for a minute." - Ebby Calvin 'Nuke' LaLoosh, Bull Durham
I just came in 3rd place (out of 135... $3000+ in prize pool money... $22 + $2 buy-in) and won a $325 seat in a WPT satellite tournament on Tuesday, March 30 at 9pm... live on Party Poker (if you want to download the software and watch me play in the satellite tournament) for the World Poker Tour (WPT) Championship at the Bellagio. Here's what's at stake:
Prizes: As many $27,000 WPT Packages as possible. Any extra money will be paid to the next 3 places (50%, 30%, 20%). One WPT Package will be awarded for every 90 participants. (If there are less than 90 entries, the money will be paid out according to our standard Multi-table Payout Schedule.) Each WPT Package will contain a paid entry into the WPT championship tournament ($25,300 entry fee), 5 nights accommodation at Bellagio (April 18-22) and $1000 in cash, Package value = $27,000.
I just got a shot at the $27K for only... $24. What a deal! I've been jumping up and down for twenty minutes... (like my friend Molly gleefully does when she's hyper excited). Party Poker is an amazing place to play. I'm not going to blow my chance. I played in last week's qualifier to try to win a seat... and I came in 106 out of 161.

So how did I play? I'll post a more thorough report later tonight. But I won a huge pot with 5-5 (pocket 5s). I caught a lovely flop: 5-Q-3... I went all-in against pocket Kings (K-K) and knocked him out. It was early into the three plus hour tournament and I was the chip leader at my table. At the second break I was in 24th place out of 60 players. Not too bad. I caught a bluffer trying to steal a pot and took his entrie stack. That gave me a sizeable lead and I waited for solid hands.

I made the final table... 10 players left, but only 9 would win seats into the WPT satellite. Everyone played tight and the game slowed down. It took almost an hour before anyone had the courage to play a hand after someone raised. Alas, the little stack bravely went all-in 7000+ chips. I had almost 12K and called with A-A.
3:33pm EST... Pauly gets pocket aces!
I was pretty sure that someone was going to be leaving a loser. He turned over J-J and I beat the guy, knocked him out, and won a seat for the WPT satellite. It was a great moved, lucky cards, and I'll take it. I ended up 3rd... but it didn't matter since everyone at that point won a $325 seat. 135 players... $3000+ prize money at stake... 9 winners... I was one of them. Next stop... World Poker Tour and the Bellagio! I have six days to prepare! Felicia's PJK event would be a perfect place to practice (and try to make the Final Table again) against some great players. Time to celebrate.
Rounders Review

Signor Ferrari blogged a reveiw of the film: Rounders to Rick's Cafe. Check out Ferrari's review. Here's a bit:
So . . . is Mike McDermott (Matt Damon) gay? Let's examine the evidence. First, we never see him get it on with Gretchen Mol. Now, admittedly, she appears to be a high maintenance, controlling, "I take law school way to seriously" type. But still, she's kind of cute. Sure, there is a scene where Mike kind of indicates that he wants some action, but he doesn't try very hard. And remember that line about the first time he has felt alive since he got cracked was sitting at a poker table? She sure thought it meant something - and it wasn't that she was making the earth move for him. Then, after Gretchen Mol moves out, Famke Jenssen shows up in a short skirt, collects a $1000 from Matt and then makes her intentions quite clear. Matt turns her down cold. Rick said "now that's discipline." No, discipline is laying down top two pair when you know you are drawing against a straight. Turning down a roll with Famke Jenssen after your girlfriend leaves you is a sign of something else. Finally, at the end of the movie, Mike gets a little too excited over Teddy KGB's butt fucking taunting. Verdict - playing for the other team.
Great review of course!

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

And Sometimes the Dog Bites You...
"Those who excel in war first cultivate their own humanity and justice and maintain their laws and institutions. By these means they make their governments invincible." - Sun Tzu
Time to get my shit together.

Ouch. The last two days I've been getting smoked on the tables at Party Poker. It's been a combination of better competition (playing weekday afternoons vs. weekends), a slew of fist-clenching bad beats, and of coure... Pauly playing looser than a drunken Russian sailor on shoreleave, hopped up on opium and playing No Limit hold'em for Thai Bahts in the sweltering backroom of a salacious whorehouse in Bangkok with the chain-smokin, cat stroking Madame and an insurance salesman from Wisconsin, a heavy-set guy chomping on a fake Cuban cigar and juggling a warm bottle of Singha and two pixie-sized giggling ladies of the night. It was like a bad acid trip, with plenty of A-8 off suits chasing after me. What was I thinking... making some questionable calls like that? Ah, such is my life. The road of Pauly is cluttered with plenty of outlandish mistakes, mangled roadkill, tragic bad beats, broken hearts, and shattered dreams... ahhh, and that's just in the thirty-six hours.

Oh well. I lost more than half the money I won last week, in the last two days, but I will bounce back like I always do and make it back tonight. Signor Ferarri is hosting his weekly game, and both Ugarte and Rick will be there. I expect to be playing a little tighter than normal and stick to the basics. Both Ferrari and Coach had recent trips to Vegas, so I hope to hear some great stories... and some bad beats. More to follow.
Growlings from the G-man

A great write-up on The Poker Grub today. He mentioned a few good pointers like:
I'm usually quiet in chat, not even saying "nh" but throwing in a "ty" if someone says it to me. I think there's a danger in talking about how bad you're running, as it affects your image. People will begin taking shots at you, knowing you've probably tightened up and will fold to a bluff raise. They may also play bad hands against you, knowing how your "luck" is going, knowing you could tilt at any moment if they happened to catch miracles.

All the beats were of the same inside straight or rivered trips/two pair variety. You know the drill. But I should also know enough to let go of a strong hand and not call that river raise. I still haven't learned.
Best of luck at the tables Grubby.

Monday, March 22, 2004

Bad Beat Central

Someone sent me this link: Bad Beat Central... a place where you can post all your bad beat tales. They are giving away $25 for your best bad beat tale. I could write a novel the size of Super System if I included every bad beat that found itself onto my card table.

Michigan Poker Blogger Crossover Game II

Check out a great write up via Boy Genius. Alas, Lord Geznikor also post a mini write-up of the second Michigan crossover game. Maybe sometime soon, we'll get a NYC-Michigan crossover game going with BG, Ugarte, Rick, Lord G, and yours truly!

Sunday Night PJK Tourneys

Felicia has been working hard trying to set up a weekly tournament on Sunday nights on Planet Poker. For more information visit: Weekly PJK Tourney at Planet where she lists blind structures and necessary signup info.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Sunday Morning Fish Fry
It is not in the stars to hold our destiny, but in ourselves. - Shakespeare
A non-poker playing friend of mine recently asked me, "What is a fish?"

I answered, "An inexperienced poker player otherwise known as dead money."

"What's dead money?" she quickly responded.

"Who the fuck are you? Buddha? What's with all the questions Blondie? I didn't know you were working for Homeland Security."

The moral of the story: Don't ask me questions while I'm watching college basketball.

