Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Ghosts of Key West Gambling

By Pauly
Key West, FL

Change100's chip sculpture

The gambling ghosts over the past week appeared in three different forms during the Key West trip:
1. Online poker
2. Live poker
3. Degenerate prop bets
I squeezed in six straight days of online poker during the start of my trip. I played a little at my friend Jerry's house in Miami and then played several hours per day at the AlCantHang Compound (ACHC) in Key West. It had been five or six months since I could find unfettered chunks of time to play online poker without any distractions. A couple of years ago used to play 8 hours a day online... on a slow day. Now, I'm lucky if I can get in a couple hours per week.

I eventually slipped into ultra-laid back Key West mode. I've been traveling so much over the last few years that I can quickly adapt to the vibe of where I am. It usually takes me 24 hours to adjust. The routine in Key West during the first few days was usually the same. Here's the 16 Steps to Island Insanity:
1. Wake up courtesy of a screaming rooster.
2. Fight hangover and curse off all liquor products.
3. Ingest 2 Motrins, 1 Vicodin, and various herbal supplements.
4. Drink six glasses of water.
5. ATM to withdraw money for breakfast and the "Key West Save the Stripper Foundation."
6. Find something to eat that won't make me to puke.
7. Write for two or three hours.
8. Wandering over to the ACHC.
9. Consume alcohol and other bongolicious activities.
10. Play online poker on the deck until it's too hot or starts raining.
11. Go inside the house and watch the WSOP in HD on ESPN while playing online poker.
12. Dinner.
13. Bars on Duval Street.
14. Strip clubs; The Classy Joint followed by The Dive.
15. Pass out.
16. Repeat.
By mid-afternoon in Key West, I found myself bogged down in three to four hour sessions of LHE multi-tabling at 10/20 and 15/30 on PokerStars and 8/16 on Full Tilt. I took a shot at the 30/60 tables and broke even. I also played a ton of 1/2 PLO and some 2/4 PLO over at PokerStars. Here's a look at my four-day slide at the ACHC:
9.24: -312
9.25: -323
9.26: -335
9.27: -100
I won a bit playing PLO and that covered a few hits at the LHE tables. I consistently lost about $300+ over the first three days in Key West but those results are insignificant due to the stakes I played. All of that damage happened by three morbid beats; A-A and K-K and Big Slick were cracked by inferior hands via river suckouts. Bad beats in Paradise. That's life.

I forgot how boring grinding it out at the limit tables could be. Playing ABC poker is profitable but not fun. That's why the additional PLO table kept my inner action junkie entertained.

After blowing over $420 on the first night in Key West, I fired up PokerStars and Full Tilt in order to fund the rest of the adventure. Sadly, I couldn't win enough money to cover my strip club loses. The entire week, I kept looking for ways to get unstuck. That's when AlCantHang busted out the poker chips.

* * * * *

Starting Monday, we played a six-handed NL game that lasted until Thursday. The players included myself, AlCantHang, Brian, Landow, BigMike, and Lewey. I had been looking to exact revenge on Lewey. The first time I ever met him (along with AlCantHang and the rest of the crew) was during a poker game in Bucks County, PA. Lewey maliciously cracked my Kings with a junk hand and that sent me on mega-Lewey tilt. If you don't know, Lewey is a terror at the tables. They named a hand after him... the 6-4o. That crew plays The Lewey like it's A-A or the Hammer.

The game started out low stakes at 25c/50c blinds with a $40 buy-in. After the first orbit or two, I soon realized that this would be a "shove then rebuy" game. By the end of the first day, I was stuck a couple of buy-ins. I missed a couple of draws. I was outdrawn a couple of times and then picked up a cooler.

I had just rebought for the third time. I looked at my cards and found K-K. I opened up for a raise then AlCantHang on my immediate left popped me for a re-raise. I re-raised all in and he quickly called.

"Oh shit," I said. "That was quick. I hope you have Kings or the Hilton Sisters."

"Nope," AlCantHang said as he tabled his pocket Aces.

I didn't even bother seeing the flop and got up to buy more chips. That pot pushed AlCantHang into the chiplead. He never looked back.

On Wednesday, I finally made a comeback and won back all of my previous buy-ins. I doubled through BigMike and then I picked up two big pots from Lewey.

On the first hand against Lewey, I held 7d-5d and flopped bottom two pair on a Queen high board. We got it all in on the flop. Lewey called with Q-10. My two pair held up and I doubled through Lewey.

An hour or so later, I felted Lewey. I found Ks-9s in the big blind. AlCantHang limped from under the gun and Lewey raised. Five more callers for a family pot. The flop was K-J-3. I checked as did everyone else. The turn was a 5. I checked again. Lewey fired out a pot-sized bet. Everyone folded to me and I check raised him about 5x the pot. Lewey quickly shoved.

"Oh no," I said. "I hope you don't have 5-3 suited. Or worse, how about J-5? That's what I get for trying to trap you."

I called and flipped over Ks-9s. Lewey shook his head as he showed J-10. My hand held up and I found myself ahead for the first time all week.

When some other friends eventually arrived into by the weekend, the short-handed game was called. We settled up. AlCantHang was the big winner followed by Brian and myself.

* * * * *

I played in two more cash games. including a brief session on Friday after a visit to the Hemingway House and Museum, and then a group of us played a marathon session on Saturday where a game lasted from about 3pm to 1am.

I don't recall too much from the Friday game except that I sat in between BG and Sweet Sweet Pablo. I only remember one hand... where I busted my brother and my girlfriend at the same time.

Change100 opened up for a raise and Derek called. I found 8c-6c in the big blind and called. The flop was 7-5-4 rainbow. I looked up and said, "Someone is getting felted on this hand."

Everyone laughed and I checked. Change100 threw out a continuation bet. Derek called and I called. The turn was the Qh. I bet about 1/2 the pot. Change100 raised and Derek moved all in. I quickly called and Change100 went into the tank. She didn't have too many chips behind and couldn't put any of us on a hand. She reluctantly called. Derek flipped over A-A and Change100 showed K-Q. I tabled 8c-6c. I flopped the joint and it held up. Derek and Change100 had to rebuy as got unstuck for the session. The game broke about an hour later.

On Saturday, we all stumbled over to the ACHC for a massive cash game. Gracie and Pablo brought over their chip set and the game lasted for almost 10 hours with the a short break for food. BG cooked up some fish that a few of the gang caught on Thursday.

The players changed every few hours and included AlCantHang, Gracie, Sweet Sweet Pablo, Drizz, Derek, The Rooster, F Train, Change100, Maudie, Mary, Iggy, JoeSpeaker, Grubby, Donkey Puncher, and myself. The swings were crazy for a 25c/50c blinds game. It was a pushfest and some of the most fun I had playing poker in a very long time.

I play poker for different reasons. I play to make money. I play because I'm an action junkie and need the fix. I also play because of the social attributes which accompany a poker table. It had been a very long time since I spent time with my friends, especially at a poker table.

I rarely see my brother and my friends with a hectic work schedule and constantly being on the road. The people I met through poker four years ago have become close friends over the years. They have been extremely supportive of my endeavors and that makes me miss them more. Whatever free time I have is devoted to my career and personal writing projects. I have to squeeze family and a long-distance relationship in there as well. My free time has shriveled up and my friends get the short-end of the stick.

I never have a chance to play in blogger tournaments, so I don't see them online. They pop up in Las Vegas during the WSOP, but that is the worst time to socialize and hang out since I'm stressed out making deadlines and working sick hours every day and night. The WPBT gatherings twice a year have become too large. Some of my closest friends have skipped the last couple of them and even if they do make an appearance, I don't get to spend quality time with everyone.

Even though we ventured to the southernmost point in the continental US for AlCantHang's 40th birthday, I took it as an opportunity to spend time with everyone I missed over the past year. I busted my ass and cultivated a writing career and get flown all over the globe, but the biggest sacrifice I had to make was to spend less time with friends. That's why I soaked up every second of the Key West trip. I don't know when I'll get to be around these folks next.

The Saturday poker game was a definite highlight. Chips were flying around the table. Everyone was partying and having a blast. People were getting busted on every other hand and everyone was quick to rebuy. The game was crazy and I got felted by my brother a few times who ended up issuing a few bad beats to everyone.

Around 11pm or so. Derek tilted Sweet Sweet Pablo big time. Everyone straddled except Derek who was on the button. He looked at his hand and moved all in. Everyone folded to Pablo and he went into the tank for six minutes before he called with A-J. Derek flipped over 8-3o. The flop was A-7-3. The turn was another 3. The river was a blank and Derek doubled up against Pablo. Sweet Sweet Pablo had morphed into Tilt Tilt Pablo.

Two hands later, I became Derek's next victim. I sat out for about an hour when I ran down the street to the ATM and then the corner store. When I returned, I played with Change100's stack (she had about 11 bucks left) and I got $12 more chips from Iggy, Gracie, and Derek for buying them smokes at the store. I started with a tiny stack of 23 and ran that up to 350 in a short time. Then I ran into Derek's Bad Beat Machine.

Mary raised in EP. Derek called. I found Kc-Qc from the button and raised. Mary and Derek called. The flop was K-x-x. Mary checked. Derek bet the pot and I raised 4x his bet. Mary folded and Derek moved all in. I quickly called. Derek showed K-9.

"You know what's coming," said Grubby.

I shook my head. I knew what was coming too. I was the button and had to deal my own fate. I burned and then quickly turned the turn card. The fuckin' 9s. The river didn't help me and Derek doubled up with two pair.


At least I didn't have to rebuy. There were three other hands of note. One involved Maudie. Another was with Gracie. And the last one was with Derek and Mary (again).

During the first hour of play, Maudie raised and I re-raised in LP and Maudie called. The flop was all rags. She bet, I raised all in and she went into the tank. I took a picture of my hand.

Garcie and Mary at the far end of the table were whispering about my potential bluff. I said that I would show them the picture first as soon as Maudie made a decision. Maudie thought and thought. She had no idea what I held. I was playing lots of junk hands. When she eventually called, I passed my camera down to her and the rest of the table. They saw this:

"Aw shit!" said Maudie.

