Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Not Spaceman

By the way, the reporter is not Spaceman in the now-controversial Card Player video where they bust a Bluff Magazine tournament reporter from copying and pasting content from CP into Bluff. Yes, I repeat, that reporter is not Spaceman.

If you don't know, Spaceman was at home on Tennessee at the time of the incident and actually suspended for two tournaments by his superiors for speaking the truth about Daniel Negreanu. The suits were not happy and exposed their intentions on being a "scenester" fluff publication than a reputable source of poker information and failing to meet the basic tenets of journalistic integrity.

Spaceman is a very good friend of mine and a top notch tournament reporter. He would never shoot an angle like cut & pasting from CP in media row. Perhaps if Spaceman was never reprimanded for speaking the truth, that incident never would have gone down and Bluff would not be getting such bad press.

In the past, friends of mine from other media outlets (CP, Poker Wire, Poker News, PokerStars Blog, Poker Pages, and Bluff) have routinely shared information during a final table. This is a common practice, especially with final table chip counts, where we'd give another reporter permission to share common information.

I must point out that the behavior of the Bluff reporter in the video was minor when compared to the horrible atrocities that Card Player's interns and tournament reporters (whom they hired off of Craig's List) did during the 2006 WSOP. Remember that instance when one CP reporter asked a player who his name was and the player said, "Johnny Chan?"

CP was supposed to be the official media provider at the 2006 WSOP and by now everyone knows how embarrassing their coverage was as they drew ire from professional poker players, became the laughing stock in the media room, and was the daily whipping boy for Wicked Chops Poker.

No one person or organization is 100% perfect in the competitive world of tournament reporting. It's not an easy business. But Card Player should be the last entity to talk shit and gloat about their competitor's coverage after their fiasco at the 2006 WSOP.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Justin's Vegemite Prop Bet Video

During the Aussie Millions, I lost a prop bet with Justin Shronk from Poker News at breakfast. If he ate an entire packet of Vegemite, I would buy his breakfast. Here's what happened...

Click here to view Justin's Vegemite video featuring cameos from The Poker Shrink and Cory-Ann.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Homesick Garth

If Garth thought reading the Tao of Poker posts were making him homesick, you should head over to the Tao of Pauly where I have expanded (non-gambling) related stories and massive picture dumps.

When I get back to LA, I will write a little more about my overall time covering the Aussie Millions and the my first-hand impressions of the impact that internet poker, TV poker, and tournament poker has made on a global scale. I also have articles to write about the poker scene in Asutralia along with a piece for High Roller magazine about my experiences down under.

My next reporting assignment is to cover the LA Poker Classic for Poker News. I will be working with some familiar faces.


Sunday, January 28, 2007

Settlement Day and Almost Famous

Brandon and I watched the end of the men's finals of the Australian Open in our hotel room. The show that came on afterwards was a Discovery Travel & Life program called Vegas Virgins featuring Lou Krieger! It's a reality show were five Americans take on five Brits to see who is the best poker player. Lou gives the amateurs advice on how to play poker. The players were awful, but Lou shines.

Brandon left for Alice Springs this morning and I had to settle up our Chinese Poker debt. I ended up -67 overall. I went on a tear and got down to as low as -45, but in the last day or so, Brandon stormed back.

I had him on the ropes one late night when we played on the roof of our hostel. The hot German chick with no underwear came over to watch and that sent the both of us on Mega Hot Chick Minus Underwear Chinese Poker Tilt (MHCMUCPT). I managed to keep my shit together, but poor Brandon could not even set his hand straight as the bats circled around above us and the depths of MHCMUCPT allowed me to make a comeback.

Since we arrived in Sydney we played on the roof of our hostel, on a Ferry to Manly Beach, and in the Botanical Gardens where we fought off our wicked hangovers after attending a BBQ at Nigel's flat.

Nigel is a publisher of a Australian Travel magazine and a devoted reader of my blogs. He invited me and Brandon over to his BBQ. We headed over to Glebe and his place was a few blocks from Ali's. Funny that we were hanging out in Glebe for two nights in a row, at a BBQ, drinking with strangers. But they weren't strangers... Aussies are extremely friendly and hospitable people. Nigel's friends were fascinated that Brandon was a "professional gambler" and that I got paid to travel the world and write.

It was a surreal scene kinda like out of Almost Famous when the guitar player headed to a high school party and jumped off the roof into the pool exclaiming, "I'm a golden god!" Except that there was no LSD and no pool for me to jump into off the roof.

We hung out in the kitchen and drank heavily as they made mojitos from scratch. When the liquor ran out, Nigel yelled, "Off to the pub!" And about 20-25 people stumbled out into the streets and wandered into the pub a few blocks away. The basement had slot machines (or pokies as they call it). Brandon and I played pool against Nigel and his buddy Gavin and it's safe to say the the Yanks are dominate pool players after we beat the Aussies 2-0.

When the pub closed, we headed to another bar and sat in the back. We drank Coopers Pale Ale and played poker. Actually it was $2/hand and we'd all go in blind pre-flop. An Irish guy wandered up and joined us. We played four-way for a bit and the winner of the hand would take down $8 in $2 Aussie coins. I cracked Brandon's J-J with 6-5s after I rivered a flush. Nigel had Kings almost cracked by Brandon's A-Q. The flop was an Ace but Nigel rivered a two-outer to scoop the pot.

I ended up the big winner and won enough for cab fare back to King's Cross where the strung out hookers sit outside on milk crates looking for johns.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

You Might Remember Me from Such Shows As...

At first glance it appeared that Brandon got the better room in the Wood Duck Inn, a hostel on William Street a few blocks from Hyde Park in Sydney. He had two hot French girls in a four bunk room while I drew a guy in my two bunk room. After closer examination, I came out ahead.

"Dude talk about a bad beat," muttered Brandon. "That is, unless one of them blows me tonight."

