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.

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