Sunday, August 31, 2008

More Flipchip Photos

By Pauly
New York City

Flipchip posted a collection of Sunday Photos over at LasVegasVegas. Check it out!

And don't forget about Flipchip's extensive photo galleries.

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

Saturday, August 30, 2008

ValpoProf Wins Saturdays with Dr. Pauly

By Pauly
New York City

We had a holiday weekend version of Saturdays with Dr. Pauly. Despite everyone grasping at the last breaths of summer, we had a decent turnout. Special guests this week included Bad Blood, Gracie, and Sweet Sweet Pablo.

There were a total of 32 runners this week. The top 5 paid out prize money.

BigHeeb sported a brand new (and weird) avatar... me. Creepy. He supposedly lost a prop bet because no one said anything in the first ten minutes. I really think everyone was sort of... afraid to say anything!
My starting table:
Seat 1: AlCantHang
Seat 2: DrPauly
Seat 3: MyLuckyGirls
Seat 4: CherriebombV
Seat 5: moink
Seat 7: salthill
Seat 8: thejim2020
Seat 9: QuanticFive
The action this week started out slow. Not a single player busted out in the first thirty minutes which I believe is a record.

Sadly, as soon as someone said something... lightning36 headed to the rail in 32th place when he lost set over set. He took Gigli honors even though wasn't even a shorty short stack either.

I busted out in 29th place. Boat over boat. That damn AlCantHang took me out. Again! I had Qc-Jh-9d-9s. AlCantHang raised and I called. The flop was 9-4-4. I slowplayed and just called a pot-sized bet from AlCantHang. The turn was an Ace. I actually mumbled, "Shit, I hope Al doesn't have Aces." He shoved and I called. He revealed A-A-x-x and I was shit out of luck. Out in 29th place.

QuanticFive bubbled off the final table in 10th place. LJ was the chipleader with nine to go.
Here's the final table:
Seat 1: dredful (1516)
Seat 2: ValpoProf (4460)
Seat 3: AlCantHang (4017)
Seat 4: thejim2020 (8895)
Seat 5: princeharibo (9161)
Seat 6: Alexe55 (6253)
Seat 7: sunno5103 (5242)
Seat 8: ccgobbler (1456)
Seat 9: RexCharger (7000)
Dredful was the bubble boy and busted out in 6th place.

I had a family dinner to attend to and I tried to stay to the very end. Alas, the tourney was running later than anticipated and I left with three players remaining... right after AlCantHang busted out in 4th place.

Luckily, ValpProf took stellar notes. Here's his recap of the final three...
ValpoProf busted AlCantHang when ValpoProf rivered an eight to make Eights full of Sixes versus Al's Kings and Sixes.

Three-handed play begins with TheJim2020 the chip leader with 19.8k, ValpoProf with 16.6k and RexCharger with 11.4k.

Three-handed play last for 19 hands before RexCharger busts. He moves all-in with QsQd4c7h and gets called by thejim2020's Js-10s-10c-7c. The flop is Kd-Qh-9s, giving RexCharger a set, but giving thejim2020 a flopped straight. thejim2020 makes broadway on the turn when the Ah comes, and RexCharger fails to boat up when the 5h falls on the river.

Play is almost dead even at the start of heads-up play as ValpoProf has 24,076 in chips and thejim2020 has 23,924. Heads-up play last three hands as both players split the first two hands with uncalled blinds.

On the third hand, ValpoProf raises to 6,000 from the small blind with Qs-Qh-9h-8h and thejim2020 calls. The flop is Kc-Qd-8c and thejim2020 leads out for 12,000. ValpoProf raises all-in and thejim2020 calls, showing Js-10d-9c-7h for a seven-card straight, but still needs some help from the board to make it work in Omaha. Heading into the turn, thejim2020 has 13 outs to hit an Ace, Ten, Jack or Nine. When the river comes 7s, his outs go up to 17 as any Six will give theJim2020 the pot. The 2d falls on the river and ValpoProf wins with three of a kind, Queens to thejim2020's pair of sevens.
Yikes! Heads up only lasted three hands as thejim2020 was eliminated in second place. Congrats on ValpoProf for winning Saturdays with Dr. Pauly, and more importantly, thanks for the recap.
Week 31 Money Winners:
1. ValpoProf - $128
2. thejim2020 - $76.80
3. Rex Charger - $ 51.20
4. AlCantHang - $38.40
5. sunno5103 - $25.60
Thanks again to everyone who played and pimped the event. Hope to see everyone next weekend. Congrats again to ValpoProf.

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

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Slayre and Left Side Challenged

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

If you attended a blogger get together in Las Vegas in December of 2005 or 2006, you might have run across Slayre. He's a poker player and blogger from Texas. You can click here for a photo.

Slayre blogged about his poker experiences over at Slayre's Poker Journey. We played together numerous times online and even in Vegas together.

If you don't know, Slayre got a bad beat in life and suffered a stroke in February of 2007.

Like most Texans, Slayre is tough as nails and didn't let the stroke affect his willingness to communicate with the world. He stopped blogging on his poker blog and started up a new blog called _Left_Side_Challenged.

Here's the tagline...
I survived a stroke on feb 3rd, 2007 and this is my attempt to chronicle that event and everything since that day.

edit: aug 15, 2008 i really did feel that way when i wrote the intro, honest. but way to much time has passed to do this properly. mainly due to my memory failing me. I'll see what i can do.
I have to admit, I'm always struggling internally with a mountain of problems, but all of those seem rather trite and insignificant compared to the difficult battles that Slayre must combat on a daily basis.

Slayre can only type using one hand. He's an extremely courageous person and his story is highly inspirational and motivational.

I encourage you to stop by Slayre's stroke blog to check in on his progress. After reading his blog, it really puts things into perspective.

Best of luck, Slayre. Keep fighting the good fight!

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

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hoyt Corkins Robbed and Other Vacation Musings

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

One of the most horrible things to happen while you are on vacation is to discover that your home was robbed while you were away. That tragedy fell upon Hoyt Corkins as thieves emptied his home in Spanish Trails while he was out of state for the month.

Over the weekend, I received a voicemail from Lara Miller. She's Doyle Brunson and Hoyt Corkins's publicist and clued me in on the recent events. Lara wanted me to help get the word out about the robbery and what exactly was stolen. They originally made off with tons of loot including cash, several trophies, a WSOP bracelet, two cars, and Hoyt's motorcycle.

Well, according to the hombres at Wicked Chops Poker, suspects are in custody. Wonder if it was a broke ass poker player?

* * * * *

A tinge of depression rained upon me as I realize that my summer vacation is almost over. I head back to work next week with an assignment in Atlantic City. It has been over six weeks since the WSOP ended, but it seems like yesterday. It took me almost six weeks to unwind after seven weeks of madness of the WSOP.

I really enjoyed the last six weeks. I worked out a lot and started jogging for the first time since the accident. I played the most online poker that I had in months and became an Iron Man for the first time. I partied it up with friends in Denver and San Francisco, attended two music festivals, and got my mind fried in Golden Gate Park.

I spent some time unwinding in Los Angeles and my brother came out for a visit. I squeezed in random beach time up at Zuma in Malibu and read several books (I highly recommend The Road by Cormac McCarthy). I caught up on dozens of movies (including Pineapple Express... twice!) and watched the Olympics. And most importantly, I wrote fiction for the first time in ages.

I also painted four new pieces.

I published a new Flickr gallery of San Francisco and Outside Lands music festival photos.

I recently uploaded several videos of different bands including Radiohead, Widespread Panic, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, and Everest.

And here's the quickie video version of my recent excursion to San Francisco.

Overall, it was a productive vacation but still not over yet. Going to Radiohead tonight in San Diego, then flying to New York for the weekend.

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

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

More Lost Tao of Pokerati Episodes

By Pauly
San Francisco, CA

We're back with new episodes of Tao of Pokerati podcast. Well, sort of new. They were each recorded during the closing days of the 2008 WSOP in July. Michalski uploaded seven episodes that feature several special guests such as Grubby, Michele Lewis, Otis, and Mean Gene.

My favorite thing about these podcasts are that they are short... between two and five minutes in length. They match our short attention spans.

So here are the lost seven WSOP episodes with descriptions blatantly cut and past from Pokerati....