Yeah, Brandon got the two snooty French girls while my roommate was a gregarious Kiwi who happened to be bartending at one of the cooler bars around the corner called The Gaff. We hit it off from the moment I introduced myself and he told me to come on down to the bar.

"It's Ladies Night," he said. "Free champagne from 9 to 10 in honor of Australia Day."

It was the eve of Australia Day and everyone was getting tanked. Brandon and I ended up drinking with two guys in the Aussie military, who were special forces. We drank beers with them until Irish Pro David Callahan appeared out of nowhere. He randomly walked past the bar and saw a bevy of hot chicks and decided to investigate.

We headed back to the hostel and drank up on the roof while we continued our heads-up Chinese Poker match. A few bats circled around above us as I picked up a few points on the semi-pro.

"Are you Brant-dan?" said one of the girls who was cleaning the tables on the roof. "I have zor key."

Brandon lost his key and luckily, the staff found it. She was a nymphish twenty-something brunette with a funny accent. Time for another prop bet. Brandon picked France and I said Israel. We plopped two red $20 bills on the table.

"What's your name?" I asked.

"Alex," she said in an accent that hinted of French. I knew I was doomed.

"Where are you from?" inquired Brandon.

"France. Zee French Alps," she said as Brandon scooped up the money.

I really suck at "Guess what country." I should stop those prop bets. But I'm an action junkie. Alex was way cooler than Brandon's French roommates. She hung out with us while she chain smoked cigarettes. Total cliche. Alas, it happened.

"Vat are zoo playing?" she asked.

"Chinese Poker," I answered.

"Vait. I thought I recognized zoo," she said after taking a long drag. "I have zeen zoo on TV. Brant-dan, zoo won a poker tournament on TV in France, c'est vrai?"

Brandon shrugged his shoulders. Not only is he a rock star in Germany, but hot French chicks working in hostels in Australia recognized him.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Prop Betting Waitress and Night Train Gambling

Shecky finally left our travel trio and headed to Melbourne while Brandon and I took a a train to Sydney. Actually it was a bus to the train which took 15 hours in all. You can read about that mind-numbing adventure over at the Tao of Pauly.

Here was the final tally of our five day Chinese Poker Marathon:
Brandon +94
Shecky -24
Pauly -70
Yeah, I know. I got spanked. Brandon and I hung around Byron Bay for almost a full day before we caught the night train to Sydney. We played heads-up Chinese Poker (all games included 2-7) at the Beach Hotel overlooking the ocean while sipping beers and checking out the hot surfer chicks who looked like Kate Bosworth from Blue Crush except with Aussie accents.

Playing with Brandon is fun and educational because he takes time out to tell me why he set his hand a specific way and I definitely think that my Chinese Poker skills have improved just from our interaction the last few days. By the time we left the bar at Byron Bay, I had picked up 1 point.

We played on the train which was tough but fun. I went on a heater and picked up 20 points in 5 hands, but my rush ended quickly. By midnight I was -59 for the trip against Brandon. I erased a small margin and will try to get it back in Sydney. I still have a couple of days to get unstuck.

By the way, the other night in Byron Bay, Brandon got shitfaced last night and drank a bottle of wine and 1/2 bottle of gin. We had a hot waitress serves us at an Italian cafe where we ate dinner. She was not from Asutralia and we gambled on where she was from. Brandon said Italy. Shecky said Spain. I was convinced she was from Portugal. We all tossed three red $20 bills onto the table.

"So where are you from?" asked Brandon.

"Spain," she answered.

Shecky slammed his hand on the table and scooped up $60.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Raw Vegas TV

Check out It's the brainchild of Chops from Wicked Chops Poker and my buddy Friedman is also doing work with them. So head on over and waste your precious time. There's a series called Raw Prop Bets. I think the subject matter is self explanatory.

And yes this is a paid advertisement. Snake from WCP sent me an eight ball of Bolivian blow and three Thai hookers because that's what it takes to get your shit pimped on the Tao of Poker.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Gambling in Byron Bay

We rented a car and drove from Surfer's Paradise to Byron Bay. There's a north-south time zone change because Queenslad does not honor daylight savings time. The drive was fun and Byron Bay is spectacular. We're staying in a hotel with beach access but no internet. Shecky is a friggin' junkie and has to be connected every few hours or gets the shakes. He's a workaholic.

We played two sessions of Chinese Poker. It's dealers choice which means whoever loses the previous hand has to shuffle and deal, but they have the option for straight Chinese Poker or having a 2-7 Lowball hand added to the middle. I never deal 2-7. Up against Brandon and Shecky... I'm at a disadvantage.

"Dude, if you wanna play high stakes Chinese Poker in Vegas for $100/point... you have to play 2-7," said Brandon.

"When the fuck am I ever gonna play high stakes 2-7 Triple Draw with Hellmuth and Gavin Smith?" I barked back.

He laughed because he's still ahead. But overall Brandon's rush seems to have subsided. When we left the Gold Coast, he had a 102 point lead over me and 126 point lead over Shecky. We played at dinner at a beach side joint with the Maria Sharapova tennis match on the big screen. Shecky went on a rush and I got my junked kicked in kangaroo style.
Brandon +66
Shecky -22
Pauly -54
We headed back to our motel and played in the room while we drank. I got dealt a sick hand with a royal flush, a full house, and trips up top. Sadly... it was a 2-7 round and I had to give up the boat in the middle. When the late session was over, I was stuck.
Brandon +70
Shecky -26
Pauly -44
We're in Byron Bay for one more day. We only have today left to play three-handed. Shecky leaves us tomorrow morning and heads back to Melbourne while Brandon and I will be taking the train to Sydney. I hope to get unstuck on the train ride down the coast playing an EPT champion heads-up.