She had 10-10 and my Aces held up. I busted Maudie and she dug into her pockets for a rebuy.

This hand happened late into the session shortly after I left to reload at the ATM and pick up ciggies for everyone. Derek raised preflop. I re-raised. Mary, Garcie, and Pablo called. The flop was 7 high with all rags. Gracie bet almost 50 and I raised to 125 and was all in. Everyone else got out of the way. Gracie tanked for five minutes. I took another photo of my hand. She eventually called and I tossed my camera down to the other side of the table.

Gracie held 10-10 and I doubled through her. That's how I built up my stack.

The last hand I'm going to write about was one of the most interesting hands of the session. It involved a massive laydown. It was a three-handed pot with Mary, Derek, and myself.

Derek had been raising a lot of pots. He opened up from UTG with a raise. I re-raised him with Jd-5c. Mary re-raised both of us from the cut off. We both called. The flop was 10d-5h-3d. Derek bet about 1/2 the pot. I called and Mary raised. We both called. The turn was the 4d. Derek bet the pot. Mary let out a sigh. I knew she didn't like that card. I had second pair with a flush draw. I counted out my chips and then said, "Ahh, I just call."

Derek glanced over at me as did Mary. They both gave me that look like, "You just caught your flush. Boooo!"

Mary went into the tank as she agonized over the call. She said something about possibly folding the best hand. She's a tight player so I put her on a big pair. She eventually folded. Derek dealt the river card. It was a blank and didn't fill in my flush. Derek bet about 1/3 of the pot.

"Shit," I said. "I guess you have the flush."

I called and tabled Jd-5c. Derek flipped over the Ad and then showed the 7s. The tourist was no good for him. He missed his flush draw and I won the pot with a pair of fives. I'm glad that the flush didn't come on the river or I would have been in trouble.

Mary dug her cards out of the muck and showed K-K. Yeah, I got her to fold the best hand. She put one of us on two pair and the other on the flush. Despite the hit, she ended up among the big winners along with Sweet Sweet Pablo.

Me? I won a few bucks overall. But the fun factor was priceless.

* * * * *

Once my friends arrived on Thursday, the prop betting began. It peaked out on Friday night and started with the turtle races. Yes, they have turtle races in Key West. The gang showed up at the bar on the pier. We proceeded to get shitfaced and then wagered on the turtles.

The bartenders passed out tickets numbered one through five. It was only a five turtle race. Since we all got similar numbers we had to break off and play an SNG turtle race format. $20 per person. Winner scoops $100. I had StB, Derek, Change100, and Gracie in my pool. Change100's turtle won and she couldn't have been happier. It got her unstuck from the poker game. My turtle came in next to last place. Bastard. If he doesn't improve his performance, he'll become turtle soup for tourists.

After the turtle races, the action shifted locales. Below the Classy Joint, there's a sports bar. In the back of the sports bar, there are pool tables, videos games, and a "boxer" machine. The boys liked to bet on who could hit it the hardest. F Train and I stood on the sidelines as Drizz, Donkey Puncher, and Roberto Colunga were going apeshit.

(Editor's Note: Roberto Colunga is the artist formerly known as Bobby Bracelet. He's part of the crew that needs a new online identity. I came up with a new moniker for the guy and now he's named after a famous Mexican soap opera actor. FYI, I shall be making references to another friend of mine as Benny Hiroshima in a future post. I will no longer be referring to either gentlemen by their former names.)

Anyway, F Train and I wanted to get in on the action without dislocating our shoulders. The boxer game measures a punch by a point system. We decided to bet on the outcome of the last digit while the rest of the gang punched. F Train picked evens. I had odds. It was a coinflip. We love betting coinflips, especially at $20 a pop.

The boys went back and forth for almost an hour. I started out slow and found myself down 60 right away. I eventually broke even, then I went on a rush. I was up 160 for a while. We went back and forth and F Train cut the lead in half to 80. I won a couple of more punches. He was stuck -100 and that's when he asked to stop the prop betting. And guess what? The next four punches all ended in even numbers. He would have eventually got unstuck if he played another ten minutes.

I played pool with Maudie who is a shark. She tried the old routine, "Oh, I haven't played in a while." Then she wiped me out. I couldn't catch a break and missed a few crucial shots down the stretch. Maudie won and took over the table. It would be a while before someone beat her. Fear Maudie. If you ever see her with a pool stick in her hand... run the other way.

Grubby showed up and we quickly got in some action. We're always betting on something. We invented betting on wheel spins at The Excalibur in December of 2004, which had become a big hit among our friends. In the past, my former Las Vegas roommate and I have bet on weekend grosses of Hollyweird films (I won his car once betting on weekend grosses), the astrological signs of our waitresses, and even bet on the sex of the next person who walked through a doorway. Our degenerate prop betting continued in Key West when I told him about the odds and evens boxer game.

"Ooooooh! $20 on odds and evens? I'm in," he said. "It's just enough action to keep it interesting."

I offered him to pick any side and told him about F Train's issues with evens. Grubby didn't care and went with evens anyway. It got ugly for him. I was up a quick $100 before things settled down. An hour later, I emerged $40 richer.

We migrated over to the video games. There is a hunting game with shotguns where you shoot different things like deer, moose, and antelopes. Two play simultaneous and Grubby and I went to work. We bet on who could kill the most animals. Grubby lived in major cities most of his life. He's an urban guy like myself. We never shoot things like hunting rifles so I felt the game would be evenly matched.

I ended up the winner in the hunting game. Grubby kept shooting innocent animals, while I racked up points in the bonus round when we went duck hunting. Drizz took Grubby's spot and I got my ass handed to me.

"I'm a redneck from Minnesota," joked Drizz. "Of course I'm good at this."

Drizz admitted that he's been hunting before. I wish he told me before we started betting. Hustled at video games.

The latest big bet involved Grubby and myself. If you walked around Key West, you spotted the signs for mayoral candidates. They were everywhere. On picket fences. Inside the windows of stores. On random utility poles. I went with Jimmy Weekly and Grubby picked Morgan McPherson. We have $100 riding on the election. I joked that I was going to donate $99 to Weekly and pimp him on my blog so I can push him over the top... just to win $1 against Grubby.

And yes, vote for Jimmy Weekly for mayor.

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

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Existentialist Conversations with Strippers, Vol. III: Identity

By Pauly
Key West, FL

Editor's Note: This originally appeared on Tao of Pauly under the title AlCantHang and I Walk into a Bar...

Key West. It had the vibe of a Caribbean island without the color. The streets were flooded with sunburnt white people clutching souvenir bags and digital cameras. The AlCantHang Compound (ACHC) was off the beaten path, down a secret alley off a side street, definitely away from tourist central.

A few hours after the Sunday arrival, the guys hung out in the pool while I sat in the shade with AlCantHang and Big Mike. We drank and swapped Amsterdam tales. Most of the crew eventually wanted dinner. AlCantHang's primary objective was booze. They went for food while we walked over to Irish Kevin's, a bar on Duval Street which was an AlCantHang favorite.

From the view outside on the street, Irish Kevin's was located in the first floor of a two story structure, but from the inside, only one humongous space existed. We wandered inside the narrow bar, maybe three tables or four tables wide, with high ceilings. It was one of the longest bars I had ever seen running almost the entire length of the property which was at least thirty or forty yards.

A guy in a blue t-shirt and cargo shorts stood on stage with am acoustic guitar. He played popular cover songs like Jack and Diane and Sweet Home Alabama in a wacky manner. He interacted with the audience and encouraged them to sing-a-long and participate in his random goofiness like busting on people from New Jersey, changing the words to the songs, and guilt-tripping pedestrians to come inside and get shitfaced with everyone else.

It was exactly 8:08pm when I entered an Irish Bar in Key West with AlCantHang. Whenever you walk into a bar with AlCantHang, you're immediately assuming full responsibility for your actions. You always know what you are getting yourself into. There's no false pretense. You will drink and drink and drink and drink as life unfolds around you. You surrender to the flow of the liquor.

One of our friends described AlCantHang as a walking party. And when the party plops down at an Irish bar, you're knee deep in the depths of a serious mind-altering drinking binge. The best you can hope for is that your liver manages to escape with minimal damage and that the hangover the next day won't be devastating where you're clutching the porcelain god at sunrise with the worst case of the dry-heaves that you've had since the earliest days of the Clinton administration.

I knew the three basic tenants of the AlCantHang party-like-a-rock-star rules.
1. Pace yourself.
2. Drink lots of water.
3. And eat as much as possible.
I followed two but not the third. I drank on an almost empty stomach and by the sixth or seven beer, I got hit with a sledgehammer. We were seated at the end of the bar next to a kid, who barely looked old enough to drink. He was with his pretty girlfriend and they sipped some sort of rum and coke drink.

The musician onstage asked who was in the military. The kid raised his hand and said he was in the Army. AlCantHang quickly bought him a shot. That's when he discovered that the kid and his girlfriend lived in the town next to AlCantHang's. Small world.

Enter the Germans. Originally we thought they were Irish since they knew all the words to Irish Rover. As soon as the song ended, they screamed out,"Johnny Cash!"

The Krauts were fans of the man in black and over the next hour, that's all they screamed. In due time, AlCantHang bought them shots. The one German kid almost hurled when he downed a shot of Jim Beam black label. He told us that he'd been in America for two weeks and saw a bunch of cities, but none more fun than Key West.

AlCantHang pulled a $20 out of his wad and rushed up to the stage. He tipped the musician $20 to play Johnny Cash. Ten minutes later, he busted into Folsom Prison Blues.

"Since I got tipped $20 to play Johnny Cash from AlCantHang," the guy on stage said. "I'm going to play two songs."

The Germans went nuts. The entire bar sang along. Inside of a couple of hours, AlCantHang became the King of the Bar. Even the owner was buying him shots. If you've done any drinking under the AlCantHang Experience, you fully comprehend his magical powers.

