Sunday, November 30, 2008

60 Minutes Video: Absolute Bet and Ultimate Bet Online Poker Cheating

By Pauly
New York City

In case you missed 60 Minutes, here's a video of the piece...

Watch CBS Videos Online

For some RSS readers, you have to click through to Tao of Poker to view the 60 minutes video.

So what are your thoughts?

Original content written and provided by Pauly from Tao of Poker at All rights reserved. RSS feeds are for non-commercial use only.
Online Poker Cheating, 60 Minutes, and the Washington Post

By Pauly
New York City

On Sunday night, 60 Minutes will be airing a piece on the Absolute Poker/UB online cheating stories. The hombres at Wicked Chops Poker thinks it will be a hatchet job on the poker industry while Pokerati doesn't think it's going to be all that bad.

I guess you'll have to tune in and watch 60 Minutes to see for yourself.

There's an article in the Washington Post that you should check out.... The Poker Cheats: Players Gamble on Honesty, Security of Internet Betting was written by Gilbert Gaul. It's supposed to be Part 1 of a two part series.


Part 2 of the Washington Post investigative piece by Gilbert M. Gaul is available. Check out... Prohibition vs. Regulation Debated As U.S. Bettors Use Foreign Sites.

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

Saturday, November 29, 2008

dfense072 Wins Saturdays with Dr. Pauly for the Second Time This Year

By Pauly
New York City

dfense072 won Saturdays with Dr. Pauly back in September. And he just joined an elite group of two-time champions after winning this week's tournament. That group of multi-winners includes... Derek, Grouse14, Sydney 8, CSauve, and Resdent Evil (three time champion including back-to-back wins).

We had 32 runners this week and the top 5 paid out. Special guests included GRob, Spaceman, and Benjo.

My starting table included andynelson, GRobman, ArcticAction, Skow-go, SmBoatDrinks, Benjo_DiMeo, and last week's champion markoflnk

Derek said, "Dude, you are a table with Tony Soprano, Trey, Paul Newman and a young Obama."

Click here to see our avatars. During Turkey Cup, the eventual champion Daddy mistook my avatar for Obama as a child.

Anyway, back to the PLO tournament... Same old story. I didn't last long. I went out in 28th. My Kings were snapped off by Skow-go's trip tens.

At the first break, Chompy was the chipleader with 6.7k with 20 too go. After the break, Chompy lost the lead in two big hands. Skow-go took the lead.

Benjo's empty chair finished in 15th place. Change100 busted two on a cooler. Her A-A-x-x held up against Kings and Queens. StB bubbled off the final table in 10th place.
Final Table:
Seat 1: Skow-go (7597)
Seat 2: jeciimd (7670)
Seat 3: TNSpaceman (6125)
Seat 4: rocketman97 (7666)
Seat 5: ResdentEvil (1800)
Seat 6: change1OO (4335)
Seat 7: dfense072 (9432)
Seat 8: CheckRaise70 (3015)
Seat 9: markoflnk (360)
dfense072 began the final table as the chipleader, but bythe second break, there were rocketman97 snagged the chiplead. His stack was 14k with six to go.

Change100 was the bubble girl. She ran into Aces and finished in 6th. Spaceman went out in 5th. He had a rollercoaster ride. Aces cracked. Aces hold up. Then out. CheckRaise70 went out next when jeciimd took him out in 4th place. With three to go, dfense072 was regained chiplead.

Rocketman went out in third place. He got it all in on the board of Qd-7h-3s-Ac.
jeciimd: Qh-Jh-3d-3h
rocketman97: Ah-10h-7s-5s
jeciimd flopped a set and it held up. Rocketman finished in third and heads up was set.
Heads Up Chip Counts:
Seat 2: jeciimd (29103)
Seat 7: dfense072 (18897)
dfense072 won the first big battle when he doubled up. He was all in with a flush draw against jeciimd's two pair. He missed his flush but backdoored a bigger two pair to win the pot. dfense072 took a 3 to 1 chiplead.

Jeciimd was short until he doubled up to 10K, but his comeback ended right there.

On the final hand, both players got it all in on the turn. The board read Jd-Jh-4s-2c.
dfense072: Ac-Js-8c-3s
jeciimd: Jc-10h-8d-3c
Both players flopped trips, but dfense072 had jeciimd outkicked. The river was the 9c. dfense072 won the pot with trip Jacks and an Ace kicker. jeciimd went out in second place. dfense072 won Saturdays with Dr. Pauly and joined an elite club of folks who have won more than once. Congrats!
Week 44 Money Winners:
1. dfense072 - $128
2. jeciimd - $76
3. rocketman97 - $51.20
4. CheckRaise70 - $38.40
5. Spaceman - $25.60
Congrats again to dfense072 for taking down Saturdays with Dr. Pauly for a second time.

Thanks again to everyone who played and pimped in the event. See you next week.

FYI, Saturdays with Dr. Pauly will be running every Saturday in December but The last event will be on December 27th. Saturdays with Dr. Pauly will be going on haitus in early 2009. So get your PLO fix while you can!

