Thursday, July 31, 2008


By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

Earthquakes and the beach. I'll take it over degenerate gamblers and scorpions.

I spent a full week in Los Angeles and returned to a life of normalcy. Sort of. If I do something for two or three days in a row, it's a routine. More than that? Then it becomes normal. A life of normalcy. Back to writing and working on my side projects (such as Coventry and Truckin') while spending random time playing online poker, despite a minor tremor on Tuesday and a trip to Zuma Beach in Malibu on Wednesday.

The ebbs and flows of online poker. It had been a couple of months since I played every day for a week. Over the first two or three days, I really missed online poker, especially the ecstatic thrill of winning a nice sized pot in a cash game. I forgot that exhilarating feeling the most. What I didn't miss were all the shitwads and the swarm of negativity from the menagerie of sore losers.

My online play over the last week has been divided between on PokerStars and Full Tilt. I play primarily SNGs on PokerStars and stick to the cash games on Full Tilt.

I dabbled in NL games before the WSOP began, but since it ended, I have been multi-tabling limit hold'em tables with an occasional limit Stud table. I like playing three LHE tables and one Stud. Four at once. I've done five, but I feel that I'm at my optimum at four.

Depending on the time of day, multi-tabling LHE and Stud are generating double points because of Full Tilt's Happy Hour promotion. The tables I play always tend to fulfill the Happy Hour requirement of a limit table or a full ring table. You can take advantage of the "late night" Happy Hour (11pm to 1am ET) if you live on the West Coast since it's not as late and at the perfect time for me to play. Since I'm up at odd times, I caught the early morning Happy Hour a couple of times at 6am to 8pm ET.

PokerStars had been running their 2x promotion where you get double FPP points. I have been participating in the Battle of the Planets on PokerStars, an SNG promotion where their tier your level of play based on the planets in our solar system. I had been playing in the Neptune and Uranus category over the last couple of days.

My new addiction is PLO Trubo SNGs. Holy shit. Talk about addictive. Playing PLO turbos is similar to smoking crack dipped in chocolate and wrapped in bacon.

The one I played last night? I had a massive lead at the start of the third level with almost 6K in chips. I busted three players and we were on the money bubble with four to go... at the start of the third level. Talk about heavy action. Of course, I bled chips and pissed away the lead. I flopped quad Queens but couldn't get paid off. I eventually finished in third place.

Any Weeds fans out there? The writer(s) must be huge poker fans because there have been several poker references during recent episodes. The funniest one involved Albert Brooks character, a shady degenerate gambler who likes poker and the track. He was trying to shakedown his son's family by blackmailing them after they convinced him to kill his terminally ill mother. He wanted $10,000 transfered to his PokerStars account once a month. I watched that episode with Change100 and we both looked at each other and said, "Did he just say that?"

Speaking of Hollyweird, I played online poker with a couple of old friends who used to be regulars in the Murderers' Row home game in West LA. Both Shane Nickerson and the Poker Geek joined me at the 5/10 tables. Nickerson was in NYC on an assignment while the Geek was drying out in the adventure capital of the world... Iowa.

I lost a big pot when I turned a gutshot with 8-6o, but then I lost when my opponent rivered quad sevens. Nickerson also lost a big pot that was capped on the river. His Ace-high flush lost to a straight flush. I issued one wicked bad beat at that table. I cracked Queens with 6s-3s wen I flopped two pair.

* * * * * *

Maybe I haven't played online poker extensively for a while, but the banter at the tables has been extra venomous these days. I'm assuming that the increased level of agitation has everything to do with the recession and our state of economic turmoil. These are tough times we are living in with rising gas and food prices. All those bad beats add up. A tank of gas. A week of groceries. Either the barrage of bad beats are draining people's fuck-around money or making a dent into the bankrolls of the folks who had been playing poker for a living. Either way, tempers had been flaring. Fuses are super short these days.

I put a beat on one guy when my K-Q beat his A-9 during one SNG on Stars. Typical story. Four players and I raised from the button. He shoved from one of the blinds. I called, won the pot when a Queen fell, and my opponent flipped out.

Usually, I don't say anything. I ignore the chat. That's my general policy, especially when I'm multi-tabling because chatter is just a waste of time and energy. Depending on the situation during a cash game, I might egg on my anger opponent because my witty repartees can sometimes push them over the tilt cliff and they start spewing chips. And as Sun Tzu said, "If you opponent is angry... irritate them."

Here's something that has been driving the donkeyfish crazy. After I put a bad beat on them or suckout or get lucky or (this scenario is most likely) they misplay their hand and project the blame onto me instead of taking responsibility for their own actions, the feeble-minded ones take a cheap shot and call you something bad such as a donk or idiot.

Most of them write "your an idiot" or "your a f***** donkey" and that's when I quickly shoot back, "It's 'you are' or 'you're' and not your..."

That seems to tilt them even moreso.

Here's one example from a Stud table on Full Tilt over the weekend. I dunno the exact hand, but I outdrew my opponent. And then later on, I felted him. He refused to rebuy and sat there like a crybaby.
bigfattoad: suck shiit
DrPauly: nice comeback, sore loser
bigfattoad: fu coccck sucker
DrPauly: u must be harvard man
DrPauly: a true linguist
bigfattoad: no my father grandfather step grangfather uncles etc ALLL WERE
DrPauly: obviously u were adopted
DrPauly: first off, it is "you are" or "you're"
bigfattoad: suck my balls women
DrPauly: rebuy
bigfattoad: blow me and i will
DrPauly: im not a homosexual, but it appears thats your tendency
bigfattoad: choke on it i hate you avitar
DrPauly: so full of hate and rage
bigfattoad: your a women no man would ever correct grammer unless he is a fuucin @#$ or an english teacher!
bigfattoad: your a women
DrPauly: not only are you a bad poker player with bad grammar, you have no clue
bigfattoad: and everyone knows women cant play poker
bigfattoad: lick me and die
DrPauly: stay classy. have a nice day
And of course my favorite zinger of the last week was when I missed a flush and backdoored trips. I took a big pot from one guy who typed, "F.ucking fish on here is unbelieveable." To which I responded, "The truth hurts, doesn't it?"

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

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Gristle and Glop

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

I worked a myriad of dead-end jobs during my vagabond 20s which was bookended by two stints in Brooks Brothers' suits on Wall Street. One of the dozens of transient forms of employment that I humped during the Clinton administration was as a bartender. A mixologist. I poured many a beers and concocted a plethora of cocktails. Liquor is a social lubricant and it was no shocker that people also drank to escape from their harsh and bitter reality. Everyone was seeking to achieve the end results... insobriety.

However, a daring few wanted to do it in style. They wanted to get shitfaced and appeal to their palates at the same time that didn't involving pouring a bottle of overpriced scotch or wine. They sought out a tasty cocktail. Those customers were few and far between since the majority of requests included a "twist" or "extra olives." Occasionally, I tried to impress a female patron with my deft mixing skills and whip up a blue kamikaze to switch things up or something sweet and bitter (like me) such as an Amaretto Sour.

When I was a freshman in college I was lathered in blowjobs courtesy of a drink that I first made out of desperation. Southern Comfort and Lemonade. Those where the only two items I had in my dorm room. Nothing got freshmen chicks and sorority girls wetter than that magical combination. Jesus, I miss 1991.

People change. Tastes evolve and become refined. My favorite poison is constantly changing. And because I travel so much, I have to adapt my tastes to the local fare. I got my first lesson in blending in with the regulars during a trip to Iceland in 2001. I had been demolishing pints of Carlsberg until a new bartender began his shift. He refused to serve me unless I drank Viking, which was a traditional Icelandic beer, instead of the Danish import that I so enjoyed.

Drink of choice. Game of choice. Like booze, my poker tastes have been constantly shifting and changing. Cash games. SNGs. MTTs. Limit. Pot-limit. NL. Omaha. Stud. Hold'em. HORSE. Shorthanded. Full ring. Man, there's so much to choose from these days. That's why game selection is even more important today as it has ever been.

The first time I ever played poker in a casino, it was spread-limit seven card stud on a Mississippi riverboat casino. It was only months after Mississippi allowed gambling and casinos popped up all over Biloxi and Gulfport. I occasionally made roadtrips to Biloxi from Atlanta with my fraternity brothers. Heck, if there was online poker in 1993, that's all I would be doing, but back in the early 1990s no such thing existed. I had a vague concept of the interwebs, didn't even have cable TV, and wouldn't get my first email address until early 1996. Aside from competitive games of spades and nickel ante poker game in my fraternity house, the roadtrips to Biloxi would be the only real gambling action that I'd see until I moved to New York after college and started playing blackjack and poker in Atlantic City and eventually migrated to Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods.

My poker origins were Stud. I never even heard of Texas Hold'em existed until I moved to Seattle in 1997 and my friends took me to a casino where they had poker tournaments. We nickednamed that joint "The Nut Sack" and my buddy Singer actually won the tournament a couple of times.

And after Rounders came out in the summer of 1998, we quickly added hold'em to our rotation of games which we played at our home game on Monday nights at the Trout House in Fremont. A group of eight to ten guys and girls (mostly musicians and artsy types who got paid in cash tips as a bartender, barista, or wait staff) were packed into a kitchen and drank cases Labbat's and passed around spliffs of BC commercial nugs. Hold'em was the least popular game compared to wild cards games or a variation of no-peek baseball that I dubbed "Seventy-Five Cent Mexican." That was high stakes for us back then considering most games were 25 cent ante.

Of course, as I sat in the kitchen home game in Seattle in 1998, little did I know that in a decade I would be making my living as a scribe in poker media.