The rest of the crew eventually joined us for a round or three in the back of the bar while a second musician took the stage. He was a black guy from New York City. He has some sick chops and was twenty-times the musician as the goofy guy, but he lacked the charisma of the first guy.

That's when AlCantHang said, "Time for some tits. And ass!"

Like Moses parting the Red Sea, AlCantHang darted through the crowd as the drunks in Irish Kevin's made a path for him to the front door. We walked fifteen meters and we reached the establishment that I will call, "The Classy Joint."

Editor's Note: I have been informed by my legal counsel to omit the actual name of the gentleman's clubs and change the names of the strippers in order to protect the innocent. Like they are giving me their real names anyway? I also refer to the first strip club as "The Classy Joint" because there will be a second establishment mentioned in this post that is made the first place look like the Rhino in Las Vegas.

The Classy Joint is located at the top of a slippery wooden staircase. Thousands of horny men and other wayward and desperate souls made the same climb. The cover charge was $5 but I got in for free since Lewey flashed his VIP card, which gave him and a guest free admission. I realized that the entire crew had a VIP card with the exception of me.

Big Mike scouted out a spot. The space was fairly large with a stage in the middle of the room with two stripper poles on opposite sides. Twenty or so chairs were around the stage while a long bar nestled against the back wall. There was a hallway off to the side which led to the Champagne Lounge. Next to that was a room with group of red velvet couches where the adult entertainers performed their infamous exotic lap dances under the sultry hues of red, purple, and pink neon.

We set up camp near the stage. One or two of us would take turns sitting at the stage and tipping the girls $1 bills. Except the AlCantHang crew were serious ballers. They were tipping a minimum of $5 or $6 and up to $20.

That's their game plan. It was the first night in town and they made it known that they were in Key West for a week. What at first seemed like they (well I guess it's the collective 'we') we recklessly splashed money around, it was all done on purpose to establish the fact that we were not cheap tourists looking to see some ass for next to nothing. As Big Mike explained, we were conditioning the natives. That way the next time we ventured inside, we got quick and attentive service. (And that would happen when we returned less than 19 hours later and you'll read about that in another post.)

Overtipping became the norm and within minutes our crew got all of the attention in The Classy Joint, even though it was crowded for a Sunday night. Everyone became secondary to the AlCantHang Experience. Big Mike took care of our waitress with a nice pre-tip. She was an attractive Cuban woman and didn't look as skanky as the girls on stage. That made her the most sophisticated lady in the club.

"How come you don't dance," asked Big Mike.

"I'm a mommy. Mommies don't dance. Would you like to see your mommy dance?" she said.

"Are you kidding me? The fuckin' whore? I'd love to see her actually get off her ass to make a dime," Big Mike honestly said.

The majority of the girls were average looking strippers. They would be working a second-tier club in Las Vegas or stripping during the day at one of the bigger clubs. But in Key West, they were the cream of the crop. And even though they were some of the better looking pieces of ass in town, they still had the wild reputation that Key West strippers have. The word "dirty" comes to mind.

Most strip clubs in Las Vegas implement a strict hands-off the dancer policy. The majority of the girls at the Rhino or Crazy Horse Too don't shower you with special attention unless you shower them with $100 bills. It's all business for the Las Vegas girls and if you want any sort of extra attention or groping, you have to fork over big bucks for an adventure in the VIP room. Of course, that's the biggest scam in Las Vegas next to the 99 cent shrimp cocktail.

At the Key West establishments, all you have to do is pay $20 for a naughty session which includes (and not limited too) crotch grabbing and getting your face used as a punching bag as the ladies slap their poorly designed fake-breasts into your face.

Sure, we all had fun. But our primary goal was to make sure AlCantHang had fun. And he did. Of course, we lost Lewey for sometime. He went into the back and didn't come out for a while. And when he finally reappeared he had a wry smirk on his face.

I befriended a stripper from the Czech Republic. She stood about five-foot ten with dark hair and natural breasts. She reminded me of Phoebe Cates and had a tattoo of a scorpion on her ankle. What looked like four cigarette burns peppered the inside of her thighs.

By the second lap dance, we had been discussing lesser known Milan Kundera books like Identity as she stood upside down on her hands and rubbed her shaved crotch on my chest.

"Your country was invaded my the Soviets," I rambled on during the fourth lap dance. "They set up a puppet government that eventually crumbled after the Berlin Wall came tumbling down. Your formerly behind the Iron Curtain nation-state was broken up into two republics and instead of staying behind in your new land of freedom, you fled to Key West where you strip for a bunch of old farts who are in town for a few hours when their cruise ship docked. Or you're grinding away for horny servicemen on leave taking every cent of their slave wages that our government pays them?"

"I like the warm weather," she cooed. "And I'm trying to earn enough money to bring my mother here."

Of course, she was trying to sell the old routine, "I'm only let potential serial killers and politicians pull my hair and fondle my breasts for $20 a pop so I can bring my mother to America."

She was a hustler, a decent one at that. The vixen almost had me convinced. But I've been around the block a few times and been to enough strip clubs that I could write a book about it. The American bimbos use law school or business school as their faux cover. The foreign ones like to bring up their mothers and highlight the hardships in their motherland. This one was down here to hook a big whale. Perhaps a lonely and well off retired businessman with a yacht and a multiple million dollar homes.

"Everyone loves their mothers," I said. "Don't you love money?"

"Of course," she said as she continued to dance to a random hip hop sing with fellatio lyrics.

"But do you love money more than your mother?"

She paused and said, "I love them equally both."

"But your mother is still washing dirty underwear for tourists in Prague, right? Because if you really loved her, she'd be in paradise with you, washing dirty underwear for tourists in Key West."

She didn't blink and tried to get me off the topic. She grabbed my junk for four long seconds and twisted my nipples until I begged her to stop.

I don't recall how long we spent at The Classy Joint. I was shitfaced drunk when I left the Irish bar and drank steadily at the strip club. We finally left and walked down the street. We made a turn down a dark alley next to a couple of abandoned buildings. A faint pink light could be seen and that was the strip club on the other side of the tracks.

The Dive was a step down on the stripper food chain. A couple of rungs. It reminded me of those horrible and sad clubs in shitbag towns and third-rate cities where career strippers end up when they hit 40 or on their last breaths before they croak from a speedball OD in the tiny bathroom of a no-tell motel freaking out the chubby married business man from the Midwest who hired the strung out vixen to suck his toes for $20 a toe.

"This is the place where Key West strippers come to die," said Landow in a straight face as we walked inside.

There was no cover charge. For obvious reasons. The place looked the basement of my fraternity house, except with a stripper pole. There was one dilapidated stage off to the left and a tiny bar to the right. Several old guys sat at the bar. Two of them had girls sitting on their laps. One was atrocious looking as her double-D sized books spilled out of her top. The better looking one seemed out of place until she smiled and I realized that she was missing three teeth. I didn't want to touch anything because I was afraid of contracting an STD.

As soon as we walked in, the best looking dancer in the club wandered up. She looked gorgrous at first glance, but underneath the lights, the wrinkles gave her away. Twenty years ago she was the hottest stripper in town. The Dive is like her retirement home.

"Aren't you AlCantHang?" she asked.

AlCantHang told her that he was and she mentioned that one of the girls they knew was due to dance on stage next. Years ago, the crew befriended a stripper. I guess we'll call her N. When N saw AlCantHang and his crew, she bubbled over with excitement.

For the next hour or so, they all caught up over a couple of beers as I watched the various dancers take turns running to the bathroom to rip a few lines before it was their turn to dance.

The Dive was sketchy because they cut off all songs at the 2 minute and 10 second mark. I counted. So if you got a lap dance, you got cheated. The standard lap dance at traditional clubs is about three minutes or so. I refused to go into the back room with those ladies. At some point you have to draw the line somewhere. For me, it was The Dive.

I don't recall leaving the second strip club. I vaguely recall trying to find a slice of pizza. Then I blacked out. I woke up in my bed at the hotel. A fuckin' rooster woke me up. There are all these free range chickens and roosters wandering around Key West. One in particular caused me to awake from a dead sleep.

My head was ringing. I had a category three hangover on the verge of dehydration. I managed to avoid puking and chugged the rest of the water I had as I quickly popped two Motrin and one generic Vicodin. I looked at my digital camera. It was a scene out of Momento where I had to piece my life back together using a couple of random images, mostly from the Irish bar. The strip clubs had a no photography policy, so there were no shots of that debauchery.

I grabbed the wad of cash out of my pocket. It looked healthy until I unfurled it and began counting. Wait, were did all the hundreds go? And all those twenties were replaced by singles. I did some quick math and figured out between the Irish bar and the two strip clubs, I had blown about $420.

I sat down at the table near the window overlooking Duval Street. Despite the hangover, I fired up the pipe and the laptop and began writing about the previous 48 hours. That's when the tour trolley stopped in front of the hotel. I looked out of the window and a guy on a microphone pointed to the hotel. He muttered something about this being, "a historical landmark almost as old as Key West itself."

One woman snapped a quick photo. I wonder if the tour guide stopped his trolley at The Classy Joint or The Dive and said the same thing?

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

Monday, September 24, 2007

Lizard Tails

By Pauly
Key West, FL

"Don't bury your thoughts, put your vision to reality." - Bob Marley
Rusty. I was a little rusty. I had not played a substantial amount of poker since I fled Las Vegas after the WSOP. I had not played a single live session since then. I'm fortunate that I didn't lose any money over the rest of the summer. Usually I experience a downswing at the online tables after the WSOP.

This year, it was different. Overall, I steadily won. I hit and run during a dozen or so online sessions in August. I had one amazing day and one atrocious day. I took a few shots at 30/60 limit again and broke even.

I never had a session last more than an hour until I arrived in Amsterdam. I played a decent amount in the apartment since both of my roommates were playing a ton of online poker. Oh, by the way, congrats to old roomie, Johnny Mushrooms. He made the final table and took third in one of the WCOOPs at PokerStars.