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

By Pauly
New York City

Maybe Benjo has been watching Scandis play too much poker, or perhaps he's been hanging out with all those lucky French pros. But everyone's favorite chain-smoking malcontentjournalist and Tao of Pokerati sidekick won the second event of Run Good 2.0.

Nice catch, Eurodonk.

15 runners this week trying to win $600 for first place. The special pro playing in this week's event was Liz Lieu. My starting table included Dave Schwartz, Jen Newell, Poker Shrink, Kid Dynamite, Benjo, Liz Lieu, and Michele Lewis.

I won a pot early on with pocket Jacks. I flopped a set against Benjo and he didn't pay me off! I lost a pot to Liz Lieu. I raised with A-Ks. She three-bet me from the big blind. I called and missed the flop. She bet and I folded.

Kid Dynamite can't catch a break in the Run Good. He's a magnet for bad beats. He got it all in with Aces against Benjo's Hilton Sisters. Yep, a Queen spiked on the river. Benjo won the pot. Kid Dynamite hit the rail. Say hello to Gigli.

I misplayed two hands which were my downfall. I lost a hand to the Cougar. Top pair versus two pair. And then I couldn't get away from a hand against the Poker Shrink. My nines lost to his A-Q. He flopped a Queen and I was out in 11th place.

The final table for Event 2...
Seat 1: PokerShrink (1915)
Seat 2: The Cougar(4016)
Seat 3: MattS(1005)
Seat 4: DanS (3735)
Seat 5: Benjo (5644)
Seat 6: Liz Lieu (425)
Seat 7: Amy Calistri (680)
Seat 8: change1OO (2515)
Seat 9: CJ (2565)
Benjo had a massive lead at the final table. He busted the Cougar on the Bubble. Shrink went out in third and CJ as heads up with Benjo. Behold, the Luckbox versus the Eurodonk.

On the final hand, Benjo had a 6 to 1 chiplead over CJ. They got it all in preflop. Benjo held Ks-Jh and CJ was behind with Qc-Js. The flop was Qs-10c02d and CJ took the lead. The turn was the Kc and Benjo regained the lead. The river was the 8s. Benjo won the pot and CJ was eliminated in second place. Benjo runs good.

Congrats to Benjo for the win. And I know he's gonna be pissed that I called him a Eurodonk, but I use that term with the warmest regards.

Anyway, in honor of Benjo winning the Run Good, here are some of my favorite Tao of Pokerati episodes where Benjo makes a cameo...
Tao of Pokerati - Best of Benjo:
Episode 17.1: Barley Legal (0:55)
Episode 17.2: Hooker Tournament Chips (1:05)
Episode 17.3: Le Masturbe (1:20)
Episode 26: Agents, Frenchies, and Polacks (3:48)
Episode 3.1: EPT Afterparty (3:39)
Episode 3.2: Hungarian Hooker Halloween (4:14)
Episode 3.3: Competitive Apple Eating (4:08)
Episode 3.4: Euro Core-tossing (3:17)
Well done, sir. Thanks again to the gang at Poker Listings for the invite.

Original content written and provided by Pauly from Tao of Poker at All rights reserved. RSS feeds are for non-commercial use only.
Week 12 - Sundays with Dr. Pauly Update

By Pauly
New York City

Only1Calvary had a record-setting Week 12 and won Sundays with Dr. Pauly. Out of 42 players, he managed to post the highest score of the entire season and has a shot at $75 bonus.

I had another dismal weekend. I can't explain it. I'm in first place in the Pauly's Pub pool. I can pick winning teams but I can't put together a team to save my life.

Week 12 Top 5:
1 only1calvary - 171.6
2 FSLFSF - 143.6
3 Chuckdnb - 143.2
4 Kaiseroll13 - 140
5 ebk03001 - 138.7

Click here to view complete Week 12 results.

Standings for Series 3 (Top 35):
Kaiseroll13 259.9
Jag 252.1
Acefilleddreams 251.6
Kev 245.7
cwfoot 245
greengoddess 241.5
Da Bidz 235.7
Sconie 234.9
FSLFSF 232.9
Pokerpeaker 231.7
etoppsfan 231.5
ebk03001 230
spitball 223.8
Chuckdnb 223.8
Expensive Wino 223
Brian 222.8
BobbyBracelet 222.5
jakehead 222.3
Zeem 221.2
Mattazuma 220.3
HermWarfare 215.4
bonds 210
Olliewood 209.2
Resino 208.1
RIP 204.4
Buffalo66 203.9
Chewbot 203.8
repete offenders 202.4
AlCantHang 189.5
belly2bar 178.4
only1calvary 171.6
jrf361 163.6
TaoPauly 163.4
bayne_s 163.1

Click here complete results and standings.