* * * * *

I cannot explain my actions. They just happened. Call it divine intervention. Or pure instincts. But the other morning I woke up in Los Angeles and decided to hop online and check out the Stud cash games. Since then, I have been playing 3/6 and 5/10 Stud on Full Tilt because the players are worse than the ones over at Poker Stars. That 10/20 Stud game on Stars is tough. I have been watching it but not quite ready to jump into that mix. Perhaps in a couple of weeks after playing a bit more and scouting out those players. The 5/10 Stud game on Stars is rather difficult. Although I held my own, I felt that there were times where I was one of the weaker players in that game.

My goal is to gain experience playing as much Stud cash games as possible, so I have been adding a Stud table or two to my daily feeding schedule. The Stud tables count as a "limit" game for Limit Happy Hour on Full Tilt, so I have been gobbling up double points. I have enough points for two Full Tilt bar stools now.

Over at Full Tilt, there is at least one 3/6 Stud table running and most of the time two. The 5/10 game doesn't run as often as I'd like. I played one session of 8/16 Stud and didn't do so hot. I lost 90% of the money on one hand. Flush over flush. Oh well.

On Saturday night, I spotted Sweet Svetlana at the 5/10 Stud table. Full Tilt made the 2008 WSOP Ladies Champion a red pro. Jesus. Who isn't a red pro these days? Well, me and the rest of the unwashed masses.

I won my biggest pot of the weekend in a 5/10 Stud game with rolled up Jacks. I started out with (Jd-Js)-Jh and was jamming all the way to the river. I got three-bet on fifth street with my opponent showing 7d-5s-9c. I had to put him on a straight. I'd find out later via the hand history that he was raising with a pair and a gutshot and made his straight on seventh street. Lucky for me, I boated up when I caught running Aces on sixth and seventh to drag the monsterpotten.

I also played 5/10 Stud with a red pro that I never heard of before... and I cover poker for a living. Seriously, is Full Tilt putting out Craigslist Ads for red pros or something?

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

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Lime Tossing

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

Sometime last summer, Otis and I invented a game called Lime Tossing. Basically it was two bored gambling junkies looking for action on anything.

Otis and I had a tradition during assignments where we would get a beer at the start of the final level of play that night. In Monte Carlo, the surly somniferous French waiters served us room temperature Heineken, while the barkeeps in the hallway at the Rio kept Coronas on ice for us.

You know the drill. Get a Corona. Get a lime. Not being one to waste a lime for waste's sake, we tried to come up with a way to get an additional use out of the lime instead of just squeezing it for it's tart juices.

That's when lime tossing was invented. As we stood on the top of a stairway leading out to the dealer's tent, there was an ashtray/trash can at the bottom of the stairs. That was our target. Wagers were made on various expected outcomes such as hitting the trash bin, landing it on the ash tray part, or getting it inside the bin.

This summer, there was a table at the bottom of the stairs. We'd try to hit the table as we gambled ungodly sums of money on lime tossing.

Here's just a tease...

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

Monday, July 28, 2008

Las Vegas Poker

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

I actually played poker before I fled Las Vegas for the silicon-lush hills of Hollyweird. During the seven weeks of the WSOP, I did not play one hand of live poker. Zip. I limited myself to a couple of sessions of online poker and that was mostly Saturdays with Dr. Pauly appearances on PokerStars.

The only gambling fix over the previous two months included outrageous prop bets like lime tossing with Otis or sports bets on the NBA finals and the European soccer championships. Both ventures proved profitable. I avoided the pits. No Pai Gow. Zero craps. Blackjack? I have not played in years. Maybe that's why I left Las Vegas a winner?

* * * * *

Red Rock.

The day after the WSOP ended, Change100 and I were on an odd sleeping schedule. It was 8pm and she was sleeping. I was wide awake and headed to Red Rock to watch the baseball all star game. There was a wait for any NL games so I sat down at a 4/8 with a half kill limit table and kept an eye on the game as it went into extra innings. A couple of old timers at my table had bet on the all star game. Who bets on baseball all star games? Degenerates and action junkies. If I knew you could bet on it, I would have. Oversight on my part.

The game was exciting and it captured my attention as I folded and folded. There's a bad beat jackpot at all Stations Casinos sprinkled throughout Las Vegas. When I lived in Henderson (before Red Rock ever existed and before Green Valley Ranch added their poker room) with Grubby, we used to play at Sunset Station in their peculiar 3-6-9 limit game. Sunset was a part of the Station Casino junta which meant that all of the poker rooms in those casinos were linked up in a collective bad beat jackpot. Not only does the table win a massive share... if you are playing in any Station Casino when the jackpot hits, then you also get a piece of the pie.

Every day that the jackpot is not won, the qualifying hand drops which means that the poker rooms get jam packed as the jackpots soar. It was hard to get a seat on those days and guys nearly pissed themselves because they didn't want to miss out just in case the hand hit when they were taking a leak.

It took me a while to adjust playing in the bad bead jackpot games at the Station Casinos. I opened up my hand selection and played any pair and any suited connectors. Never know when you'll get lucky and have quads versus a straight flush situation.

On that night, with the all star game on in the background, I did my best to tilt the locals. I got one guy all hot under the collar when I played 5h-3h on the button to a raise and re-raise in front of me. In all fairness, I capped it. I flopped a flush draw and gutshot. I made a straight on the turn. There was an Ace on the board as well and I won the pot. My opponent mucked and he muttered something about getting his Jacks cracked by ace-rag. That's when I tabled my 5h-3h.

"You called two raises with that?" he said with a quiver in his voice and launched into a rant about how awful of a player I was.

Usually I just shrug my shoulders or give them the stink eye. Since I had been chatty with my end of the table and talking a bit, I was in a chipper mood.

"I don't care what kind of cards you play or don't play," I said. "I'm here to win myself and our table that juicy bad beat jackpot."

That's when a few locals stood up for me.

"Don't knock the kid for trying to make us some money," one guy barked in my defense.

Later that night, I actually made a straight flush, but with 9c-6s. I flopped the OESFD and got there on the turn.

* * * * *


I like being the unknown guy at the table. On the Strip, I dress like a tourist. I drink beer instead of water. I never do chip tricks. I act like a mark.

I like to watch. I observe. That's what I do as a writer. I watch people. After seeing the world's best poker players compete for seven straight weeks, all of that soaks up into my brain while I'm on the job as a tournament reporter. All of that information comes to fruition when I'm at the poker tables.

I can't explain it, but my Spidey senses are at full peak in the weeks after the WSOP. In the previous three summers, I cleaned up at the tables. I always extended my time in Vegas to take advantage of my heightened senses.

It's almost impossible to study Allen Cunningham or that random Scandi with the perfectly messy hair and trying to figure out what they're holding as a monster pot develops in front of you. I always try to guess what they have. I'm right a small percentage of the time. It's not an easy task. After all, those are world class pros.

But when you sit down at a 1/2 NL table at the Venetian, reads and tells are oozing out of people's eyes, ears, mouth, and noses. You know when people hit hands. You can sniff out their weak bluffs and pick off continuation bets.

I was a little rusty and had not played live poker since the WSOP began. But my instincts were hyper-sensitive. I made a couple of Kenny Tran-esque calls including one with bottom pair because I knew the guy missed a flush draw.

I also picked the right folks to bully around. After only one orbit I had a general sense of how each player played and more importantly... the differences in how they perceived themselves, how they projected themselves at the table, and the reality of who they actually were.

Seat 1 was a dealer. He was from out of town and just finished dealing at the Venetian deep stacks events. Most dealers are skilled players but they are action junkies which is their downfall. They play too many pots and make too many bad calls. Seat 1 was a calling station and not going to get pushed off a pot.

Seat 2 was a greasy local in a sweat suit. He looked like he should be sitting in the cheap seats at Aqueduct race track clutching a fistful of losing tickets and chomping down a stale cigar awaiting for the fourth race to go off. He was weak-tight. But cagey too. He limped with big hands like pocket Queens and Big Slick. If you pushed him around, he would only fight back if he had something. I stole a couple of pots from him and got the hell out of the way when he came over the top.

Seat 3 was the foreign guy. Uzbekistan. Kyrgyzstan. Lickatwatistan. He would play a hand and get up and wander around the room leering at the hot massage girls. I did not blame him. They were sultry and sexy and I wanted a lap dance. I wanted a sensual below the belt rub and not just a neck rub. I actually got jealous when a guy at an adjacent table hired one of the girls for a twenty minute massage. I almost went on Otis tilt and spewed all of my chips.

Seat 4 was a local with a golf tan. Also weak-tight and he did not say on word to me the entire time I sat there. He also didn't chop. A local who didn't chop? I got pissed and raised him when he limped for $1 in the small blind. He could have saved $1.

Seat 5 was your hero. I was killing time before I met some friends for dinner at David Burke.

Seat 6 was a tourist with a short stack and a knack for drinking Coronas very fast.

Seat 7 was the birthday boy. The well groomed kid turned 21 and had a thick Southern accent. North Georgia? G-Vegas? He decimated jack and cokes like John Daly on the back nine at Winged Foot. And he talked loudly even though he thought he was whispering. A guy who can't see straight can be an extremely profitable opponent he can be a boil on your ass.