Anyway... I always have a spring in my step after playing online at Party Poker. It's the largest online poker room in the world with over 40,000 players and on the weekends, the fish come out to play. Man oh man. Normally, I can only play on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday mornings... heavy non-peak fish times. But on the weekends, the murky waters on Party Poker are filled with schools of cash-heavy fish. In the last few days, I have been cleaning up playing $25 buy-in No Limit ring games. To this day, I must thank HDouble for turning me onto those loose tables. This morning, while some of you were in church or still in bed, in my first fifteen minutes on Party Poker, I tripled my buy-in and took down a $77 pot!

Hand of the Week: Big Slick

It was a hand that I had been waiting for all week. $25 buy-in, NL ring game on Party Poker. I'm in middle position with A-K and I raised to $3. Two called from behind me, including the button. Five way action in all. The flop: A-9-K. Nice. Two players checked to me, I bet $3, and Mr. Fish Fry to my left raised to $10 and the button went all-in. The other players folded to me and I went all-in with $24. Mr. Fish Fry called the rest of his money. I figured one guy had an medium ace, but I was hoping that no one had pocket 9s or K-K or A-A. Alas, after two rags came out for the turn and river, I discover that the button had two pair with A-9 and Mr. Fish Fry turned over K-7. He tried to steal the pot on the flop with a pair of Kings. What was he thinking? I wanted to walk away but stayed for another forty minutes and won $63 total. Not a bad Sunday morning, eh?

For the week (seven sessions of 20 hours), I have been averaging $13 an hour playing NL ring games on Party Poker. I plugged some leaks in my NL play (thanks to some chats with Felicia) and played more patiently but I also got great cards. However, I must say that my Party Poker account was down to $3 on Monday morning. Since then it's grown to over $153. I was forced to grind my way out of futility by playing 50c/$1. It was the true winter of discontent, with snow falling upon my city in mid March. As the flakes silently fell on my city, I bought into a SNG and won it all. I slowly built up the bankroll over the week cashing in on several SNGs. I dropped a good $50+ on tournament entry fees, but made a few bucks back on some solid play and five money finishes. My only bad session of the week happened on the $1-$2 tables. I corrected my game selection and hit the NL ring games. I had small wins almost every day. Now, I don't mean to brag about my play this week. Shit, Grubby dropped a grand playing $5-10. I'm psyched to squeak out a positive week! The money doesn't mean that much to me. Rather, I'm more excited and pumped that I did not have to dig deep into more credit card debt and deposit more funds into my Party Poker account. I'm still playing with free money after cashing out my initial deposit last month.

OK, the $63 today win means that I have enough funds to cover my next two weeks of playing in WPT Championship ($22 + 2) qualifiers and 2004 WSoP ($36 + $3) qualifiers. I intend to play at least one each a week... until it's all over. The WPT Championship at the Bellagio event is in April (the day I leave Vegas, it starts!) with qualifiers twice a day and the WSoP qualifiers run 24 hours a day through May on Party Poker.

This week, I'll be working on the new issue of my blog-zine but will find sometime to hit the tables. Signor Ferrari moved his Monday game to Tuesday night this week. Of course, I'll be sure to make fun of Ugarte, who's team Don't Mess with Ugarte is in 20th place in my March Madness Pool, battling Haley & Jenna's team Shaved and Barley Legal for the last place prize of $10... a full refund of their entry... for having the worst team in my pool.
March Madness - Day 3 Update

Wow, what a Saturday! My team Nietzsche's Bikini Babes is still tied for first place!
March Madness - Day 3 Update:
1 Nietzsche's Bikini Babes (Pauly 1) 400 Kentucky
1 Oyster Bay Orangemen (Joe Moore) 400 Duke
3 Homer's Hard Wood (Derek 1) 370 Kentucky
4 Capital Jay (Jay Sheer) 360 Georgia Tech
4 buzzer beaters (D. Wallowicz) 360 Connecticut
For a complete update, visit the Tao of Pauly.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Saturday Morning Party

I played for my sixth consecutive day on Party Poker. My sessions have been no longer than two or three hours, so these have been hit and run sessions. I hop on and play a quick SNG or hit the no limit ring games. This morning... I dropped $7 playing NL. I was nearly busted and lost my entire $25 buyin after my A-7 top two pair after the flop lost to a A-2 when I pushed him all-in and the guy sucked out a runner-runner straight on turn with a 5 and the river with a 4! I rallied back for a respectable $7 loss. Then dropped $12 in SNGs. I played horrible in those and got knocked out early in both after finishing in the money in my last five. The highlight was getting to play with Jerry in the last one, all be it for a little while until I got bounced.

I'll be back on the tables at Party Poker on Monday. Now it's hoops watching, followed by writing time and work.
March Madness Round 1 Update

Yep, the first round is complete. For a full update visit the Tao of Pauly. I'm still tied for first place after I went 28-4 in the first round. Not too shabby, eh? Here's the top 5 so far:
Pauly's Pub Pool ROUND 1 Results:
1 buzzer beaters (D Wallowicz) 280
1 Nietzsche's Bikini Babes (Pauly 1) 280
1 Oyster Bay Orangemen (Joe Moore) 280
1 I Hope I Win (Matt Huey) 280
1 Capital Jay (Jay Sheer) 280
Manhattan College plays Wake Forest today... let's see if the Jaspers can keep up their run!

Friday, March 19, 2004

Online Poker in the Life of Pauly
"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." - John Lennon
I'm the walrus, for heaven's sake. Yes, it's been a snowy week here in the big city and I have been grinding it out on Party Poker almost every day playing NL $25 buy-in ring games. Iggy preaches how game selection is crucial in becoming a winning player. I found my tables. I'm not disciplined enough to play limit hold'em. I get bored too easily. Alas, my personality is more suited for no limit and so far I have been doing well, which has boosted my confidence.

This week, I had several small winning sessions. I figured out that I'm netting around $12 an hour this week playing No Limit. Not too shabby. Beats flipping burgers at Wendy's or serving cocktails to annoying NYC hipsters. Anyway, my goal is to win at least $63 a week to cover the entry fees to play in weekly qualifying tournaments for the WPT and the World Series of Poker. And this week I made enough to cover next week's tournament expenses.
Online Poker in the NY Times

Alex from Prom on Mars sent me this article: Online Poker: Hold 'Em and Hide 'Em written by Ian Urbina. Here's a bit:
Ben sleeps five hours a night; the rest of the time he sits at his desk in his Brooklyn apartment playing online poker. He won $55,000 one recent evening, but in his tireless ambition for the $2.5 million world championship, this mild-mannered college graduate has become an outlaw in hiding and a twisting thorn in the side of Eliot Spitzer, the New York attorney general.

Ben quit his teaching job five months ago and now makes around $100 an hour. Five days a week, he clocks 10-hour shifts of Texas Hold 'Em on his Dell laptop computer. With reggae in the background and coffee mug in hand, he studies his competitors who sit in London, Copenhagen, Los Angeles and elsewhere, while the dealer in Costa Rica tosses cards.

A couple of blocks away, a slightly less-skilled friend of Ben's named Jimmy also works busily. While Ben plays high-stakes tournaments with pots topping $70,000, Jimmy is what is known as a "grinder" - he works the smaller virtual tables, specializing in cheaper and less risky play, but keeping three games going at all times, nickel and diming his way to decent earnings. In the past four months, Jimmy says that he made $30,000.