Needs to Beat Pauly's Score Next Week for TOC Entry: Jag, Acefilleddreams, Da Bidz, Sconie, FSLFSF, etoppsfan, BobbyBracelet, Jakehead, Zeem, HermWarfare, Olliewood, RIP

The following players won a entry in the TOC (Tournament of Champions) by beating my score for 3 consecutive weeks... Jag, Expensive Wino, AlCantHang, Buffalo66, Chewbot, Resino, Greengoddess, Kaiseroll13, Chuckdnb, Brian, ebk03001, Belly2Bar, spitball, cwfoot, Kev, Mattazuma, Big Pirate, bonds, Pokerpeaker, Repete Offenders

High Weekly Scores for the Entire Season ($75/$25 added):
1st only1calvary 171.6 (Week 12)
2nd jrf361 152.8 (Week 8)
If you don't have a Fantasy SportsLive account, you can sign up for one today! It's legal in the US and you can fund your account with a credit card.

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

Friday, November 28, 2008

Daddy Wins Turkey Cup

By Pauly
New York City

The second annual Turkey Cup ended up being an unexpected hit. Derek anticipated 50+ players. I had a much conservative estimate.

In all, 56 folks showed up to play in the Turkey Cup and everyone at the final table would make the money. 55 people had their sights set on Derek who was defending his crown, er cup. And when the dust settled around Midnight, Daddy (aka TequilaMom) emerged victorious and won the coveted Turkey Cup. Bragging rights now belong to Daddy, who he insisted the local women nicknamed him "cumzilla."

My starting table included JPPhilly, cyberpebbles, butchhoward, Java117, Scurvyfreed, nealdo56, JustLuck1978, and change1OO.

Buffalo66 has been cleaning up over at Fantasy Sports Live, but he couldn't get anything going in the Turkey Cup. He busted on one of the first hand and too Gigli honors.

AlCantHang was also an early casualty when his Queens were cracked by Friedman's A-K.

Early on, the banter at Daddy's table was kicked into high gear.
TequilaMom: I usually listen to Kid Rock when I'm cramming my crank into a *****'s pisstank.
DrPauly: can u describe said pisstank?
TequilaMom: Her pisser was pretty banged up. I think she had gingivitis down there. Smelled like rotten pissroot, and looked like an open axe wound.
DoubleDave: maybe a busted ravioli?
777GMoney: i think i just threw up in mouth a little bit
TequilaMom: Overrotated blotator cufflinks at the very least.
Friedman and TequilaMom were out to an early lead with almost 5K.

Change100 headed to the rail early when her J-J lost to 10-4s. I busted cyberpebbles with Kings vs. A-Q. I had to fade a flush draw on the river and succeeded. For most of the early levels, I was in the top 5-10 in chips.

I moved to a new table that included GrrrlZilla, Family Ice, imhere4beer, Daddy, pungissunob, opnmnd, irongirl01, and Johnny Walker.

Derek failed to repeat and went out in 35th place. He was shortstacked and open shoved for 850 with pocket eights. Hoy called with Q-J. Derek lost his race and was eliminated.

At the first break, GMoney the chipleader with 9K. I had 3.6K and was 6/30.

Daddy was at my table and we had a few interesting conversations. He even complimented me on my avatar (Arnold Drummond from Different Strokes).
TequilaMom: Pretty sweet Obama avatar Pauly.

DrPauly: Tequila Mom, when was the last time u actually wore underwear -- in a conventional sense?
TequilaMom: Third grade.
DrPauly: freeballin since the 90s?
TequilaMom: That's actually the title of my memoirs.

TequilaMom: Haha, my pet koala just queefed. Smells like turnips.
The last line might have been the quote of the night.

GMpney moved to my table with a leading stack of 11K. Daddy referred to him as a "total fishmonkey."

I went out in 23rd. GMoney raised UTG. Friedman called. I had Jacks and knew that I was ahead of both players. I shoved for 3K. imhere4beer re-raised all in from the button. Awwww, fuck. He had me covered and I knew I was beat with a monster. GMoney and Friedman both folded and my Jacks were up against Kings. King on the flop. I was fucked. imhere4beer won the pot. Out in 23rd.

With two tables to go Bikom took the chiplead and he was out in front for a while until Daddy snagged the lead shortly before the second break with 11 players to go.

FishyMcDonk was the BubbleBoy. He also bubbled off the final table in 10th place.

Hoy was the chipleader with nine to go.
2008 Turkey Cup Final Table:
Seat 1: scurvyfreed (4534)
Seat 2: lightning36 (9265)
Seat 3: Joanne1111 (10800)
Seat 4: TequilaMom (13171)
Seat 5: imhere4beer (12403)
Seat 6: hoyazo (14442)
Seat 7: 777GMoney (3479)
Seat 8: Family Ice (3790)
Seat 9: Bikom (12116)
Daddy busted GMoney on a crazy sick ugly hand. Bad beat of day for sure. GMoney's Kings were brutally sodomized by Daddy's 3c-2c. Daddy caught a runner runner Wheel to crack Kings. Brutal. Daddy surged to over 30K.

Kings were not a fun hand to have at the final table. Joanne had her Kings cracked by A-K and she went out.