Anyway, I played a couple of hours a day in Amsterdam. It felt good to grind it out at the limit tables and fire up a PLO table or two to have some fun. I discovered the proper balance of playing poker for enjoyment and playing for money. The tedious and boring grind of ABC poker at the limit tables were offset by the fast-paced action at the PLO tables. More often than not, my winnings at the limit tables covered the big swings at the PLO tables.

I had the opportunity to play everyday since I got back from Europe. Like most things in life, you have to constantly work and practice at your particular craft if you expect to improve over the long run. It doesn't matter if it's poker, writing, or relationships. You constantly have to work at those aspects.

My schedule for the remainder of 2007 is still hectic, but I'm going to make an effort to play more poker between now and Christmas. I have only one more big tournament reporting assignment (the PokerNews Cup in Melbourne in October) and I'm looking forward to concentrating on writing, my side projects, and playing poker.

Here are some random online poker and miscellaneous incidents that occurred over the last few days.

* * * * *

20 Sept @ 4:14pm, New York...

My broker called to wish me a happy birthday while I was playing 1/2 PLO on PokerStars. My big stack had taken a hit when my straight flush draw missed against a guy who flopped two pair and another who turned a straight. Then the phone rang. A Colorado number. It was one of the rollover lines from my broker's office in Boulder. I guess he finally got bored of hacey-sacking with spun out hippie chicks and put down the three-foot bong to extend birthday greetings to me.

He had been ducking my phone calls over the last three weeks. Our investments were losing money and I wanted to give him shit over that. He knew that's why I had called and purposely avoided me. My overall investing goals were for the long hall, but sometimes it just feels better to be an asshole on a power trip. Besides, he has the easy life in Colorado and I'd like to think he actually gets work done in between ski trips and his yoga classes.

I guess that I'd rather have a hippie broker than an immoral and unscrupulous eel of a suit. I had only gotten birthday wishes from my mother, brother, and girlfriend. In that regard, it was a nice gesture, but it was the cheapest trick in the old playbook. We used to call that faux-sentiment. I did it all the time during my stints in the trenches on Wall Street. Pretend that you actually care about your client, when you are just buttering them up before you extract their life saving and convince them to buy some dog shit stock that your analysts are telling you to force-feed down your clients' throats. Then you call them up three weeks later with another hot lead. Churn and burn. That's how I used to make my money before I became a chip counting doofus.

I pretend to like the players at my table whenever I'm playing live. I'm lying. I'm acting. I'm pseudo-laughing at their poorly delivered jokes. I appear fascinated by their banal stories. I seem sympathetic to their personal problems.

"Yeah, my dog had worms too once. We had to put him down. I was eight, and that was the first time I shot a gun."

In reality, I'm trying to make them like me. They might fold on the river instead of calling me down. They might fold to my raises. They might let me steal pots.

Sometimes it's hard not to be the table captain and go off at the atrocious plays you see people make. Then I recall that old saying.

Don't tap the glass.

Was that a Bob Dylan lyric or an old Buddhist saying?

In short, the bigger the fish at the tables, the nicer I am to them. I want them staying in the game. I shower them with more encouragement inside of an orbit than their parents have given them in their entire lifetime. I want them to piss away the profits that they picked up from the other bitter souls at the table.

Nothing is more satisfying then tilting someone already on tilt. For example, at Red Rock Casino before the WSOP began, I got seated at an interesting table. One guy in Seat 3 got his Kings viscously cracked in an ugly pot from an uberfish with donkeylike tendencies that played J-6 and ended up rivering trips. That guy flew into a rage and unleashed a Hellmuthian tirade. I snickered underneath my breath and felt sorry for the guy for about fifteen seconds. Then I came to my senses and made both the fish and the tilty guy as my marks.

Some players have such low self-esteem that they can't let the hand go. Identify them and attack. Instead, of shaking off that hand and getting ready for the next one, the angry guy lost focus and instead of playing his game... he just wanted to get his money back from the fish. He started playing differently and deviated away from his style. The result was that he lost more chips to the fish trying to enact a personal vendetta.

That's when I swooped in and blindsided the tilty guy. I won a few pots from said fish with junk hands. The guy grew more angry because I got paid with his money as he slid deeper into tilt. When I woke up with a hand and he decided that I was bluffing and he promptly paid me off which forced him to dig into his pocket for another humiliating rebuy. Most pros don't think twice about rebuying. It's part of the game. But for angry, tilty people with self-esteem issues, they are playing into your hands. Say hello to the ATM sitting in Seat 3 and don't leave until he leaves.

* * * * *

23 Sept @ 5:12am, Miami, FL...

I sat at the dinning room table in my friend Jerry's house. He and his family were still alseep as I logged onto PokerStars to play PLO. Jerry's cats scurried around looking for attention. I spotted a tiny lizard and pointed it out to the cat. With one swift move, the cat pounced and tore the lizard's tail off. The lizard limped off and ran towards the wall. The chase ensued with the cat trapping the lizard in the corner.

I looked down at my feet and say a tiny piece of tail flopping around. It was trippy. I went to pick it up when another cat came over and swallowed it whole. Cats eating lizard tails. Just another Sunday morning in Miami.

1/2 PLO. I got dealt Ad-Qs-Qc-10d on the button. I called a raise from middle position. Five players in the pot. The flop was Kd-8d-4s. The big blind bet out about half the size of the pot. The original raiser, put out a pot-sized raise. I called with a nut flush draw as did one other player. Three players left. The turn was the Qh. The big blind checked. The original raiser bet the pot. I potted with a set of Queens and the nut flush draw. The big blind called and was all in. The other player called. The river was the 4c. It was checked to me. I bet about 1/3 of the pot with a full house and he called. Big blind showed a busted Jack-high diamond flush draw. The original raiser had Aces up with a baby flush draw. I took down the biggest PLO pot since my return to the States.

I looked down and the cat finished last bit of the lizard. Figure out your own metaphor.

* * * * *

23 Sept @ 8:08pm, Key West, FL...

I joined AlCantHang for a week long of various alcohol-soaked liver-eroding activities down in Key West. At 8:08pm on a Sunday evening, I walked into an Irish bar with AlCantHang. Eight hours later, I had visited two strip clubs and was stuck $420. You can read about some of the misadventures over at Tao of Pauly and stay tuned for another installment of Existentialist Conversations with Strippers, Vol. III.

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

Friday, September 21, 2007

Transatlantic Bad Beat Story, Friday Pimp, and Fantasy Sports Live

By Pauly
New York City

Here's some quick pimping or I'll forget:
First, you have Jean-Robert Bellande, a poker player on Survivor China.

What's next? Sheiky to appear on 'To Catch a Predator'?

Thanks to Wayne at Cactus Jack Poker for mentioning the Tao of Poker on Texas Hold'em Radio.

Check out Flipchip's Las Vegas photo gallery. Some great stuff in there on various subjects including poker and Las Vegas.
* * * * *

The effects resemble a hangover. That's the best way to describe what working a ten-day tournament does to the mind, body, and soul. Earlier in the week, I had been suffering from post-WSOPE malaise. The last thing I wanted to do was talk, write, or play poker for a few days. I had pre-written a post-WSOPE post in my head, but I let most of those thoughts evaporate into the hallways of my mind. Alas, the meat and the heart of the post is a distant memory. Either I'm too lazy to write up a new one or I'm simply uninspired. I'm no longer in London and my scattered mind is trying to focus on other things. Maybe if I find sometime, I'll organize my thoughts on the WSOPE in a long-winded rambling post. For now, I'm glad to be back.

The last 48 hours in London were bittersweet. Rarely do I look beyond the moment (or the day at hand). I wanted to soak up the last days in London since I didn't know when I'd be there again. However, I couldn't wait to return home. Well, I really don't have a home. Alas, I wanted to get back to America, or at least NYC, which one of my favorite writers Spalding Gray once described as that tiny, yet eclectic island off the coast of mainland America.

I had a few hundred British pounds leftover and cashed them into US dollars before my flights home. It felt good to handle US currency again, even though a fistful is worth about the same as a sheet of toilet paper in Europe.

Change100 and I both had connecting flights in Amsterdam from London-Heathrow. In Amsterdam, my connecting flight headed to JFK, while Change100 took a different one to LAX. They both left about one hour after our arrival time in Amsterdam. Our flight from London was late about ten minutes. I caught the first wave of luck. My gate was just 20 meters away. Change100 wasn't so lucky... her gate was located in the next terminal. She had to sprint to get the only direct KLM flight to Hollyweird. Alas, she made it with plenty of time to spare, while mine was delayed. Bad beat number one.

I had some Euros left in my wallet and bought a water while I stood in a long security line. At Amsterdam airport, they often screen your carry-on stuff a second time at the gate. Once I passed through security, I noticed about 80 or so Ethiopian refugees. They were mostly old women in tradition clothing and small children in matching running suits. They all carried some sort of bag from a humanitarian entity. I assumed they were en route to America... the land of opportunity, Starbucks, and 3,218 cable TV stations.

I had 17H, an aisle seat, something I prefer on long flights. I rarely sleep on planes and want to have the freedom to walk around and stretch my legs or get my laptop out of my carry-on bag if/when the creative juices strike and I want to write 35,000 feet up in the air.

A beautiful teen aged Dutch girl with cowboy boots and a jean skirt sat in the seat next to mine. She said hello as I settled in and read my book by Michel Houellebecq. Five minutes later, a grumpy old guy in a wrinkled blue pinstripe suit told her that she was in the wrong seat. She was supposed to be sitting two rows behind us in 19J and the old man kicked her out. That was the second bad beat of the flight.

The old guy smelled horrible and that enraged me. The young Dutch girl smelled like a field of flowers. The old guy smelled like three-day old fish as the scent of death lingered around his collar.

Enter the Ethiopians. My flight just got worse. They took over the entire middle section across from me. At that point, the entire plane smelled like goat shit combined with a sweaty jockstrap. I'm pretty sure that the main culprit was the old man next to me.