Ben and Jimmy would only speak to a reporter if their last names stayed out of the newspaper. That's not surprising, because they are the human faces on the wrong end of Mr. Spitzer's public campaign to shut down the hugely profitable online gambling industry.

Although they asked for anonymity, the two men say they are not hugely worried about Mr. Spitzer's campaign, despite the attorney general's relative success.

To spend the afternoon with these players is to enter a world where, at any hour and with a little luck and a touch of skill, decent wages can be had without ever changing out of one's pajamas or leaving the comfort of one's own couch. But to get there means venturing just across the border of legality. Since 2002, Mr. Spitzer has succeeded in getting more than 10 major financial institutions, including Citibank and PayPal, one of the largest Internet money transfer companies, to stop processing gambling transactions. But he has been unable to prosecute the Web site operators, most of whom are offshore, and hard pressed to arrest online gamblers because they are dispersed all over. Instead, he has tried to seal off the financial pipeline connecting the two.
A great read for sure.
March Madness... Day 1 Update

Visit the Tao of Pauly for a complete Pauly's Pub March Madness Pool update. It was a wild day yesterday. I hit 4 out of 6 of my bets and the local team Manhattan College upset Florida for a kick ass start to my day. So far one of my teams is in first place. Here's a quick peek:
Pauly's Pub March Madness Pool - Day 1 Update:
1 Nietzsche's Bikini Babes (Pauly 1) 150
2 Oyster Bay Orangemen (Joe Moore) 140
2 AlCantHang Entry (Al Can't Hang) 140
2 Capital Jay (Jay Sheer) 140
Let's see if I can hold off the pack, including Al Can't Hang!

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Hit & Run...
"I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion." - Jack Kerouac
I jumped on Party Poker for a few minutes to play a $25 NL ring game while I waited for March Madness and the Manhattan College/Florida game to start. I won $14 when I limped in on the button with 8-7 suited. I hit a decent flop with: 4-7-7. One person in middle position bet in front of me and I raised her, doubling her bet. She called, everyone else folded, and she checked on the turn when a small card fell. I went all-in and she called me with pocket aces. Alas, her slowplaying the pocket aces cost her a shot of making me fold pre-flop and allowed me to double up from $20 to $40 in one hand. I left right after that and was happy to walk away with that sweet win, cracking pocket aces!
NYC Poker Babe in Paris

NYC Poker Babe was in Paris on a business trip. She stopped off at the Aviation Club. Here's her trip report:
The Aviation Club was really tiny. There's just one card room with about 6 tables and I played a 2/2 Euro blinds of dealer's choice... and it was pot limit so I really never had that type of table experience. I bought in for 50euros. At the start there were about six of us playing. I would say four of us would pick hold em. If I wasn't in the blind then I would basically pass on the other games. The guy next to me was kind enough to explain the basics of Omaha hi-lo, Omaha 7, Courcheval and some others that popped up once in a while. On the third hand or so it was hold'em and I flopped top 2 pair. One guy raised the pot to the limit and remember I only bought in for 50 so if I lost then I would have to buy in again... so I was a little nervous. But I called, everyone else dropped out and the turn and river came and then we turned over our cards... he had the top pair and bottom pair and I won. It was around a 130 euro pot. Yes, I could have walked at that point but I was only there for 15 minutes at that point. I got involved in a few hands after that -- it was hard because one guy had tons of chips and since it was pot limit he would sometimes call the pot and it would be 16 euro or more and it wasn't really worth it to me when I really didn't have a lot of chips. So in the end I lost about 80 euro but it was fun. Oh, and at the end it was only 3 of us playing and I don't really like to play short handed so that was tough too.

The club is ok -- not as fancy as you would imagine from the outside. But it was located about 3 blocks from my hotel! After the game this one guy invited me to go to a club with his friends so I went. Nice guy... I meet all types of guys at the poker table. It's so hilarious.
Thanks to NYC Poker babe for sharing. I have never been to Paris... it's the one place I have not wandered to that I really want to go visit... and I would love to play at the Avaition Club. Man oh man. I played hold'em at the Holland Casino in Amsterdam against some scuzzy French businessmen, but that was the closest I ever came to playing poker in Paris.
Unlucky Wednesday?

I spent some time on Party Poker yesterday. I busted out early of the $22 + $2 World Poker Tour (WPT) Qualifier yesterday. I came in 106 out of 169 places. Top 11 would have gotten seats in the WPT super satellite for next Tuesday. Afterwards, I played a $10 SNG and placed fourth. D'oh! And I played a $5 SNG with Jerry and he placed 4th and I finished in the money at 3rd. I've been making the money playing $5 SNGs this week... 5 for 5. I'm getting good cards.

Today, I will download the software for the next WBT III event set to start on this Sunday. Don't think I'll play much poker until Sunday and Monday... with work and March Madness scheduled for this wekeend... I just don't have any time.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Luck of the Irish?

Happy St. Patirck's Day to everyone from your host, Pauly McGrupp. This is the one day of the year when I am not considered an alcoholic... since every place I know that serves liquor is encouraging serious binge drinking over the entire day. No where else in the world... except America... can the powers to be hijack a religious holiday and turn it into a rowdy, drunken, puke fest... sponsored by Budweiser and Guinness of course. Alas, I'm bloody Irish (and an alcoholic... thanks Mom & Dad for passing on the gene!) so everyday is my St. Patrick's Day... but today gives my Italian, Black, Jewish, and Canadian friends an excuse to get drunk at lunch time, get angry for no apparent reason, and sing dirty drinking songs at the top of their lungs. Enjoy your special day and don't forget to tip your bartenders.

Alas, I decided to see if lady luck and Irish luck is on my side today. I'm hitting the tables at Party Poker later today to play in the WPT super satellite qualifier ($22 + $2), or whatever that tourney is called. If you win that tourney you get a seat in the WPT super satellite and can win a shot at the WPT event at the Bellagio in April. And then afterwards, I hope to school some drunk fish playing NL Ring games to help contribute to my Las Vegas bankroll. Only 27 days until I hit Sin City and I'm getting jumpy.