Hoy was eliminated when his 9s-7s lost to Daddy's 10s-2s. "The ole Doyle Bunford," explained Daddy, who ended up winning the hand with a full house.

Lightning36 went out in third and a heads up match was set. Daddy was ahead in chips, but Bikom was chasing history. He had previously won an event in Saturdays with Dr. Pauly and was trying to join Derek as the only other person to have won a Turkey Cup and a Saturdays with Dr. Pauly.
Heads Up Chip Counts:
Seat 4: TequilaMom (64047)
Seat 9: Bikom (19953)
At one point, there was an all in. Both shoved pre-flop with 10-9 vs 9-5. Man, I love these guys! I knew the heads up would go quick and on the tenth hand, just before the stroke of midnight, it was all over.

Daddy raised to 8,000. Bikom shoved for 23,856. Daddy had him covered and called.
TequilaMom: Ad-10s
Bikom: Kc-Js
The flop was 10c-7c-3d. The turn was the Ac. And the river was the 4d. Daddy won the pot with two pair. Bikom was eliminated in second place, and Daddy won Turkey Cup.

Daddy sent me a text message shortly after his victory...Paul, thanks for providing me with yet another opportunity to completely dismantle an MTT field full of gifted poker writers/players.

I dig how he called me... Paul.

Congrats to Daddy/TequilaMom for the victory in the second annual Turkey Cup. Thanks to everyone who played and pimped the event. See you next year for the third annual Turkey Cup.

And don't forget about Saturdays with Dr. Pauly! Every Saturday at 4:20pm.

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

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Turkey Cup Returns! Derek Will Attempt to Defends His Title

By Pauly
New York City

Many years ago on Thanksgiving evening after our family dinner, I played poker at my brother's apartment. I had recently bought a chip set and he had just learned the intricacies of the game. We prepped for an impending poker trip to Vegas and had a blast that night. We forged a bond and never could we ever imagine the amazing journey that we'd both set off through poker over the next six years. That momentous evening of cards on Thanksgiving were the origins of Turkey Cup.

Last year I created Turkey Cup.... a special Thanksgiving tournament that came to life at the last possible moment. Derek won the tournament and took down the title. The coveted cup and the honor and the bragging rights were all his own. And now it's back. Derek will try to defend his title on Thanksgiving night in the second annual Turkey Cup.

Yes, that's Derek and myself circa 1980. And you are cordially invited to join us.

Turkey Cup is a $5 NL tournament hosted on PokerStars at 9pm ET on Thanksgiving night. It's the perfect the post-dinner activity and a chance to get away from your insane family members. Or Turkey Cup is a nifty activity if you are a bored Canuck or a Eurodonk with insomnia.

Everyone is invited. Hope to see you there. And if you can't play in the Turkey Cup, there's always Saturdays with Dr. Pauly this coming 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, November 25, 2008

Tao of Five: Otis and The Devil

By Pauly
New York City

During the summer in Las Vegas, I introduced a series of questions and answers with various poker industry figures under the subheading... Tao of Five. Well, it is back.

I took this shot of Otis at the 2006 WSOP

In this installment of the Tao of Five, I interviewed Otis about his encounters with a player he referred to as "The Devil," someone whom he has written extensively at Up for Poker about his experiences over the last couple of WSOPs. During one late night after a round of lime tossing, we taped a brief interview outside of the Rio. Here's the transcript of our entire interview. Viewer discretion is advised.

* * * * * *
Pauly: July 2008. Las Vegas, NV. This is an interview with Otis about the Devil.

Otis: Yep. Last night. I saw him again. 10pm. He walked into the Amazon Room. Almost floating again. I don't get it.

Pauly: I have read all of your scribblings about The Devil. They're haunting. I just thought that you were going crazy in Las Vegas. Then I saw him and you pointed him out and I saw that you were really freaked out. You were trembling. You were really freaked out.

Otis: It started out as a joke in 2007. I ended up on the elevator with the guy and he seemed sort of spooky. Everywhere I went in '07, there he was looking at me with those same hollow eyes with that long black hair falling down over a his black coat. It was weird. He freaked me out. By the end of last year, I was a little bit nuts. And I thought when I went home I thought maybe, 'I'm just a little nuts.' Then I came back this year, and he's here. Now people see what I meant.

Pauly: If you put a beard and a black hat on him, the Devil almost passes as Jesus (Ferguson). There are a lot of ancient Christian texts that suggest the Devil is one of God's fallen angels. The Devil was God's second hand in command and took control of hell. Some other scholars suggest that the Devil is God's other son. Jesus and the Devil were brothers. And now here at the WSOP, Jesus (Ferguson) and the Devil almost look alike.

Otis: The Devil can pass for Jesus (Ferguson) if you put on a beard and sunglasses.

Pauly: And a Full Tilt logo. Have you seen the Devil logoed up?