I jotted down something in my notepad... Did he soak his socks in cat urine before he boarded the flight?

I was not going to sit through seven or eight hours of that madness. The Ethiopians were a plighted people. They got a pass in my book, but I was concerned that I might catch the Ebola or the bird flu from the runny noses of the little ones. Plus, the old guy was atrocious. I plotted my escape away from the peasants and into the high life with the uber-rich business travelers, whose companies were pissing away profits on a better meal and spacious chairs, devoid of the unwashed masses in the economy section.

My drug supplies were low. I only had two generic vicodins left and had to ration. I popped a half and asked the KLM flight attendant in the powder blue uniforms if they could upgrade me to business class. I was ready to spend $3,000 to escape the malodorous old man and the foul scent of animal urine and feces that lingered around the back half of the plane.

"We're all booked sir," the KLM rep told me. "We have ice cream today though."

Great. My sanity for a cup of freezer-burned ice cream. Thank the Lord that KLM served free booze on their flights. As soon as drink service started, I busted into the Heinekens and popped the other half of the generic vicodin. My potential flight rage was averted courtesy of pain killers and luke warm beer.

The Ethiopians must have been tired and freezing since they slept the entire flight with blankets over their entire emaciated bodies while I watched three movies. The old guy next to me could not figure out how to work the entertainment system. He'd tap me on the shoulder every ten minutes to tell me that he shut it off by accident or that he didn't like what he was watching. I couldn't catch a break.

Then they served the meal. Fish or pasta. I prayed that the old man didn't get the fish. "Please don't get the fish!" I screamed inside my head. "For the love of God, avoid the fish!"

He got the fish. The series of bad beats continued. Ten minutes later, he rushed for the toilet. The food service wasn't over yet, so I had to hold the trays as he fled to the bathroom trying not to spray the Ethiopians with his fecal seepage. He made a dozen more trips over the next three hours. At least he stopped pestering me about the movie system.

I watched Pirates of the Caribbean 3, Ocean's 13, and The Factory. Ocean's 13 was much better than their second installment. It actually made me miss Vegas a bit and I thought about Grubby trying to rig slot machines.

When the flight crew passed out immigration cards, the old smelly guy asked me to help him write his out. He handed me his passport. He was from Iran. I filled out the stuff and when I asked him questions about what he was carrying, he didn't understand and I left it blank. I started freaking out because I left my finger prints on an Iranian passport. I feared that the federalies would think that I was lending support to the evil doers and toss me into Gitmo.

When the plane arrived in JFK, I sprinted out of the plane faster than I had ever run in my life. The line at immigration was short and I waited twenty minutes for my luggage. My bag was the 32nd piece off the belt. Yeah, I counted. I had set the line at 37.5. That's how bored I was. At least my bags were there.

* * * * *

I haven't been able to jump head first into football since I was away when the first two weeks began. I'm excited to be back in America so I can follow all the hype and track my picks, bets, and fantasy football matchups.

I've always had a weakness for donuts, blondes, and any sort of gambling action. I stopped eating donuts over a year ago and have been donut-free since I left the apartment I shared with Grubby in Henderson. Of course, I've been dating a blonde for the last year and a half. Yet, I can't seem to shake the action bug.

I'm fortunate that I'm not hooked on slots, blackjack, poker, or craps. I have obvious lingering issues with Pai Gow. It's a semi-abusive relationship and I have no reasons or explanations on why I slide into the depths of depravity and embark on foolish ventures like betting $200 a hand on a $5 table at the Imperial Palace at 4am on a Monday.

Sports betting is my biggest weakness. I encountered tremendous five figure swings during March Madness at Red Rock's sports book. And then I found myself betting two dimes on NBA playoff games at the Bellagio and Caesars Palace in late May during the WPT Championships. It could have been ugly. I was stuck so bad (let's just say, you could buy a KIA) and somehow, I managed to break even. I made a promise that I would not bet on any sports over the summer and wait until the NFL season started after Labor Day.

I was jonesin' all summer, yet stayed clean. I did not bet on any sports. Sure, I was an admitted degenerate when it came to lime tossing with Otis, but I avoided betting on baseball and the WNBA. When the football season started, I finally got my fix. I'm not betting as much as I have in the past. Just enough to quell the insatiable fire inside my belly and to keep my inner action junkie satisfied... and not too much where I could do serious damage. Of course, I quickly found myself stuck in London at the sports betting parlors that are on every block. I only got unstuck courtesy of the big bet I put on Annette_15 to win the WSOPE main event (she got 6-1 at the final table).

The other thing getting me through the weekends, is Fantasy Sports Live. I not only own a piece and pimp it, but I also play on it. I have been participating in the Blogger Fantasy Football Battle (BFFB).

It's perfect if you don't have too much time to devote to a fantasy football team. You can play on any Sunday that you are free.

Welcome to the SNGs of the fantasy sports world thanks to Fantasy Sports

The first annual Blogger Fantasy Football Battle (BFFB) sponsored by will bring together poker bloggers from around North America to compete in MTT style Fantasy Football contests that will run each week of the football season. $500 minimum will be added to the prize pool by FSL.

Every Sunday, FSL will run 10-player $10 fee contests with BFFB in the title. Each contest will pay out $90 to the top three finishers that week. The results of all bloggers will be pooled together each week to determine the weekly BFFB results. Points will be awarded to the top 50% of finishers each week based on the PokerStars TLB formula. Points will be accumulated throughout the season to determine the overall champion. Added prizes by FSL are listed below. Also, any weekly overall winners will be invited to a Tournament of Champions at the end of the season.
Prize Pool Breakdown:
1st Place Overall $100
2nd Place Overall $50
3rd Place Overall $25

1st Highest Individual Weekly Fantasy Score $100
2nd Highest Individual Weekly Fantasy Score $50
3rd Highest Individual Weekly Fantasy Score $25

Tournament of Champions:
$150 minimum added to prize pool
Results will be posted weekly at, and more info can be found here.

You can chose to compete weekly for your best chance at the season title, or just enter as many as you can. Even with a single weekly entry you are eligible for the highest score prize or with a win an entry in the tournament of champions. What we are doing with the BFFB has never been done before, and would not be possible without the daily contest format that we use. This format allows us to apples to apples compare 100s of fantasy football entries, which is impossible with standard fantasy offerings. Please help us make the BFFB a success, and spread the word about FSL.

Hope to see you there. If you do not have a FSL account, join today using my bonus code... pauly.

Bonus Code: Pauly

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

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

WSOPE London Pic Dump

By Pauly

Here are a couple of pictures that I took over the last week or so...

The G playing at the final table of the PLO event at the WSOPE

Gus Hansen at the featured TV table

Tournament chips

Across the felt at the final table

Heads up...

What £1 million looks like...

Happy Snoopy -- drinking heavily within minutes after our ten day assignment was over

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

Monday, September 17, 2007

Annette_15 Wins WSOPE Main Event & Becomes Youngest Bracelet Winner

By Pauly
London, UK

Annette_15 is three days shy of her 19th birthday. She's been playing poker for almost four years. And guess what? Not only did she win the WSOPE main event, she also became the youngest bracelet winner in the history of the WSOP.

I got goosebumps when she won, because she burst into tears when Jack Effel announced that she was the winner of the main event. It was a genuine moment. She's such a sick poker player, you almost forget that she's just a teenager. When I was a few days shy of my 19th birthday, I was dropping liquid sunshine and following The Grateful Dead.

Annette_15 won the equivalent of $2 million US for her epic victory in the WSOPE main event. She busted Annie Duke and Jen Harman en route to her first place finish.

The little Norwegian chick got me unstuck for the weekend. I took a pounding betting on the NFL. I took Annette_15 at 6-1 odds. Ship it!

Here's a video that Tiffany Michelle conducted moments after Annette_15 won:

Stay tuned for more details about the final table.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

WSOPE Day 10 - Main Event Day 4: Gus Hansen Bubbles Off Final Table

By Pauly

362 players bought into the first ever WSOPE £10,000 main event championship. After one grueling week of poker, spread out over three different casinos, we have our final table of nine fortunate souls, one of which will take home a first place prize of £1,000,000. In US dollars, that's a cool $2 million. Of course, the prize pool fell short of that mark, but added prize money to the pool so first place could win £1 million.

The payouts were top heavy and not much different between 11th and 36th place. That meant action on Day 4 was fast paced. There were 10 bustouts in the first two hours of play.
WSOP Main Event Final Table (with seating assignments and chip counts):
Seat 1: Johannes Korsar (Uppsala, Sweden) - 1,134,000
Seat 2: Oyvind Riisem (Bergen, Norway) - 664,000
Seat 3: John Tabatabai (London, UK) - 982,000
Seat 4: Annette "Annette_15" Obrestad (Sandnes, Norway) - 697,000
Seat 5: Dominic Kay (London, UK) - 490,000
Seat 6: Matthew McCullough (Cherry Hill, NJ, USA) - 1,278,000
Seat 7: Theo Jorgensen (Copenhagen, Denmark) - 605,000
Seat 8: Magnus Persson (Gothenburg, Sweden) - 1,231,000
Seat 9: James Keys (Bury St. Edmunds, UK) - 172,000

Final Table Payouts:
1 - £1,000,000
2 - £570,150
3 - £381,910
4 - £257,020
5 - £191,860
6 - £152,040
7 - £114,030
8 - £85,070
9 - £61,540
Gus Hansen bubbled off the final table in 10th palce on a cooler. He went out with the Hilton Sisters versus Matt McCullough's pocket Kings. That hand propelled McCullough into the chiplead. He's the only American at the final table. When I asked him if her preferred to or by Matt or Matthew, he said, "Matt. Unless I win, then it will be Sir Matt!"

All eyes are on Annette_15. I predicted that she'd win in yesterday's post. She took over the chiplead at one point, then got crippled when she three-bet all in with 3-3, only to lose to the Hilton Sisters. She looks like she's in high school (because she is). She speaks nearly perfect English and has been chatting it up with Change100 all week.