Speaking of Vegas, make sure you read Jeremy's (from Love and Casino War) Vegas Trip Report. He made it into the money in one tourney and kicked ass at the Bellagio one night. Read all about it on Up for Poker.
WBT II Reports

I read a couple of good reports from last Wednesday's WBT II: The Iggy Classic. Chris Halverson had a hilarious WPT intro to his report. Here's a bit of the intro:
Vince Van Patten: How about Pauly "I'm never on tilt" McGrupp or any of the other New Yorkers? Would their East Coast play school the West Coast? Who Knows?! Who cares as long as they have MONSTER HANDS!
And here's some of Chris Halverson's write-up:
The final table was tough, but there were a couple of short stacks. I took it upon myself that I was going to make it to the money and get them out. Luckily I didn't have to do much since Pauly appeared to be slightly on tilt and was going all in like crazy. He says he was fine, but who knows. Who cares, he took a couple people out for me...
And of course Felicia added her write-up to her site. Here's her take on my tilty behavior:
Pauly overextended himself. He started calling all-in's. It is one thing to raise and steal every hand, when it is shorthanded and no one has much of anything, but it is another thing to call an over-the-top raise or all-in, by timid players who don't have enough chips to pull any re-steals or bluffs. Pauly ran up against several superior hands, and lost every one. He went from having us all outchipped several times over, to being one of the shortstacks himself.
Alas, two great write-ups. Excellent job Felicia & Chris.
Nice Wil

Fellow blogger Wil Wheaton linked up the Tao of Poker onto his blog on Tuesday. I am guessing that he likes the Tao and reads my half-baked write-ups.. I have been getting a nice number of hits since his blog. Thanks Wil, for the link-up. See ya at the tables. And thanks to Iggy for pointing that out.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Tuesday at the Tables: Trapping Fish

It's snowing here in NYC. Doesn't that suck? Pefrect time to hit the tables on Party Poker. Mom's at work so Pauly can play. I snuck into her apartment, raided her fridge, and fired up Party Poker. I headed for a $5 +$1 Multi NL tourney. 1109 players... over $5500 in prize money. I was bounced by the end of Level 4 when my A-Q lost to Q-Q. I went all-in when I flopped an Ace, the chip leader called me my medium stack. He caught a Queen on the river. Bastard!

In homage to HDouble I decided to multi-task... read my daily newspapers and play two tables. Alas, I'm not a player like Hank and can't play three $5-$10 at once and read a Herman Hesse novel in between the lulls. I can barely manage two 50 cent-$1 tables at once. It was tough at first, but I managed once I got the hang of the tables. I even took a few phone calls, read the entire Wall Street Journal, and caught up on the NY gossip columns. The result? A $6 loss on one table and a $14 on another for a decent $8 win in one hour. I needed more excitement. I headed to the NL Ring games and I bought in for $25.

A-K on the big blind. I decided to bet $10, no callers. Two hands later, K-Q suited on the button. Raised and got two callers. The flop: A-Q-x. I called a bet. The river: Q. I went all-in vs. A-K and almost doubled up. In three hands I was up $21.75. I walked away and headed for a SNG.

And yeah, I caught some cards and bullied everyone late when I had a big stack and I won! Man, back to back SNG places. Last night second, and then a first place. I was still on a rush. I wanted to keep playing. One more SNG.

I had the chip lead late and lost my huge stack when 3-3 beat out my A-J suited. I caught and A and a J on the flop but the nimrod caught his set of 3s on the river. River'd again. But I'll take the money and the third place victory. Up $47 for the day. I'm tempted to go back.

The day's highlights included slow playing pocket aces... twice today and getting fish to call my all-in's post-flop.
Hand 1 (A-A): Flop: Ts-8c-Qd... turn & river: 6s-2s. The two guys who called my all-in: Q-J and Q-3! I busted one guy and left the other guy with less than T100 chips.

Hand 2 (A-A): Flop: Qc-Ad-5h... I went all-in and got one caller A-6 suited. The rest of the hand: 9d-4c. My set wins and I knocked that guy out as well.
Normally I don't slow play pocket aces, but I smelled weakness at the table. That fishy smell is tough not to pick up. Pauly 2, Fish 0.
Poker: Hobby, Sport, or Profit?

HDouble and his excellent poker site The Cards Speak has a quality post titled: Hobby, Sport, or Profit? Here's a bit:
Work and social commitments (ugh) have kept me off of the poker tables for the last couple of days, although I did manage to eek out a couple of short, barely-winning sessions on PartyPoker. I did get to engage with a thought provoking session with a reader via email, who brought me back to the question of "Why do people play poker?"

The reader astutely pointed out that although PartyPoker may be the most profitable place to play, it may not be the best. If our goal is not to win the most money, but to challenge ourselves intellectually, then most likely the site with the most fish is not the best place to play.
As always another kick ass post from HDouble! I play poker for a combination of the three reasons he mentioned. But I must admit... I love the rush... when I win and when I bluff. It's up there with some of the best feelings I ever experienced.

Monday, March 15, 2004

Monday Grind on Party Poker

I played for a few hours on Party Poker earlier today. I managed a decent $17 win playing the lowest of the lowest limits. My account was down to $21 and I bought in for the entire amount at a fifty cent-$1 table. I dropped $18 in the first hour and rallied back to cash out at $38. I sat down to play a $5 + $1 SNG and placed 2nd for a $9 profit. Overall: + $26 in 3 hours.
When Iggy Speaks... I Listen

Iggy recently blogged these gems:
My three little low-limit online tips:

1. Other players bad play will make me far more money than my fancy or brilliant plays.
2. The guy that leads with a bet on the turn after not betting previously, typically has a big hand.
3. Folding costs me nothing pre-flop. If it's a close decision, I can't go far wrong by folding.
Thanks Iggy. I should put those on a post-it above my computer screen.
Join My March Madness Pool!

Attention college hoops fans! I always run fantasy pools on and this year I would like to invite you to play in my pool. Send me an e-mail and I'll tell you my Group Name and the password to join my group.

Link: Pauly's Pub March Madness Pool

Fee: $10 per entry.

First place: 50% prize pool + Pauly Painting
2nd Place: 25% prize pool + Bootleg CD
3rd place: 15% prize pool -$5 (for last place prize)
4th place: 10% prize pool - $5 (for last place prize)
Last Place: $10 you get your money back!

I am expecting 30 entries. Based on that projected number, I expect the payouts to follow:

Projected Prize Pool: $300
1. $150 + Painting
2. $75 + CD
3. $40
4. $25
Last place: $10

My team: Nietzsche's Bikini Babes is the team to beat. My other team name: Inside the Paris Hilton. Obviously, the payouts are smaller if less people play... and much higher if more people play. You can enter as many times as you want... as long as you pay me $10 per entry by April 1st. I do not take credit cards nor PayPal and definitely not NetTeller. Cashola. When you email me for the password, I'll be sure to send you my mailing address. If I do not get your $10 by April 1st, you will be DQ'd and be ridiculed on all of my websites. More details to follow. Any questions, refer to the site.

I am ready to defend my crown. My team: Nietzsche's Bikini Babes... won the cash pool in last year's March Madness Pool. This year... I will only be running a cash pool. Last year I ran two. For you cheapskates... I think the local girl scouts troop in my neighborhood is running a free pool. You can play there. Alas, it's time to put your money where your mouth is!

Congrats to my brother Derek, who won the regular season Pauly's Pub College Hoops Pool. His team Smoke'em If You Got'em beat out all of us. He's the favorite to win this year's March Madness Pool.

Best of luck,

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Free Tips...

I recently left this in the comments box of a fellow blogger. I thought I'd share it with y'all.
Pauly's Tips for Dating:

1. Don't talk about ex-girlfriends.

2. Tell her that you like her shoes. Even if you have to lie or have no opinion. It takes three seconds to say, "I like your shoes." It takes some women three hours or three days to figure out the right ones.

3. Look her in the eye and don't stare at other women while you are with her. Make her feel important by focusing all your visual attention on her.