Episode 30: The Cost of Donuts (3:19)
Grubby joins the media to talk main event numbers and the price of trendy donuts in today’s oil economy.

Episode 31: Scotchy Poker (4:02)
Dan+scotch early in the WSOP day=talk of Dario Minieri and Isabelle Mercier.

Episode 32: French Warfare (5:14)
Benjo takes over the mic when Dan calls in drunk, and he and Pauly talk more about Isabelle Mercier live from the Day 2 killing fields.

Episode 33: New York & Texas (2:40)
Michele Lewis joins in as Dan and Pauly break down the difference between Texas and New York humor, or at least the difference between Pauly and Dan.

Episode 34: Go Team! (2:37)
Dallas' Raj Kattamuri is going deep, and Pauly tracks down Dan in the poker kitchen to find out what it takes to be patched up on Team Pokerati.

Episode 35: No Wiener (4:41)
Benjo is not his usual jovial self as the main event comes to a close and he bids farewell to his American friends in the penultimate WSOP episode of Tao of Pokerati.

Episode 36: Unhookered (3:29)
The traditional late-late night poker-blogger farewell binge drinking at the Rio’s Hooker Bar, with guest appearances by Otis and Mean Gene.
Stay tuned for brand new episodes! And you can always visit the Tao of Pokerati archives to listen to all of the episodes.

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

Monday, August 25, 2008

Quak Quack Wins Saturdays with Dr. Pauly

By Pauly
San Francisco, CA

Congrats to Quak Quack for taking down Saturdays with Dr. Pauly this past weekend. My brother continued his run and cashed again, this time finishing in third place, while Decon50 was the runner-up. Bayne was Bubble Boy.

Last week's champ, GoIrish89, finished in 16th place.
Week 30 Money Winners:
1. Quak Quack - $120
2. Decon50 - $72
3. Hermwarfare (Derek) - $48
I was unable to play this week since I was at the Outside Lands music festival in Golden gate Park. I will be back next week!

Thanks to everyone who played and pimped the event. See ya next Saturday.

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

Thursday, August 21, 2008


By Pauly
San Francisco, CA

After 110 consecutive days of posting on Tao of Poker, the time has come for me to take a few days off. I will be back sooner than you think.

I'm currently on vacation in San Francisco for a couple of days hanging out with the usual suspects... my girlfriend, the Joker, and Professional Keno Player Neil Fontenot. We're in town for a music festival and next week, I'm heading down to San Diego for a Radiohead concert.

Although I won't be posting here for the next few days, I will be updating Tao of Pauly and covering the Outside Lands music festival over at Coventry.

And you can always follow me on Twitter.

* * * * *

Also, don't worry... Saturdays with Dr. Pauly will be running as scheduled on Saturday at 4:20pm ET (or 16:20). I will not be able to play this week, so I'll be donating to the pool and posting and folding my way to the final table. Yeah, that's my prediction... 9th place.

Previous champions include... Grouse14 (twice), The Rooster, Buddy Dank, DrPauly, StB, Bikom, Family Ice, Bettercheck4, 23skidoo, USC55ND24, I_CrackQuads, Bayne, MrMojo, and Resdent Evil (back-to-back), CSauve (twice), holdin-ragz!, Sydney 8 (twice), OneEyeKeith, Derek (twice), SmBoatDrinks, Boscodon, NoTalentTom, quinedge, and GoIrish89.

If you have problems finding the tournament, look in the Tourney tab, and then the Private tab.

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

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tony Holden's Tuesday Night Game

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

Talk about good timing. A couple of weeks ago, I checked my bloglines folder just at the same time as Tony Holden published a pot on Bigger Deal about the return of the infamous Tuesday Night Game on PokerStars, which featured some of my favorite British literary giants. Even though at the time the tournament was about two weeks away, I signed up anyway so I wouldn't forget. I happened to be the first person to sign up. I'm such a sycophant sometimes.

The recent installment of the Tuesday Night Game was in honor of Vicky Coren's birthday. Tony Holden described her pulchritudinous. I had to look that word up since my Latin is a little rusty these days much to the chagrin of the Jesuits who educated me. In case you were wondering, pulchritudinous means "physically beautiful" which would be a fitting adjective to describe the lovely Ms. Coren.

The game was set up for 8pm in London or noon for me in LA. I woke up late, wrote, ate breakfast, then settled into the game.

Over 100 players were registered at the start time. A total of 104 runners were in the field. The majority of them were from the UK. The top 12 paid out and Tony got an extra $1,000 added to the prize pool.

My starting table included...
Seat 1: Reskil_RvBst
Seat 2: JoeSaumarez
Seat 3: Your Hero
Seat 4: mgmarshall
Seat 6: MORF1982
Seat 7: PLA1CE
Seat 8: leet222
Seat 9: smithsj1
I drew the same table as Joe Saumarez Smith, who happens to be a contributing author to Bigger Deal.

Early on, I flopped a straight with Qs-10s but didn't get paid off. Change100 signed up at the last minute and she had to deal with a couple of guys arguing about a bad beat which busted a player during the first orbit. Most of the banter was static, but one line stood out that gave me a hearty chuckle. You have to say it with a British accent...

"Go play bingo with your mum."

Man, that was gold. I filed that nugget away and shall unleash it on an unsuspecting soul in the chatbox during a verbal spat.

I limped a lot to see flops and missed as I slowly bled away chips. The first hand of note that I won occurred during a battle of the blinds against Joe Saumarez. I flopped two pair with K-4 and won a small pot. which finally thrust me above the starting stack for first time in tournament.

I jumped up to 16th place when I busted two players on the same hand with suited Big Slick. I opened for 300. Kartajana raised all-in for 880. MORF1982 called all-in for his last 545. Action came back around to me. I figured I had one beat and was racing the other, so I called for 580 more.
Pauly: As-Ks
Kartajana: Kc-Qc
MORF1982: 10h-10c
In the side pot, I had my opponent dominated and I was a coinflip with the short-stack. I turned an Ace and the rest was history. I busted both players and increased my stack to over 3K. I was 15th out of 73.

Our host Tony Holden couldn't get much going early on. He was down to 465 in chips when he made his last stand. Cute Scandi girl limped for 100. Tony raised all-in for 465. The big blind called along with cute Scandi girl.
Big Blind: 6s-2s
Cute Scandi Girl: 3s-3c
TonyHolden: As-Ts
The board bricked out for Tony and he was eliminated in 73rd place.

Just before the first break, Change100 busted a player with A-A as she joined the Top 15 with me. I had 3.3K at the break sitting in 14th place with 62 players remaining. The cipleader was SaiKungBoy with 8.1K.

Right after the break, I took a hit with Aces. Blinds were 100/200. I held Ah-Ad. UTG raised to 500. The very next player shoved all-in for 1,120. I called from the button and UTG called. The flop was Qs-Js-2d. UTG and I both checked. The turn was the 10d. UTG moved all in for 2.4K. I knew he had A-K because only someone with a Broadway would shove there. I muttered a few nasty comments out loud and folded. Sure enough he had A-K. The all-in player had K-K. Talk about a cooler... A-A, K-K, and A-K. If I re-raised pre-flop instead of calling, the guy with A-K would have called so the result would have been the same.

I made up for that loss and increased my stack to 4.3K when Ad-Qd held up against Q-J. I was 14th place with 40 to go. Change100 continued her good run and moved into the top 5 in chips.

I got some decent cards, but couldn't get paid off. I flopped a set, but zero action. Kings? No action. Meanwhile, Change100 snapped off Jacks with 9-9 and took over the chiplead with 33 to go. Her stack topped 14K.

I got moved to Shamanalix's table with 27 to go. Change100 was still the chipleader. I found A-A again, but that time it didn't get paid off.

With 24 to go, I got moved to Change100's table. She was still the big stack with 15.6K. I was 19/24 with a shade under 4K. I needed help. I stole a lot of blinds to keep my head above water and chipped up to around 5K with blinds approaching 200/400 with 25 antes.

Then I finally woke up to a hand in the small blind. Action folded to the button. He raised to 975. I shoved for 5.5K with Ad-Qc. He called with Kh-Qd. I'm surprised he called with that. Lucky for me, my hand held up. I increased my stack to over 11.5K and jumped into third place. I wouldn't stay there very long.