Seat 8 was the table captain. Twenty-something girl who had recently moved to Las Vegas from her Pacific Northwest enclave. She wore oversized sunglasses more suited for a Hollywood starlet and must have said she played poker for a living a dozen times in the first ten minutes that I sat down. She thought she was hot shit and I drowned out her running commentary of the game since her overconfidence was an obvious beard for her lack of self-esteem. She did plenty of chip tricks and tried to run over the table with raises and snide remarks. Bullies don't like to be bullied. I three-bet her a couple of times and she quickly retreated, but not without a verbal barb. She always had to get the last word in. Don't ya hate that? I had a great comeback that I didn't want to say. It would have been too cruel. "You're a 'pro' today, but within a month you'll be broke and dealing $20 tourneys at Circus Circus."

Seat 9 was the retired Vietnam vet who was in town with his wife and kids. He knew how to play but he lacked casino poker experience. He constantly string bet. He was the perfect guy to overbet on the river because he'd call... "just to keep you honest." Thanks for donating.

Benjo played at a 1/2 NL table nearby. We were both waiting to meet up with our friends for dinner. I looked up and Paul "X-22" Maigrel walked past my table and sat down at Benjo's table. About twenty minutes later, I had cashed out of my game and went over to drag Benjo out of his game.

As I walked up to the table, Benjo and X-22 were involved in a pot. Benjo check-raised him on a King flop with two clubs. X-22 muttered something and folded Jacks. Benjo showed him the semi-bluff with Qc-9c. X-22 was not happy. Benjo racked up his chips and that pissed him off even more.

"Where you going with my money?" said X-22.

"I'm going to dinner," said Benjo.

"I'll remember you!" shouted X-22.

I can't confirm this because my French is awful, but I swore I heard Benjo call X-22 a monkeyface cumstain.

* * * * *

Treasure Island.

We were shitfaced drunk and arrived at 10:30 for their 10pm tournament. It was full but we were alternates including two chicks with fake boobs. Michalski was the first one seated. He busted out before any of us could sit down. I built up a stack early before both Benjo and Change100 were out. I was eliminated shortly after the first break. I made a move with Jd-10d and lost to 9-rag. MeanGene went deep but was the bubble boy.

After the tournament I headed to the Pai Gow tables with Change100. I went on a heater and won during my only Pai Gow session all summer. I wanted to play three hands at once but they wouldn't let me. I originally played my hands plus the dragon every time. I got permission to play the empty seat next to mine. However, I wanted the option to play the dragon. Three hands. Triple the Pai Gow action. The floor would not approve of my request. Alas, I had to only play two.

* * * * * *

Mandalay Bay.

I went to Burger Bar inside Mandalay Bay to meet Flipchip and Poker Prof for dinner. I also hung out with Schaubs who was in town for a wedding.

I killed some time playing 1-2 NL in a game that was a mixture of locals and tourists. I built up a stack early but almost got felted when my Aces lost to Kings. As soon as the dealer spiked the King of spades on the river, my opponent's eyes nearly out of his head. Talk about the biggest tell of the summer. I knew he made his set. He had been check-calling me on every street. He tried to check-raise me on the river. I didn't fall for that trap and checked behind. That saved me the rest of my stack.

* * * * *


And then there's the scorpion. Schecky killed a tiny scorpion when I was in Colorado. The scorpion gained entry from the sliding glass door that separated the backyard and pool area from the house. But Schecky got him before he could go deep in the house.

Schecky displayed the conquered carcass underneath a glass in the kitchen. The dead scorpion body looked shriveled up with the menacing stinger still in tact. That might have been the biggest break we caught at Scheckytown.

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

Sunday, July 27, 2008

APPT Satellites and Top 10 Referrals

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

The second season of the Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) kicks off in September in Macau. Spearhaded by Danny McDonagh and Jeffrey Haas and sponsored by PokerStars, the APPT has become one of the most successful tournament series outside of North America.

And the best part? The entry fees into APPT events are substantially lower (Macau is $3,200) than buy-ins into EPT events. Plus, the US Dollar is doing a lot better in Asia than it is in Europe.

Here's the schedule...
2008 APPT Schedule:
Macau, China - September 1-9, 2008
Seoul, South Korea - September 26-28, 2008
Auckland, New Zealand - October 9-12, 2008
Manila, Philippines - November ???
Sydney, Australia - December 2-7, 2008
For more details visit

APPT Macau will be played at the Grand Waldo Hotel & Casino.

Satellites to Macau are running right now on PokerStars. If you want a free trip to Hong Kong and Macau, an APPT satellite on PokerStars is your best bet.

If you do not have a PokerStars account, you can download the software here.

* * * * *

Traffic was exceptional during the last two months. Thanks to everyone who stopped by the Tao of Poker for your daily WSOP fix.

After two months in Las Vegas, I finally had a chance to look at the source of my traffic. People type bizarre shit into google and yahoo and find themselves here.

For example, here are five searches that made me nearly spit out my drink as I sifted through the logs...
Random Hilarious Tao of Poker Referrals...
1. horny older Indian women "F train" Queens
2. annette_15 foot fetish
3. Ylon Schwartz domestic dispute
4. can u get a blowjob from a stripper in the vip room at the glitter gulch
5. is there an instant pill or drink that will make your penis rock hard that really works even if you take medication?
I wish I could make this stuff up. OK, my question is... why would anyone want to get a hummer from a stripper at the glitter gulch?

Moving on...

I wanna say thank you to my Top 10 referrals over the last two months.
Top 10 Tao of Poker Referrals...
1. LasVegasVegas by FlipChip & Poker Prof
2. Wicked Chops Poker
3. Tao of Pauly
4. Pokerati
5. Shaniac
6. Iggy
7. Benjo
8. Pot Committed by Change100
9. Mean Gene
10. Aaron Gleeman
Over the last two months, I was fortunate to get several heady links from Fark, NBCSports, Busted Coverage, and Wall Street Fighter. Thanks for the love!

Special thanks to my favorite Wall Street blog, Dealbreaker, especially Joe Weisenthal, who linked me up several times during the WSOP. Thanks bro. Keep up the stellar work on Dealbreaker where I get most of my late night financial reading fix. I say late because by the time I'm going to bed on the Left Coast, Joe has been up several hours plugging away to get the Opening Bell posts up by 7am.

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

Saturday, July 26, 2008

NoTalentTom Wins Saturdays with Dr. Pauly

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

Wait, have I been running Saturdays with Dr. Pauly for a half of a year? Yeah, it's true. For Week 26, we got 30 runners and the top 5 were paid prize money.

For the first time in two months, I could play without any distractions. CheckRaise70 was Gigli and busted out on the first hand. Derek flopped a set and cracked his Aces. Ouch. Derek doubled up on the first hand and would hold the chiplead for the majority of the tournament.

Derek cracked Aces again a couple of hands later. He flopped a Broadway straight and busted bingofan and Change100, who held A-A and flopped a set. Derek was up to 6.3K.

I went out in 27th place. I became another one of Derek's victims when he busted me. Battle of the blinds. I flopped bottom two. He flopped top two. We got it all in on the flop. I couldn't improve. Derek was up to 8K in chips in the first level after busting the first four players.

Atthe first break, Derek was the chipleader with 16 to go. He dipped to 7.4K with FamilyIce not far behind.

Lizbee bubbled off the final table in 10th place.

The final table players included...
Seat 1: MrMojo (5446 in chips)
Seat 2: MadameMojo (4237 in chips)
Seat 3: Derek (12510 in chips)
Seat 4: dredful (545 in chips)
Seat 5: PokerPhishin (1160 in chips)
Seat 6: NoTalentTom (8675 in chips)
Seat 7: chompy_jr (2648 in chips)
Seat 8: boscodon (7875 in chips)
Seat 9: lightning36 (1904 in chips)
With over 12K in chips, Derek was the chipleader at the final table.

Action started out quick. Three bustouts in the first five hands. Derek took out lightning36, but MrMojo added ammo when he took out chompy_jr.

PokerPhishin took bubble boy honors and finished in 6th place. MrMojo busted him.

Derek continued to run over the table and added to his stack. He busted Madame Mojo in 5th place to rush past 23K... more than 50% of the total chips in play.

Derek spewed some chips and MrMojo took out last week's winner Boscodon. With three to go, Derek held a slight lead, but all three had about 15K in chips. That's when NoTalentTom shifted gears and snatched the lead.

MrMojo was eliminated in third place. He got his money in with a set of Queens against NoTalentTom's flush draw. NoTalentTom got there and MrMojo headed to the rail.

When heads up play began, NoTalentTom had a 3 to 1 lead over Derek.

On the last hand before the break and the fifth overall hand of heads up play, it was all over. Both players were involved in a raising war preflop. They got it all in with...

HermWarfare: As-Kd-8d-6s
NoTalentTom: Jd-10c-9c-9h

Derek flopped a pair, but NoTalentTom turned a straight. It was good enough to win. He won the pot and the tournament as Derek busted out in second place.
Week 26 Money Winners:
1. NoTalentTom - $120
2. HermWarfare (Derek) - $72
3. MrMojo - $48
4. Boscodon - $36
5. MadameMojo - $24
Congrats to NoTalentTom for the victory. Thanks to everyone who played this week. And special thanks to everyone who pimped the event.

See you next weekend.

Don't forget about the Tao of Poker's 5th Birthday celebration on PokerStars on August 5th, where someone will win a free $5K seat to a Borgata event in September.

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

Friday, July 25, 2008

Poker in L.A.: The Chevoit Hills Home Game

By Pauly
Hollywerid, CA

There's someone in my head and it's not me. The poetry of Roger Waters has invaded me.

Before I moved out of Scheckytown, he invited me to play in his home game in Los Angeles. There we were. Both standing in Las Vegas. Less than five minutes from the closest poker room (at Red Rock). Yet we were both excited to be playing poker... in another city.