4. Ask her what her shade of lipstick is. If she doesn't wear lipstick, then repeat #2.

5. Avoid conventional first dates. But stay away from fast food joints, bowling alleys, and porno theatres. I'd recommend a museum or art gallery, some place that makes you look like you have exquiste tastes and seem somewhat sophisticated. It's a great place to abosrb the lulls in the awkward pauses in conversation.

6. At some point late into the date, just stutter like Woody Allen for a few seconds. Follow up with the line, "I'm sorry. Sometimes I get really nervous around beautiful women." Then smile. If she smiles, then touches your hand or elbow... you're in! If she does not respond... repeat #2.
Alas, some guys buy books to learn these trade secrets, lol... and I just gave them to you for free.
Signor Ferrari's Omaha Hand Quiz

Signor Ferrari sent to me an email before he went to Las Vegas for the weekend. I'll post his answer upon his return to NYC. Here's what he sent me:
You are playing Omaha 8 $2/4. You hold Kh-Kd-Qd-Jc. Seat #7 is you in the button. You are playing in Ferrari's home game. Pre-flop is

Seat 3. F
Seat 4. $2
Seat 5. F
Seat 6. $2
Seat 7. (you) $2
Seat 1. (sb) calls $2
Seat 2. (bb) checks $2

Flop comes Ks-8s-3s. Betting is as follows:

1. $2
2. raise to $4
4. F
6. call $4

What do you do and why?

The answer, according to me, is call. Either explain why, or, conversely, why you disagree. I will post my explanation when I get back from Vegas.
I would probably raise to get the low drawers and guys who missed their flush to pay to see one more card. But my Omaha play is sktechy and that's why I lose too many hands! I would suspect the guy who was in the big blind might have two random suited cards or maybe even two pair... or he had the nut low A-2. Then again... since it's your home game, I would probbaly raise for sure!

Thursday, March 11, 2004

WBT II: The Iggy Classic
"See, your mom is the steady one. That's okay in small doses. Me... I am the risk taker. That's why I have so many adventures." - Homer Simpson
Wow. What a night, eh? I must begin with a quick thanks to Iggy for organizing the event. He did a great job. In a ultra competitve genre/sport/hobby such as poker, it's extremely rare to see a flourishing community come together and support each other... to the extent that I have witnessed over the last few months. Yes, Iggy the poker player always had my respect, but Iggy the person basks in my admiration. He spearheaded the daunting attempt to help mold a community of like minds. I never would have met many of you without his site and his constant dedication to the world of poker and poker bloggers and JKs. I thank you kind sir... for your vision, hard work, your loyalty to your peers, and your friendship. For your efforts, I applaud you.

I would also like to thank the Academy for this award. I am truly humbled and honored. I would like to thank my agent, my lawyer, my drug dealer, my bookie... oh wait! That's from my Oscar acceptance speech... sorry about that. I got caught up in the moment. Where was I? Oh, yeah. Back to poker.

I got to my Mom's apartment around 8:30pm. I can't play at my place with my iBook. I log on and hit the True Poker lobby early. I sat next to Felicia Lee and chatted her up at the bar. I was not as nervous like last time and I was happy to see we had almost 28 players. Then it was time... I turned the cellphone off, took a deep breath and sipped some green tea.

The players:
Seat 1: Wabon
Seat 2: Felicia Lee
Seat 3: Liquid Swords
Seat 4: BGAL100
Seat 5: Al Can't Hang
Seat 6: Frobozz (Grubby)
Seat 7: Iggy (nice cleavage)
Seat 8: Pauly
Seat 9: Grubette
Seat 10: Chris Halverson
Level 1: I lost two early pots with Aces... my A-8 and A-J were losers. I won my first hand with K-J when I flopped: J-2-J. I went all-in on the turn when a Q fell. I had $1368, fifth at my table and Grubby was the table chip leader.

Level 2: I got 7-7 in the Big Blind. Everyone folded to Iggy (a.k.a McBoobs) in the LB. He bet. I raised. He called. Flop: Q-J-10. Iggy bet $330 and I folded. D'oh! I missed my flop. Then, I bullied Al Can't Hang in the next hand when I got K-3 on the button. The flop: 4h-Kh-Q. I went all in and Al folded. I have $1428. A few hands later I caught AKo, went all in from middle position and everyone folded. The next hand, Grubette got pocket Aces. Sweet.

9:28 pm... the word was out... CNN flashed it across their news ticker... first one knocked out was HDouble! No friggin' way! The blinds went up and I'm in 10th place overall, 3rd at my table with $1613.

Level 3: Blinds 25/50... I got AJ in the big blind and called a raise from Chris, got a shitty flop and lost. The next hand, Iggy McBoobs got booted. His A-K was doomed when he went all in with Grubby's K-10 and the G-man's full house sent the Iggymeister jiggling to the bar. I checked the time 9:32pm. Within four minutes HDouble and Iggy were bounced. Reality set in... I had to get my shit together. I mean, that's like hearing Phil Ivey and Howard Lederer got knocked out early in a tourney. A sobering thought: Anyone could go at any time. But I also realized that the two big dogs were gone. Two less sharks cricling the waters. It was time to start playing tougher.

I stole blinds with a pre-flop raise with K-6 in middle position. I folded K-6 to a Grubby raise. It was kinda crappy to be sitting in between Grubby and Grubette. I felt they were totally playing me. When I played a hand with them, one of them always raised!! I had $1163 in chips, 7th out of 8 at my table and 19th out of 24. Otis was the overall chip leader.

Level 4: Blinds 100/200... at 9:42 pm EST Felicia goes all-in. My K-9 from the big blind lost to Grubby's A-9 and a button raise. I only had $883 left and in next to last place in chips. I needed some help. Fast. Then it happened... the rush.
"I had what alcoholics would say was a moment of clarity..." - Jules from Pulp Fiction
I'm in 22nd place. Grubby's beating me up and became the table bully. I finally see a good hand. I got AK on the button. Liquid Swords raised and I went all-in. Liquid Swords had one of the bigger stacks at the table. The cards came out so fast that I didn't know what happened. But my AK beat out Liquid's AQ. I doubled up and had $1776. The next hand... AK again! I went all-in pre-flop (I didn't want to fuck around and risk slow playing) and everyone folded. I was happy to show my hand once again. $1926 in chips and I jumped up to 10th out of 23. The next hand... A4s. I called a raise and bailed out after the flop with a lot of face cards. Next hand... A6. I folded to a Grubby raise. He has over $4675 and I was intimidated by him. I had four aces in a row. No complaints. A couple of hands later I got A9 in the blinds. Felicia goes all-in and I fold. UTG I have 5-5. I bring it for a raise. The flop: A-9-2. I bet and Grubby folded. I have $1626. Next hand... A-8. Flop: 9-10-J. I raise, got one caller. The turn: 10. I go all-in and steal the rest of the pot. I have $1816.

Level 5: Blinds 200/400... QJ in the little blind. I flop: J-10-3. I go all-in and Grubette calls me with A-10. I knocked out Grubette and had $3001. I'm 2nd at my table of six and 4th overall out of 20. Whew. Then I got a table change. Grrrrrrr.