I busted out in 21st on a bad call. I had 2-2 in the small blind and called a standard raise from a very aggressive player. We were heads up and the flop was 5h-4c-3h. I bet the pot (or roughly 2,800) and he came over the top all in. for 11K. I put him on Big Slick or some other Big Ace or even a flush draw. If by chance he had a big pair, I still had some outs and wasn't drawing dead.

If I won that pot, I would have been the chipleader by a significant margin while crippling one of the aggressive big stacks in the process. I really felt that I had the best hand there and called.

"Show me Big Slick!" I yelled at my laptop.

Nope. He had 10-10. Bad move. Bad call. His tens held up and I missed my outs. Eliminated in 21st place. I misplayed that hand horribly. I went busto with a big stack making a horrendous call against one of the only two other big stacks left in the tournament. Rookie move. A couple of hours later while watching a Woody Allen movie, I had a moment of clarity when I realized that I played that hand like a cash game hand and not like a tournament.

At the break, Change100 was the chipleader with 24K and 16 to go. I left the apartment to work out, and when I returned Change100 advanced to the final table and Shamanalix had just busted out in 9th.

Change100 coughed up the lead shortly before the final table was set. She got outdrawn a couple of times and eventually busted out in 6th place in a valiant effort. Pokerman2345 won it call. Congrats to him and all the money winners.

And thanks to Tony Holden for hosting and setting up the Tuesday Night Game. Had a blast. I hope to be able to play in the next one and I definitely look forward to seeing some of my favorite scribes such as Joe Saumarez Smith and Tony Holden in London next month during the WSOP-Europe and EPT London.

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

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

2+2: Random Cameos and Sticky Posts

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

Thanks to Mary for tipping me off to this thread... Re: If They Never Played Poker... where I make a random cameo. Bill Chen as Mao made me almost pee my pants.

Law enforcement? Nah, most likely tending bar at some hipster joint in Manhattan.

Oh and if you're too lazy to sort through the thread, here's a video of the best of If They Never Played Poker...

Also, I got an anonymous email from someone a week or so ago with the subject line... Mason discourages strategy discussion on twoplustwo / with evidence.

I have been given permission to re-print the email...
The following was posted today on two plus two but obviously it was quickly deleted.

Before it was deleted it was confirmed by other moderators as well as external evidence.

Apparently, Mason Malmuth made a post in the mod forum encouraging the moderators to make strategy discussion harder to find and harder to come by. His fear is that the posters on the forum know more than his authors and write better than his authors therefore the strategy discussion on the site could hurt his book sales.

Additionally, he apparently intimidated and coerced Ed Miller into taking free strategy content off of his own website because he believes that it would hurt book sales.

Mason Malmuth -- actively going out of his way to sabatoge the quality of his own forum. Does that reall(y) surprise anyone?

Mason's Post... here.

Man, I really feel bad for Ed Miller.

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

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

Flipchip recently published another series of poker faces. Check out 2008 WSOP Poker Faces and 2008 WSOP Poker Faces Part II.

You can find more by visiting... Flipchip's photo gallery.

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

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

Little know fact... Kim Kardashian and Change100 attended the same high school in Bel-Air.

Anyway, if you head over to Wicked Chops Poker, you can see Kim Kardashian's ass among other things such as a an interview with yours truly called Five Years, Five Questions.

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

Monday, August 18, 2008

Iron Man, Arnold Drummond, and the Four Noble Truths

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

Some days you're the pimp. Most of the days, you're the whore. So what are you going to be? A $20 trailer park cheese jonesin' hooker? Or a $2,000/hour Bellagio working girl?

In the end what's the philosophical distinction between the differences in the lowest levels of Iron Man and the highest levels? Or is it just another carrot in front of the donkey cart?

Hookers and donkeys. Two of my favorite World Series of Poker topics. Without one, there would not be the other. The two have been linked together in a symbiotic relationships since the first settlers brought donkeys to haul the loads through the desert, and the first hookers thrived during the time that the Hoover Dam was under construction and attracted hordes of bored and horny construction workers.

You can even go all the way back to the New Testament of the bible, where you'll find stories about Jesus hanging out with his hippie crew of out of work apostles. Jesus routinely hung out with the sinners, including prostitutes. He was giving everyone a shot at redemption from the lowly street walkers to corrupt tax collectors.

Then there's Buddha's Four Noble Truths:
1. Life involves suffering
2. Suffering arises from craving
3. Suffering ends with the removal of craving
4. There is a way to the end of suffering.
I discovered a new way to absorb bad beats and that was by eliminating my desire to have to win every single pot. By eliminating that craving, the bad beats did not sting as much and I avoided suffering.

Sounds so simple, but it took years to finally achieve that level of detachment when I'm playing. It's easy when you multi-table four limit hold'em tables but more difficult when I have only one or two tables to focus on. I start thinking and overthinking instead of being in the moment.

I frequently played online poker since the World Series of Poker ended. I have more free time and I found a loophole in how to qualify much faster for Iron Man status on Full Tilt.

Normally, I'm not fond of frequent play promotions like the Iron Man promotion on Full Tilt or the colored Star status on PokerStars. I earned enough points on a couple of instances on PokerStars to qualify for Silver Star status. For the most part, those promotions are traps and the suckers get vacuumed up in their quest for validation. Those promotions are set up under the guise that they are awarding the folks who play almost every day, but sometimes you gotta think...

I told myself that I would attempt to become an Iron Man as a result of me playing a ton in August. I didn't actively want to seek out the distinction. Nothing is worse than knowing it's time to walk away from playing but staying longer and losing. I admit, that there were one or two instances where I stayed on longer just to get the points, but I didn't want that to be a daily routine and become a slave to the promotion.

Fortunate for me, I have been multi-tabling low limit hold'em which racks up points. And I also found a loophole... Happy Hour. You can earn double points if you play certain tables for Full Tilt's Happy Hour promotion. I like playing the "Late Night" segment of Happy Hour. It runs from 11pm to 1am ET so I usually jump on to play around 9pm west coast time or Midnight ET.

In an average session, I can attain 200 points by playing three 5/10 tables and one 8/16 table for about 30 minutes or 100-120 hands. Since I'm qualifying rather quickly, the promotion rarely affects my hit and run strategy.

50 points a day is the minimum daily points required to qualify for the lowest level of Iron Man, while 200 points gets you a shot at the highest tiers.

I played cash games on Full Tilt everyday this month grinding it away at the limit tables. I have been playing about an hour every day, which is not a lot considering I already qualified for silver Iron Man.

Yes, Iron Man I am. I am Iron Man. I feel so special, so fuckin' special. I'm a creep. I'm a weirdo.

I only need seven more days with 200 points or more to qualify for the Iron Iron Man... whatever that is. It will be tough for me to make it to that highest honor. I'll be traveling a bunch during the rest of the month... including five days in San Francisco for a music festival, a quick trip to San Diego for Radiohead, and then I'm flying back to NYC at the end of the month. I only need two more days with 200 points to achieve gold status (next to highest level), which I should get before I leave for Northern California.

In the last couple of nights, I found myself playing 5/10 with two red pros... Sweet Svetlana and Dag Mikkel Scandi. Svetlana won a bracelet this summer when she took down the Ladies event. Full Tilt doesn't have enough space for her to use her real name, so they had to abbreviate it to just S Gromenkova. I posted a couple of sessions with Dag Mikkel Scandi. He plays a lot of tables ranging from 5/10 to 10/20. I cracked his Kings one night.

I played a rare PLO MTT on Poker Stars. 187 runners and I finished in 34th place. Top three tables paid out so I got zilch. In the first level, I was the chipleader fueled by a hand where I busted two players. I flopped a set, got it all in against two pair and top pair with a flush draw. I boated up and jumped out to the early lead. I was running so hot that I even flopped quads.

I was near the top for most of the tournament until we got down to five tables. I lost a monsterpotten against some German dude with set over set. I busted out when my A-A single suited was cracked by Ks-7d-7c-6s. Foiled again by RiverStars.

If you either watched me play or played against me on PokerStars, you recognize my avatar. It's Gary Coleman as Arnold Drummond from the hit sitcom Diff'rent Strokes. It gets a lot of positive reaction from my opponents.