Jules and Graham told me to go play poker at Star City in Sydney. The rake is spastic but the players are horrible. Can't wait. Oh, and we're staying in a hostel near the redlight district. Hijinks will ensue.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Backstage Chinese Poker, Big Day Out, and Kate Hudson

Shecky was supposed to get three tickets to Big Day Out for us. It had been sold out for months, yet he knew Tool's manager who said he'd put three tickets aside for us. When we showed up at Tool's hotel, there were only two tickets for us. Shecky was pissed and called up the manager. He apologized and not only gave us three tickets... but we got backstage passes. Talk about getting the hook up!

Since most of the bands we wanted to see were late afternoon and in the evening, we headed backstage and sat in a huge tent adjacent to the dressing rooms. There was free food and drinks and we found a table to sit down and play Chinese Poker. It was a little strange because members of random bands would be walking past us while Brandon Schaefer, Shecky, and I were gambling. The guys from Chemical Romance, Jet, The Killers, and Tool passed us at one time or another.

Coming into the day, the overall scores were:
Schaefer +30
Pauly +6
Shecky -36
Shecky started out hot and I went South quickly. I had a 32 point swing in the first ten hands while Shecky picked up 16 quick points. Then Shecky went on severe BCPT (Backstage Chinese Poker Tilt) and was getting his ass kicked by Schaefer. Shecky's -36 swing destroyed him as Shaefer went on a rush. I wanted to end the game to go see John Butler Trio's set. The band had walked past us and headed on stage, but Shecky would not let me leave until he won a hand. That went on for about 12-15 hands and we ended up missing the first fifteen minutes of John Butler Trio. Bastard. When the dust settled, the overall scores were:
Schaefer +78
Pauly -24
Shecky -54
I got spanked backstage and lost -30, which was much more than Shecky who stayed on BCPT for the rest of the festival.

I had only been backstage at a major concert once... and that was Phish in Arizona in 1999. The Big Day Out backstage experience was unreal and surreal. When Kate Hudson walked past us, our jaws dropped. She's apparently banging the lead singer of Jet. At one point she bent over in front of me and squated for a few minutes so she could see Muse. Shecky poked me in the ribs and said, "That's the closest Kate Hudson will ever get to your cock."

Two feet away. Surreal. I was jotting down notes and the setlist and just like the scene from Almost Famous, I expected Penny Lane to take the pen out of my hand and toss it away. And yes, she's amazingly smoking hot in person.

Anyway, you can stop by the Tao of Pauly to see some pics. Here's a quick video of Big Day Out. We were not supposed to take photos or video backstage, so I had to be super slick and shoot while the surly security guards were not looking. It features performances from The Killers, John Butler Trio, Jet, and Muse.

Click here to view the video via Bloglines or an RSS feed.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Surfer's Paradise

If you don't know by now, Gus Hansen won $1.5 million and took down the Aussie Millions. He beat Jimmy "Gobboboy" Fricke heads up to win.

I'm finally glad that the Aussie Millions is over. I had a blast in Melbourne especially working with the folks at the Crown Casino and at Poker News, but I finally get to explore some more of Australia. Plus living and working in a casino for two weeks straight makes me go crazy. I thought I drank a lot during the WSOP... but the damage to my kidneys after the last two weeks is irreversible. So much for all that weight I lost a couple of months ago.

I'm currently up on the Gold Coast in a town called Surfer's Paradise. Brandon Schaefer, Shecky, and I are heading to Big Day Out on Sunday which is like Cochella, Bonnaroo, and Lollapalooza all rolled into in one huge music festival. The headliner is Tool and that should be a kick ass show. Some other bands that I like are playing like Muse, John Butler Trio, Violent Femmes, The Streets, and The Killers. After two days in Surfer's Paradise, we're heading down to Byron Bay before we end up in Sydney for Australia Day.

Anyway, we flew from Melbourne to the Gold Coast and played Chinese Poker in the airport. I got my ass handed to me and was -20 as Shecky broke even and Schaefer jumped out to a +20 lead. We all checked our bags, so at the Gold Coast airport we gambled on which bag would come out last. The loser had to buy the first round of drinks. That loser was... Shecky.

Ship it, bitch!

We're staying at the Palazzo Versace, thanks to Ralph who picked up the tab for both nights in the swanky 5 star snootfest. He doesn't just have a "black" Amex card... Ralph is such a high roller that he has a "Titanium" card and supposedly there's only like 50 of those on the planet. That card is literally made out of steel and comes with a 24-hour personal assistant... free of charge. I think his assistant is named Wang. Anyway, Wang ended up booking the Palazzo Versace which is like 600/night. Shecky told him it was out of our price range especially since we were staying two nights. Ralph said, "No worries mate!" And he picked up the tab. We love Ralph.

Jen Leo posted pics of the Palazzo on her site. Take a peek.

After dinner at a local surfer's joint down by the beach, we headed back to the Palazzo Versace and drank by the pool. We busted out the cards and played while people in tuxes and black cocktail dresses surrounded us and drank heavily as Schaefer ogled the table of 17 year old girls sitting next to us.

I broke out the deck of cards that Change100 and I used to play Chinese Poker with in Amsterdam and went on a rush to finish up +6 overall or +26 that session. Schaefer was up to +30 as Shecky went on tilt and went from 0 to -36 in a single session. We added 2-7 Triple Draw to the middle hand and that put me at a serious disadvantage. Shecky plays high stakes on Triple Draw on Poker Stars while Schaefer has been known to play 300/600 against Phil Hellmuth on UB. I was way outmatched but held my own. The free-flowing booze leveled the playing field.

We shall play more in the morning after a trip to the beach and before we head to Big Day Out.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Final Table At the Aussie Millions

It's 1:15 PM on Friday here in Melbourne, Australia. The final table is starting shortly. I'll be live blogging the final table over at Poker News.