Here's the bio that I wrote about her for Poker News:
Annette "Annette_15" Obrestad
Hometown: Sandnes, Norway
Chip Count: 697,000

If you play online poker tournaments, you have probably come across Annette_15. She's been taking the poker world by storm over the last few months. Her real name is Annette Obrestad. The 19-year old student is from a coastal town in southwest Norway that was once considered the herring capital of the world. These days, it's the home town of one of the best online poker players in the world.

Some people consider her to be the best female No-Limit Hold'em player in the world. Some consider her the best NL tournament player under 21-years old in the world. And others consider her one of the best online NL tournament player... period. It's hard to argue with her outstanding record.

Her appearance at the final table marks her coming out party. For the first time, the poker world can catch a glimpse of the prodigy. She's often in the top spot on Pocket Five's leaderboard and has won their Triple Crown. Most people don't know about her yet, because she's not old enough to play in US-based tournaments.

Annette_15 has been crushing the competition online over the last year. In the first two weeks of May of this year, she's earned over $68,000! That's substantially more money than most adults make in a single year. She final tabled the $2,500 buy-in World Championship of Online Poker main event on PokerStars last year. Last month, she took down the $500K on Full Tilt, where she put on a clinic at the final table.

There's a rumor floating around that she started playing online poker at the ripe age of 15, hence the screen name Annette_15. She got her first exposure to poker from her father who taught her how to play five-card stud and seven-card stud as a young girl. She eventually signed up for an online poker account and as the legend goes, her mother refused to let her fund an account with a credit card so Annette_15 ended up winning $9 in a freeroll and has not looked back since.

At the tables, Annete_15 is fearless. She's tough to read and is willing to play any two cards. She's an aggressive player and will re-raise you with absolutely nothing if she senses the slightest weakness. She's a shark at the tables and often destroys veteran NL players, which is mind blowing because most girls her age are more interested in going to the mall or spending endless hours on the phone instead of multi-tabling several tournaments.

Annette_15 busted Annie Duke at the featured TV table on Day 4. She also busted Jen Harman. At one point Annette_15 held the chiplead. She comes into the final table 5th in chips. She is trying to become the youngest WSOP bracelet winner of all time.

* * * * *

Join on Sunday at 2pm London time (9am NYC time or 6am for all you Left Coasters) for all the final table action. We will be providing live hand-for-hand updates, chip counts, color commentary (from yours truly), photos, videos, and our state of the art Final Table Live hands simulator.

Come back at the Tao of Poker for a wrap up post and final thoughts.

For all you fantasy sports junkies, check out our new site... Fantasy Sports Live.

Bonus Code: Pauly

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

Saturday, September 15, 2007

WSOPE Day 9 - Main Event Day 3: Bursting the British Bubble

By Pauly

Tilt. For a $300 US dollar a night hotel (minus taxes), I have to sit in the hallway to use the wifi. It has not worked inside my room in over a week. I ignore the bizarre glances from the Polish maids that wander the hallways with stacks of pristine white towels in their arms. One clueless security guard quizzed me about what I was doing sitting down with a laptop while wearing boxers and a Meadowlands Racing t-shirt at 8am. I told him, "Hey Chachi, why don't you do something useful like fix my wifi problems. Otherwise, bugger off."

I'm on internet tilt and cranky after an exhausting Day 3. 84 players started and the money bubble was at 36. Jack Effel wanted to get down to 27, but for some strange reason... that would not happen. We were stuck on 32 players for what seemed like an endless eternity. He stopped the action and told everyone to come back on Saturday. Booooo. On Saturday, we have to get from 32 to 9. I hope that happens before 4am.

Anyway, I was assigned the featured TV table once again. This time it was rigged. Well, not really, but that's what the pros were joking about. Erick Lindgren got the easiet draw at the Empire Casino. Only one player (out of the other eight players) had actually cashed in a live tournament. That was the opposite end of the spectrum compared to the TV table...
Seat 1: Patrick Antonius - 283,200
Seat 2: Erik Joergensen - 22,100
Seat 3: Magnus Persson - 165,600
Seat 4: Matthew Carter - 58,400
Seat 5: Daniel Negreanu - 31,700
Seat 6: Will Durkee - 92,600
Seat 7: Sam Norman - 29,600
Seat 8: Gus Hansen - 349,400
Seat 9: Sergey Feklisov - 115,500
As Gus Hansen joked, "Get me off this fuckin' table."

Will Durkee won a bracelet at the 2007 WSOP. Gus Hansen and Patrik Antonius were the top two in chips when the day began. It was an interesting table for sure and during the first couple of hours... there was plenty of action, especially when the new chipleader Janne Lamsa was moved there and he recklessly splashed chips.

Both Antonius and Hansen doubled up Daniel Negreanu. Everyone's favorite Canuck cracked Aces... twice. With sooted connectors too, while Hansen and Antonius had sets of Aces as well. Negreanu flushed out Hansen and then he rivered The Wheel on Antonius.

At one point before the dinner break, Hoyt Corkins was moved to the TV table. It attracted plenty of pro railbirds such as Phil Hellmuth, Kirk Morrison, Todd Brunson, Lee Nelson, and Jeff Madsen.

Anyway, 32 players out of 84 runners survived Day 3. Here's some info...
End of Day 3 Chip Counts:
Aleksander Vathne 470,500
Theo Jorgensen 457,000
Dominic Kay 430,500
Gus Hansen 405,000
Oyvind Riisem 401,500
Jakob Paulsen 383,500
Johannes Korsar 370,000
John Tabatabai 335,000
Annette "Annette_15" Obrestad 311,400
Karl Mahrenholz 297,000
Annie Duke 286,500
William Durkee 264,500
Magnus Persson 260,000
Steven van Zadelhoff 259,500
James Keys 247,500
Patrik Antonius 200,000
Tino Lechich 184,500
Abishek Khaitan 178,500
Andreas Bergren 175,000
Pat Scanlon 170,000
Henrik Waltersson 159,500
Matthew McCullough 150,000
Terry Cook 147,000
Marco Traniello 101,500
Nicolas Levi 98,000
Janne Lamsa 95,000
Julius Colman 78,000
Marcello Marigliano 65,000
Kenny Tran 64,500
Erick Lindgren 54,500
Patrick Jouven 39,500
Shaun Needham 39,000

Day 4 Starting Seating:
Table 1:
Steven van Zadelhoff - 259,500
Annie Duke - 286,500
Julius Colman - 78,000
Theo Jørgensen - 457,000
Oyvind Riisem - 401,500
Terry Cook - 147,000
Erick Lindgren - 54,500
Patrick Jouven - 39,500

Table 2:
Dominic Kay - 430,500
Marco Traniello - 101,500
Will Durkee - 264,500
James Keys - 247,500
Kenny Tran - 64,500
Nicolas Levi - 98,000
John Tabatabai - 335,000
Marcello Marigliano - 65,000

Table 3:
Tino Lechich - 184,500
Karl Mahrenholz - 297,000
Henrik Waltersson - 159,500
Aleksander Vathne - 470,500
Shaun Needham - 39,000
Jakob Paulsen - 383,500
Abishek Khaitan - 178,500
"Annette_15" Obrestad - 311,400

Table 4:
Patrik Antonius - 174,000
Janne Lamsa - 120,000
Magnus Persson - 238,500
Pat Scanlon - 200,000
Andreas Bergren - 215,000
Matthew McCullough - 182,500
Gus Hansen - 398,000
Johannes Korsar - 346,000
There are some pretty big names left as you can tell. Day 4 starts at 2pm local time on Saturday and will not stop until we're down to nine players. Check out for all the live updates.

* * * * *

Bouncin Round the Room...

DaveShoelace and I had a couple of prop bets going. We had last longers involving female players, good looking Scandis, and former WSOP champions.
Annie Duke (DS) vs. Annette_15 (Pauly)
Gus Hansen (DS) vs. Patrik Antonius (Pauly)
Johnny Chan (DS) vs. Jamie Gold (Pauly)
The Chan/Gold bet was the only one that we have a result. Chan busted out while Gold made the money. I bumped into Jamie Gold and told him about the bet. "You made a great pick," he said. "I don't have a lot of chips left, but I won't let you down."

DaveShoelace also gave me the featured TV table vs. the rest of the field for a bet on the eventual champion. At the time, it looked like a lock for me. But now, I'm starting to think that Annette_15 is going to win it all.

There's no outlets near the TV table, so I have to use my laptop on battery power and sit off to the side on a folding chair. I have to go behind the bar (the TV set is located in what is the casino's disco) to juice up my laptop. No less than a dozen people asked me for drinks. In a piece of random Tao of Poker trivia, one of the last jobs I had before I started writing about poker... was a bartender in NYC.

Oh, then there was Jamie Gold's Kebab. He apparently order a snack and then busted out before he could eat it. Snoopy had been eying it for almost an hour before he finally swooped in to have a bite. It was so newsworthy that we dedicated an entire post to it on PokerNews.

Ah before I forget, thanks to the folks at 441 (ESPN's poker production crew) for checking out coverage of the WSOPE at the Tao of Poker. Those guys and gals are the best in the business. They have great senses of humor so the next installment of Pissing Pros is dedicated to Matt and the gang.
Last 5 Pros I Pissed Next To....
1. Hoyt Corkins
2. Johnny Lodden
3. Magnus Persson
4. Daniel Negreanu
5. Jeff Madsen
* * * * *

Come back at the Tao of Poker for daily recaps and head over at PokerNews for live coverage and updates including chip counts, photos, and videos.

My buddies Johnny Walker and Friedman are blogging for the Borgata. Check out their coverage of The Borgata Poker Open!

For all you fantasy sports junkies, check out our new site... Fantasy Sports Live.