Otis: Here is the interesting thing about the Devil. This is what I find fascinating and other people find it as well. He has been here both years and stayed the entire world series. And even tonight, he's here days after he busted out (of the main event) and he's here. He didn't qualify on any online poker site. He doesn't have a sponsor. When some people have asked him how he got here, he said that he bought his way in. When people asked him what he does for a living, he will never commit to anything. He said, "I do a variety of things." They ask "What do you like?" And he answers, "Well, I like games." That's were it gets a little bit spooky. He's always here. He pays full time to stay at the Rio. He's got a lot of money but nobody one knows who he is. I figured out his name and his name alone is one of those John Smith style names that doesn't even seem real. What's weird about him is that he never does anything that necessarily you would consider devil. But it's just the way he looks and the way he moves and where he shows up. No matter where I am, the guy shows up. A few days ago, my wife called and I wanted to find somewhere quiet to talk. I found a quiet spot in the Rio in a back corner where no one was. And there was the Devil giving me the same look, that same nod, and that same long long stare that freaks me the fuck out every time I see him. I don't necessarily believe in anything religious. I'm not a God guy. I don't believe in the devil. I don't believe in hell. But if there is a devil, this guy might be it. I'm at my worst when I'm in Las Vegas. My feelings, my soul is at its worst when I get here. And this guy shows up and it's a reminder that, "I'm here, if you need me."

Pauly: Las Vegas is hell on Earth. So we're hanging out in the Devil's backyard. We're chilling out in his domain.

Otis: This is one of the worst places on Earth. This is where vice and sin take place. I have done a lot to improve myself over the last few years and would like to think I'm a pretty good person. Las Vegas is the place were the Devil resides. I don't want to make too much of this guy but the people who have seen, MeanGene in fact, pretty much agrees with me. Just the other day, it was the strangest thing and we're walking out of the Rio and there's a slots tournament getting ready to start. The slot tournament promotional items are all about fire and brimstone. There is a giant poster on the wall of fire and brimstone that's lit up. The son of a bitch is walking six feet in front of me and I'm trying to hang behind and he just stops as if he saw me there and he waits with the fire behind him. I'm starting to sound like a nut job the more and more I talk.

Pauly: I think you should stop talking about the Devil. This is the kind of stuff you start talking about and the cops start looking at you funny and ask, "Son, where's the crystal meth?"

Otis: I'm completely sober and have been for several days. I'm well rested and not all that mentally drained or physically taxed. I have survived the series pretty well.

Pauly: The Devil spooks you. I have know you for four or five years and I have never seen you that rattled by one person. I have seen you go on mega-tilt many times. Isabelle-tilt. Work-tilt. Lime tossing-tilt. Pai Gow-tilt.

Otis: Yeah, Pai Gow-tilt. I've been there.

Pauly: The Devil-tilt. It's not really tilt. You're freezing up and are unable to move.

Otis: It's real tilt. Every other kind of tilt is manufactured. Manufactured by someone else or manufactured by my own indiscretions. This is a tilt that is uncontrollable and real. I'm going to be very happy when I get on a plane in a couple of days and stand a chance of never seeing the son of a bitch again.

Pauly: Have you ever seen the Devil in a location other than Las Vegas?

Otis: No.

Pauly: Do you remember the movie The Doors? And that bald guy who is in every scene. And he's always dressed as someone different. He could be anywhere. Everywhere.

Otis: That's the thing, I can only see him here.

Pauly: He could be in G-Vegas or Monte Carlo or somewhere else on the road.

Otis: All I'm saying is that if for some reason I disappear while I'm here...

Pauly: The Devil did it?

Otis: If I disappear while I'm here and I don't make it home and people ask where I went, the first thing you should do is find that son of a bitch and ask him what he did with me. And if he did anything so bad, that I can't come back.
* * * * *

The photos of the Devil were provided by MeanGene.

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

Monday, November 24, 2008

Monday Morning Brain Dump and Link Pimp: Turkey Week Edition

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

Shortened week because of Turkey Day. Hope everyone survives the hectic holidays. To kick off the week, here are a few links that you should help alleviate your case of the Mondays....
Iggy Makes Final Table at LSOP (Guinness and Poker)
Congrats to Iggy for making the final table of the LSOP down in Costa Rica! He finished up in 8th place after a bad beat.

Poker Shrink on Keep Flopping Aces (RoundersRadio)
Download the MP3 of the Poker Shrink's appearance on Lou Krieger's radio show Keep Flopping Aces. The Shrink talks about writing a book with Amy Calistri about everyone's favorite Adderall chomping loud-mouth Mike Matusow.

Hierarchy of Cheating in Poker (Nat Armem)
Nat Arem had an interesting post where he quantifies the different levels of online poker cheating. From multi-accounting to ghosting, Nat is on the ball with this post.

Poker in Pictures (Up for Poker)
Otis is feeling nostalgic. As he wrote, "You cannot argue poker's place in history." Excellent post with many vintage black and white photos to illustrate his point.