Can Gobboboy maintain his chiplead? Or will Gus Hansen or Andy Black chase down the 19-year old whiz kid? Or can Kristy Gazes become the first female to win a major 10K buy-in event? Stop by Poker News to find out.
Final Table Chipcounts:
Jimmy "Gobboboy" Fricke $5.175M
Gus Hansen $4.845M
Andrew Black $2.1M
Kristy Gazes $1.05M
Julius Colman $785K
Marc Karam $535K
Hans Martin Vogl $455K

Final Table Payouts:
1 $1,500,000
2 $1,000,000
3 $700,000
4 $500,000
5 $400,000
6 $300,000
7 $220,000
Aussie Millions Day 4 and Pic Dump

We have a final table for the Aussie Millions which includes some familiar faces:
Jimmy "Gobooboy" Fricke $5.175M
Gus Hansen $4.845M
Andrew Black $2.1M
Kristy Gazes $1.05M
Julius Colman $785K
Marc Karam $535K
Hans Martin Vogl $455K
First place is $1.5 million Aussie bucks. Andy Black won an event earlier in the week and is my pick to win it, unless he implodes and donks off all of his chips. Gobboboy has played well and got super lucky along the way. I dunno if his luck will can continue. Hansen is the consensus favorite which means there's more pressure on him. And don't count Kristy Gazes out.

Here are some random pics that I've taken over the last few days.

Tony G playing in the 100K

Opening Ceremonies of the Main Event

Brandon Schaefer and Gavin Smith on Day 1

Joe Hachem

Andy Black at the feature table

Gobboboy on Day 3

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Neteller Founders Pinched

Amy Calistri (aka the Nancy Drew of the poker world) has two great articles about the recent arrests of the Neteller founders:
Neteller Founders Charged with Money Laundering Conspiracy (PokerNews)
Neteller Founders Detained: New UIGEA Precedent or Old School? (PokerNews)
And the guys at Wicked Chops are also on the ball with The Sky Is Falling (Maybe). Luckily I know a guy from Australia who will step in and act as Neteller if the shit hits the fan. As of now, there's no need to panic. However, the future is still up in the air.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Day 3 Aussie Millions

I wrote a recap of Day 2 at the Aussie Millions for Poker News. Take a peek.

We're also doing live updates as well of Day 3. 80 players started and everyone is in the money.
Blackouts, Vegemite Prop Bets, and

The third day (actually Day 2 on the schedule with two Day 1s) of the Aussie Millions main event ended a couple of hours ago, and not without drama. The PokerNews site crashed, the internet connection at the casino crapped out, and there was a blackout when the power went out. Yeah, a blackout all over Melbourne during a poker tournament. And that all happened before dinner break on a sizzling hot day that reached 104 degrees (or 40 Celsius). Shit, those are Las Vegas temperatures.

Out of 747 players, 80 are left as the money bubble just broke. Gobboboy is one of the chipleaders. Joe Hachem, Shaniac, Gus Hansen, Andy Black, Christy Gazes, David "The Dragon" Pham, Lee Nelson, Haralabos Voulgaris, Patrik Antonius, Paul Wasicka, Kirill Gerasimov, and Tao of Poker reader Eric Vaughan are still alive chasing down $1.5 million Aussie bucks.

A few big names were busted today including Carl Olson, Brandon Schaefer (slow-rolled by an asshat according to Nordberg), Joe Cassidy, Jesus, Erick Lindgren, JJ Lui, Ed Moncada, Amanda Baker, John D'Ags, Billy the Croc, and the dark-haired Swedish buxom bombshell Michaela Johansen.

I'm up playing poker, stuck playing craps, and up in prop bets.

I went 1-1 for the day in prop bets. I won $50 Aussie Bucks off of Gaz. Matt Savage set the O/U on players remaining at the end of the day at 105. It went faster and when the final level started with 90 players, Gaz said they wouldn't but 10 players in the last 90 minutes to bust the money bubble. And yeah, I felt bad taking his money. I used it to buy two pints of Carlton at the sports bar with Brandon Schaefer.

I lost the other prop bet against Justin (producer/director of multimedia at PokerNews). I bet that he couldn't eat and entire packet (about the size of a jelly packet) of Vegemite. He did it in one gulp and said it was disgusting and very salty. I had to pay for his breakfast.

I still get $50/day comp which I've been utilizing on drinking for free, that is when I'm not being bought drinks. That's what I loved about covering the EPT in Spain and now the Aussie Millions. The generous and sympathetic people around you (particularly players & railbirds) saw you busting your ass (in a casino of all places) and felt so bad that they bought drinks for you while you worked. That doesn't happen in the States as much as it does when I cover overseas tournaments. Wait. I got one of those light bulb moments... maybe I should be covering more tournaments outside of the US?

The best part about the Australia experience has been the people and the second best thing is the ability to drink during breakfast and at all hours of the day and it's perfectly acceptable, if not encouraged.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Aussie Millions Day 1A Recap

We taped a segment early on Monday discussing Sunday's action at the Aussie Millions Championship. Here's the video:

Click here to view the video of Shecky and myself.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Aussie Millions Day 1 Flight 2

I'm back to work covering Day 1 Flight 2. Check out PokerNews for our live updates.

If you don't know Finnish boy toy Patrik Antonius ended the first day as the chipleader with over 300K. You can read my recap called Day 1a Recap.
Aussie Edition: Last 5 Pros I Pissed Next To...
1. Brandon Schaefer
2. Doug Lee
3. Lee Nelson
4. David Grey
5. Carlos Mortensen

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Aussie Millions Main Event Underway!

I am part of the coverage team over at Poker News (with Tim Lavalli, Chris "Barracuda" Newton, Jonno, and the lovely and talented Cory-Ann) and we'll be live blogging the Main Event of the Aussie Millions. Justin and Shecky Caldwell are doing random videos throughout the day.