However, that's not always the case. During a micro-limit PLO table, I encountered a racist who just went off on me in the chat. I let him spew his venom and didn't say a word. I got the last laugh when I busted the simpleton. That pissed him off even more and he stuck around spreading his hate. And yeah, I won the entire SNG.

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

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sunday Quickies: Free Books, Radio Free Pauly, and Tao of Pokerati... the Video

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

Do you like to read non-poker books? I'm giving away six free books on a variety of subjects and some include your favorite authors. Visit Tao of Pauly for more details.

Listen to my appearance on Lou Krieger's radio show Keep Flopping Aces. 8-14-08 show has been archived and the podcast is available for download. It's a little over an hour. Lou and I spoke about a myriad of topics including the Olympics and a brief discussion on the history of Tao of Poker. Check it out. And thanks again to Lou for the invite.

And here's a Tao of Pokerati video!

I created a video to accompany one of my favorite clips from this summer where Benjo tells the story about Bellagio hookers getting paid off in tournament chips. Hysterical. Enjoy!

And stay tuned for a new episode of Tao of Pokerati. Soon come...

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

Saturday, August 16, 2008

GoIrish89 Wins Saturdays with Dr. Pauly and a Ticket to the Sunday Million

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

Congrats to GoIrish89 for winning this week's edition of Saturday with Dr. Pauly. GoIrish89 also picked up a special bonus... a $215 ticket to the Sunday Million on PokerStars. Nice work, bro.

Record setting week with 68 runners. The top 9 paid out. Special guests included Oliver Tse, AlCantHang and MrMojo.

My starting table included: cracknaces, swoopgalena, oceannlv, Family Ice, PokerShrink, daveko69, ArticAction, and TJ PackMan.

Pojo was Gigli and went out on the first hand. I missed it.

I spewed some chips early and slipped to under 1K. Chipped back to get to the starting stack. I was middle of the pack. 27 out of 56.

At the first break, 36 players remained. Lightning36 was the chipelader with 6.6K and held a slight edge over Irish94. I had 2.2K and was 21/36.

I flopped a couple of sets and jumped to 14/34 with a 3.2K stack. With 27 to go, my table broke. My new table included... lightning36, Poker Shrink, linkocracy, L0K1, OneEyedKeith, potnets, MrMojo, and WinterMag. I was third in chips at my new table.

K-K-x-x held up and I almost had 5K and 10th in chips with 25 to go. I got as high as 6/22 and took over the chiplead at my table. Increased my stack to 5.2K when K-K doubled suited held up. I was 6/18 with two tables to go.

I won a couple of small pots before I took a big hit J-J-5-5 lost to holdin-ragz K-Q-J-10 with three diamonds. Slipped to 15/16 and 3.3K.

At the second break, I was at the bottom of the heap. 14th with 15 remaining and a meager stack of 3.1K. I needed help. The chipleader was TLeo96 with almost 13K.

First hand after break... doubled up on an ugly suck out. I made a move and didn't even look at my cards when I potted. I had Ah-Qs-7h-3c. Family Ice came over the top. I was committed and called. Ice had As-Ac-10d-6d. I rivered a Broadway straight to win the pot and crack Aces. I was up to 6.5K and out of danger for the moment.

Picked up a couple of pots and moved up to 8.6K, just below average. I was 6/12 as the final table and money bubble loomed.

I lost some chips when I flopped a straight against GMoney. Alas, he rivered a flush. I slipped to 8/11, while LorraineLove moved into the chiplead.

I went out on the bubble. 10th place. I got it all in with Ks-Kh-6h-3h against As-Qs-Qd-4d. AlCantHang turned a flush draw but he rivered a set of Queens to bust me. Out in 10th. Call me bubble boy.

When the final table was set, everyone had made the money and lightning36 was the chipleader with 21.7K.
The Final Table:
Seat 1: jkalib (13935)
Seat 2: lightning36 (21779)
Seat 3: 777GMoney (2462)
Seat 4: GoIrish89 (6970)
Seat 5: AlCantHang (13771)
Seat 6: linkocracy (6590)
Seat 7: LorraineLove (18160)
Seat 8: HermWarfare (13057)
Seat 9: holdin-ragz! (5276)
GoIrish busted linkocracy in ninth place. Derek took over the chiplead and increased his stack to 23K when he knocked out holdin-ragz! and LorraineLove on the same hand. Derek rivered a Broadway straight to drag the monsterpotten.

With six to go, Derek and GoIrish had the big stacks. GoIrish won the biggest hand of the final table (at the time) when he got involved with a pushfest with jkalib. They got it all in preflop. jkalib's A-A did not hold up against GoIrish's Kings. GoIrish picked up a flush to win the pot. Last week's runner up, jkalib, went out in 6th place. GoIrish took over the lead. His stack was 40K with five to go, twice as many as Derek in second place.

GoIrish took AlCantHang out in 5th place... flush over flush. GoIrish rushed past 55K, while lightning36 clung to a shot stack under 7K. Then GoIrish's stack came under assault. lightning36 doubled through GoIrishand then he doubled up Derek's Aces. GoIrish still held the lead, but he was down to 36K with Derek not far behind with 30K. lightning36 surged into the chiplead and inside a level went from the shortstack to the leader.

GMoney was short and busted out in 4th. He was short for most of the last two tables but hung on to finish in 4th. GoIrish was back on top with 3 to go.

At the third break, lightning36 was ahead with almost 42K. GoIrish trailed by only 5K while Derek was the shortstack with 22.4K. GoIrish took the lead right after the break. With three to go and blinds going up, chips were flying and lots of action.

Derek seized the lead with quads. His Qs-Qh-8h-8d outflopped GoIrish's As-Kh-Js-10h. They were all in on the turn with the board showing 8c-8s-2s-6h. GoIrish was drawing dead and Derek took over the chiplead with a 50K stack. GoIrish slipped to the shortstack.

lightning36 went out in third. He was all in preflop with Jd-Jh-10c-9d versus GoIrish's As-Qh-Qd-8d. lightning36 couldn't improve and he went out in third.

When it got heads up, GoIrish held a slight lead over Derek.
Seat 4: GoIrish89 (52644)
Seat 8: Derek (49356)
It took only three hands to decide a champion. GoIrish won the first two hands and increased his lead by 17K. Both players limped in pre-flop. The flop was 7d-5h-2d. Derek fired out 4,000. GoIrish raised to 18K. Derek shoved for his entire 41.8K stack. GoIrish had him covered and called.
Derek: Kh-Kc-8c-2c
GoIrish89: Ah-9s-7s-5c
GoIrish flopped two pair and was ahead. He turned a boat and Derek's hand could not improve. Derek finished in second place, while GoIrish won Saturdays with Dr. Pauly.

In the last four weeks, Derek has two runner-up finishes and one win. Talk about a hot streak.
Week 29 Money Winners:
1. GoIrish89 - $204 + Sunday Million ticket
2. HermWarfare (Derek) - $136
3. lightning36 - $81.60
4. GMoney - $68
5. AlCantHang - $54.40
6. jkalib - $44.20
7. LorraineLove - $37.20
8. holdin-ragz! - $30.60
9. linkocracy - $23.80
Congrats again to GoIrish89. He also won a special bonus... a $215 ticket to the Sunday Million. He said that he'll be live blogging it over at his site Tilting at Windmills, so check it out.

Thanks again to everyone who participated and pimped the event.

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

Friday, August 15, 2008

Reminder... Saturdays with Dr. Pauly and the Sunday Millions Bonus

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

Quinedge is the defending champion.

This week's Saturdays with Dr. Pauly has a special added twist. In honor of the Tao of Poker's fifth birthday celebration, I'll be throwing in a free seat to the PokerStars Sunday Million.

Yes, the fine print is true. I will be adding $215 out of my pocket. In addition to the regular prize pool, first place will also win a seat into the Sunday Million. I'll transfer you $215 at the completion of the tournament. Use that cash towards a ticket to any Sunday Million on PokerStars.