The players:
Seat 1: Mr. Decker
Seat 2: The Fat Guy (Proxy)
Seat 3: Felicia
Seat 4: Stick & Move
Seat 5: Sean from Anisotropy
Seat 6: Rick Blaine
Seat 7: Al Can't Hang
Seat 8: Pauly
Seat 9: Liquid Swords
Seat 10: Maudie
I had K-10 suited and went heads up with Sean (Q-Q). He flopped a Q and I was doomed. He ended up with a set of Queens. I lost. Next hand: A-A and go all-in. No callers. At least they weren't cracked. I had $2626. On the button, I got Q-10 suited. After I flop a Queen, I went all-in and Mr. Decker folded. I had $3326.

Hammer Time!

I got the hammer in second position. I typed HAMMER TIME into the chat. Rick laughed. I wondered if anyone believed me? Al Can't Hang called my pre-flop raise. The flop: 3-10-3. I went all-in. Al thought for a bit then folded. Whew! I showed my cards to the table to prove to everyone that I played The Hammer!! I did that for the Penguin! It was a huge pot and bluff for me. I screamed, actually I howled like Howard Dean! My mother was in her bedroom watching American Idol or some other reality crap, and she ran out to investigate my howling and barking sounds.

"What's going on?" she insisted.

"Yo, Mom! I just bluffed with The Hammer!"

"What did you win?"


I was 3rd overall. Then I inflicted a pretty bad beat to Sean. I'm the blind with A-J suited. I raised pre-flop and Sean called: The flop: 10-7-5. I checked, he bet and I raised. He called. The turn: A. I checked, he bet and I raised all-in. He called and had A-10. I was fucked with his 2 pair. I luckily sucked out a J to get a higher two pair. Bad beat after the turn for sure. Sean got knocked out. With $6115, I was the overall chipleader. Time to become the bully and summon the ghost of Stuey Ungar.

Level 5: Blinds 500/1000... 10:09pm... Rick got knocked out with a shortstack and 5-6suited. I think Al sent him packing. For the second tourney in a row, I sat at the same table as Rick. I was hoping to reach the final table with Rick and Ugarte. Mr. Decker was next to get knocked out. His 5-5 was no match for Maudie's 8-8.

10:13pm EST... Felicia goes all-in. No one calls her. I'm still the chip leader. I steal blinds with J5 on the button with a raise.

10:19pm EST... Felicia goes all-in. She steals the blinds.

10:20pm EST... Felicia goes all-in. No one dares to call her. I lost some blinds and realized I slipped to 4th place with 12 players left. I'm so close to making the final table with $5065.

Level 6: I was the little blind with KJ. I went all-in on the flop after: K-4-Q falls. I knocked out Maudie and had $7352.

10:30pm EST... the Final Table seated players. I made it. I achieve my goal. It was now the time to push myself. I wasn't looking to make the money. I wanted to win it all.

The Final Table...
Seat 1: Otis B
Seat 2: Boy Genius
Seat 3: Felicia
Seat 4: Chris Halverson
Seat 5: Stick & Move
Seat 6: JasonHoldem
Seat 7: Al Can't Hang
Seat 8: Pauly
Seat 9: Liquid Swords
Seat 10: Grubby
In the first or second hand, Boy Genius was knocked out when his J-10s fell to pocket Kings. Liquid Swordswas the next to go when his 5-5 lost to pocket Jacks. I'm 2nd out of 8 remaining players with $7352.

Level 7: Blinds 1000/2000.... The levels are coming much quicker and the blinds are going up faster. Time to be aggressive. Al (A-J) got knocked out by Stick & Move (A-Q). Next hand, I found A-K in the little blind. I raised and knocked Jason out with his J-10. I stole some blinds on the button with Q-10 and had a regained the chip lead at $12,598 with 6 players left.

10:35pm EST... Felicia goes all-in. I raised pre-flop and she came back over the top. I wanted to call, but I didn't.

10:37pm EST... Felicia goes all-in.

10:38pm EST... Felicia goes all-in.

I had the chip lead. I could sit back and let other players pick each other off. Or be the one who picks them off. I made a quick decision and decided to make some moves and be the table bully. I raised almost 10 consecutive hands pre-flop. Normally I would not say what I had. But I have a feeling that some of you are going to think I was bullshitting you anyway. So here it goes:

1. (Button)... raised $2000, Otis re-raised all-in I folded.
2. Raised $2000. Steal blinds.
3. Raised $2000. Steal blinds. I reached over $20,000 in chips.
4. (UTG)... raised $2000. Steal blinds.
5. (BB)... everyone folded. I was going to raise.
6. (LB)... raised $2000 vs. Grubby in the big blind. He said, "Grrrrr," and folded.
7. (Button)... raised $2000. Chris called. I lost with low suited cards to his KQ. I still had $20K in chips.
8. I folded and Grubby's K-3 was knocked out by Chris's 9-9. Alas, 5 of us left.
9. (BB) Raised $2000. Everyone folded.
10. (LB) Raised $2000. Lost to A-9 with 8-2. Retarded call. Worst move I made up to that point. $19K left in chips.
11. (Button)... raised $2000. Chris called. His A-J beat my K-9. Lost 40% of my chips.

What did I have? The best hand I had was J-J. I did get 4 aces in that 11 hand span. I blew it with the 8-2. Never should have called.

Level 8: Blinds 2000/4000... Felicia, shortstacked, goes all-in from the blinds. I had a very good hand: A-Q to Felicia's J-5. I won with a flush and knocked her out. I'm 2nd in chips with $12,740.

Bat beat of the night: My K-9 vs. Q-9 (Otis). I started calling him, "D'oh-tis!" after that. He sucked out a Q on the river. I had dwindled my $20K chips to just $7112. I heard rumors that I was on tilt. Not really. Ugarte and Rick can attest to my loose-aggressive style of playing. I should have folded to re-raises in two previous pots. If I was playing live with everyone, I could have made a better decision after watching them bet. Alas, it was online and I had to move onto the next hand. Four of us left.

Worst laydown of the night: Why the fuck did I fold Q-J suited? Probably because I was on tilt after the bad beat. If you don't believe me, I'll email you the hand history. Stick and Move went all-in and I had a bad feeling he had overcards or a medium-pair. I won a hand earlier with Q-J and got scared that my luck was over. Normally, I would have re-raised all-in as well. But I didn't. Stick & Move had A-x and Otis' pocket 7-7 ended up winning. I was irked when a J fell on he flop, so if I stayed in, I would have won, knocked out two guys and had the chance to be heads-up with Chris Halverson. Alas, I was on tilt and made a poor decision. I think if I had more time and was able to see the other players (which is one of my strengths... reading other players) I would have made that call. But I was spooked by the previous bad beat and I punked out. That cost me the win. And I'll be thinking about that bad decision for a long time.

Two hands later, I got J-J and went all-in. Otis called with Q-Q. Yet another Queen fell on the flop and I was knocked out. Finished in 3rd place and won $112. I caught some great cards early, made moves in the middle levels when I had chips, and bullied the table when I had the biggest stack. I played a few too many hands during my raising binge and that cost me. And when I should have went all-in with Q-J, I didn't. Funny how one mistake can cost you a tournament!