Check back in for our live coverage of Day 1 Flight 1 to see pictures, updates, chip counts, and videos. There are plenty of big names playing today including Jesus, John D'Ags, Kristy Gazes, Dan Alspach, Billy the Croc, Gary Benson, Scott Fischman, Melissa Hayden, Matt Hilger, Mel Judah, Jesse Jones, Lee Nelson, JJ Liu, Kathy Liebert, Jeff Lisandro, Jack McClelland, Daniel Negreanu, Shaniac, Paul Wasicka, Marsha Waggoner, Haralbos Voulgaris, Andy Black, Steve Brecher, Allen Cunningham, David Grey, Carlos Mortensen, Phil Ivey, Greg FTB Mueller, Joe Sebok, David Singer, Erik Seidel, Ram Vaswami, Patrik Antonius, Steve Z, and tennis pro Mark Philippoussis who is rumored to be dating Shannon Elizabeth.

Here's one of the best videos that Justin edited so far at the Aussie Millions:

Click here to view the video of Main Event Day 1 Flight 1.
PokerNews Invitational or How I Got Unstuck

I woke up hungover. Again. This time I drank for pure enjoyment on the eve of the Main Event. I was invited to the PokerStars party and drank with Carl and Schaefer as we ogled over the hot waitresses at Blvd. nightclub in Queensbridge Square.

I wandered back down to the casino and found Shecky who told me about the private table that we were going to have spread for us. Gaz, one of the guys at PokerNews, happens to know pretty much everyone at the Crown Casino. Even though it was the busiest night of the year in the poker room (the Saturday night prior to the Main Event which starts in a few hours), the staff managed to spread a private table so we could have a SNG. There was only one table open... the final table or the TV table underneath the lights along the rail.

The format was $100 buy-in with one option $100 rebuy. I've never played a rebuy SNG but didn't care. I was loaded and kept drinking James Boag's beer as the table seated. Our table was... Shronk, a random blonde, Mrs. Matt Savage, Gaz, Hux, Liat, Shecky, Tim Lavalli, Barracuda, myself, and some dude who I forgot his name.

On the first hand, I found AQs in EP and raised. I got five callers. The ever shifty Gaz pushed all in against Justin on a flop that I missed. Both had junk hands. It was going to be one of those days.

Lavalli jumped out to an early chiplead as our table became the focal point of the room (from the few folks who weren't in the high limit area watching Phil Ivey). The railbirds flocked to the rail and poor Shecky got no cards.

Schaefer and Carl stumbled into the poker room and I had never seen Carl that drunk before. They were hysterical. But they were also good luck and giving me a ton of shit. "Pauly, you suck! No wonder you write about poker. How could you fold 5-3o? When I made the final table of the EPT, I didn't choke under the lights like you are."

Good old fashioned ribbing. And they both kept drinking as they entertained the rail while sweating me. Carl promised me $500 everytime I'd push all in blind and lost the hand. He pulled out a few black chips as proof of his promise.

I raised in EP with KJs and got two callers. I flopped trips and rivered a boat. I cracked Liat's pocket Aces. Ouch. I promised to buy her a drink. I also busted Gaz with AK after he sucked out on me twice with pure bullshit hands. One of those days.

Tony G wandered over and I offered to play him heads-up for $30,000. He said, "Anytime!"

As play got close to the bubble, Carl and Schaefer started taunting me even more. I'd show them my cards and they blurt out, "All in!"

Schaefer had to piss and I wouldn't let him walk away since he was my good luck charm. Once it got three-way, I picked up AK four times and busted one guy and found myself heads up with Tim Lavalli... aka the Poker Shrink. Heads-up play lasted three hands as we both eyed the $1000 first place prize. The final hand was K-8 versus 10-5.

I picked up the first place cash and fanned out ten green $100 Aussie bills. I ran to the bathroom with Schaefer and pissed for like eight minutes straight. Best piss I ever took in Australia. Whoever was left around the TV table, I offered to buy them drinks as we headed to the Atrium Bar where Gaz picked Strawberry Mojitos to drink. I ordered seven and hoped a giant beer can would not fall out of the sky and crush me. To combat the fruity drink, we did shots of tequila and in honor of AlCantHang... a shot of Southern Comfort.I tipped the bartender $20 and he shook my hand. Tipping in not required in Australia. I was drunk and just got unstuck so I didn't care.

That was only a few hours ago and I woke up in a blurry haze as I flipped on the TV to watch the NFL playoffs.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Erick Lindgren Wins $1 Million

Click here to view the video of the winner's interview.

You can also read my recap 'Dr Pauly' from the Aussie Millons - Erick Lindgren Wins $1 Million.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

100K Tournament at the Aussie Millions

The poker room at the Crown Casino is buzzing like I had never seen before. Seriously. Fans are packed ten deep on the rail as they catch a glimpse at the 18 rich ass muthafuckers who bought in for 100K each. It's basically a two-table SNG with the Top 3 places paying prize money. First place will win $1 Million.

Here are the Seat Assignments:
Table 28
Seat 1: Daniel Negreanu
Seat 2: Masa Aki Kagawa
Seat 3: Phil Ivey
Seat 4: Gus Hansen
Seat 5: Erik Seidel
Seat 6: Roland DeWolfe
Seat 7: Michael Sampoerna
Seat 8: Jason Grey
Seat 9: Kevin O'Donnell

Table 31
Seat 1: Jeff Lisandro
Seat 2: Erick Lindgren
Seat 3: John D'Agastino
Seat 4: Joe Reina
Seat 5: David Benyamine
Seat 6: Lee Nelson
Seat 7: John Juanda
Seat 8: Tony G
Seat 9: Tony Bloom
You can follow the action over at Poker News, were Tim Lavalli, Chris Newton, and myself will be providing live updates of the 100K event. While Justin Shronk is busy splicing some video together.

I have John Juanda, Erik Seidel, Lee Nelson, and Japanese business man and highs takes gambler Masaaki Kagawa on my fantasy team. We just draft players and it's a winner take all prop bet.