Previous winners include... Grouse14 (twice), The Rooster, Buddy Dank, DrPauly, StB, Bikom, Family Ice, Bettercheck4, 23skidoo, USC55ND24, I_CrackQuads, Bayne, MrMojo, and Resdent Evil (back-to-back), CSauve (twice), holdin-ragz!, Sydney 8 (twice), OneEyeKeith, Derek (twice), SmBoatDrinks, Boscodon, NoTalentTom, and quinedge.

If you have problems finding the tournament, you can always do a player search for DrPauly. Otherwise look in the Tourney tab, and then the Private tab for Saturdays w/ DrPauly.

Oh, and if you don't have a PokerStars account... sign up for one today. Download PokerStars software.

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

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Keep Flopping Aces with Lou Krieger

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

I will be making a rare appearance on the radio this evening.

Noted poker author and my editor at Poker Player Newspaper, Lou Krieger, kindly asked me to appear on his weekly radio program... and I accepted.

So tune in tonight at 9pm ET or 6pm PT to listen to Keep Flopping Aces with your host Lou Krieger and special guest... moi. The show runs for an hour.

And if you are busy tonight and can't tune in, the show will be archived. You will be able to eventually download it here.

Thanks to Lou for the invite. Hope you guys can tune in.

And for fans of the Tao of Pokerati podcast (a joint venture between myself and Dan Michalski from, we will be back with a couple of lost WSOP episodes in addition to a couple of new ones. Stay tuned!

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

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

How Old Are You?

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

Chinese gymnasts. Danny Almonte. El Duque. Every actress in Hollyweird.

What do they have in common?

They all lied about their age.

Photo by Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

OK, so there's zero proof that the Chinese female gymnasts are underaged. I heard a rumor from a New Zealand writer that the paper-thin Chinese gymnasts are all actually between the ages of thirty-one and forty-three years old. It's just that the Chinese government has been stunting their growth with coffee and cigarettes during a relentless regimen for the last three decades.

As soon as little Chinese girls are able to do their first backflip, they are carted off to some sort of futuristic underground training schools where they are force-fed coffee and cigarettes and rice and vegetables. Some days, the girls just eat cigarettes in between events. That's the real reason they are so small and look like ten year olds. I mean, governments never lie, especially when nationalistic pride and billions of dollars are on the line.

One of my favorite baseball scandals involved a Yankees pitcher and another involved a little league baseball player from the Bronx named Danny Almonte. Pre-9.11, there were tons of shenanigans in New York City involving legal and illegal immigrants from different Caribbean and Latin American nations. A lot of the existing records were fudged or recorded on good faith. No background checks. Why more red tape?

Because of stiffer immigration polices in the post-9.11 era, a slew of baseball players from Latin American countries all of a sudden got older or younger depending on the circumstances. A slew of players were signed by scouts, some of which knew they were signer underaged players and others had no idea because they were lied to. The kids were so poor and wanted to leave their countries so badly, that they blatantly lied about their age in order to get a signed by a major league ball club. Big bucks make you do desperate things like lie about your age.

Some Cuban players seeking work in the MLB lied about their age like Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez. He said he was younger than his actual age because the Yankees scouts might not have pursued them if they knew he was in his 30s instead of being a more attractive age of 29. Hernandez was born in 1965 and not in 1969 as he insisted. Four years means a lot if you are a major league pitcher.

Then in 2000, there was the Danny Almonte. He was the star pitcher on a team from the Bronx that went deep at the Little League World Series. Almonte was the 12 year-old phenomenon. He threw no-hitters and even a perfect game in the preliminaries. He was untouchable. Their games became so popular that they were on ESPN. The parents of Almonte's opponents were not convinced that he was 12. Two teams hired provate investigators but came up empty. Then two weeks after the series ended, the truth came out. Danny Almonte was actually 14 years old. Two years at that level makes a tremendous difference.

And this is a gem. Miguel Tejada getting busted lying about his age in an ESPN interview...

It's been happening in baseball for decades.

Some folks might throw Freddy Adu in there. Some say he was actually older than he was. I don't know enough about soccer (or futbol) to throw out a half-baked response on that, but I do know that his age was questioned when the teenager played for DC United.

And let's not forget about everyone's favorite online poker player and reigning WSOP-Europe Champion, Annette_15. Did she lie about her age when she set up her first online poker account?

So that brings us back to the Chinese gymnasts...

Did they lie about their ages? Maybe.

But we're gonna let them get away with that because the entire world has turned a blind eye to the thousands and thousands of worse injustices committed by the Chinese government. Lying about the age of gymnasts is peanuts compared to the Draconian punishments against proponents of free speech (especially on the internet) and journalists who try to speak out and shed light on some of the atrocities of the Chinese government.

Here's something that you should read that I found on the website Reporters Without Borders...
When the International Olympic Committee assigned the 2008 summer Olympic Games to Beijing on 13 July 2001, the Chinese police were intensifying a crackdown on subversive elements, including Internet users and journalists. Seven years later, nothing has changed. But despite the absence of any significant progress in free speech and human rights in China, the IOC's members continue to turn a deaf ear to repeated appeals from international organisations that condemn the scale of the repression.

From the outset, Reporters Without Borders has been opposed to holding the Olympic Games to Beijing. Now, one month before the opening ceremony, it is clear the Chinese government still sees the media and Internet as strategic sectors that cannot be left to the "hostile forces" denounced by President Hu Jintao. The departments of propaganda and public security and the cyber-police, all conservative bastions, implement censorship with scrupulous care.

Around 30 journalists and 50 Internet users are currently detained in China. Some of them since the 1980s. The government blocks access to thousands for news websites. It jams the Chinese, Tibetan and Uyghur-language programmes of 10 international radio stations. After focusing on websites and chat forums, the authorities are now concentrating on blogs and video-sharing sites. China's blog services incorporate all the filters that block keywords considered "subversive" by the censors. The law severely punishes "divulging state secrets," "subversion" and "defamation" - charges that are regularly used to silence the most outspoken critics. Although the rules for foreign journalists have been relaxed, it is still impossible for the international media to employ Chinese journalists or to move about freely in Tibet and Xinjiang.

The Chinese authorities promised the IOC and international community concrete improvements in human rights in order to win the 2008 Olympics for Beijing. But they changed their tone after getting what they wanted. For example, then deputy Prime Minister Li Lanqing said, four days after the IOC vote in 2001, that "China's Olympic victory" should encourage the country to maintain its "healthy life" by combatting such problems as the Falungong spiritual movement, which had "stirred up violent crime." Several thousands of Falungong followers have been jailed since the movement was banned and at least 100 have died in detention.

A short while later, it was the turn of then Vice-President Hu Jintao (now president) to argue that after the Beijing "triumph," it was "crucial to fight without equivocation against the separatist forces orchestrated by the Dalai Lama and the world's anti-China forces." In the west of the country, where there is a sizeable Muslim minority, the authorities in Xinjiang province executed Uyghurs for "separatism."

Finally, the police and judicial authorities were given orders to pursue the "Hit Hard" campaign against crime. Every year, several thousand Chinese are executed in public, often in stadiums, by means of a bullet in the back of the neck or lethal injection.
For more information, you should read the Reporters Without Borders Olympic blog.

In many ways, I'm extremely fortunate for the artistic and political freedom that I had during the 2008 WSOP. I gotta give Harrahs a ton of credit for allowing bloggers and writers to openly speak their mind.

Sometimes you need perspective on things to realize how good we have it here. I can call John McCain an old fart who's just a puppet for the military-industrial-complex and that Obama's promise of hope and change is faker than the tits on your favorite Rhino stripper. I can say stuff like that and not get worried about getting thrown in jail or finding a bullet to the back of my head.

At least, for now...

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

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tuesday Morning Link Dump

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

My brother has been visiting me LA this weekend. We headed to the Yankees/Angels game on Sunday and had a hectic experience at the Dodgers game last night.

Because Derek has been here, I don't have much time to write. So here's a massive link dump to help keep you occupied as you shuffle through your Tuesday routine.

The hombres at Wicked Chops Poker have pictures of sizzling hot Brazilian synchronized swimmers. That's where I found the above picture.

One of my many side projects involves a food gallery that I have been diligently working on the last couple of years. Photos go back as far as three years ago. There are now 387 pics. Take a peek at Pauly's food gallery.

I wrote a review over at Coventry Music Blog of the latest Phish DVD Walnut Creek, which captured a 1997 concert in North Carolina.