Hold Me, Darling - Part 1 (Bigger Deal)
Tony Holden, one of my favorite authors, recently released his latest book Holden on Hold'em. To celebrate the latest release, published a five-part extract chronicling the origins and history of Texas Hold'em. I'm sure you will dig the first part because Holden is a fantastic scribe. You can find links (on the right side) to the remaining parts to this historical series.

11/22 - On This Date in History (Hard Boiled Poker)
Shortstacked Shamus wrote about the historical events of last Saturday... November 22... a day which took the lives of both JFK and Stuey Ungar.

And here's a few non-pokery links for you music enthusiasts...
Russ Brown's New CD: The Fugitive Peace (Coventry)
Russ Brown... poker blogger and musician... has a new CD out titled The Fugitive Peace. If you like Wilco and alt-country, then this is right up your alley.

What is the Rolling Stones' signature song? (Coventry)
A special post by Otis. Everyone's favorite keno crayon eating navel gazer wonders what's the one Stones song that everyone knows them by?

Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash circa 1969 (SendSpace)
Do you like Johnny Cash? How about Bob Dylan? How about Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash? Here's a gem for you music junkies that I recently uploaded.

On deck... get ready for the second annual Turkey Cup! Yes, I'm hosting a private tournament on Thanksgiving night over at PokerStars. 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.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Run Good 2.0 - Poker Shrink Shrinks the Field

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

The mellow folks at PokerListings were kind enough to invite me to the headiest of all events... The Run Good Challenge. The second incarnation of their private tournament series featured an expanded cast of characters which included a mixture of poker industry figures, poker pros, bloggers, and many wayward souls in the poker media.

One of our gracious hosts, Matt Showell, was unable to attend the opening event. He was too busy sunning himself in the tropics and sampling the local flavors of the Caribbean; list including but not limited to fruits, women, rum, and other local produce. Of course, while Matt basks in the warmth of the good life, his work colleagues had to tough it out in the wilds of Canadia (yes, Canadia) constantly repelling attacks from herds of wild moose and roving packs of American ex-pats who watched too many Michael Moore movies.

There were 14 players including my nemesis Dan Skolovy, who returned to hold the rope for Team PokerListings. Representing the pros was 2008 WSOP bracelet winner Jason Young. Combatants this week included... Benjo, Amy Calistri, Change100, Dave Schwartz, Kid Dynamite, Shortstacked Shamus, Michele Lewis, Michalski, Spaceman, CJ, and the Poker Shrink.

My starting table included Shamus, Jason Young, Dan Skolovy, Dave Schwartz, Amy Calistri, and Change100.

Benjo was late. He in transit and trying to play on a high-speed train that raced across Europe. I could only imagine how pissed off he was trying to connect.

"This is booshit!" he screamed at one of the train workers. "Your wifi is nothing but peasant shit."

He slammed his croissant down as flakes splattered all over the floor. He also smashed out his cigarette in his bare hand, while thousand of miles away, a hungover Michalski sitting in his underwear on his couch in Las Vegas picked on Benjo's empty chair. Michalksi stole Benjo's blinds repeatedly and said, "Take that Benjo! [insert surrender joke here]"

I shot Benjo a text message, "Where r u? Empty chair. Michalski making fun of you & stealin your blinds. Making racist jokes too."

Meanwhile, CJ took out Kid Dynamite with the Hammer. CJ has his luckbox powers in full effect when he flopped trip deuces and it was all over. Kid Dynamite took down Gigli honors.

I was at the front of the pack early on. I pushed my stack up to 2K and was the table chipleader for most of the first few levels. I won two pots with A-x. Flopped an Ace both times. I also won a pot against Change100. She rivered a Wheel, but your hero rivered a 6-high straight. Here's the banter:
DrPauly: suck it
DrPauly: wheel no good
change1OO: fck u asssscocck
DrPauly: nice try, blondie
DrPauly: go back to clutching your bong
PokerShrink [observer]: ain't love grand
What I love about the west coast is that football starts at 10am. I got lucky because the local CBS affiliate showed the Jets/Titans game. The Jets were up 10-3 at halftime and I could hunker down and stay focused to play poker.

Benjo finally arrived... "Fucking train was late obv."

I busted shortstacked Dave Schwartz in 13th place when my Ah-7d held up against his Ks-10s. I snagged the chiplead. Change100 knocked out the bracelet winner Jason Young. He was shortstacked and went out in 12th place. Michalksi was next in 11th place courtesy of the Poker Shrink.

I won a big hand against DanS when I rivered a baby flush. He put me on the Ad and folded. That pot pushed me to 3.6K.

Shamus bubbled off the final table in 10th place when his fate was decided by DanS. With Shamus' elimination, I advanced to the final table as the chipleader.
Final Table Chip Counts:
Seat 1: Benjo (880)
Seat 2: Michele Lewis (1885)
Seat 3: Pauly (3605)
Seat 4: change1OO (2455)
Seat 5: Spaceman (1860)
Seat 6: DanS (2900)
Seat 7: CJ (2435)
Seat 8: Amy Calistri (1540)
Seat 9: Poker Shrink (3440)
I lost chiplead after Spaceman three-bet me preflop from the big blind. I let go of A-Js from the button. He showed A-K.