Here's the video:

Click here to view the video.
Brandon Schaefer Close to the Money

With 53 players left (top 48 pay), Brandon Schaefer is close to cashing in Event #7 $1,560 Feature NL event. This is a special tournament where selected players have $1,000 bounties on their heads. Brandon busted two such local players already and collected $2,000 in cash. He currently has Gentleman Ben Roberts at his table. Roberts is one of the few bounty players left in the tournament along with Evelyn Ng. Brandon has around 38K, which is the average stack.

I'm part of the live blogging team for Event #7 over at Poker News. Take a peek at his progress as he attempts to cash in his first Aussie Millions event.

Update... Sadly, Brandon busted out in 47th place. He won $2,000 and if you include the $2,000 in bounties... he picked up $4K in less than 11 hours. Not too shabby for the only person I've ever met to have visited all seven continents.

I spent the last couple of hours catching up with Brandon at the bar. And yes, he paid for all the drinks. We discussed our travel plans for the two weeks after the Aussie Millions. We're heading up the Gold Coast and we'll take it from there, although I'm strongly considering extending my stay and heading to Vietnam and Cambodia with him. Right now it looks like a gutshot draw... but I've been know to chase.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Vegemite Prop Bet

Perry Friedman (the Tilt Boy who ate a Keno crayon for $1) just offered me $100 to snort a packet of Vegemite. I said, "Only if I can add cocaine to it."

By the way... for some quality NSFW pics of the Porn Convention in Las Vegas, check out Flipchip's photos.
Semi-Tilt Down Under

Derek, Iggy, and Change100 can tell you that I've been on a downward spiral of tilt during the last few days. A combination of getting my credit card stolen, having the internet access at the hotel go down, lamenting the future of Truckin', and random technical difficulties at work caused me some minor vaginal irritaion.

Guess what? I'm off tilt. Sort of. Why? Well... here's the first reason why:

Yes. That's really HDouble in that photo. He flew from Dublin to London to Singapore then to Australia just to be here for a few days with the Full Tilters. It was good to see the friendly face of an old friend. Also here are Jay "Big Shot" Greenspan along with the dynamic duo of PokerWire Heather & Amanda.

Another reason I'm off tilt is that BoDog decided that the Tao of Poker is worthy of sponsoring the next few months, including the during the 2007 WSOP. Thanks to BoDog for having faith in the Tao.

Reason three why I'm off tilt... since the intertubes were down for four plus hours today, I had a free session with the Poker Shrink today. Good news... I'm not as fucked up as I thought. Bad news... I couldn't score a prescription for Vicodin.

And the fourth reason I'm off tilt is that I got the opportunity to play in the Aussie Millions Media/Celebrity Event. I've made the final table in the two of the three previous Media/Celebrity tournaments that I've played in.

I felt good about my chances but ended up donking off my table chip lead. My table was a cool one and dubbed the Poker News Table which included fellow co-workers Damon, Gareth, Cory-Ann, and Shecky Caldwell himself. I felted Gareth twice with A-K and busted both him and Cory-Ann in the same hand. I rivered a King with Big Slick to come from behind to beat Cory-Ann's 10-10.

There were random Aussie celebs in the event like a few TV stars and cricket players, but I had no idea who they were. All the cameras were focused on Shannon Elizabeth's table. She sat right next to tennis pro Andy Roddick, who is supposedly going out with Maria Sharapova, who was spotted wandering around the poker room.

Here are some random pics from the Media Event:

Yes, I raised with this hand

Gareth and Cory-Ann

And yes, the Full Tilters finally arrived in full force and the entire staff at the Crown was pretty geeked out about that. Justin and Caldwell went to the airport to shoot some footage of the pros clearing customs.

Click here for the video if you are viewing this via Bloglines or an RSS reader.

Both the pros and online qualifiers flew into Australia today. I met up with a reader of the Tao of Poker named Bayne, who won a satellite into the Aussie Millions via FT.

I also heard wild stories about Phil Ivey dropping almost $1 million at the baccarat tables and another half a million at the black jack tables last year. In case you were wondering, it's rumored that the Crown Casino offered Ivey a $1.5 million $2.5 million line of credit.

I crashed the Full Tilt party upstairs and that's where I ran into HDouble. After several Crown Lagers, we caught up and I talked ice hockey with a couple of hilarious Swedes who were shitfaced.

Here are some random stories you should be reading:
2007 WSOP Schedule
Dr. Pauly's Day 4: Rebuy!
Gary Benson Wins Event #4
And if you care, the final table of the PLO with Rebuys is underway. Kristy Gazes, Jesse Jones, Mark Vos, and Andy Black made the final table. I'm live blogging the final table as we speak over at Poker News.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Aussie Updates

We had some serious technical difficulties this morning at the casino. The internet was down for almost four hours. We're back up for now. Stop by Poker News to check out the live blogging updates. Can you guess which posts are mine?

Day 3 Recap is posted as well.
Aussie Millions Podcast

Due to circumstances going against the flow of the Tao, John Caldwell and I will not be able to do a live radio broadcast. Not to fear! We'll tape the shows live from the floor of the Aussie Millions then upload them over at Poker News and you can download them. Stay tuned for the first episode of Aussie Millions Radio.

Do you have any questions for us to answer on the air? If so shoot me an email and we will answer it on Aussie Millions Radio. Please write Radio Question in the subject matter. If you don't, we won't read it.

Monday, January 08, 2007


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you are viewing this via Bloglines or a RSS feed, you need to click here to view the video.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Sunday Pimp

Check out Otis' coverage of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure.

Grubby is the latest blogger to get gobbled up by the Poker Works Junta. Take a peek at his new digs.

My first piece is up at Poker News. Take a peek at Aussie Arrival.

And don't forget to check in for Live Updates at the Aussie Millions. Event #2 $1K Limit started a few hours ago and the final table for Event #1 is underway.