Speaking of North Carolina, have you read Short-Stacked Shamus recently? If not you are missing out.

Two other Vegas-centric blogs I enjoyed reading the last couple of months included The Vegas Year and The Poker Grump. I hope to finally meet them both, although I once played with the Poker Grump at Mandalay Bay but didn't know it was him at the time. And sadly, I think that Robert at The Vegas Year might be done with his site.

All In Magazine runs freerolls every Thursday. Head over to their website for more info on their freerolls.

I never thanked Robin Leach for the multiple link ups. Thanks bro!

Kid Dynamite's buddy ran 100 miles in a single day to raise money for Alzheimer's. Kudos to you, sir.

Julius Goat published a hilarious series of November Nine profiles.

For Poker and politics, the best place to read up on those issues is Pokerati. They also added BJ Nemeth to the roster.

And check out Wendeen's article... Inside Scoop on Poker Player Activism, Part 1.

And then there's Fantasy Sports Live. We are currently running baseball contests and gearing up for the NFL season which is right around the corner. Have you signed up yet?

Bonus Code: pauly

And lastly, Flipchip finally posted a photo gallery of 2008 WSOP bracelet winners.

And that concludes our link dump of the day.

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

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Good Bye, Excalibur

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

If you don't know, the Excalibur is getting rid of the conventional poker tables and dealers and replacing them with electronic tables. Yes it's true.


No more wheel spins. Grubby and I invented betting on the wheel back in December of 2004 during the first blogger get together. We wanted action in between hands and the wheel was an instant success.

The first time Derek played poker in Las Vegas was at the Excalibur. Back then in the olden days, it was a very small room nestled in the current Keno Lounge on the opposite side of where the current sportsbook is located. Just prior to the boom, the Excalibur specialized 1-3 and 2-6 spread limit and a couple of Stud tables. I recall my brother felting a guy who kept passing out at the tables after drinking himself to sleep. He woke up to play a hand and Derek busted him.

They also used to have a buffet which attracted the locals in big numbers. And the Excalibur was the first place where tilted the locals.

I had a lot of great memories at the Excalibur poker room. That was the place where I met dozens and dozens of bloggers for the first time.

It was also the locale of several memory burns like the monkey on the dog, the fight that broke out at my table, and the night that Grubby and I played poker with a hooker.

Iggy also got super shitfaced one night and taunted the dealers, players, and floor staff with racially-driven remarks.

And then there was the hot dealer that Grubby and I had a crush on.

When I first moved to Las Vegas in the summer of 2005, the Excalibur was the closest poker room within walking distance of the Redneck Rivieria.

Yeah, the Excalibur's poker room has a certain fondness in my heart and will be missed.

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

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Quinedge Wins Saturdays with Dr. Pauly

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

This week's action included 23 players as my brother Derek sought to defend his title and try to become the first player to win Saturdays with Dr. Pauly on three different weeks.

The top 3 got paid prize money. Special guests this week included AlCantHang and GMoney who may or may not have been whacked out on gingerale and crystal meth.

My starting table included Sting11165, Derek, UrmaBlume, bingofan, AlCantHang, and boscodon.

I lasted a full eight minutes. Almost Gigli. Out in 22nd place out of 23. Boscodon busted two of us on the same hand. I had more chips that UrmaBlume at the start of the hand, so he went out before me and took down Gigli honors.

I had Qc-10c-6h-4c. Boscodon min-raised and I called from the big blind. The flop was Qd-5c-4d. I check called a pot-sized bet. Four players. I turned a boat when the 4s fell and slowplayed. Action was checked around. The river was the Ac. UrmaBlume bet 320. I min-raised to 640. Boscodon shoved all in for almost 1.5K. UrmaBlume called and I called my last 760. Bad move.

UrmaBlume and I both had the same boat Fours full of Queens. Bocodon had A-A-x-x and won the hand with the bigger boat. He took both of us out and jumped into the chiplead.

AlCantHang and jeciimd battled for the early chiplead.

At the first break, jeciimd was the chipleader with 6K and 11 players remaining. AlCantHang was second in chips.

Sting11165 bubbled off the final table in 10th place. jkalib began the final table as the chipleader.
The Final Table:
Seat 1: AlCantHang (6254 in chips)
Seat 2: quinedge (5080 in chips)
Seat 3: 777GMoney (2040 in chips)
Seat 4: jeciimd (4330 in chips)
Seat 5: dfense072 (2115 in chips)
Seat 6: WoosPigs (1955 in chips)
Seat 7: Cardgrrl (2361 in chips)
Seat 8: jroxspoker (3815 in chips)
Seat 9: jkalib (6550 in chips)
dfense072 went out on the second hand of the final table, as quinedge took the chiplead. Cardgrrl was eliminated in 8th not too long after.

quinedge became the first player past the 10K mark when he busted WoosPigs in 7th place. quinedge lost the lead for a bit, but seized it right back when he busted jroxspoker in 6th place.

AlCantHang busted out in 5th place, as quinedge kept accumulating chips and went past the 20K mark for the first time. The bubble boy was GMoney, who went out in 4th place.

jeciimd was super short and busted out in third place. When it got to heads up, quinedge had a substantial lead.

Seat 2: quinedge (28,710)
Seat 9: jkalib (5,790)

It took only three hands before it was all over. On the final hand, the board read Jc-9d-2h-8d. quinedge bet 800, jkalib raised to 2,400. quinedge re-raised to 4,000. jkalib shoved all in for 7,390. quinedge called.

quinedge: Qd-10h-6d-4s
jkalib: Js-10c-7d-2c

Both players had a straight, but quinedge had a bigger one. The river was the 7c. Quinedge won the pot and the tournament, as jkalib busted out in second place.
Week 27 Money Winners:
1. quinedge - $115
2. jkalib - $69
3. jeciimd - $46
Congrats to quinedge for winning this week. Thanks to everyone who played and pimped the event.

I'll have a special added bonus for next week's Saturdays with Dr. Pauly. Stay tuned for details.

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

Friday, August 08, 2008

Saturdays with Dr. Pauly = Tomorrow at 4:20pm ET

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

My brother, Derek, won last week which placed him into an elite club of five members, all of whom have won Saturdays with Dr. Pauly more than once. That group includes Grouse14, CSauve, Sydney8, and Resdent Evil aka The Last King of Scotland. He won back-to-back Saturdays with Dr. Pauly.

If you have problems finding the tournament, you can always do a player search for DrPauly. Otherwise look in the Tourney tab, and then the Private tab for Saturdays w/ DrPauly.

The former champions include... Grouse14 (twice), The Rooster, Buddy Dank, DrPauly, StB, Bikom, Family Ice, Bettercheck4, 23skidoo, USC55ND24, I_CrackQuads, Bayne, MrMojo, and Resdent Evil (back-to-back), CSauve (twice), holdin-ragz!, Sydney 8 (twice), OneEyeKeith, Derek (twice), SmBoatDrinks, Boscodon, and NoTalentTom.

Oh, and if you don't have a PokerStars account... sign up for one today. Download PokerStars software.

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

Thursday, August 07, 2008

888th place in FTOPS Event #1

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

It didn't look like I was going to be able to play. It as late on Wednesday afternoon and Change100 and I were caught up in traffic in Malibu. Pacific Coast Highway was backed up as we left Zuma Beach and headed back to the slums of Beverly Hills. A forty-five minute drive took two hours.

Playing in FTOPS was a last minute decision, sort of an impulse buy. I'm strictly a cash game player and I rarely play tournaments online these days (save for Saturdays with Dr. Pauly and the Tao of Poker birthday celebration). But in the past when I used to play a heavy diet of tournaments, it was always the ones that I signed up at the last minute where I fared much better than the tournaments when I was wrapped up in a wet blanket of anticipation eagerly waiting to play.

FTOPS Event #1 was a $200 + $15 NL tournament scheduled for 9pm ET. I had less than an hour to get all my shit together, shower, and eat before I played. I didn't have enough time to win a seat (with the exception of those 100 chip SNGs) so I bought in directly.

At the same time, I had a horse running in the $545 NL event at the Bike. He was sending me updates via Twitter. I was swimming in action.