I wrote about this on Tao of Pauly how a couple of weeks ago, Schecky asked me when I was going to move out of Scheckytown. I guessed that it would be the end of July. I had scheduled a quick trip to Colorado for a music festival right after the WSOP ended, but that vacation was a mere four days. I had to determine how long I would stick around Vegas once I got back from Colorado. Originally, it was a week to ten days. But over the last week, that number shrank dramatically.

On Tuesday morning, I sat in the Denver airport with Change100. We decided that we'd moved out on Wednesday morning. Once we landed at McCarran airport, she changed her mind. We altered our plans and decided to leave Vegas. Immediately. And drive back to the plastic hills of Hollyweird.

I showed up in Las Vegas two months ago traveling light with my backpack, laptop bag, a printer, and a portable putting green. I left with a lot more shit. I always accumulate things. Poker stuff. Schwag. Hats. T-shirts. Bags. Books. Magazines. DVDs. Hats. Cardcappers. Not to mention hundreds of business cards. I have small boxes sitting somewhere in New York City that are labeled 2005, 2006, and 2007. Inside are hundreds of business cards that I collected during that summer at the WSOP.

I grabbed an extra Poker News duffel bag and I shoveled in all of the goods that I accumulated in two months time. Within six hours of landing in Las Vegas, we were ready to bail Sin City. Like refugees fleeing a war torn region, we grabbed what we could and hit the road towards salvation. The City of Angels.

How fucked up is my life when I'm seeking shelter from the darkness of Las Vegas in sunny smog-ridden Los Angeles? The scary thing is... I couldn't wait to see the palm trees that lined Change100's block in the slums of Beverly Hills. The lunatic is in my head.

I cannot explain it, but when I'm in Las Vegas, I have very little desire to play poker. But as soon as I leave, I get the jones. The itch. I want the action. Many moons ago, I'd jump right out of bed because I knew that I'd get to play poker that day. Sure I had to wait 10-12 hours after I woke up to play, but the excitement, anticipation, and adrenaline were all there. That subsided over the years. I lost the enthusiasm. The flame was nevermore.

However, when I woke up on Wednesday. I got some of that old feeling back. The spark. I was excited to play. And it wasn't for the stakes, money, or competition. It was a home game. A social function. I was there to have fun and joke around and get drunk and hang out. I forgot about that pleasant aspect of poker. That's what originally drew me in. The community. Gathering. People sitting next to people. Talking. Having fun. That's social progress compared to the isolation of online poker or the anti-social and ultra-competitiveness of live poker tournaments.

I started out playing poker as a social activity. The evolution of online poker transformed my journey into an isolated experience. I'm sort of trapped in an extremely solitary and lonely existence as a writer. And since I write about online poker, it seems as though I'm a prisoner in a cell. Screaming into the void. Lock the door and throw away the key.

Schecky's home game rotates between the houses of different friends in the LA area that he's had for two decades. Since both he and Jen Leo were away for two months, they were excited to play. Change100 and I were fortunate enough to get the invite. She had played in the game a couple of times. I only played once before... about a year ago. That night it was a combination weekly home game/puppy birthday party where I stepped in dog piss, busted a ninety-year old woman, and got my aces cracked by a girl who was still in high school.

And you know what? I had a fun time.

That's why I looked forward to the home game. It was a Hollywood cliche... hosted at a multi-million dollar house, with not one but three Lexuses (or is it Lexi?) out front, and a catered dinner with organic pizza and hipster food stuffs from trendy Ketchup like kobe sloppyjoes and kobe beef hotdogs.

The best part of the home game is that it is inside someone's home. That week it was Mark's crib. Good music and a random dog darting underneath the poker table. That's what I missed about the Blue Parrot back in NYC...Ferrari's two cats running around and one of them constantly sitting on the ledge of an open window and we'd be taking action to see if the cat actually leaped to its death from 17 stories up.

We had eleven players. Freezeout. Everyone crammed on one table. A bottle of Peroni left a sweat ring next to my chips. I couldn't even tell you how many we had to start out. I never bothered to ask, nor count my stack when I sat down.

The cast of characters was worth the price of admission. An infomercial guru. Former NBA player. A ninety-year old woman. A pregnant travel writer. Former child actor. A foul-mouthed rabbi knocking back Kettle One and cranberry juice in a pint glass. And some dude with a goatee who used to chase after a faded Scott Weiland as he ran naked down 3rd Street.

I won two big pots in the first hour and jumped out to the chip lead. I biggest pot I dragged was with Ac-Qc when my top pair and a busted flush draw was good. And then I squeezed another pot with 10s-5s.

Then it got ugly. I misplayed my Big Slick and limped UTG. Change100 raised and I called along with one other player. Before the flop was fanned out, I reached for ammo. The big blind checked and I fired out the pot despite missing it completely. Change100 moved all in for only a little bit more. I had her way covered and called. She out flopped me with 6d-3d. Ouch. I couldn't improve and coughed up the chiplead.

The next level, my big slick lost to Q-J. I busted out in 11th place. Gigli. Me. It didn't matter. I had fun. I also got to deal a bit. I gave out some nice hands. Like Kings and Aces. Jen Leo got a couple.

Change100 cashed, but took third place wen the rabbi busted her. The drunker he got, the filthier his mouth got. He said some classic lines, such as...

"May the fleas of a hundred camels infest your armpits."

"Fuckin' bitch ass bitch ass BITCH!"

The drunken-foul-mouthed rabbi beat Jen Leo heads up to win. Although I busted out first and played the least amount of poker, I might have had the most fun. I left invigorated to rediscover the parts of poker that I once cherished so dearly.

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

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tao of Poker's 5th Birthday Celebration

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

The Tao of Poker turns five in August. I never would have envisioned what has transpired the last five years. It's been an incredible and amazing run. I've met several sensational people through Tao of Poker, stumbled into a career as a poker writer, and traveled the world.

And of course, none of that would have been possible without you... the reader.

In order to celebrate the Tao of Poker's fifth birthday, I'm throwing a private tournament on PokerStars with an interesting twist... the first place finisher will also win two nights at the Borgata Hotel & Spa in Atlantic City and they will also gain an entry into a $5,000 buy-in NL tournament during the Borgata Poker Open on September 12th.

That's my way of saying... "Thanks for the support over the last five years."

I'm not joking. $5,000 seat plus two nights in my favorite casino in Atlantic City. All you have to do is win the Tao of Poker birthday tournament. Entry is just $5. Tournament ID is #97513073. Tournament name is Tao Poker 5th B-Day.

Seriously. For $5 you get a chance at winning a $5,000 seat at the Borgata Poker Open plus two nights in the hotel. That tournament is on Friday, September 12th starting at 11am.

Here are the specific details...
1. Tao of Poker birthday tournament is open to all readers.
2. No chops whatsoever for the Borgata Package ($5,000 seat + two nights).
3. The 5K seat is a must play.... meaning you cannot take the cash. You have to play the event on September 12th.
4. Package does not include transportation. You have to find your own way to Atlantic City. So if you live in Sweden and win the seat, you are responsible for airfare.
5. Most importantly... have fun.
I should clarify something... there will be normal prize money. The Borgata Package is in addition to the regular prize pool. So the first place winner has a shot at a decent payday in addition to a $5,000 seat and two nights at the Borgata.

The Tao of Poker birthday tournament will feature some of your favorite bloggers and Tao of Poker characters from past, present, and future. Perhaps even a pro or two might show up.

Mark your calendars. August 5th. 9pm ET. PokerStars. Tao of Poker 5th Birthday Celebration. One faithful Tao of Poker reader will walk away with a $5,000 seat to a Borgata Poker Open tournament plus two nights in the swanky Borgata Hotel & Spa which has the most comfortable beds in the world.

Click here for more information on the Borgata Poker Open starting September 3rd. And yes, I'll be covering the entire tournament series (including the 5K event) for the Borgata poker blog with Friedman and Tropical Steve.

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

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The 2008 WSOP: Tao of Poker Review

By Pauly
Denver, CO

Here's links to all of the 2008 WSOP daily recaps that I posted on Tao of Poker..
Day 1: Welcome Back to the Zoo... The 2008 WSOP has reached the pinnacle of greed and poker has become another casualty of the capitalistic mutation of all things cool in the world. If something is cool and deemed cool by the people participating in it, it's just a matter of time before the misanthropes swoop in and ruin everything pure about the game.

Day 2: 4,000 Donkeys to the Rescue?... There's the housing crisis and mortgage fiasco that has infected the Las Vegas valley. Several major construction projects have been delayed due to financing issues, such as Trump's latest vanity project a condo-hotel on the North Strip. He planned on building a second tower, but even Trump is having trouble raising capital. And the future of the $3 billion Cosmopolitan Casino project has yet to be determined since their developer defaulted on a $760 million loan from Deutsche Bank. Yeah, Vegas is in a bit of trouble and 4,000 donkeys are not going to save a sinking ship.

Day 3: Medic Cockblocks Bloch and Full Tilt Antonius... Mike Sexton. Patrik Antonius. Andy Bloch. Kathy Liebert. The Unabomber. Chris Bell. SowersUNCC. amak316. Nenad Medic. It reminded me of a final table from 2004 or 2005. And not like the final tables of the last couple of years where it was a bunch of unknowns, internet pushmonkeys, inbred nits, and the odd assortment of guys who said they were pros but who were really broke-ass mofos.

