Sunday, May 25, 2008

WSOP Flashback: Tao of Poker at the 2007 WSOP

By Pauly
Hollweird, CA

I leave for Las Vegas in less than 48 hours.

While I make necessary preparations for my journey, I don't have much time to write. Instead, this is a perfect opportunity to glimpse into my madness from last year's WSOP. In my opinion, the Tao of Poker's best year at the WSOP was... 2007. A lot of you might disagree, but that's one opinion where I value my own above yours.

Covering something like the WSOP is about what you can achieve in a very short period of time under the most exhausting of circumstances. Most of what you're about to read (or re-read) are sloppy first drafts written sometime before sunrise. Some instances, I had less than an hour to get everything out and up.

In 2007, there were some weeks where I logged 120 hours a week working for Poker News, yet I managed to find the time to write around 60K words in June alone on Tao of Poker. And that word count doesn't include assignments for other clients that I wrote.

I'm intimidated by my output from last year and hope that I can bring the same energy and intensity to this year's WSOP.

You can always sift through my archives from last summer: June archives and July archives.

Or if you prefer, here's every single post that I wrote at the 2007 WSOP over a period of seven weeks...

Welcome to the WSOP was an introduction post and also mentioned my cash at a TI tournament.

Day 1: Long Lines, Shitty Cards, and the French Fries Prop Bet is about the insane lines at the Rio and how I lost an eating prop bet with Tiffany.

Day 2: The Poker Sauna, 3,000 Monkeys, and Pussy Pics was when I officially dubbed the poker tent as the "poker sauna" which was a term that would end up getting ripped off by other hacks covering the WSOP.

Day 3: MrSmokey1 Day and Matusow & Forrest $100,000 Weight Loss Prop Bet recaps the youngest ever bracelet winner (at the time).

Day 4: PLO Madness, Prop Putting, and the Return of Liz Lieu Tuesdays had some interesting highlights from 5K PLO w/ Rebuys.

Day 5: Stealing from the G, Donkey Bomber Wins, and Poker Tent Blown Away covered Pokerati's own DonkeyBomber winning his first bracelet (and it would not be his last). Also in that epic post included excerpts from Tony G's post after he caught CardPlayer stealing from PokerNews' coverage. I know that they had been stealing shit because I entered fake names into the chip count and they lifted every one... including Derek, The Rooster, one of the guys from Phish, and Sailor Roberts... who had passed away years ago.

Day 6: Burt Boutin Wins Event #7 and Brandi's Universe... Boutin was jacked up on twenty-seven Red Bulls and Brandi Hawbaker played in the WSOP and caught everyone's attention.

Day 7: One Week Down, Six to Go... man, by the time the first week ended, I was spent. But two players who won bracelets in the first week would end up having remarkable runs at the 2007 WSOP. Those two men were... Tom "DonkeyBomber" Schneider and Alex Kravchenko, who had won Event #9.

Day 8: Where's Vinnie? captured the beginning of the Vinnie Vinh Saga. Little did we all know, that he would become one of the biggest stories of the 2007 WSOP.

Day 9: Vinnie Vinh Alive and Mrs. Spaceman Takes Down Blogger Title... even on my rare day off, I still managed to write a but about Mrs. Spaceman taking down the blogger tournament after beating Grubbette heads up.

Day 10: Allen Cunningham Wins #5, Phil Hellmuth Seeks #11, and Negreanu Joins Team of PokerStars... the always quiet and super professional Allen Cunningham silently picked up his 5th bracelet. He'll have 10 by the end of the decade and 15 by 2015.

Day 11: Hellmuth's 11 and Liz Lieu Tuesdays recaps Hellmuth's record setting bracelet win.

Day 12: Shootout discussed the bank robbery near UNLV and the big hooker bust at the Rio.

Day 13: Good Morning Vietnam and Step into the Freezer is about one of the biggest disappointments of the WSOP... the infamous Bluff Tent. Here's a bit... I fear that the Forbidden City/Black Hole/Sequestarium will become Bluff's own personal Vietnam minus the hookers saying, "No boom-boom with soul brother."

Day 14: Lost Paradise was one of those pieces that 50% who read it thought it was sheer brilliance and genius, while the other 50% thought it was utter garbage and got so angry that other people loved it. My favorite line was... "All flights eventually land in Las Vegas to drop off more wretches who foolishly think they can tame the lost paradise. I'm one of them." I was super exhausted when I wrote it and that those words poured out when I sat down at the machine to write. I fell asleep at my laptop and when I woke up two hours later late for work, I hit publish instead of trying to re-write it and organize my thoughts. It might have been better, or might have lost it's punch. Who knows. It is what it is.

Day 15: Clements Time, the $18,000 Weed Prop Bet, and Brandon Schaefer Crushes Day 1 detailed a bet I wanted to make with a pothead friend of mine.

Day 16: Congestion Mutation and the Ghost of Vinnie Vinh chronicled the zoo-like atmosphere at the Rio because of the fans and the amateur paparazzi who take non-stop photos of their favorite pros.

Day 17: Hellmuth's 60th Cash and Eskimo Clark Lives was one of the shorter posts I wrote all summer. As Michalski would say to me, "You totally phoned it in there."

Day 18: Down Goes Eskimo, Hellmuth's 12, and Liz Lieu Tuesdays included a heated exchange between an unknown internet pro who stood up and bullied Hellmuth as they jawed back and forth for a few hours.