There were about 5,000 players when I signed up. That number was over 5,600+ by the time cards were in the air. Prize pool was over $1M, with almost 200K to the winner. Top 738 players got paid.

Full Tilt now allows late registration, so 5,779 total players signed up for Event #1. Wow.

My tarting table included: 2007cobra, Sick Joke, njp145, Stas Gurtsak, torden, HitmanJim, and Full974.

Sweet Svetlana and Scott Fishman busted early and were the two notable eliminations in the first five minutes.

Within the first level of play, I was stuck $200 in my cash game. So much for trying to win back my buy-in.

I won my first pot when I called a standard raise from the button. I called with 8-8 in a 5-way pot. The flop was 10-9-x. Action was checked to me. I bet pot and everyone folded.

Thirty minutes in, I found A-9 in the small blind. UTG limped and action was folded to me. I limped and the big blind checked. The flop was 9h-9d-3h. I checked along with the big blind. UTG bet the pot. I called. Big blind folded. The turn was the Qc. We both checked. The river was the 7d. I bet the pot and got min-raised. Yikes. I called. My trips wee no good. UTG had Q-Q. He limped with Queens and then slowplayed his boat when he checked the turn. I'm lucky that I didn't go broke right thee on that hand. Down to 2.3K.

About fifteen minutes after that losing pot, I woke up to Aces in the big blind. UTG opened for 150. I raised to 500 and he called. The flop was Ac-10c-4h. Time to slowplay. I checked my top set. He underbet 450 in a 1K pot. I tanked then called at the last second. The turn was the Kh. I checked. He bet 900. I check-raised all in for 1.5K. He tanked and then folded. Aces held up. I was up to 3.7K and in 973rd place out of 5,000+.

By the first break, over 1K players busted out in the first hour. I had just above 4K and in 1488th place. Average stack was 3.6K and I outlasted Jim McManus and Linda Johnson. Subliminal_s was the chipleader with 17.4K.

Change100 and I ordered in thai food and scarfed it down. I self-medicated and settled in for the second hour of play with My Morning Jacket on in the background.

New table dynamic as new blood joined the mix. Five players had with bigger stacks than me. I slipped under the avg stack of 3.9K.

I missed a flop with A-Q. I fired out at the flop but got check-raised by BB and had to fold. Slipped to 2.5K.

Then I made the laydown of the night and folded Jacks preflop. I was in the small blind with Jc-Js. Oceanrunners raised to 350. Russian player shoved all in for 2,160. I tanked and then folded. I figured that I was racing with one of those guys, while the other had me beat. I made the wise fold. Oceanrunners called and flipped over Qs-Qc while the Russian showed Ks-Kh. The Russian won the pot and I stayed alive.

During Level 8, I whiffed with A-K and slipped to under 2.3K. If I doubled up, I would just be a shade under the average stack. I patiently waited to make a move. And then it happened... a timely double up with 10-10. I raised in middle position with tens. Player in late position called. The flop was 6c-4c-4d. I bet the pot (around 1K) and he moved all in for his last 1.4K. I called expecting to see a four. Nope. He had Ac-7s. Huh? My tens held up and I improved my stack to 4.3K, just below average. I was in the middle of the pack.

Then I got Aces. Again. That time in the SB. UTG raised to 400. Player B called. I jammed to 1.7K. UTG folded and Player B re-raised all in. I had him covered and quickly called. He had Kings. My Aces held up and I was up to 7.1K. Mr Decker, TuscaloosaJohnny, and Change100 were all on the rail saying encouraging things in the chat. I was 703rd out of 3,500.

10-10 was the hand of the tournament. I must have got it almost ten times and they held up every time but once. Just before the break, tens held up and I won a small pot to increase my stack to 8K. I outlasted Michael Craig, as I noticed that he was eliminated by an announcement in the chat box.

At the second break, my stack was 7.2K. I was 886th out of 2835. The average stack was 6.1K. Tilteymcfish was the chipleader with almost 30K.

Shortly after the break, I slipped to 6K and way below average. I saw two flops with 3-3. Missed both.

Moved to a new table with three big stacks and several equal to my 6K stack. I stole a few pots to keep my head above water at 6K as I quickly tried to size up my opponents.

I noticed that Bond18 busted in 2000th place.

If you expect to go deep in any tournament, your big hands have to hold up. You have to hit a couple of draws. You have to win coin flips and at some point, you have to get lucky and suck out.

I called a raise with Ac-Kc from a player that had been raising a lot pre-flop with a range of hands that included baby pairs, suited connectors, and face cards like K-Q and A-J. I had him covered about 2 to 1.

The flop was 10c-8h-3h. He insta-shoved. I took all of my time to make a decision. I went with my original read... that he was shoving with air. That's the only reason I call with just Ace high. If I had more time to think, I probably would have talked myself out of calling. Since it was the internet and I had a few seconds to make the decision, I went with my gut.

And boy, my gut was wrong. He flipped over Kings.

The turn was the Qd. I picked up more outs with a gutshot. I screamed for a ten or an Ace.

The Ad spiked on the river. I screamed out, "Snaaaaaaaaaaap!"

"Pauly, you luck fish," said Tuscaloosa Johnny in the chat.

Usually, I'm the guy who gets his Kings cracked. It felt good to be on the other side of the bad beat.

Bad call. Good result. That's poker.

My opponent instantly went off on me in the chat. I remained silent and luckily Tuscaloosa Johnny was on the rail giving the guy some guff about being a sore loser and a whiner. He wouldn't let it rest and wouldn't leave the chat for several minutes.

That suckout pushed me up to 11.2K, when the average stack was around 9.5K. I jumped up to 558th place out of 1,810 remaining.

10-10 held up again as I passed the 12K mark. I outlasted the Eggman.

9-9 was no good and I slipped to 10K, and back under average. I raised pre-flop with 5-4 to 2K. The small blind shoved for 9K and I folded. I slipped to to 8.7K.

Changed tables. Three players had at least 2x my 8.1K stack and two players had 3x my stack.

At the third break, I was just under 9K. Average was 14K. I was 818th out of 1210. Stammi chipleader with 60K. I oulasted the host Allen Cunningham.

After the break, I slipped to under 8K. No action for 10-10.

Then I went out in a hand, I could have gotten away from.

I had 9,355. The blinds were 400/800 with a 100 ante. I raised 1/3 my stack with A-K. Player with a monster stack raised to 9,600 and would have put me all in. The small blind shoved with a small stack of about 5K. Action back to me.

I figured that I had the big stack beat and that at worst, I'd be racing against a small stack. I called.

Big stack: As-Qs
Short stack: Ks-Kc
Your hero: Ac-Kd

I was doomed. And yes, the player with A-Q won the pot with running Queens on the turn and river.

If I was trying to fold my way into the money, then I would have quickly folded there. I was playing to win, not to squeeze into the money. Even if I do fold there and I'm left with 6K, I'm still short and would need at least one more double up if I wanted to make the money.

I was eliminated in 888th place. Just a few seconds earlier, Annette_15 went out in 891st place.

That was the only FTOPS event that I'll play. Back to the cash game grind for me.

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

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Garry Gates Wins Tao of Poker's 5th Birthday Tournament; Gets the 'Juice' and a 5K Seat to the Borgata

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

Wow. What can I say? 519 people from all walks of life as far away as Oslo, Norway and Melbourne, Australia and even several Canadians from the Great White North played in the Tao of Poker's 5th birthday tournament on Tuesday evening. 519. That's a humbling number. Seriously, thanks to everyone for showing up and a sincere thanks to everyone who pimped, and plugged the special event.

A hearty congrats goes out to Garry Gates for winning the tournament and a special bonus prize; a 5K seat to a Borgata Open event and two nights at the Borgata Hotel & Spa.

I know Garry well. We worked together at Poker News since last year's WSOP. He was due for some good poker karma. He lost a Guitar Hero prop bet with Evelyn Ng during the WSOP. He had to dress up and feed Evy grapes and fan her during Day 1 of the main event. That's him below dressed up like Caesar. Beware the Ides of March.

Garry Gates fans Evelyn Ng during Day 1 of the WSOP Main Event

Seriously. A guy who wore a toga won the Tao of Poker Birthday Tournament. I fuckin' love that irony.