Day 4: Vultures and the First Mistake... knew one gal who worked marketing for Absolute Poker. Her sole job was to buy off final table players at the WSOP. She had two bags. One had stacks of cash. The other had Absolute Poker gear. Sometimes these negotiations get rough as online sites compete for players. All of this goes on behind the scenes during the hours leading up to the final table. That side of the business is cut throat, nasty, and is just pure anarchy. That's part of the reason why I have a bad feeling about the Final Table Delay. I know the ugliness that goes down the night before the final table. You can imagine all the shenanigans that will present itself during the months leading up to Main Event final table in November.

Day 5: Stakes and Shakes... with staking deals come a whole set of other problems. I've been staked and staked players in the past and it all comes down to a trust issue. Greed always fucks stuff up and that's what staking deals get a little hairy. During the first weekend of the WSOP, one somewhat popular bracelet winner owed another bracelet a six-figure make up. The guy who was stuck had a huge score at one of the PokerStars Sunday tournaments. He used some of his winnings to buy a new car and a trip to Hawaii with his girlfriend. The backer found out and was furious, while the slippery eel avoided him for three days until he got cornered in the hallway.

Day 6: Melting Eskimo's Igloo and Erick Lindgren Wins First Bracelet... Lindgren was one crazy muthafucka. And if he could transcend physical and emotional pain and surpass a rigorous challenge such as that death-defying golf bet, then he definitely had the necessary mental toughness to win a WSOP bracelet. He came close a couple of years ago and missed, but this year he managed to win his first bracelet against one of the toughest final tables in recent history. These days, you never know if you'll get a chance at making a final table, let alone winning a bracelet. Lindgren had his shot and followed through. He begin the final table fourth in chips. Although ZeeJustin held the lead for most of the final table, Lindgren jumped out to a slight lead once heads up pay began. It only took forty hands before Lindgren extracted the last of ZeeJustin's chips and he achieved his greatest moment in poker... a WSOP bracelet.

Day 7: Introducing... Tao of Pokerati, Tao of Five, and Billy Shears... Michalksi from Pokerati and I launched our first ever joint-podcasting venture called Tao of Pokerati. It's our very lazy and ghetto version of a podcast. Episode 1 is around three minutes.

Day 8: Trio of Final Tables, Vinnie Vinh Returns, and the Ghost of Brandi Hawbaker... Eight days into this year's WSOP, the headlines don't sound like something from a sleazy tabloid like Perez Hilton or Wicked Chops Poker. I guess the big story to start this year's WSOP was that there were three amazing tables and Erick Lindgren won his first bracelet. And the fact that the players haven't been bitching about Harrah's deserves some merit. Despite some minor ruffles, the first week of the WSOP rolled along rather smooth. As one pro said, "It took them four years but they finally got their shit together."

Day 9: The Rise of Vinnie Vinh and the First 2008 Ten Bracelet Winners... There were two faces of Vinnie Vinh. One was the masterful poker player who stayed at the front of the pack for most of Day 1 and Day 2 until he late night when he accumulated more chips to end Day 2 as the chipleader. Then there was the erratic side of Vinnie Vinh with random outbursts which obviously stem from whatever inner demons he's wrestling with. Individually the incidents were all minor such as standing up, muttering incoherent things, laughing fits, and other peculiar behavior at the tables. Most of the time I watched Vinh, he appeared in control of the monster within.

Day 10: The Archie Karas Comeback and Vinny Vinh's Final Table...
To final table any WSOP event is a major milestone. To achieve that daunting task under the close scrutiny of fans, media, players, Harrah's suits, and thick-necked thugs seemed almost impossible, yet Vinny Vinh pulled it off. It's a sad and tragic story in one sense and a total reminder of the heinous side of poker and addiction. The Vinny Vinhs, Stu Ungars, Eskimo Clarks, and Archie Karases of the world betrayed their craft. They were given a cherished and rare gift from the poker gods and squandered away their talents in a futile attempt to quench a thirst that can never be satisfied whether it was drugs, sex, craps, booze, or flipping coins.

Day 11: GLOW... It's totally asinine for men to try to buy into an event that is specifically designed for women. I cringe when I hear people bitching and moaning about that. It's like hearing about a flat chested chick trying to sue Hooters because she didn't get hired. The place is called "Hooters" for a reason. The Ladies Only event has the word "only" added for a reason.

Day 12: A Day in the Life of Phil Ivey... The game started right around 6pm. For the next three hours, Ivey could not sit still. He stood up a lot, paced back and forth, and constantly checked his crackberry. I had never seen so much emotion out of Ivey before. His usual expressionless face that was cool as a tenor sax solo from John Coltrane had disappeared and replaced by intervals of anxiety.

Day 13: Unlucky 13 and Mike Matusow Wins Bracelet... Sure, $537,857 was up for grabs. But for some of those guys that money is chump change. It wasn't about the money. It was about pride and bracelets. You see, pre-boom bracelets didn't really mean too much until the media starting hyping it up. We all know about how short-term luck affects poker tournaments, but bracelets are an indication of success over the long haul. The five or six guys who currently have the most bracelets have been regarded as some of the greatest poker players of all time.

Day 14: Daniel Negreanu Wins 4th Bracelet, Phil Ivey Loses 200K Prop Bet, and Vanessa Selbst Beats Aussie Strip Club Owner for PLO Bracelet... The moment after Daniel Negreanu clinched the Limit Hold'em tournament and won his fourth bracelet, he thrust his arms in the air in celebration. He lofted them as high as he could for a few seconds before he dropped them and quickly reached for his mobile device in his pocket. He texted Phil Ivey to tell him to pay up.

Day 15: Tao of Five with Wicked Chops Poker... What I love the best about WCP is that they just don't give a shit what anyone thinks about them and that attitude is why they managed to succeed over the years. Dozens of ripoff sites and hack wanna-bes tried to "borrow" from the WCP model, but they have come and left, since none of them have the snarky wit and an amazing eye for talent. For the last four years, Wicked Chops Poker is among the first couple of sites I read everyday. Doesn't matter if I'm in Las Vegas, Sweden, New Zealand, or Hollyweird... I love Wicked Chops Poker.

Day 16: Archie Karas Makes Final Table, Italian Pirate Wins Bracelet, and 125 Pounds of Razz Fury... Pesactori is well on his way to becoming the greatest poker player from Italy. Ever. Valter Farina and John Spadavecchia are legends and a part of the old guard. Farina was the first Italian to ever win a bracelet and Spadavecchia is number one on the all-time money list. Both had been crushing games since Max was a little one playing football with his school mates in Milan. But with his second bracelet, Pescatori has the most bracelets out of the Italians. And by the end of the 2008 WSOP, Pescatori should take over #1 on the All Time money list for Italy.

Day 17: Pros Continue Dominance as Barry Greenstein and Kenny Tran Win Bracelets... Perhaps karma was in play tonight. The poker gods knew that the money won on Sunday would go to good use since Greenstein and Tran would be sharing the money with those less fortunate. If a young kid won it, he'd blow it all on strippers and blow and other material items. If a guy like TJ Cloutier or Archie Karas won, they money would get lost at the nearest craps table.

Day 18: Never Trust a Junkie... Action. The rush. The buzz. The sustained high. Doesn't matter the medium. Craps. Poker. Slots. Blackjack. Baccarat. Dog races. NBA games. Video poker. It's the anticipation of the outcome that gets everyone fired up. The moment of truth when life sizzles through your bloodstream and you're jacked up on so much adrenaline it takes you days and weeks and months to come down from the cosmos. The anticipation... the crest of the gambler's high... where nothing else matters as the entire world pauses during that millisecond before your fate is determined.

Day 19: Looking Through a Glass Onion... My inner action junkie is the size of Gary Coleman and wrapped up deep and deep inside buried behind so many layers of complicated phobias, addictions, and other unresolved mental health issues. It takes years and decades to peel off all of the excess layers before we get to the source. But if our souls were glass onions and you could peek through all the layers, we'd see the true essence of existence... and that's to constantly challenge and prove to yourself that you're truly alive. And gambling is one of those opportunities when ordinary activities take on a role of vital significance by simply wagering on the outcome.

Day 20: Scandi Ghosts, Degenadario, and the Tao of Deutschland... I first met Dario Minieri at the 2006 WSOP, when I covered the Main Event for PokerStars. I recall saying something to Otis that some kid (who looks like he's 15, doesn't even shave, and may or may not be a girl) had a shitload of chips. Cardplayer had the official media coverage that year and listed him as Dario Roma. Almost, but not quite. He was Dario Minieri and hailed from Rome, Italy. I asked him his name and he said in a very dramatic and flamboyant voice, "I am Dario! Me English not so good."

Day 21: Donkeys, Pigeons, Possums, and Kangaroos... She could have 'big timed' it and blew off security by entering through the back door like Jen Tilly, Howard Lederer, and Phil Ivey have done many times before. Not for Kathy. She wanted to be treated like any of two thousand other players in the event. She also brown bagged her lunch instead of paying for overpriced kangaroo meat that they pass off as food in the Poker Kitchen. When you lather it in hot sauce and dip it in Ranch dressing it tastes just like chicken.

Day 22: Layne Flack Six Pack and the Luckiest Man... Anyone can get up on a soapbox and judge get on someone for being a drunk or a druggie. Unless you've been there you really don't know how much easier it is to give in to temptation than to make a stand and wrestle with those intoxicating demons. Everyone has a weakness. Puggy Pearson told Flipchip that "Every man has a leak." And if you are a vulnerable person living in a city like Las Vegas, it's only a matter of time before you self-destruct. Implode. Lose your mud. Dive into the abyss.