And here's a great interview with John Caldwell and Shannon Elizabeth:

If you are viewing this through a RSS feed or Bloglines, click here to view the You Tube video.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Aussie Arrival

Either God (if he exists) or the powers to be who handled the seating for my UAL flight from LAX to Sydney has to have a wry sense of humor. I was able to upgrade to Economy Plus for $99 after refusing to pay $5K for an upgrade to business class. For $99, I was still stuck in coach, but gained five inches of extra leg room and a coveted aisle seat.

I needed the extra leg room for the huge boner that I promtly popped when the hottest chick (a cross between Jessica Alba and Carmen Elektra) on the flight sat down. If I was sitting next to her on a JetBlue flight from JFK to Las Vegas, I would have pegged her for a stripper.

We shared the middle section seats and both had aisles seats. The two seats next to either of us were empty. Like most Australians I've met, she was friendly, cordial, funny, and extremely chatty as she bombarded me a ton of questions about why I was traveling to Australia.

"I'm a writer," I explained. "I got hired to drink regularly at the Crown Casino and get paid to write about it."

"Sounds lovely," she added. "Wish I could get a job like that."

I had one of those moments, "I can't believe I'm getting paid to do this."

That's when the old lady in front of me switched seats. In her place was a young mother with a two year old. On the verge of tears. In the seats across from me were a young couple with another baby.

Sense of humor? Indeed. One hot chick negated by two babies. Where were my pharmies?

That's the one thing I have a tough time dealing with. Babies. Crying babies on long flights.

The flight from LAX was delayed which was the first of several crappy moments. The three meals they passed off for ffood sucked ass. Plus, I barely slept about two or three hours over the course of the 14.5 hour flight.

I sat through four movies; three bloody awful flicks and Little Miss Sunshine. The baby in front of me started crying at the Louvre scene in The DaVinci Code and by the end of the flick, both babies were crying in stereo. I suspect they didn't like Tom Hanks fucked up hair or they loated the script from Akiva Goldsman.

That's when I popped the first valium after I ordered a beer. I was saving the pharmies for an emergency. That was one. I almost wanted to kill myself when I decided to watch Guardian, the awful Coast Guard flick with Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher. I should be shot because I watched the entire thing. I wanted to talk to the hot chick but she was sleeping after drinking a glass of wine and popping what looked like two sleeping pills somehwere near Hawaii.

I read one hundred pages of a Dave Eggers memoir and watched four episodes of 30 Rock before the hot chick woke up and chatted me up the remainder of the flight. I missed the first glimpses of Australian soil as my plane landed because I was fixated on the hot chick's cleavage.

Welcome to OZ.

* * * * *

I met up with Justin (the producer of the radio show) at the airport. John Caldwell picked us up and we eventually checked in. I have a swanky room at the Crown Promenade which is located in the Southbank area of Melbourne along the Yarra River.

I took a walk around the impressive Crown Casino. The place is huge with tons of slot machines and over 50 places to eat. The food court is dominated by Asian fare and I already crushed a Green Tea milkshake.

There is only one craps table in the entire casino and no Pai Gow. What the fuck? There are other table games like Sic Bo and Pontoon, a variation of Spanish 21. In my mind those games are called... Take Pauly's Money. I'm already stuck $100 playing craps. I haven't even been in the country a full day and I was chasing a loss.

I wandered down to the poker room area which blew me away. There are PokerTek tables which have $0.50/$1 and $1/42 NL tables. In addition there are 50 other poker tables in the huge room.

When I walked in, Event #1 of the Aussie Millions had just begun. Over 515 players signed up for the $1K event which included Dan Alspach, Scott Fischman, Kenna James, Marsha Waggoner, Shannon Elizabeth, Tony G, Mel Judah, Sarah Bilney, Mark Vos, and Matt Hilger. In fact, Hilger made the final table of Event #1 which will start at 4pm local time.

You can follow the action over at Poker News. Tim Lavalli is heading up a super team of live bloggers which icludes "The Barracuda" aka Chris Newton. Take a peek at their Live Tournament Updates.

I went to the cage to cash my US dollars into Aussie bucks...

I don't officially start work until Monday, so I can play tonight. On Saturday night, I met up with one of the CBCG (Canadian Butt Grabbing Chicks). Jules and Graham met me for drinks and dinner. They were kind enough to show me around town and clue me in on how an American should adapt to the local surroundings.

We had drinks at Servo in the Crown Casino and I had several bottles of James Boag's beer. Jules made reservations at a swanky Italian place on Lygon Street, which is Melbourne's version of Little Italy. The food was amazing and we wandered down the street to a local pub for more booze. I took in the late night scene and was fortunate to have Jules and Graham as my local guides. And yes, she grabbed my ass once.

We stumbled back into the Crown after Midnight and Graham ended his poker-hiatus by sitting at a 10/20 table while Jules headed over for 2/3 NL. I sweated them for a while before I had to leave. I had to sleep.

After that long ass flight, a three hour layover in Sydney, then another flight I was more tired than expected. I crashed hard. I slet for four hours staright before getting up for 30 minutes before passing out for four more hours. Now, it's Sunday morning and I have the NFL playoffs on the TV. The NBC feed is coming through via ESPN and it looks like I'll be able to see the Jets-Pats game tomorrow. BG would be happy... there's two horse racing stations on local TV.

That's it for now. You can follow the Aussie Millions over at Poker News. Saty tuned for more updates and head over to the Tao of Pauly for more pics and stories.

Editor's Note: There are Pai Gow tables... I haven't found them yet. But they do exist. Time to get unstuck!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Australia Bound

Looking out at the Pacific Ocean
(photo by Change100)

In a few hours, I will be flying to Melbourne, Australia to cover the Aussie Millions for Poker News at the luxurious Crown Casino, which is the largest casino in the Southern Hemisphere.

I will be writing a daily recap of the Aussie Millions on the Poker News website. In addition, John Caldwell and I will be doing a live two hour radio broadcast/show from the floor of the Crown Casino. Yes, Radio Free Pauly is back. I'll post the link to the radio broadcast shortly.