Alas, congrats to Otis and Chris for a job well done. It was a pleasure playing with you. Also thanks again to Iggy for setting this up. He rules!!
The Money Winners:
1. $196 - Otis B Dart - Up for Poker
2. $140 - ChrisHal - Chris Halverson
3. $112 - PaulyMcGrupp - Tao of Poker
4. $84 - STICKandMOVE - Stick and Move
5. $28 - FeliciaLee - Felicia
Celebration Time

I called my brother and he was watching the last five minutes of WPT: Foxwoods. He was making fun of Phil Hellmuth. I called Jerry and gave him the good news, then called Haley.

"Yo H, I came in third place," I said with an excited voice.

"How much did you win?" she answered in a groggy tone.


"Awesome. You know you still owe me $50. Right?" she quickly responded.

I told her we were going out and to get ready. I got back downtown and we hit the bars just before 2am... stayed out until closing time before heading over to the Manhattan Diner for a late-night meal. I always get cheesecake after a solid winning session. It tasted sweet.

By the way the $112 is going to good use. I will use it towards a buy-in for a WSoP super satellite at Binion's when I go to Las Vegas in April. After I win a seat and make the final table at the WSoP, I get to talk to the ESPN camera crew, and I'll be sure to mention, "Where the fuck is Shana?"

Actually, my second comment will be, "It all started with a simple online poker bloggers tournament called The Iggy Poker Blog Classic..."

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

I Fuckin' Rule!

OK, not really. But I just came in 3rd place in the second event in the World Blogger Tour. The Iggy Poker Blog Classic was tonight and I finished in 3rd place out of 28 other poker bloggers. Whew! I won $112. Nice. I blew it though. I had the chip lead late and made some bad calls. My JJ lost to Otis' QQ. I was pissed but happy that I made it into the money.

Must go out to celebrate! I'll blog the details of my 3rd place finish tomorrow! Thanks to Iggy for setting this up. The bars close at 4am in NYC and you know what? I'll be drinkin' to the wee hours. Until then...
Iggy's Poker Bloggers Classic

Tonight is the night! 8 hours from now. I'm getting excited. This time, I did a lot less preperation than last time. Maybe I will play better. Alas, since the last tourney, my time on Party Poker has been limited. I had a family illness to attend to this past week and the week before I was bogged down working on a screenplay. Tonight, my plan is: KISS. The NY Yankees TV announcer Jim Kaat often quotes that... KISS = Keep It Simple Stupid. I shall follow his advice and not get too complex with my strategy and gameplan.

So far there are fifteen signed up with Ugarte and myself representing NYC. Rick Blaine said he's playing, so y'all got three of us New Yawkers to contend with. Rick is looking to revenge his early exit. Me? Well, I'm hoping to make it to the Final Table.

More to come. No odds this time. Sorry Chris! But I can say that with no Mean Gene this time, that Sean and The Fat Guy are strong favorites to make the Final Table again, but they have targets on their backs! Everyone's gunning to knock them out. So it'll be tougher for those dudes. It's safe to say that the usual heavy hitters like Iggy, HDouble, and Felicia will most likely make the Final Table. They have been playing very well recently. Look out for Rick Blaine and Liquid Swords who got bounced early last time. And especially Ugarte who's on a nice run and is bubbling with confidence. Alas... beware of hammer weilding Penguins!! I hope the Poker Penguin can play in this one. There are some newbies out there too (like Al Can't Hang) which can be dangerous. Honestly, anyone can win and that's why we play.

Felicia posted her Over/Unders for the tourney. Check them out.

The only bad thing about playing at my Mom's (I'm a Mac dude and Mom has the PC) is that I can't smoke the wacky tabbacky in her living room. Alas, I'll be sober as a Al Gore on St. Patrick's Day.

By the way... if you have AOL instant messenger, shoot me an IM before, during and after the tourney. My AOLIM = tenzinmcgrupp. I got to chat with HDouble last time for a little bit. OK , best of luck everyone.

I am bummed that I'll miss the new episode of WPT: Foxwoods! But thank God that The OC is not being aired tonight. Y'all almost got lucky. I can't miss The OC for anything!
Ugarte's Poker Grovel #17

Ugarte posted a great write-up of Ferrari's home game. Here's my favorite part:
Uncharacteristically, I played A2o and even called Pauly's preflop raise. In my defense, I thought that Pauly was only raising at me because I accused him of paying the homeless for sex. The flop was A-x-2 and I bet like crazy, as did Pauly. I had him pegged for AK or AQ and was thrilled to have caught him. We capped on the turn and the river and Pauly showed me a pair of bullets. A kevlar vest won't prevent the pain when someone fires bullets at you during the showdown. I was betting my ass off, but I was essentially drawing dead from the flop. Ouch. But bonus points to Pauly for pulling off the illusion that the preflop raise was "revenge." It probably doubled the size of the pot.
OK, I made a comment at the game how I always give homeless people on the subways money before I go play poker. It's a karma thing. I figured if I share the wealth with a street person, it will come back ten times at the tables. This theory does not work very well, but I feel better as a human being for helping out the homeless, even if my reasons are selfish in nature. And yes, Ugarte zinged me good! It was at the right time too when I got dealt pocket aces!!

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Ferrari Home Game: The Return of Ugarte

Another wild night at Ferrari's home game. Bad beats, huge swings, and monster bluffs dominated the night which featured Ugarte's return to the poker table. It was great to see him back-to-back nights and after last night's sweet win, I wondered if he'd have anything to grovel about today. Actually, I know he's going to write about the hand when he was betting into me and drawing dead when I held... pocket aces! With a loose vibe wafting through the air like grandma's freshly baked apple pie and with $700 on the table... it was anyone's to win.

The players:
Seat 1: Sam
Seat 2: Joel
Seat 3: Rick Blaine
Seat 4: Signor Ferrari
Seat 5: Ugarte
Seat 6: Om
Seat 7: Pauly
It started out sweet for Pauly. We played a round of hold'em and I dominated. I raised the pots with medium pairs and took down several pots after I hit big flops. When I chased... I caught. When I folded, it was the right move.

8:01pm EST... I'm was up $40 playing 2-4 hold'em in the first half hour. How is that possible? I bluffed a few times and I outflopped Ferrari on several instances. When he had great hands or hit his flops, I folded. When he had great starting hands, I seemed to out draw the guy. He looked frustrated. He played more hands than usual in order to try to crack my hands. I didn't blame him. If I was a baseball pitcher, I would have thrown a no-hitter... that's the best equivalent that I could come up with. I had amazing stuff. Every decision I made was perfect.

8:29pm EST... I was up over $70 and drew the evil eye from a frazzled Rick. He wanted to seriously kick my ass after I caught a card on the river in Omaha 8/b, to take down a sizeable pot. Rick held 2-3-4-5. And I had shit: 10-10-A-J... or something like that. The flop was: 2-5-K. And the turn: 5 and the river a: 10 to give me my set of 10s. Rick flopped the set and looked great for a low hand. On the turn he had a better set of 5s and an open ended straight draw. Yeah, I had no business being in that hand. Rick was fuming. If I wasn't such a nice guy, he probably would have tossed me out the window. Ferrari lives on the 19th floor. That would have hurt.