The field was a who's who in poker blogging and poker media. Special guests included Poker Champ, AlCantHang, Amy Calistri, Bobby Bracelet, Shronk, Schecky, Jaxia, BJ Nemeth, Spaceman, Joe Speaker, and the one and only professional poker player Chris Halverson. I thought I was seeing a ghost. A blast from the past. Even Grubby and Grubbette showed up along, with Mr. Decker and a couple of the G-Vegas boys such as Bad Blood, CJ, and The Mark.

With 519 runners, the top 54 got paid, or the final six tables. The prize pool was $2,595 and first place paid out $648.76 plus the Borgata package.

Of course, I got seated at my brother's table. 519 player field and we draw the same table with N03M0ti0n, kurokitty, vocke, Forbillz, and NYRambler.

Traction1 was Gigli and busted out on the first hand. Out in 519th place. I didn't see the bustout.

I think I folded like three hand before I was moved to a new table with USAF_Trevor, lottamims, bomzway, pokerfan X, Dacious99, DrPauly, Garthmeister, NYRambler, and SHmuck72.

Wil stopped by to give us his blessings and to apologize for missing registration.

The flurry of bustouts began. SirWaffles and Hoy went out early. Fifteen minutes in IronGirl, Mr. Decker, and Chad Pukarama were all gone.

As I made my rounds, I stumbled up one stacked table that included lucko21, BamBamCan, Alexe55, TNSpaceman, surflexus, AlCantHang, chase26utley, o reills3403, and dfense072.

Gracie jumped out to an early chiplead. By the thirty minutes mark, Gracie, Garry Gates. and BiskoKid were 1/2/3 in chips. While Johnny Walker, Grubbette, CJ, and Love Elf headed to the rail early as well.

My table broke and I was moved to my third inside a half of an hour. I was seated with OldandEasy, mtrier21, shiel, krabby5, Drizztdj, smokkee, Mike_Maloney, and jshronk (610 in chips)

Shronk and Drizz busted out shortly after I arrived. JoeSpeaker took Shronk's seat.

Gracie coughed up the lead, as Garry Gates stepped out in front of the pack. Over the next three hours he'd hold the lead numerous of times but lose it as well on severaloccassions as his big stack came under assault from dozens of challengers.

Change100 busted out but she'd end up winning a couple of prop bets from me.

I busted JoeSpeaker.My Ah-10h held up against his K-Q. I improved to 3.1K and was 81st out of 342.

I experienced tech issues with a few minutes to go before the break. I had to reboot. When I returned, I noticed that Wonka and Schecky were both out along with Haley, BadBlood, StB, and the Brooklyn girls Mad and Dawn.

At the break, my stack was 2.8K. I was 101/299. BigSlickNut took the chip lead from Garry. He had 13K with 299 to go. Wow, 220 players busted in the first hour.

Garry took the lead back right after the break. I slipped a bit, but was still in the middle of the field. I lost a pot and missed with A-Q in late position. I slipped to under 2K.

Eventually April (CA) was move to my table. I opened UTG with rages and she min-raised me. I put her on a monster and folded. She had A-A. Man, smart lay down, but I lost a chunk of my stack and was supper short with 1.1K. I was 162nd with 169 to go and on life support.

I woke up with a hand and oubled through Found78. My 7-7 held up against his 6-6. I improved my stack to 2.3K with the average at 5K.

Whaaaaa? showed up at my tale with a 19K stack and second in chips. Spaceman arrived soon after. I slipped to under 1K. I was in dead last place with 127 to go.

I made a move and shoved with 7d-3d. I got two callers. I flopped a gutshot, but missed. Whaaaa? took me out in 125th place.

At the second break, SilverHammer was out in front with 33.7K in chips and 88 players remaining. Although action went hand-for-hand as the money bubble approached, it did not slow down things one bit. The money bubble broke rather quickly.

The Prize Payouts

Halcyon Fire = Bubble Boy, out in 55th place. April, Smokkee, and BoneDaddy all busted out near the bubble. At that point, Loud423 was the chpleader with 40K. Kid Dynamite won a monsterpotten and busted TheGilligan and VinNay on the same hand when his Queens held up. KD was third in chips behind jahbliss and orlandopig.

With three tables to go, JahBliss was the chipleader with over 50K. Friedman busted out in 25th when his A-5 lost to sevens.

On the third break, 22 players wereleft. Willy the Wise had the monster stack with 106K. Jahbliss was second with 67K and KidDynamite not far behind in third.

With 16 to go, things out front shifted. Lorraine Love and OrlandoPig were first and second in chips. With 12 to go, Lorraine was still out in front. But then Garry Gates won an insane hand where he busted whozurfan on a race and regained the chiplead with 10 to go. He had a 158K stack.

Kid Dynamite was the final table bubble boy and busted out in 10th place when he ran his A-K into Garry's Big Slick.

Here's the final table...
Tao of Poker 5th Birthday Celebration Final Table:
Seat 1: jb1234 (56259 in chips)
Seat 2: LorraineLove (117609 in chips)
Seat 3: jg-2323 (24240 in chips)
Seat 4: orlandopig (99562 in chips)
Seat 5: garrygates (212284 in chips)
Seat 6: jahbliss05 (104683 in chips)
Seat 7: loud423 (46503 in chips)
Seat 8: willythewise (91108 in chips)
Seat 9: U_madness (26252 in chips)

Click here for a screen cap of the final table.
Garry was the chipleader when the final table was set. He added even more chips to is stack when his Q-J outflopped Willythewise's A-10. Willythewise went out in ninth place. For the first time during the entire tournament, Garry's stack passed the 300K mark.

Jg-2323 went on a rush. Quads Queens to bust loud423 in 7th place. Garry was still way out in front more than double jg-2323 in second place.

With 6 to go, Garry slipped a bit, but was still in the lead. U_Madness went out in 6th ad Jahbliss05 got outflopped by LorraineLove and he was busted in 5th place.

Garry was the chipleader for the Final 4 with 324K. Action didn't slow down. In fact, it sped up. Jg-2323 went out in 4th place when he lost a decisive pot to LorraineLove. That hand propelled Lorraine into second in chips with 292K, behind Garry's 312K. OrlandoPig was the shortstack with 173K.

On a flop of Kc-Jd-10c, Garry checked. Orlandopig bet 25.5K. Garry check-raised to 72K. Orlandopig re-raised all in for 153K. Garry had him covered and called. Garry was ahead with Ks-Qd against orlandopig's 9c-8c. Somehow, Garry dodged a massive bullet and his hand held up. Orlandopig could not hit either of his his draws and was eliminated in third place.

It was heads up.
Seat 2: LorraineLove (268074 in chips)
Seat 5: garrygates (510426 in chips)
On the 32nd hand of heads-up play, Garry emerged victorious. Before the hand began, he had almost a 2-1 lead over Lorraine. Blinds were 4K/8K with a 400 ante. LorraineLove raised to 24K. Garry re-raised to 64K. LorraineLove shoved for 233,574. Garry had Lorraine covered and called with Ah-Kd. He flipped over Ac-5d.

The Final Hand

The board ran out Ks-Kh-4J-Jc-8d. Garry won the hand and Lorraine was eliminated in second place. She won $389.26 Garry won the tournament and the additional Borgata package which included a 5K seat to one of their events in September.

Here's the final table results:

And here's the rest of the money winners:

Congrats to all of the money winners, especially Garry for taking it down. I will be conducting an interview with Garry shortly. So stay tuned for another installment of Tao of Five featuring Garry Gates.

Thanks again to everyone who took time out of their busy schedules to play in the birthday tournament. I was blown away by the number of participants and also by the dozens and dozens more of you who couldn't play, yet still showed up to railbird. Thanks for all the help spreading the word about the tournament and pimping the event on your sites, blogs, and forums.

Thanks for the immense support over the last five years. I never could have gotten this far without you... the readers. I hope everyone had a good time.

Special thanks goes out to the Borgata. 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. Hope to see some of you folks in Atlantic City.

* * * * *

Don't forget that I run weekly PLO tournaments every Saturday at 4:20pm ET on PokerStars!

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

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Reminder: Tao of Poker's 5th Birthday Celebration = Tonight at 9pm ET

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

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 to you the reader... "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. The seat is also non-transferable. You win it, you must play it.
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.

Tonight at 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.