Bonus Code: Pauly

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

Friday, September 14, 2007

WSOPE Day 8 - Main Event Day 2b: The Biggest Game in Town

By Pauly

I had hit the wall about a wall about one week into covering the WSOPE. That marked the fifth week on the arduous European adventure (Amsterdam, Stockholm, Barcelona, and London) and I was exhausted and mentally drained. Being in London made me homesick for New York City, more than I had ever been on the road over the last three years following the carnival-like atmosphere of tournament poker. I'm the type of person who lives in the moment, and rarely gets caught up with dwelling on the past or anticipating the future. However, when I woke up on Thursday, the last thing on my mind was being here. All I could think about was the day that I get to fly home to NYC.

When I walked past the Ladbrokes betting parlor on my way to the Empire Casino, my thoughts drifted to sitting on my brother's couch and watching NFL games. When I wandered past the tube station, I longed to be on a downtown #1 train. And when I shuffled into the casino past the bulky Eastern European security guard wearing a black suit, I had become comfortably numb and transformed into chipcounting zombie, right out of Shaun of the Dead.

The first few hours on Day 2b were a struggle for me. I was assigned the featured TV table, something completely different that previous assignments. That held my attention most of the time, but I kept eying the tournament clock. I couldn't wait for Day 2b to end.

That's when I ran out of juice on my laptop and had to return to the makeshift media row. Michael Craig wandered over and asked me if I could take dinner break earlier and join him and some other friends. I looked at the clock. I still had ninety minutes to go and had to decline.

"Too bad," Craig said in his distinct Midwestern accent. "Would you still like to meet Al Alvarez?"

I jumped out of my stool and gave him a look like, "Fuck yeah!"

We fought our way past the crowded rail and walked into the bar. I immediately recognized Tony Holden, author of Big Deal and Bigger Deal. That's when a group of people parted and I caught a glimpse of Al Alvarez, author of the most influential piece of poker, Las Vegas, and gambling literature, The Biggest Game in Town.

Michael Craig said something to the effect, "This is Pauly, one of the premiere poker writers in America."

I shook Alvarez's hand and was certainly pleased to introduce myself.

He said in a whispered tone, "I have heard about you."

Alvarez celebrated his 78th birthday last month and lumbered around with a cane. I was told later that his hearing is not the best these days so he probably said, "I can't hear you." Regardless, I stood in awe and began to sweat. Aside from the first week of the 2005 WSOP, I have not been geeked out about meeting anyone in poker. That initial bombardment of excitement had escaped me years ago. Yet, for the first time in very long time, I stood in the presence of three great writers of my genre... Alvarez, Holden, and Craig.

Their group shuffled off to the Asian restaurant and Tony Holden stayed behind for about five minutes to shoot the breeze with me. Mad Harper initially introduced me to Holden at the 2005 WSOP. We had a brief encounter but finally had a proper chat. Holden sipped a glass of wine with his dinner jacket slung around his shoulder, while I asked him a dozen questions. He was happy to answer each of them, despite the fact his friends were already seated at dinner. I wanted to know how long it took to write both of his books, which occurred twenty years apart. I asked him about the pressure of having to write something that was being anticipated by a flock of hungry vultures. It's not too often you get to chat with a high caliber writer such as Tony Holden, and I soaked up every minute. That's when I wished I had blown off work to join them for dinner instead.

Before we ended our conversation, Holden invited me to play poker with the writers on the Bigger Deal blog. I told him I couldn't wait. Then I excused myself to get back to covering the featured TV table with Daniel Negreanu. That's when he paid me the ultimate compliment. "I love your writing. Don't change a thing."

As I walked away, I did the Kirk Gibson trademarked fist pump, just like he did as he rounded the bases in the 1988 World Series after hitting a pinch-hit game winning homerun against Dennis Eckersley. That's the best way to describe how I felt. I started the day completely homesick and on work tilt. All of that vanished after bumping into Michael Craig.

As I walked over to the final table to get a chip count on Negreanu, I couldn't believe that I didn't have the balls to ask Alvarez if he ever gave Sylvia Plath a good rodgering.

Moving on...

The featured TV table started out with Howard Lederer, Lee Nelson, Daniel Negreanu, and WSOPE PLO bracelet winner Dario Alioto. 19-year old Adam Junglen was moved to the table, to which Negreanu quickly starting joking around.

"No. We don't want him. He has too many chips. Those crazy internet kids!"

The introduction of Junglen to the table inspired some interesting table chatter. Lederer and Negreanu started the old, "When I was your age..." bit. When Lederer was the same age as Junglen, he dropped out of Columbia to follow the Grateful Dead. That's what I was doing when I was Junglen's age.

Here's what I wrote over at Poker News...
Table Talk: "When I was your age..."

With the addition of 19-year old Adam Junglen to the featured table, the veteran pros are feeling very nostalgic.

Daniel Negreanu: "Do you know how Ted Forrest used to live? True story. When he was grinding out 1-5 Stud in Las Vegas, he was so poor that he'd steal ketchup packets from McDonald's and eat it on white bread. You kids have it easy! Staying in nice hotels, being able to play poker online at any time. You kids have the good life."

Howard Lederer: "In my thirties, the biggest game in Las Vegas was 400/800 Limit Hold'em. It would run about three times a week."

Negreanu: "These days, there are 16-year olds playing three 400/800 tables at once! As Doyle said, back when he played in Texas, you were worried about getting cheated. Or getting robbed. Or getting shot. Or arrested by the police. Now you don't have to leave your house to play poker."
Junglen went to work early and busted Alioto. Eventually, their table was broken up and new blood was brought in for the cameras. Basically, Lee Nelson and Negreanu were moved to Johnny Chan's table... which they brought up to the featured table. Also at that table were Jon "Pearljammer" Turner and Hendon Mob's Joe Beevers.

I sat off to the side away from the rail next to the camera guy. I helped the SkySports producer get chipcounts and occasionally got to go inside the production room. I was away from the rest of the tournament and totally high after the conversation with Holden and meeting Alvarez.

Anyway, 44 players survived Day 2b. There are 84 players who advanced to Day 3. Here's some info...
Top 5 End of Day 2b Chipcounts:
Patrik Antonius - 283,200
Aleksander Vathne - 231,200
Theo Jorgensen - 174,100
Magnus Persson - 165,600
Dominic Kay - 163,700

Day 3 Starting Chipcounts:
Gus Hansen 349,400
Patrik Antonius 283,200
Janne Lamsa 253,800
Pat Scanlan 240,000
Aleksander Vathne 231,200
Annette Obrestad 214,400
Annie Duke 191,700
Theo Jorgensen 174,100
Magnus Persson 165,600
Dominic Kay 163,700
Marigliano Marcello 151,200
Johannes Korsav 148,400
Karl Mahrenholz 144,600
Huseyin Yimaz 143,500
Jacob Paulsen 129,200
Jan Sorensen 118,500
Johnny Chan 118,300
Terry Cook 117,700
Oyvind Riisem 116,500
Firlisov Sergey 115,500
Jamie Gold 115,000
Paul Ephremsen 113,700
Nicolas Levi 109,700
Erick Lindgren 108,800
Patrick Jouven 108,200
Dave Colclough 105,800
Farzad Bonyadi 102,300
Lechich Tino 101,500
Aloishek Khaitan 98,400
Kenny Tran 94,000
Will Durkee 92,600
Andreas Berggren 91,000
Joe Le 85,100
Tony G 76,600
Matt Larsh 76,000
Stephen van Zadelhoff 72,800
Mats Gravatin 72,000
Tom Dwan 70,600
Ian Frazer 70,500
Shaun Needham 70,000
Henrik Waltersson 69,500
Azzy Ashgar 69,200
Csaba Kureheszki 69,000
Hoyt Corkins 61,200
Philip Hilm 60,200
Matthew Carter 58,400
Martin Johnson 58,200
John Ridge 57,000
Julius Colman 55,500
Jeff Buffenbarger 50,900
Robert Stain 50,700
Matthew Gilbert 50,600
Lee Nelson 49,000
Jimmy "Gobboboy" Fricke 48,100
Sergey Rybachenko 48,000
Matthew McCullough 47,800
Marco Traniello 45,700
Joe Beevers 45,400
Jon Turner 44,800
Krzysztef Gluszko 44,200
Bob Willis 43,700
Jennifer Harman 42,200
Victoria Cohen 39,500
Daniel Zink 39,400
Matt Kay 38,200
Peter Murphy 37,500
Martin Vallo 36,800
Neal Pearson 32,800
Daniel Negreanu 31,700
Jeffrey Lisandro 31,100
Sam Norman 29,600
James Keys 26,500
Rehme Pedersen 26,000
Ryan Fronda 25,900
Roland Israelashvili 22,500
Erik Joergensen 22,100
Gary Jones 21,700
Matthew Hankins 21,200
Mark McCluskey 16,900
John Tabatabai 13,500
Simon Wing 12,700
Phil Hellmuth 10,500
Jani Sointula 5,600
Stephen Rynne ??????
Day 3 starts at 2pm local time on Friday. The top 36 win prize money.

* * * * *

Bouncin Round the Room...

I bumped into Stephen Bartley, who is one of my favorite British poker journalists. He paid me for his entry in the Pauly's Pub football pool. He admitted he knew nothing about "American football" which means he'll probably win it all.

I also saw Jeffrey Haas from the Asian Pacific Poker Tour and Conrad from PokerStars. Matt Parvis, the editor at Bluff Magazine, stopped by the featured TV table. After the WSOP ended, Parvis hired me to write a column of my choice. I pitched him a series called On the Road with Dr. Pauly and he loved the concept. I sent him my first piece which details my highjinks in Amsterdam and Sweden with Benjo and Johnny Mushrooms. It should appear in the next issue of Bluff. Keep an eye out for it. I finally get to do some real writing and I'm totally excited about the opportunity.

Change100 and Jen were downstairs in the poker room covering those tables and having to deal with people jumping onto their laptops when they went inside the ropes. Upstairs, DaveShoelace and Snoopy had to deal with drunken and rowdy railbirds who thought they were at a football match. Dave Shoelace had a great line and said that there was a 2 to 1 chance that someone puked on his laptop before the night ended. James Keys had an entourage of drunken hooligans that were giving Jamie Gold a tough time. The TD had to give them a warning to calm down. One of them wandered up to Dave Shoelace and told him to write bad things about Gold in the blog, particularly on one hand where Gold took some chips from Keys.