Day 19: The Ghost of Stuey Ungar and Katja Thater Wins Razz Bracelet is the post that a lot of close friends (and people I deeply respect and admire) thought was one of my best pieces from the summer and one of the best things written at the entire WSOP. If I had known it was going to get so much attention, I would have spent more time on it.

Day 20: Hoyt Corkins Wins Bracelet and Heads Up Prop Betting recapped Hoyt Corkins bracelet run.

Day 21: Late Night Hijinks, Lisandro's Breakthrough Victory, and Fantasy Sports Live... might not have been the best thing I wrote all summer, but I recall that I had the most fun writing it. This is why... "As soon as my event ended, my pharmaceutical cocktail of generic Vicodin and NyQuil Day medicine (which Ed from Gutshot pointed out was actually called DayQuil) finally kicked in. Wired. Eight hours too late. That's what I was so I wandered around in a buzzed state."

Day 22: I Never Thought I'd Make It This Far was another short piece which I most likely phoned in.

Playing in Event #38
(Photo courtesy of PokerNews)

Day 23: Live Poker Is Rigged, Tilting CK Hua, and How I Cashed in Event #38 detailed Day 1 of the only event I played in at the WSOP. I made it to Day 2 which ensured a cash in my first open WSOP event. I had made the final table of the media event in 2005

Day 24: 119/2778 = $4,740 is were I recapped Day 2 of the only event I played at the WSOP. I ended up getting busted by Erica Schoenberg.

Day 25: Horse Day 2 and Liz Lieu Tuesdays included the 50K HORSE event.

Day 26: Horse Day 3 and Wednesday Pimp included more recaps of HORSE.

Day 27: Lindgren Wins $340K Golf Prop Bet and $50K HORSE Final Table Set discussed how Erick Lindgren almost died from an insane golfing prop bet... and how I was one of the only people who bet on him and not against him.

Day 28: Freddy Deeb Wins $50K HORSE and I was there in the front row doing color commentary for Poker News. The final table ended at 5am.

Day 29: Sartre's Lobster was inspired by a conversation about Jean-Paul Sartre that I had with Benjo during the final table of HORSE. I had been worrying about things out of my control and that had been eating away at my soul. Once HORSE ended and after my conversation with Benjo, I felt a thousand times better. Although I was physically worn down and mentally battered after a month of insane work, I felt that a tremendous burden had been lifted off of my shoulders.

Day 30: Donkey Bomber Wins Second Bracelet and Bill Edler the Stunning One Wins First Bracelet is about a rare day when the good guys actually won.

Day 31: European Invasion discussed all the Europeans who showed up for the $10K PLO event.

Day 32: Doyle's Eleven and Liz Lieu Tuesdays covered Texas Dolly's run for bracelet #11.

Day 33: Smells Like Happiness was written on a rare day off where I went to see Widepread Panic play at the old Aladdin Theatre, now called Planet Ho. Anyway, I listed the first 51 bracelet winners of the 2007 WSOP in that post.

Day 34: Hello Cleveland summed up some of the odd sports betting that had been going on during the WSOP and why only a small percentage of players who won online seats would actually show up.

Day 35: Seidel Captures #8 and the Disease of Conceit included my praise for Seidel winning his 8th bracelet and the circus that takes over up in the Rio shortly before the Main Event.

Day 36: Main Event Day 1a... the title says it all.

Day 37: Main Event Day 1b is where I wrote... If Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons was covering Day 1b of the WSOP, he'd say, "Worst WSOP ever." I can't explain what was wrong. I described Day 1a as "poker on Valium".

Day 38: Main Event Day 1c is where the action picked up a bit. I watched Jose Canseco bust out and sweated Antonio Tarver while I caught a glimpse of Nelly. Oh and Phil Hellmuth crashed his UB racing car in the parking lot. Fun stuff.

Day 39: Main Event Day 1d... wait there was a 1d? Yes, and Phil Hellmuth showed up in true Hellmuthian fashion.

Day 40: Main Event Day 2a... was Todd Phillips Day at the WSOP. I guess that sums up how boring it was.

Day 41: Main Event Day 2b and yes, by the end of the day I was searching so hard to find a story... any story... about the 2007 WSOP main event. I guess the biggest story of note was Vinnie Vinh showing up on Day 2 after skipping out at the end of Day 1.

Day 42: Main Event Day 3 - Bubblicious recapped the money bubble.

Day 43: Main Event Day 4 - Dealing for Dario centered around Dario Minieri's run at the front of the pack along with several unknown European players.

Day 44: Main Event Day 5 is when the field thinned out and we first got to see who was going to make a run for the final table including Scotty Nguyen and RainKhan who was that crazy guy who ran around the ballroom with a chair on his head.

Day 45: Main Event Day 6 - The Final 9 was the day that everyone was waiting for... who would make the final table?

Day 46: The Main Event Final Table Bios is self-explanatory.

Me with BJ covering the Main Event
(Photo courtesy of Flipchip)

Day 47: Jerry Yang Wins the WSOP Main Event... and after seven long weeks, we had a new champion.

WSOP Epilogue: A Leap of Faith is something that I wrote a day after Jerry Yang won the WSOP main event.

* * * * *

That's it for now. Oh, and don't forget about Flipchip's 2007 WSOP Photos. He's been the best damn photographer in Las Vegas and has been covering the WSOP for over three decades.

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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