Monday, January 08, 2007


Jules is quite the personality. She has the moniker "Loud Down Under" for a reason. She loves to talk at an increased volume and I swear that both times I saw her walk around the poker room at the Crown Casino, she knew at least 83.5% of the players and staff. I'm not shitting you.

She introduced me to several local characters like Mickey the Hoon. The term "hoon" is slang for a wild driver or a hooligan or thug. Jules also pointed out a guy named Billy the Croc (he finished second in yesterday's Limit event). Those are just a handful of Aussie gamblers that she knows. When she introduced me to one friend I got my first, "Oh, you're Doc-tah Pauly!"

Just like Boston accents, Aussies drop the "R" sound. Around these parts, I'm "Doc-tah."

And his second comment was, "Is Change100 here?"

That was the second request for Change100 in two days. She's got quite the following in Australia.

On Sunday night, Jules invited me over to her house for dinner. She travels a lot for work and understands what it feels like to have to constantly live in hotels and be away from home. I've been on the road for over two plus years, so I welcomed the opportunity to get some authentic home cooking. She fired up the BBQ and we feasted on steaks with mash potatoes topped with a delicious mushroom and onion wine sauce. I was in heaven and Graham's dog was eying my scraps the entire meal.

After dinner, we headed back to the Crown Casino. I played $2/$3 NL at the same table as Jules and Graham. The wait list was massive, but since everyone knows Jules, she got us bumped to the top of the list. The buy in was $200 and there's a $5 time charge and the rake is up to $8 max. Yikes.

The best part about playing poker in Australia is that it's illegal to tip the dealers. If you toss a buck at them, they'll politely decline it and give it back to you. If anything, you save a few bucks over the long haul. The bad part is that drinks are not free. Only for high rollers. So you have to pay for beers. Jules knocked back several glasses of champagne and attempted to tilt the table with her incessant chatter.

There were a couple of decent players and a slew of terrible ones. On a board with four overcards and a flush showing, a kid called with just a pair of sixes. He said it was a "tilt call" but suspected a bluff from the guy who re-raised him 3x his original bet on the river. Unreal.

I lost most of my stack early on when I defended my big blind with J-10s to a $15 preflop raise. I flopped and open-ended straight draw and check-raised the original raiser. He smooth called. He only had a few chips left and I put him all in on the turn after I picked up a flush redraw. He flipped over A-A. Yikes. I missed my draws and was crippled.

I saw a lot of flops but was totally card dead and not able to make too many moves. I eventually rebought and then lost more of my stack when I missed a flush draw and gutshot against the other chick at the table. She had turned two pair and I was back to being a shortstack.

Graham went on a rush despite the fact he had been bogged down in a brutal losing streak the last few months. Jules won a big hand when she doubled up with a set of Queens.

Around 1am, I was super tired and knew I'd have to get up at 5am to watch the Jets playoff game. I pushed all in for the rest of my chips with 9-9. Guy who just sat down at the table woke up to Q-Q and I got felted. The good thing about dropping two buy-ins is that after the conversion rate, the loss wasn't that bad. Of course I hit the craps table on the way out to try to get unstuck. No such luck.

I woke up for the Jets and they looked decent in the first half then blew it in the second half. Oh well. They never should have made it that far. I watched all four playoff games. The sports book had them going on and I could watch them on the TV in my room. The playoff games on NBC were fed through ESPN and the games on Fox were on one of the two Fox Sports stations. One of the Fox stations was broadcasting cricket and for the life of me, I can't figure that game out.

I've been chatting with plenty of locals and getting fantastic stories about the poker scene in Australia along with some hilarious tales involving punters. That's slang for gamblers. Australia is a sporting nation with a rich history of gambling engrained in their culture. Originally it was horse racing and the Melbourne Cup is national holiday. Yes, people get off for a friggin' horse race.

During a wave of immigration in the 1950s, plenty of Greek and Italians came over and they started playing a game called Manila or Two Card Manila. It was Australia's version of Hold'em and The Poker Shrink has a great explanation of Manila on his blog. Eventually casinos and sportsbetting were legalized. But along the way, just like in America, a criminal element lurked behind the scenes in the early days of gambling's infancy.

The best story I heard all day involved a sports bettor who paid off a jockey to lose a race. For whatever reason the jockey didn't lose on purpose and ended up winning. The punter lost a ton of cash on the race and was obviously super pissed with the jockey. He eventually tracked down the jockey, roughed him up a little, then hung him upside out the door of a helicopter as it circled around Sydney Harbor. The jockey quickly understood the ramifications of not throwing the race. On his very next race... the jockey promptly lost.

I shall return tomorrow with more Australian gambling lore. For now, check out the latest piece I wrote about Day 2 of the Aussie Millions. Keep checking back for live updates via Poker News.

Also, take a peek at this cool video (shot and edited by Justin Shronk) which includes some of the new Hand in Depth next generation technology that Poker News introduced this week.

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