Tony G was shortstacked after dinner break but went on a tremendous run. He doubled up then busted Isabelle Mercier. She was cordial at the table, but walked away muttering a slew of x-rated words. The G was being old-school Tony G. The guy is from the streets, yo. He had Big Slick against Mercier's Hilton Sisters. She was ahead until the King spiked on the river. "Yes!" screamed The G as he threw up his arms in celebration. "The Butcher of Baghdad is back!" You can't make this stuff up.

Snoopy was happy that his model friend, Patrik Antonius continued his run. Here's what Change100 wrote in a quick fashion report:
"He's wearing his Martin's Poker shirt unbuttoned halfway down his chest. in the words of Rachael Ray, 'Yum-o!'"
Gus Hansen had been lurking around the featured table (mugging for camera time as a railbird) and over to the other tables sweating Patrik Antonius, who also finished Day 2b as the chipleader. To quote the always funny Dave Shoelace, "This has turned into the World Series of Good Looking Scandinavian Men."
Last 5 Pros I Pissed Next To....
1. Jamie Gold
2. Willie Tann
3. Roland De Wolfe
4. Daniel Negreanu
5. Erik Friberg
* * * * *

Come back at the Tao of Poker for daily recaps and head over at PokerNews for live coverage and updates including chip counts, photos, and videos.

For all you fantasy sports junkies, check out our new site... Fantasy Sports Live.

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

Thursday, September 13, 2007

WSOPE Day 7 - Main Event Day 2a: The Gus Hansen Experience

By Pauly

Since the field at the WSOPE main event was smaller than anticipated, TD Jack Effel broke up Day 2 into two flights in order to have everyone play at one venue... The Empire. Day 2a was made up of 111 players, while Day 2b will feature 119 players. Out of the 362 entrants at the £10,000 No-Limit Hold'em Main Event championship, only 130 advanced to Day 2.

On Day 2a, 40 players advanced to Day 3 on Friday. Day 2b begins shortly and around 45 players are expected to survive the day.

The action started out slow on Day 2a and slowly built up momentumn. Most of the action went down after the dinner break and monster stacks began to emerge. The biggest... from Gus Hansen.

The Great Dane had been sitting at the feature TV table for most of the day and he took out Greg Raymer and Ram Vaswani en route to a 349,000 stack. Nothing could slow him down. And he did most of that damage by playing good cards. Seriously. He busted Raymer with 7-7 (and flopped a boat) and took down Vaswani with pocket Kings.

Norwegian teenager, Annette_15, also went on a run late on Day 2a and jumped to the top of the leaderboard.

Here's the chipcounts...
End of Day 2a Top 10 Chip Counts:
Gus Hansen 349,400
Janne Lamsa 253,800
Pat Scanlon 240,000
Annette_15 d 214,400
Annie Duke 191,700
Johannes Korsar 148,400
Huseyin Yilmaz 143,500
Jan Sorensen 118,500
Terry Cook 117,700
Sergey Feklisov 115,500

The Rest:
Paul Ephremsen 113,700
Erick Lindgren 108,800
Dave Colclough 105,800
Farzad Bonyadi 102,300
Will Durkee 92,600
Joe Le 85,100
Steven van Zadelhoff 72,800
Tom "Durrr" Dwan 70,600
Amat Ashgar 69,200
Hoyt Corkins 61,200
Phillip Hilm 60,200
John Ridge 57,000
R W Stain 50,700
Matthew Gilbert 50,600
Sergey Rybachenko 48,000
Marco Traniello 45,700
Krzysztof Gluszko 44,200
Jennifer Harman 42,200
Vicky Coren 39,500
Matthew Kay 38,200
Peter Murphy 37,500
Neil Pearson 32,800
Jeffrey Lisandro 31,100
Rehne Pedersen 26,000
Gary Jones 21,700
Matthew Hankins 21,200
Mark McCluskey 16,900
Simon Wing 12,700
Phil Hellmuth 10,500
Jani Sointula 5,600
Day 2a eliminations included... Devilfish, Paul Jackson, Ram Vaswani, Bruno Fitoussi, Greg Raymer, Humberto Brenes, Paul Wasicka, Beth Shak, Patrick Bruel,Thor Hansen, Barry Greenstein, Pascal Perrault, Pamela Brunson, sbrugby, Sarah Taylor, Fabrice Soulier, Sherkhan Farnood, Jesus, Erik Seidel, ActionJeff, Thomas "The Eggman" Wahlroos, Brandon Adams, and Sorel Mizzi.

Out on the floor, most of the attention was given to Phil Hellmuth's table. He busted Jesus early on after Jesus shoved with a shortstack and A-Q only to get rivered by Phil Hellmuth's A-10. At one point, there were 18 total bracelets at his table (Humberto Brenes, Jan Sorenson, Farzad Bonyadi).

Hellmuth had been jawing back and forth with Bonyadi for most of the day. He also mounted a relentless assault on Ramzi Jelassi. Apparently, the young Swede made a few faux pas and breached poker etiquette. Hellmuth was quick to point out the kid's mistakes and unleashed a barrage of Hellmuthian insults.

"You need ammunition, kid. You have no bullets. How can you fight without any bullets in your gun?" he constantly told Jelassi.

Hellmuth eventually busted Jelassi with K-4 against the Swede's A-9. Brenes and Lindgren (who moved to his table) gave him a ton of shit for playing K-4.

Then, it got ugly. Hellmuth lost two big pots and he exploded spewing venom over everyone and anyone.

"Nice fucking dealing in this place!" he screamed after he doubled up Mark McCluskey.

Hellmuth held 7-7 and McCluskey had J-J. The flop was J-7-4 and that's when all the money went into the pot.

"That's the fuckin' second time I've been coolered," screamed Hellmuth. "Unfuckin' believable."

Hellmuth was crippled to 7,000 and attacked the dealer. She was on her way out of the box and Hellmuth told the new dealer, "Don't push her. Let her deal me one more fuckin' cooler. That was twice in ten hands. Nice fuckin' dealing."

Of course, there is no specific f-bomb policy at the WSOPE so Hellmuth avoided a ten minute penalty for his Hellmuthian tirade.

Mark McCluskey told Snoopy that he had been waiting a decade to get back Hellmuth. In 1996, Hellmuth slow rolled him in a hand. McCluskey never forgot and savored every minute of the Hellmuthian Meltdown.

Hellmuth eventually managed to calm down and he didn't make any mistakes with a short stack. He managed to double up and although he was among the shortstacks, he advanced to Day 3.

* * * * *

Bouncin Round the Room...

It was another long day in the trenches. The internet connection is piss poor and we've been having issues over the past week. There's also a serious lack of space for us to work which means I'm sitting in high traveled public areas. It was not uncommon to come back from the tables and find someone using my laptop or any of my co-workers laptops! One guy had the balls to ask me to wait while he finished up writing an email. I had to install a password protection to keep those peasants away.

There's a media room across Leicester Square in the basement of a hotel. But that's not safe. Two guys from Betfair got their iBooks stolen. As one member of the European media pointed out, "This is supposed to be the WSOP. They are treating us like shit."

I got smacked in the head with a TV camera as they rushed to get an all-in. I'm used to working with the surly ESPN camera guys and know the spots to stand around the table where I can see the action, stay out of their shot, and avoid getting tangled up with the sound guys or cameramen. However, the film crew working this event has never done poker before. Virgins. Ugh. There were moments when I had to tell the camera guys that they were focused in on the wrong player. DaveShoelace had similar experiences. We've been frequently helping direct the cameras. One instance, I got into position behind the dealer and whack! I got banged up pretty good on my noggin. I was in the right place and the camera dude wasn't and rushed over without seeing me.

I also got two beers spilled on me covering Phil Hellmuth's table. The rail was super tight and everyone in the Empire wanted to catch a glimpse of Hellmuthian greatness. After the second beer and feeling the bump on my head, I had one of those dreaded moments... I can't wait until the day is over so I can drink myself silly. Yes, sometimes I drink to escape my reality.

There was a Liz Lieu sighting at The Empire. She played Day 1 at the Fifty and busted out. I had not seen her since EPT Barcelona. There was a lot of wrong information written about her in Barcelona, particularly by Card Player. Here's what happened two weeks ago. Liz was at the same table with Isabelle Mercier. I wandered over and Isabelle was all in. I wrote down Isabelle's bustout and during the hand, Liz got a phone call. I was focused on getting down all the information in the hand and when I looked up, Liz was in tears. She told me that her father had passed away. My heart sank. I was 3,000 miles away from home when my grandmother died and it's the most helpless feeling in the world. I pulled her aside and sat her down at an empty table as crocodile-sized tears poured out of her eyes. It was one of those moments where poker didn't matter and life was more important. Luckily, Alex her business partner was there to help take her back to her hotel and arrange travel to Vietnam. I respected Liz's privacy on a post at Poker News and wrote that she had to leave the table due to a personal family emergency. I left out that her father died and Liz appreciated my use of discretion. I have no idea how CP fabricated a story about Liz left the table in tears after an argument with Isabelle Mercier. I wanted to clear up all of that mess with a mention in this post.

Anyway, Liz left Barcelona in the middle of the tournament in order to fly to Vietnam to attend her father's funeral. Last week, she emailed me to say that she'd be in London to play in the WSOPE. We finally had the opportunity to catch up and spoke about the importance of family and the catch-22 situation of trying to earn a living on the road and the sacrifice that a lot of us make in this industry. Liz is a good friend with a big heart and told me about more charity work she is going to be doing back home. As always, I wished her the best.

* * * * *

Come back at the Tao of Poker for daily recaps and head over at PokerNews for live coverage and updates including chip counts, photos, and videos.

For all you fantasy sports junkies, check out our new site... Fantasy Sports Live.

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