Change100 was the first player to bust from the final table. Her departure in 9th place was courtesy of an ugly bad beat that sent her on tilt for a good hour or so. Her A-A lost to Michele Lewis' A-K. The Poker Cougar turned a Broadway straight to sink Change100's Aces.

I was 4th in chips at first break with 3K. DanS and the Cougar were tied for lead with 3.5K. Benjo was shortstacked and didn't last too much longer. The headline would read, "Cougar Mauls Frenchman."

Everyone's favorite malcontent chain-smoking black jack loving Tao of Pokerati sidekick was eliminated when he lost a race to the Cougar. She emerged as chipleader with over 7K. I was second with 3.7k. Three were players below 10 BB.

Then I started bleeding chips. I doubled up CJ. He was short and woke up to Q-Q. I lost with A-3s. More bleeding. I opened UTG with 9-9. Amy shoved for 3K more. I had to put her on a monster so I folded. She said she had pocket Queens. I slipped to under 2K. Then I took a bad beat that would be the beginning of the end. Dan shoved for 1,625. I had him covered from the big blind and called with Ah-Qc. He held As-4s. He flopped a four and I got fucked without any lube.

Down to 300. Future grim. Asshole sore. Although I doubled up on next hand with A-10 against the Shrink, that minor burst of elation would subside and be replaced by utter misery. My Ah-Jh lost to Amy Calistri's Big Slick. Out in 7th. D'oh.

Spaceman hit the rail in 6th place. CJ was out-luckboxed by the Cougar. She knocked him out in 5th place. BubbleBoy honors went to Dan S. He ran into Tim's Aces and got crippled. He busted shortly after when the Shrink outran his pocket nines with 7-7.

With three to go, the Shrink was the chipleader with almost 13K and amassed 61% of the chips in play. Shrink tamed the Cougar when he busted her in third place. Heads up was set between the two authors of the impending Mike Matusow book. Amy Calistri trailed the Poker Shrink by almost 4 to 1.

Heads up didn't last very long. Amy had a chance to double up when she shoved with Jacks against the Shrink's K-Q. Alas, the Shrink runs good and turned a Queen. Amy did not improve on the river and she finished in second place. The Shrink emerged victorious.

All hail the Poker Shrink. He won the first week of the Run Good Challenge 2.0 and collected $600. Lucky fucker. Please piss it away on a good cause like the Save the Stripper Fund. If I had won the first place booty, I would have bought enough ganja to blind the Pope.

That's it. Thanks again to the gang at PokerListings for hosting. Congrats to the Poker Shrink. See you clowns next week.

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

Saturday, November 22, 2008

markoflnk Wins Saturdays with Dr. Pauly; GMoney Is Bridesmaid Again

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

We had a nice turnout for Saturdays with Dr. Pauly, which featured one of the longest tournaments since this weekly event kicked off 43 weeks ago.

32 players this week and the top 6 were paid. The remaining six made a save for 6th. We had some special guests such as Mookie, BuddyDank, and Chad Pukarama.

My starting table included JOHN-E-FLUSH, 777GMoney, Er_gan, AlCantHang, wolfshead, Skow-go, and BamBamCan.

ClintonStain was Gigli and busted out on the third hand courtesy of LorraineLove.

I took a hit early on and lost a pot to JOHN-E-FLUSH. My Q-Q-x-x got outrun by his K-10-10-x.

I made an early exit in 29th place. I held Kc-Jc-8c-6d and flopped two pair on a board of 8h-7c-6h. I got it all in when the Qc fell on the turn. I picked up a flush redraw and had two callers. Er_gan was ahead with a ten high straight and GMoney had a nine-high straight but also had outs for a flush draw.
DrPauly: Kc-Jc-8c-6d
Er_gan: 10c-9s-5s-3s
777GMoney: Kh-9d-8d-5h
The river was the Jh. GMoney made his flush and I went out. Two pair and a flush draw are always the death of me. That hand thrust GMoney into the chiplead.

GMoney surged to almost 10K and added to his lead when he busted two players on the same hand. The flop was Ah-4s-4s. Two small stacks were all in against GMoney, who flopped top boat with Ad-Ac-Qs-8c. sigzilla's smaller boat and AcerbicOne's flush were no good. Both hit the rail and GMoney increased his stack to almost 10K.

At the first break, 18 players remained and GMoney was the chipleader with 9.7k.

TJPackMan bubbled off the final table in 10th place as GMoney began the final table as the chipleader.
The Final Table:
Seat 1: markoflnk (6120)
Seat 2: SmBoatDrinks (6125)
Seat 3: JOHN-E-FLUSH (4488)
Seat 4: pungissunob (3780)
Seat 5: AlCantHang (3840)
Seat 6: BiskoKid106 (4987)
Seat 7: BamBamCan (3230)
Seat 8: 777GMoney (10445)
Seat 9: irongirl01 (4985)
IG was the first out at final table. Bisko Kid took chiplead with over 11K until JOHN-E-FLUSH doubled through Bisko and busted BamBam in on the same hand. BamBam finished in 8th place.