Day 23: The Killing Fields, Benyamine Wins First Bracelet, and the Corridor of Hookers... Location is the key to any successful business. That's why the Hooker Bar was such a popular hang out. But a few girls are hustling in the hallways leading up to the Amazon Room. That's what is great about that long corridor. Inside of thirty seconds you can crash a Mexican wedding reception, buy a cold overpriced personal pie from Pizza Hut, pick up a copy of Bluff Magazine, and negotiate a hummer from a hooker.

Day 24: Belgium Bracelets and Spanish Sundays... I barreled through the crowded casino on a mission. I weaved past the zombies anchored to the slot machines, and ran by the muppets at the craps tables, and rushed by the slow-moving tourists. I was nearly out of breath when I arrived at the window to cash my ticket. Nothing is sweeter in Las Vegas than cashing a winning sports bet ticket. It's a natural high especially after getting jacked up on adrenaline while sweating the results.

Day 25: Save the Eskimo, Save the World... Attention Hippies, The Eskimo needs your help. Put down the bong. Stop campaigning for Obama (Dick Cheney already rigged the November election, the Beijing Olympics, and the next two American Idols) and get your patchouli-smelling ass down the Rio Casino in Las Vegas because the Eskimo needs your help.

Day 26: The Bucket List, Dumb Hookers, and Phan 2.0... Benjo told me a hilarious story about how Bellagio hookers were trying to cash tournament chips at the cage. Apparently, a couple of horny and angle-shooting poker players removed $1,000 denomination tournament chips out of play. They used those chips to pay off hookers, who were not very bright and accepted the chips in return for sexual favors. Of course they did not read the fine print on the chips where it said it's not legal tender and only a tournament chip.

Day 27: HORSE - Day 1... You've seen those "feed the children" commercials where a bloated and emotionally high-strung Sally Struthers openly weeps for the cameras and guilt trips you into sending her foundation money after seeing photos of emaciated African kids covered in flies. For only the cost of a cup of coffee, you can feed all the starving children in the world. There are campaigns where you send $8 a month or roughly $100 a year. At that equation, one buy-in to the HORSE event could feed 500 starving children for one full year.

Day 28: Horse Day 2, The Procedure Part II, and More Existentialist Conversations with Strippers... Former gymnast. Majored in English at some college in Denton, TX. Got knocked up at 20 and dropped out of school. Had a botched back-alley abortion and can't have kids. Her step-father murdered her mother and knocked up her half-sister. She was a real life Jerry Springer episode gyrating on my lap and spilling Grey Goose all over my Ecco shoes.

Day 29: HORSE Day 3 - Texas Dolly... Shortly after midnight, with the camera happy blooming Friday night crowd on the rail, the grizzled gunslinger took over the chiplead with 27 players remaining in the $50,000 HORSE World Championship. With his trademarked white Stetson cowboy hat, Doyle Brunson was sitting plush with the biggest stack in the room and welcomed all challengers as he flashed a wry smile. One hour earlier, the legendary Texas Dolly limped past the press box with the assistance of his crutch. Brunson made his way out into the hallway and was besieged with autograph and picture requests from dozens of rabid fans who wanted a piece of their hero.

Day 30: HORSE Day 4 - Erick Lindgren and the Killing Floor... One side of the Amazon Ballroom was flooded in the carcasses of the losers in the $1,500 slaughterfest. Call them whatever. Donkeys. Emus. Pigeons. Fish. Pigs. Dogs. Rats. They were causalities and within hours of taking their seats, they ended up on the killing floor. When the survivors trudged through the HORSE area, they tracked donkey blood all over the carpet. Harrahs cleaning crews worked around the clock using an extra-strength extract from special Guatemalan fruit (previously used by porn stars in Hollywood in increase the distance of their cum shots) which helped erase the blemishes.

Day 31: Scotty Nguyen = Horsemaster... The agents were swarming. The media were circling. The backers were licking their chops. A couple of hookers strolled the hallways. Just another night at the WSOP. Around 1:30am, Lindgren made a heroic comeback to almost pull even with DeMichele and Scotty. That's when Scotty lost his shit for a full level. He was drunk and irritated. Happy Scotty was gone and Evil Scotty took his place. He was out in the deep end and he berated dealers and started to head down the path towards utter tiltdom.

Day 32: Whore's Horse Afterthought... If the UIGEA never gets overturn and the U.S. economy continues to go into the shitter, it's a matter of time before the Game Show Network shifts their programming philosophy and broadcasted cage matches live from Costa Rica where Erick Lindgren and Phil Ivey fight each other to the death and then the winner wrestles a grizzly bear with Doyle Brunson booking action. Those poker cage fights are a fusion of UFC Friday Night Fights meets a benzy-induced Philip K. Dick short story. Of course they are sponsored by PokerStars, where you can trade FPP points for a chance to wrestle an alligator. Otis will live blog the action.

Day 33: First 51 Bracelets and More Tao of Pokerati Poker Podcast... Yeah, this might be the year of the pro. Plenty of familiar faces and big names won bracelets this summer, including John Phan who won two. 51 bracelets were awarded to 50 different players.

Day 34: Bluff Party and the Stripper on Ecstasy... Then one honed in on me. Fantasia was her name. Nubile blonde from Texas. She rushed over and hugged me. I could tell by the way she was dancing and slurring the words to the Beastie Boys song Girls that she was deep into a ecstasy trip. Maybe two or three rolls. She gigled every time I touch the back of her neck. She gave me a lap dance or five. She was too wasted to keep track and only charged me for one.

Day 35: Main Event Day 1A - Cokeheads, Crybabies, and the Green Box Conspiracy... One incident happened in the men's room across from the Brasilia Room which I mentioned in the live blog. I overheard one guy sitting in one of the stalls and making odd sounds. I assumed that he was taking a rough dump because I thought I heard squealing in agony. Actually, he was sobbing and telling a loved one his bad beat story of how he busted out of the WSOP. Wow, that blew me away. A grown man brought to tears over one little poker tournament. There's no crying in poker! Alas, he was yet another helpless soul violently crushed in the existentialist meat grinder of the WSOP. If you want a happy hobby, try a ceramics class. If you want to have your balls shaved by a cheese grater every couple of hours, then poker is for you.

Day 36: Main Event Day 1B - Yawn... Varkonyi busted Phil Hellmuth at the 2002 WSOP main event. Hellmuth ranted and raved and said Varonkyi was an awful player. Yeah, some things never change. Hellmuth then made a ridiculous bet that if Varkonyi won it all, then he would shave his head. Well, Varkonyi won and everyone held Hellmuth to his word. At the end of that telecast of the final table, Hellmuth sat down and Becky Binion took an electric razor and shaved it all off as Gabe Kaplan tooled on him and Matt Savage milled around in the background and Devilfish was mugging for camera time.

Day 37: Main Event Day 1C and the Tao of Five with Flipchip... It felt like Ground Hog's Day. The third Day 1. 38th day in a row. My brain is/was/is/was fried. Anyway, the biggest field showed up so far at the WSOP world championship and when action ended on Day 1c, Harrahs dodged a bullet and got more entrants signed up than last year with one more flight to go.

Day 38: The Kitten Fields... The majority of their brethren never made it out alive and perished in the existentialist meatgrinder of the world series of sadism. That's why every PokerStars 'premium' schwag bag can be converted into a makeshift body bag. Poor Otis and Howard and Bartley scrambled across the killing floor every hour to retrieve the leftover carcasses from the plethora of online qualifiers. The bottom of the PokerStars shuttle bus was a makeshift morgue which Otis and his crew constantly filled up every inch with the leftovers. You could see the malnourishment in Otis' eyes. The sorrow. The misery. The agony. And you wonder why Otis writes such sad posts. He can't shake the post-traumatic stress syndrome of being the first on the scene after the initial slaughter. If you have to slosh around knee deep in the fish guts and animal intestines for 15 hours a day, you'd be in a somber mood as well.

Day 39 - Off

Day 40: Main Event Day 2A - Isadario... We are what we are... a gaggle of sex-crazed degenerate gamblers. But that's what I love about America... is that or founder fathers laid out the groundwork so that we can become what we choose to be without the government interfering in our lives. Fly to Vegas. Play in the WSOP. Get sucked out by a donkeyfish. Get wasted. Gamble until sunrise. Fuck a hooker. Eat a buffet. Piss next to Johnny Chan. Buy an ashtray. Buy a tube of cream for that rash you picked up. Good bye Vegas. See you next time.

Day 41: Main Event Day 2B - Formula of Donkey Liquification... You can drink beer while playing poker so it's not a sport. Scotty Nguyen. Men the Master. Minneapolis Jom Meehan. They all like a good cocktail at the tables. Sure, old school professional athletes drank during games like Night Tran Lane and Babe Ruth probably knocked back a cold one in between innings while he stuffed his face with hotdogs. Joe D used to smoke in the dugout and the bat boys used to make sure he had a lit ciggie waiting for him when he came off the field and into the dugout. But today? You couldn't see Pedro Martinez walk to the back of the mound, bend over, and take a huge pull off of a tallboy. I'd love to see Mikael Samuelsson do a shot of tequila on the bench before a line change. But that's just not gonna happen.

Day 42: Main Event Day 3 - Bubbles... An assortment of 1,307 people from all different areas of life... online pros, Vegas pros, amateurs, semi-pros, guys who are muppets who think they are pros, and straight up dream chasers... each walked into the Amazon Room with one thing on their minds... survive Day 3 and advance to Day 4. The simple goal? Be among the 666 players who cashed in the 2008 WSOP Main Event. Once you sign your slip at the end of Day 2 and bag up your chips, all you can think about is making it to the end of Day 3 to almost guarantee a $21K cash. And for online qualifiers or satellite winners, the rest of the WSOP is a freeroll. Almost all of their earnings are pure profit.

