Friday, November 30, 2007

$50K HORSE and Top Referrals

By Pauly
New York City

"When are you going to watch HORSE?" Derek asked me.

I hijack my brother's TiVo whenever I hit the road, which has been a lot this year. He recored ESPN's entire coverage of the 50K HORSE event from the 2007 WSOP. I didn't have the opportunity to watch those episodes yet. I caught the main event on ESPN repeats when I was in Key West. During the afternoons, I'd hang out at the AlCantHang Compound and play online poker while AlCantHang and I watched the WSOP on the big screen.

During my first year as a tournament reporter, I religiously watched every tournament that I covered, which included both the WSOP and WPT events. I was such a poker nerd that I would pull up the Tao of Poker and re-read my coverage from that event and follow along with the action. There were some hands (at the time they happened) where I anxiously waited to see what the players had.

By the second year in the industry, I had become so jaded that the last thing I wanted to do was recapture moments that I'd rather forget. There were parts of the 2006 WSOP that I never even watched on ESPN, and the same goes for several WPT events.

At this point, I'm totally burned out and lost my passion for watching poker on TV. It's hard to get motivated to watch any WPT event since their coverage has slipped over the years. The final tables are a crap shoot due to the structure and the majority of the players who make the final table are not exciting to watch. Overall, there's simply too much bad poker programming out there that I cringe when I see any on TV. When I was overseas, I always liked flipping through the TV to see what TV is like in other countries. I would discover random poker programs from different countries like in Sweden, Australia, and the UK. And those are not any better.

I don't have too much free time to spend on watching the boob tube and I end up devoting time to watching things outside of poker like sports or movies. So if I have a choice of watching poker or something else... I always pick something else. The one exception is that I watch High Stakes Poker as much as I can, but usually I'm watching the chopped up via You Tube videos, because I can squeeze an episode in over a couple of days during down time.

Anyway... I watched a couple of episodes of the 50K HORSE event, only because my brother wanted me to free up space on his TiVo. I saw myself a couple of times wandering around in the background. I can spot my bald spot anywhere. I paid less attention to the action and tried to find my friends in the background. I spotted several of the floor reporters that worked with me at Poker News such as Dave, Matt, Steve and Tom Sexton (who is Mike Sexton's brother).

I also found my friends Felipe, Heather, and Jen Browning who were all taking photos in the background. And I also saw Flipchip and Shronk milling around Hellmuth's table. I noticed that Homer from Blonde Poker was sweating Matusow's table and the CC was sweating Freddy Deeb's table. I even saw Schecky hard at work getting chip counts at one point. That's dedication.

I even saw the Jesus Freak wearing the John 3:16 t-shirt who got some airtime when Fossilman busted.

During the final table broadcast, you can see me sitting next to Otis and there are random shots of BJ, Leanne, and Lacey Jones sitting in media row.

Watching HORSE reminded me of how much I hated my job over the summer (as compared to the 2005 or 2006 WSOP). Sure I made more money that the previous two WSOPs combined, but I paid a price both physically and mentally. I really don't ever want to have to undertake that tremendous workload ever again and that's why I needed two months at the end of the year to recover from the WSOP.

Although, my life got a lot easier once the $50K HORSE event was over. I definitely felt that HORSE was the most important event at the WSOP and the hardest to cover. There was a lot of pressure from the powers to be (Harrah's, Bluff, and Poker News) to have flawless coverage (which itself is inherently impossible). Plus, I put a ton of pressure on myself and the team that I was working with. So the final table was sort of reaching the top of Mt. Everest and that the rest of the WSOP was making our way down from the mountain to safety. The main event was a breeze compared to the HORSE event, especially since we had an entire staff at Poker News devoted to one tournament, instead of spreading ourselves across four, five, or even six tournaments per day.

* * * * *

My online HORSE binge continues. I usually sit out for the 0maha 8 portion since that is my weakest game. If we played Omaha High, then I'd be a pig in shit. I have noticed that the majority of my opponents are short buying in HORSE, which is odd especially with the three Stud variation with betting on extra streets.

I tend to win the most during Stud an Razz. I used to loathe Razz but for some reason I have been enjoying the Razz portions. I have random brain farts from time to time and raise hands during Razz because I think I have a sick Stud hand when it's actually a terrible Razz hand.

I'd prefer to play HOSE but no one ever plays at those tables. I played some HA the other night, which is PL hold'em and PLO. If I ever decide to settle down and get a place to live and start a home game, I'd like to play HASE... hold'em, PLO, Stud, and Stud 8. No Razz and no Omaha 8.

My upswing continues after an ugly Turkey Day weekend. Maybe I'm on the good side of variance, or maybe I picked up some things after reading Barry Tanenbaum's new book, but I've done remarkably well at the 10/20 and 15/30 limit tables. It's probably a little of both.

* * * * *

Thanks to the Top 10 Referrals for November...
1. Las Vegas Vegas (Poker Prof & Flipchip)
2. Wicked Chops Poker
3. Tao of Pauly
4. Aaron Gleeman
5. Up for Poker
6. Shaniac
7. Hoyazo
8. Neverwin Poker
9. AlCantHang
10. Iggy

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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