The Big Bluff

But the real story was my biggest bluff (possibly of all time) that put me up early. Joel called Five Card Stud Hi/Lo with a Replace. You can replace any of your cards after 5th street. An up card cost $1. A down card cost $2. Rick and Ferrari were battling for the high pot and I squared off with Om.

Pauly: x/7-8-10-A
Om: x/8-5-4-? (a high card I don't recall)

I was representing a better low than Om, especially after I paid to replace my 10 and I got a 5. Om replaced his high card and got a 7. Again, it appeared that I had the better low.

Pauly: x/7-8-5-A
Om: x/8-5-4-7

Rick folded to Ferrari. Alas, Ferrari had the position to bully the pot when the betting came to him. He was going to get half the pot for sure. Ferrari was first to act and he bet $5. Om called $5. I raised $5 more. Ferrari re-raised to $10. Om called $10 more and I re-raised $5! The betting was capped. Om wasn't going anywhere. The pot was well over $160. I had no business staying in and then I got lucky. Om folded. He sighed and said, "I believe you have a better low."

I let out a monster sigh of relief. I almost got an erection stacking up my chips because it was such an amazing bluff. There's nothing like the adrenaline rush that siezes your entire body after you bluffed at a huge pot in poker... and won. It felt like I snorted enough cocaine to kill three baby elephants. I felt like Kirk Gibson after he hit that walk-off homerun in the World Series, when he could barely walk. Man. That was one sweet move I put on Om.

My down card was an 8. I had a pair of 8s which is a horrible low hand.

Pauly: 8/7-8-5-A.

But it was good enough to win and I pulled of one the the biggest bluffs to date. Again, the only way for me to have won that pot was to bluff at it. Om could not believe his mis-read... but according to the information he saw, I represented the better hand. But for $5 more he could have won it all. That was a $88 pot for me. And I used up all my bluffing mojo for the night, probably for the rest of the month. Om thought about that hand all night. Next time, I know he's going to call me down so I better have the nuts.

9:33pm EST... Chip count: $242. I was up $142!! Ferrari called Anaconda, smirked and said, "Pauly's favorite game!" as he dealt out the cards. He was joking of course. I like Anaconda when I get good cards. Alas, we normally pass cards to our right, but this time it was going to the left. Om passed me the one card (of two cards) I needed for a straight flush. Nothing's better in Anaconda than having the Wheel nut-low or a straight flush because you know you are going to get paid off.

10:04pm EST... I foolishly tried to bluff at two Anaconda hands. I lost $100 and was only up $45. Ugarte had a better full boat but he was going to see it down to the last bet. I tired to bully Sam out of another pot, bluffing a straight flush, but everyone at the table knew I didn't have it. My rush was over. My fifteen minutes (actually 2.5 hours worth) of acting fame was done with. I felt like a washed up actor begrudgingly looking for work doing infomercials. After I lost a few hands in Omaha and Stud hi/lo, I lost the early chip lead.

10:30pm EST... Ugarte walked into a monster hand from yours truly. I was the little blind and got A-A. I brought it in for a raise. Ugarte called. The flop: As-5h-2h. I bet and Ugarte raised. Hmmm. He was not on the button, but next to it. He's a tight player and I didn't make him for 3-4. Would he be betting the flush draw?

I blurted out, "What do you got? Pocket rockets?"

Ugarte didn't flinch. What did he have? An ace probably with a medium kicker? Maybe two pair? I re-raised. He played back at me and we capped the betting. I forgot what the turn was. But on the river a 4 fell. I checked, he bet and I raised. Ugarte called my check raise because he feared that I had the 3 from the little blind. Alas, I flipped over my A-A and my set of aces beat his A-2. He was drawing deat and didn't even know it.

Check out Ugarte's Poker Grovel for a version of the hand. (Editor's note: At press time, he didn't blog anything, but I'm sure it will be up by the time you are reading this... but there will be a post up by Tuesday night)

12:31am EST... I was up $37. Not too shabby. Coach was a no-show and Joel and Sam bailed. Five of us stayed.
Seat 1: Rick
Seat 2: Ferrari
Seat 3: Ugarte
Seat 4: Om
Seat 5: Pauly
We played a round of 2-4 Stud. I had two unreal starting hands that got cracked. They weren't the best, but they were good enough that I saw cards all the way down to seventh street.

Pauly: 8-8/8. Yes. Thanks to Felicia, I knew I had rolled up 8s. I was betting $5 and Rick called and went head's up with me. By fifth street he looked like this: x-x/K-?-K. Did he have trips? He was betting like he had them but you never know with Rick. I was hoping to pair up one of my other cards to get a fullboat. Nothing happened and I lost to his set of Kings. He got some of the money back he lost earlier in the night to me.

The next hand... Pauly: 4-4/9-9. OK I had 4 outs to get my full house on fourth street. And I lost to Ferrari's higher two pair.

1:19am EST... I was down over $30. The stud game killed me. I called a round of hold'em and again I dominated. I caught flops, raised like a maniac pre-flop and won $40 in less then twenty minutes.

The hand of the night...
Pauly (BB) As-8s
Rick (UTG) K-K
Ferrari A-7o
Ugarte Q-Q
Ferrari folded to Rick's pre-flop re-raise. Ugarte raised it up, I called and Rick re-raised prompting Ferrari to bail out.

The flop: A-9-7

I had top pair but was worried about the kicker problem. I check-raised Rick & Ugarte. Rick bailed and Ugarte called. I bet out on the turn. On the river: 8. I caught my two pair. If Ferrari stayed in, I would have river'd him. Alas, Ugarte shows me his pocket ladies and Rick dug into the muck to show his K-K and Ferrari found his A-7. It could have been an interesting hand if Ferrari stayed in.

Final Tally:
Ugarte +102
Pauly +9
Sam -11
Rick -18.25
Ferrari -27.25
Joel -26
Om -28.50
Final Thoughts

I played loose and like shit at times, but played flawless at other times. I'm sure I've developed the table image at Ferrari's that I'm a maniac and I could have anything at any time. I won hands with A-A (I got them twice and only once did they pay off) and won hands with shit. I can handle huge swings over the night, but if I get a chip lead early, I play more hands than I should.

I avoided the pitfalls of wild card games. My Omaha game improved. I tightened up (thanks to a brief chat with Ugarte at Coach's game on Sunday and reading his blogs about Omaha games... I think he might be the premier Omaha blogger out there) and I didn't lose any money playing Omaha. I got my ass handed to me bluffing at two big pots in Anaconda. That cost me $100. Oh well. I'll take a $9 win anyway... I was pleased with my Texas hold'em play. Next time, I have to play tighter. With so much money going back and forth... I need to be more patient.

Ugarte was the big winner for the night (only two of us left up) and he seemed like he had a lot of fun. Last night was the third time we played together (the first time he played half a session) and I realized that Ugarte is one funny dude. All the guys at Rick's Cafe have a great sense of humor, so it makes the games slightly more enjoyable when everyone's having a good time. Next week is an off week for the game. Maybe I'll get Haley to host one. We'll see...