Day 43: Main Event Day 4 - Early to Bed and Iggy's Run... Once the cameras are in position, the producer tells the dealer to proceed. Not a floor person or Harrah's staff... but someone from ESPN. The big crowd attracts more people. Staff, players from adjacent tables, media reps. Even the occasional rule breaker who sneaks inside the ropes to check out the action. A massive circle engulfs the table. When the hand is over,one player is usually sent to his death, while all of the vultures disappear and flock to another table where a familiar situation is arising. It's almost like watching pigeons in the park peck and fight over a couple of crumbs. Throw the bread in one direction (all in and a call) and hundreds of pigeons (hungry media) will go apeshit and peck each others' eyeballs out just to grab a crumb. A morsel. Anything they can get their beaks on. As that song goes, birds of a feather are flocking outside.

Day 44: Main Event Day 5 - The Wretched Squall of Hellmuth and Matusow... I waited 44 days for the sure thing. The defining moment of the summer. The one incident that would set the 2008 WSOP apart from the previous four years that have blended into one long blurry flashback of bracelet winners, bad beat stories, excursions to strip clubs, binge drinking at the hooker bar, pot-bellied mulleted children running amuck at the Redneck Riviera, and lime tossing out back with a sad, tilty, and often suicidal Otis. I stumbled upon a story that could have wrote itself before I even got out of bed in the morning. Phil Hellmuth and Mike Matusow. At the same table. Right next to each other. With Hellmuth having position on Matusow. At the featured TV table in front of hundreds of drooling, blood-thirsty fans. They were starving lunatics. Broke dick swine. Some drunk on cheap swill. Others mentally imbalanced. And those were my friends. It was almost like the Romans waiting for the Christians to get tossed to the lions. The featured TV table was standing room only. The spectators were spilling out of the Beast Lounge with limbs dangling over metal rails waiting... waiting... for a meltdown. For a blowup. For the bloodshed.

Day 45: Main Event Day 6 - The Battle for Tiffany Michelle's Breasts... I would not want to be Tiffany Michelle right now. The entire fate of poker and all of Western Civilization has been thrust upon her supple shoulders. Should a 24-year old have that much pressure on her? Tiffany Michelle is poker's most marketable asset right now. Michalksi said that out of the last 27 players, she has the potential for the biggest "Moneymaker Effect." In three years, will I be writing about another poker renaissance in America and citing the "Tiffany Michelle Effect?" Come to think of it, that wouldn't be a bad thing. The poker world could use an influx of young women.

Day 46: Main Event Day 7 - Nonagon... I have seen what money does to people. It destroys lives. It tears friends apart. Too much money and it poisons your soul. Too little money and it makes you do desperate an unthinkable things. And during the pursuit of huge sums of money in the seven and eight figure ranges... your once astute judgment becomes clouded in the fog of war. Poker is a simple game. Played among friends, it can be one of the most entertaining experiences in life. But when poker is played in a tournament for millions of dollars in a forum where dozens and dozens of corporations can profit from it... things can get ugly. There is no longer white and black, just shades of grey. Working for four plus years in the poker industry taught me that the more money that is involved... the more complicated things can get.
* * * * *

Nothing can top my first WSOP in 2005, so it is hard to compare to that experience. However, the 2008 WSOP was my second favorite. I believe that the writing shows that fact.

That's it for now. Thanks to everyone for reading this summer and pimping the coverage.

FYI... ESPN airs the first episode of the 2008 WSOP tonight. Check local listings.

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

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Lost Tao of Pokerati Episodes - Fashion Report with Change100

By Pauly
Denver, CO

Or maybe, the title should be the "late" episodes of Tao of Pokerati? Michalski uploaded two episodes that are at least a week old.
Episode 28: Exit, Stage Tiffany

Description by Michalski: We're not done yet... still have a few more episodes to share with you, and Brian Balsbaugh and Oliver Tse our agents are in negotiations with French authorities over possible continuation of the show.

It's a 6-minute double-episode — that seems particularly timely with the benefit of hindsight was recorded from the dead-center of an emptied out Amazon room, shortly after Tiffany Michelle busted out in 17th place. Here Dr. Pauly and I survey the atmospheric damage as "the last hope" of the main event exits the building... and I argue that she was the only one of the final 27 players with true Chris Moneymaker potential — meaning her performance wasn't so much about her own abilities to win big cash as it was about the future of poker. Comparisons to Scotty Nguyen and college basketball as well, before one of your not-so-gracious hosts goes through severe WSOP separation anxiety.

Episode 28.5: Fashion Report (featuring Change100)

Description by Michalski: Dr. Pauly chats with Change100 (his personal fashion yogini) about Tiffany Michelle's attire before her Ultimate Bet patchwork became such a major wardrobe malfunction. It's sickeningly cute as this pokerblogging duo draws the fine line between rocker-chick chic and Tijuana hooker — and further fashion analysis tries to differentiate between the new-money stylings of Alexander Kostritsin, typical "online douchebag" and Mean Gene, and the poker-prep ways of Shronk and Brandon Adams.

Stay tuned for a few more lost/late episodes. You can always visit the Tao of Pokerati archives.

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

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Boscodon Wins Saturdays with Dr. Pauly

By Pauly
Denver, CO

Congrats to Boscodon. He's been a regular player over the last 25 weeks and won his first ever Saturdays with Dr. Pauly. Congrats!

26 runners this week and the top 3 got paid. Special guest was.... Shaniac! Thanks for playing bro.

As is with my busy schedule, I was unable to play. Sometimes I think that I actually do better when I post and fold. This week? Post and folded my way to 10th place and bubbled off the final table. I was partying it up at a music festival in Denver.

BiskoKid was the runner up last week and this week he managed to win Gigli honors

Hacker 59 bubbled off the money in 4th place.
Week 15 Money Winners
1. BoscoDon - $130
2. UrmaBlume - $78
3. MyLuckyGirls - $52
Congrats again to Boscodon! Thanks to everyone who played and pimped the event.

I will be in California next weekend and expected to play in the 26th week of Saturdays with Dr. Pauly. Wow, have we been running this contest for an entire year a half of a year?

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

Friday, July 18, 2008

Tiffany Michelle and Tony G Saga: Link Dump

One last bit on the latest Tiffany Michelle and Tony G and Ultimate Bet saga. Here's a cut and paste job of a couple of official statements and blog posts...

If you are like the three people who are late to the game, here's a refresher course. Read and/or listen to the following coverage of the saga...
The Battle for Tiffany Michelle's Breasts by Pauly (Tao of Poker)

Mo' Money, Mo' Problems: The Tiffany Michelle Story by Change100 (Pot Committed)

Ultimate Bet and Russ Hamilton by Nat (

Episode 28: Exit, Stage Tiffany (Tao of Pokerati)

Download Tiffany Michelle's interview on Poker Road Radio with Joe Sebok, Gavin Smith, and Court Harrington (right click and save as)
* * * * *

And now here's the juicy stuff where things started to get really ugly.
PokerNews Official Statement via Pokerati

Here's excerpts from Tony G blog post titled The Integrity of Poker...
While the game of poker is normally considered to be played across the green felt with chips in hand, the game encompasses a whole world of deals, situations, complexities, and extremes that are never placed in view on the felt. I am deeply distressed over a situation that I feel did not need to happen and it goes against the integrity and trust that I placed in someone that I considered to be a friend and an employee at and I need to air the events to help myself deal with what has just happened.

Just before the $1K re-buy event at the WSOP, I held a celebration at the Naked Fish and invited many of my friends, including Tiffany Michelle.

Tiffany brought Maria Ho and we had a lot of fun talking and relaxing away from the stress of the WSOP and the Rio. I told Tiffany that I really like what she had done at PokerNews over the last two years and I knew she could be a huge star. We talked about PokerNews putting her into the Ladies Event (that deal was already set) and I wanted to give her a one bullet shot at the $1K re-buy event. She was very happy. I didn't mention anything about her having to sign any paper work and we just agreed on the money terms.

We later had a PokerNews party at Bellagio. I took Tiffany to the VIP box and introduced her to Jeff Lisandro, Billy The Croc, and Jason Grey. Tiffany sat down next to Jeff and they really hit it off. About an hour later Jeff told me he wanted me to put Tiff in the main event. The main event had already started day 1A and Tiff could not get in and she desperately wanted to play. I spent some time talking to Jeff and told him I really couldn't afford to do that, we left it there. We kept talking and Jason got involved in the conversation. A little later, Jeff again said I should put Tiff in the main event and Jason backed him up. I told Jeff he should put some money up because even though Tiff is a good player, she is not someone I would normally stake in this event. I stake many players; Kirill Gerasimov because he is a great player and has made 8 WSOP final tables, Marcel Luske for the first time this WSOP since he is a great player and a great personality and ambassador for the game, those are a few but I know they are qualified to play in this tournament.

As I thought about the whole idea, I thought also about the value PokerNews would receive if Tiff were to make the final table. I really love the girl and she is a star to me, and a great entertainer but not qualified enough as a skilled poker player that I would stake in the main event and if I were to do that, her value would be 80/20 and I know that if she places, she is going to get a huge deal but before she's proven herself, no one would want to touch her with that big of an investment on unproven ground.