And of course, you can check back here at the Tao of Poker for random updates, pictures, and links as I head all the way to the other side of the world to play cards. Sometime this spring, High Roller magazine will also be publishing a feature article about my adventures and hijinks Down Under.

And here's the best thing about the gig... not only is Poker News paying all of my expenses (flight and hotel accomodations to Australia are pricey), but I'm also getting a $50/day per diem which is to cover my bar tab. Yes, Poker News and the Crown Casino threw in a free $50 bar tab everyday to keep me happy. Perks of being a faux doctor with a blog.

The trip is not all business. I'll have about two weeks to myself to explore and visit different cities. Garth gave me several great tips about his home country, so I feel as though I had access to privy information that not all travelers get to experience and hear. There's a Tool concert that I'm going to see with Caldwell. I will get to hang out with Jules in Melbourne, while Brandon Schaefer and I head up the coast to Sydney and Brisbane shortly after the Aussie Million's is over. There's a huge summer music festival going on while I am there, so I'll be able to combine several of my passions (poker, traveling, music, and writing) into one trip. Epic.

The only bad thing (aside from missing the Jets in the playoffs) is that I heard nasty rumors that the Untied Airlines flight from LAX to Sydney, which I happen to be taking, is the worst international flight in the history of aviation. Old plane, cramped germ-infested seats, geriatric stewardesses, awful food, and smelly crappers. Sounds like I'm about to embark on a fun filled 17 hour flight. I have two books, a fistful of pharmies, and I've downloaded several hours of TV shows like The Office and 30 Rock onto my iPod to keep me sane. If all else fails, there's always booze. I'll be leaving on a Thursday and arriving on Saturday morning. I lose a day when I cross over the International Date Line.

Stay tuned for Aussie Millions updates...

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Truckin' - January 2007, Vol. 7, Issue 1

The first issue of Truckin' in 2007 has been published. Yes, I'm finally early with an issue. Let's hope that I can stay on schedule this year.

1. Merry Ethan by Paul McGuire
When I was done with my public display of urination, The Rooster stood in front of the bar with Ethan Hawke who smoked a cigarette. That's when I yelled out, "Yo Ethan, who's better in the sack? Winona or Uma?"... More

2. By Mennen by Otis
I can't remember where I read it, but for some reason I believe that Adolf Hitler was so concerned about potential body odor that he went to extreme measures (I think it was surgery) to alleviate perspiration. Of course, I may be making this all up... More

3. Pulling a Dawn by Dawn Summers
She cleaned up the spill with paper towels and soap-soaked sponges and carefully picked up every piece of broken glass. Well, almost every piece. She apparently missed a shard that had slid near the fridge, but her bare heel stepped up to the plate and snatched it right up when Dawn went to get some butter. Dawn said some bad words as she left bloody heel prints from the kitchen to the bathroom... More

4. Reunion by Doog
For the first time, Sean noticed the evidence of years' passage on her face – the small wrinkles around her eyes and mouth, the youthful freshness lost from her skin. She was no longer the perfect girl he remembered from ten years ago, but she was certainly a very beautiful woman... More

5. The Tulsa Incident by Sean A. Donahue
I had to alert the authorities, I had to let them know that something shady was going on here, something wasn't right. I slowly started back toward my car, careful not to make any noise as I passed the men's room... More

6. Shadow Boxing by Nick Cantwell
We met in a Deli. I'd just finished training.
I spilt her coffee as I squeezed my big ass past her table.
I bought her another one.
She asked me what I did.
Boxer I told her... More
The first issue of Truckin' in the new year includes a story from one of my favorite writers, Otis, about sweating in Las Vegas. We have some old faces contributing to the new year issue such as Sean A. Donahue and Doog. Nick Cantwell from London shared a poem, while this issue marks the Truckin' debut of Dawn Summers. I laughed and I cried as I read about her Thanksgiving. And keeping with a holiday theme, I have a story about crashing a Christmas party with The Rooster.

I ask that if you like these stories, tell your friends! Feel free to shoot me an e-mail if you know anyone who is interested in being added to the mailing list or if you'd like to write for Truckin' in the future.

Thanks again to you the readers for wasting your precious time with Truckin'. Until next time.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Welcome to 2007

A new year brings some new changes in the blogosphere. Congrats to Drizz for landing a new gig and to a few friends who were hand picked to move their poker content over to the Poker Works Junta:
Amy Calistri
Those are some of my favorite scribes. To see them gain recognition for their amazing writing abilities makes me proud of them and even more lucky to call them my friends. Keep up the good work and best of luck with your new digs.

Also congrats to the money winners in the 2006 Pauly's Pub Pigskin Pick'em NFL Pool:
1. how bout a fresca (BradSinger) $400
2. Well T'anks for Nuttin' (Jerry) $200
3. Mean, Dumb, and Uglies (ScurvyDog) $100
4. Austin Drunks (MattS) $60
Congrats also to Derek, who took down the Pauly's Pub College Football Pool and the Grid Iron fantasy football pool.

* * * * *

By the way, Happy 2007 to everyone!

I had an amazing New Year's Eve. I caught an epic My Morning Jacket concert at the Fillmore in San Francisco with Change100. It was one of the best parties of the year that I attended. After the show ended, I bumped into a faithful Tao of Poker reader named Aaron from Portland.

I'm currently in L.A. and will be flying to Australia on Thursday to cover the Aussie Millions for Poker News. Just getting a few last things in order before I depart.

I have a couple of basic poker goals for 2007:
1. Play winning poker and finish the year up.
2. Finally complete a book about Las Vegas.
That's it. Nothing special or out of the ordinary. I'll be back to grinding it out at the Limit tables online and playing live NL cash games. I'm also hoping to earn enough money in the next few months playing poker and writing freelance articles for magazines such as High Roller, so I can take off five months after the 2007 WSOP ends to travel for a bit then complete the Las Vegas book.

I wish everyone best of luck at the tables in 2007.