As I thought about it all, I said to Jeff that if he put up $4K, I would put up $6K but I would have all the rights to Tiff in terms of endorsement. I know Jason and Tiff both heard me say this. Jeff immediately said yes, that he would do it. I was under a lot of pressure right then because I had run out of cash and even had to borrow money to stake her. I told Tiff that she would have to sign a contract and I wanted it understood that I wanted the rights from anything that might come of her playing and placing in this event; at the time, it was kind of like buying a lottery ticket. I was pretty excited and pumped because I had 35 players in the main event and very high hopes that some of them would do very well and win, of course I was interested in what it would all mean to PokerNews in terms of traffic and new exposure. PokerNews is my dream and a very big part of my life. If I succeed, so does PokerNews, and if PokerNews succeeds, so do I.

The final result was that PokerNews paved the way for Tiffany Michelle's entrance into the main event. The deal was one third for me, one third for Jeff and one third for Tiff and she represents PokerNews.

The first part of the written contract starts like this:

"I, Tiffany Graham, agree that I am an official PokerNews sponsored player."

Unfortunately, my people did not get a water tight contract but that is a matter of deliberation. She is considered to be an official representative of PokerNews, and in all matters of honor and integrity, how can she discard her responsibility to PokerNews and step into a contract with someone else as their official representative? It's noted by others that Tiffany began by wearing PokerNews affiliated clothing and then stepped into Ultimate Bet attire, pretty much concealing her connection with PokerNews as the main event progressed.

When Tiff turned up with UB gear on day 5, it was a total shock to me and all of PokerNews management. You can compare all sides of this and decide for yourself but when I saw her, I was left speechless. I asked my people if she had signed the contract. For me contracts are 20/80 with 80% up to the person that signs up. Unfortunately we cannot enforce things easily via courts, especially with online poker since none of the online poker is based in the US nor does it appear to be a situation that will soon be remedied because the United States appears not to care about integrity and truth or protection for people that play online poker. Every player that has signed with any site could just say, "Go and jump, now I play for UB or Card Player or whoever I want so sue me!" It just isn't going to happen whether it's in the Bahamas or Costa Rica.

People, in principal, especially the people I've had dealings with in poker are honest and Tiff is the first one to break the online poker code - the poker code period, for that matter and drop the ball with me. Even if she did not sign anything, and we had just verbally agreed at the initial talk at the PokerNews party, where are her ethics in business deals?

I tried to call her and eventually got her on the phone. She told me that she couldn't talk to me, that I would have to talk to her agent Katie. I am really pissed. I can't sleep because I don't understand why she would do this to me. Where was Katie when Tiff need $10K to play the main event? Where was anyone at all, including UB, when Tiff needed to find a way into the Ladies' Event or the 1K re-buy event.

Before play on her last day, Tiff called me and I was so happy for her to have made it as far as she did. But I told her that no matter what, she couldn't wear the UB clothing. I asked her to please think about what she was doing to us, meaning her relationship with me and PokerNews, and she said she would think about it.

I keep wondering how Katie, Tiff's agent, would even consider doing this deal with Tiff and how Tiff would not think that her first responsibility for advice and planning should come from PokerNews. I had been working on putting a deal together for Tiff with PokerStars and they had just emailed me. I knew Tiff could become a huge star and I was going to allow her to do a deal that would protect PokerNews also for the main event. We had it all set with PokerStars and she was going to get millions out of it with at least $1M in buy-ins no matter where she finished in the main event. I know that with UB she did not even get a signed contract and I believe Tiff's agent does not have any direct contacts with big sites and UB was her agent's only choice. We asked Annie Duke to get Tiff to pull the gear and Annie agreed. And then Tiff came out with the UB logos all over her for the final devastating day of her main event. UB said that Tiff chose to wear it.

I am not a money hungry person and I don't think about how much I can make but I can truthfully say that on the last few hands I wanted Tiff to bust. I wanted this to end. I felt sick. When she busted It was a huge relief and closure of the situation.

I have never sued anyone and I don't like using my energy on negative things. The court would be the one that decided if she broke a contract with me but I don't like using my energy on negative things. I believe that the time it would take for me to go after her and the hard feelings that would build because of it, that I would lose so much of my good energy that I am not going to prosecute her.

I have a message for Tiff: you are 24 and you have made a horrid mistake. You let me down. You can't live your life like this. I am very hurt that you came out with UB and you could not call me to say, "Hey, here is a deal and this is what I want to do, what do you think?"

Tiff you're off the hook with this, it's over. I have said all I want to say about this.
* * * * *

And here's Tiffany Michelle's official statement...
Tiffany Michelle Official Statement - Thursday, July 17, 2008

It is with great sadness that I've had to see my accomplishment of finishing 17th in the WSOP Main Event clouded by slanderous accusations and inaccurate information. I have been humbled by the overwhelming support from friends, fans and the media and for their sake as well as mine I feel as if I must respond and bring clarity to the situation.

There is no denying the positive press and exposure I brought Pokernews by wearing their logo and being their representative during the 2008 World Series of Poker main event. After such a successful series, I am greatly dismayed by Pokernews' subsequent actions. No one has ever questioned my integrity before this and I am so distressed that Pokernews is using their powerful public forum to spin such a negative recounting of the facts of what occurred during the final two days of the main event.

As we all know, it is standard practice for players to wear multiple logos during the main event. Pokernews was aware of this, having placed their logos on a number of players with sponsorship deals with other companies. Throughout the World Series I saw several players wear the Pokernews logo alongside the logos of online card rooms such as Pokerstars and T6. This makes it very clear that Pokernews supported this practice as a rule and were not against players wearing their logo in conjunction with the logo of an online card room. Like many other people, I wore multiple logos but in no way diminished the presence of Pokernews in doing so.

Unfortunately in this instance, Pokernews suddenly felt that I was in violation of my backing deal by wearing another logo. I have a written contract that has been reviewed by legal counsel – and it is very clearly a non-exclusive contract meaning that while I was expected to wear the Pokernews logo – I was in no way prevented from wearing any other logo. Furthermore Pokernews did not possess any power to make, advise or negotiate any kind of logo or sponsorship deal that came about via my playing the main event. In light of recent allegations by Pokernews, I have had this contract reviewed again by legal counsel to reconfirm my stance – that I in no way was in violation. It was never even said to me verbally until after the fact that there was an expectation of exclusivity. Even in my previous dealings with Pokernews, as their On-Camera Host I have made a point to never agree to any kind of exclusivity with their company as advised by my talent manager. The first I heard of Pokernews' disapproval to me wearing the UB logo was after I already had it on and was playing on the featured table.

It was unfortunate that while I was working hard to try to win the main event (and in so doing help to further promote Pokernews) I was chastised by Pokernews representatives at all hours of the day and night for wearing a second logo. Despite my repeated requests that they go through my manager and let me just concentrate on playing, they insisted on contacting me directly, greatly upsetting me during the most important weekend of my life. These representatives of Pokernews kept repeatedly telling me they had nothing but 'my best interests at heart' yet I felt bombarded by several parties trying to control my decisions and pressure my actions.

A fact that is known to Pokernews is that I was approached by many online poker sites wanting me to represent them during the last few days of the event; however I chose to work with UltimateBet. Tony G even quotes in his BLOG "I had been working on putting a deal together for Tiff with PokerStars and they had just emailed me. I knew Tiff could become a huge star and I was going to allow her to do a deal that would protect Pokernews also for the main event". The fact that Pokernews was willing to work with PokerStars on a joint deal says it all – the contract was NONEXCLUSIVE.

I am a grown woman and I can decide for myself who I choose to associate myself with. That should not be Tony G's decision. Just because Tony G. backed me in the event (and profited quite nicely by doing so) does not mean that he should be able to control or profit from any logo or sponsorship deal I might make or have any say in how I handle my career. I have been around poker a long time and it's widely known that a backer has no say or cut of a player's sponsorship or logo deal. Again, I had seen several Pokernews sponsored players wearing online card room logos already so clearly the backing deal and the logo deals were separate for every other player wearing Pokernews. Why would it be different just for me?

In the end, I completely stand by my decision and I feel that UltimateBet was the one site that treated me with the respect and dignity deserving of someone in my stressful situation. Throughout the whole event they were insistent on wanting me to just concentrate on my play and were clear that the decision in the end was mine and I should do what I felt was best for me.

It is unfortunate that Pokernews has taken the step of publicly accusing me of breaching their contract when I have been scrupulous in fulfilling my obligations. I have always felt that disputes like this should be handled privately and in this case using such a broad reaching platform to air such a dispute seems really inappropriate to me. Still, I want to say how much I appreciate the opportunities that Pokernews has given me. I am deeply grateful to Jeff Lisandro and Tony G for backing me in the event and giving me this opportunity to play in the most exciting event of my life.
* * * * *

I dunno if I said this, but for the record, I have worked with Tiffany on and off for the last two years. Deep down she's a sweet person and that's why it's sort of hard to see her at the center of all of this drama. Despite all of the circumstances, I was rooting for her to go all the way to the final table. Maybe in some ways it's best that she didn't get that close. Imagine the shit storm and PR nightmare that would have happened if all of this drama got dragged on for three months.

The hardest part for me was seeing so many people that I have worked with and worked for make horrible decisions as these events transpired. It's like watching a car wreck unfold and there's nothing you can do about it except turn your head and look away. In a perfect world, all of this stuff would have be resolved behind closed doors.

I expect that this will be my last post on the Tiffany Michelle, Tony G, and Ultimate Bet saga. I have written about this subject at length and there's nothing more for me to add... at this time.

I'm heading to Colorado for the weekend. Poker and Las Vegas will be the last thing on my mind.

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