At the second break, seven players were left but three of them had less than 7 BB remaining on the money bubble. JOHN-E-FLUSH held the chiplead with 15K, with BiskoKid and markoflnk in a close race for second with 7.5K each.

BiskoKid was crippled on the first hand after the break when he ran into markoflnk's Aces. And on the very next hand, Bisko was all in from the big blind and markoflnk woke up to Aces. Again. Consecutive hands. markoflnk won the pot and seized the chiplead. Bisko was out in 7th place. BiskoKid was BubbleKid.

AlCantHang busted out in 6th. He was short and shoved with Ac-Ks-Js-10h. JOHN-E-FLUSH called with Kc-Kh-Qc-5c and Al was doomed. JOHN-E-FLUSH had the chiplead.

pungissuno went out in 5th place. He shoved with Ac-Kh-8c-6c and SmBoatDrinks won with Ah-Jd-10h-4d when he rivered a flush.

Down to the final four with SmBoatDrinks as the only previous champion remaining. He didn't get a chance to repeat when GMoney took him out. GMoney's Aces held up as SmBoatDrinks busted out in 4th place.

With three to go, JOHN-E-FLUSH was ahead with a 24K stack. GMoney and marko both had about 12K.

GMoney struck blood early on and doubled through JOHN-E-FLUSH. GMoney took the lead with Aces when he doubled through JOHN-E-FLUSH for the second time. He was up to 24K, but wouldn't hold the lead for long. Marko regained the lead when he doubled through GMoney. GMoney flopped two pair against Marko's Kings, but Marko turned a set to win the pot and avoid the elimination.

JOHN-E_FLUSH was crippled when his two pair couldn't cut the mustard against GMoney's two pair. JOHN-E_FLUSH didn't give up and he doubled up in consecutive hands to avoid elimination. Sadly, he was postponing the inevitable and finished in third place when marko took him out with a straight.

We were heads up. GMoney has a second place finish a couple of months ago and wanted to finally take this down. markoFlnk was standing in his with with almost a 2.5 to 1 advantage.
Heads up chip counts:
Seat 1: markoflnk (33264)
Seat 8: 777GMoney (14736)
Heads up went quick. On the second hand, it was all over. GMoney min-raised from the small blind to 4,000. markoflnk called. The flop was As-10d-3c. markoflnk bet 4,000. GMoney raised all in for 8,736 and markoflnk called.
markoflnk: Ac-10h-2h-2c
777GMoney: Ah-Ks-Qs-Qd
markoflnk flopped two pair and was ahead. The turn was the 8s and the river was the 7h. Neither helped GMoney and he was out in second place. markoflnk won the pot and took down Saturdays with Dr. Pauly. His only other previous cash was way back in Week 5. Nice job.
Week 43 Money Winners:
1. markoflnk - $123
2. 777GMoney - $72.80
3. JOHN-E-FLUSH - $48.20
4. SmBoatDrinks - $36.40
5. pungissunob - $24.60
6. AlCantHang - $15

Thanks again to everyone who pimped and played the event. Congrats to everyone who cashed and to markoflnk for winning his first Saturdays with Dr. Pauly.

Hope to see everyone next weekend. I know it's Turkey Day weekend, but if you want to take a break from shopping or need to get away from the family for a few hours, you can always join us for Saturdays with Dr. Pauly. Check you later...

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

Friday, November 21, 2008

Smoke 'Em if You Go 'Em: Saturdays with Dr. Pauly at 4:20pm on Saturday

By Pauly
Hollywerid, CA

I'll be able to give Saturdays with Dr. Pauly my full attention this week. Hope to see you on Saturday at 4:20pm ET for my little PLO tournament. Everyone is invited. JPPhilly is the defending champ.

Previous champions include... Grouse14 (twice), The Rooster, Buddy Dank, DrPauly, StB, Bikom, Family Ice, Bettercheck4, 23skidoo, USC55ND24, I_CrackQuads, Bayne, MrMojo, and Resdent Evil (three times including back-to-back), CSauve (twice), holdin-ragz!, Sydney 8 (twice), OneEyeKeith, Derek (twice), SmBoatDrinks, Boscodon, NoTalentTom, quinedge, GoIrish89, Quak Quack, ValpoProf, dfense072, Bad Blood, ArcticAction, Sting11165, Acornman, FiveFingerz, 2Tall_Saint, jeciimd, AcerbicOne, and JPPhilly.

If you have problems finding the tournament... look in the Tourney tab and then the Private tab. Tournament name is 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.
Fantasy Football and Sundays with Dr. Pauly

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

I haven't updated you on the progress of Tao of Poker's football pool in a while. My apologies! Rummy's TaoPicks is still out in front but the pack is catching up. Poker Vixen and garth picked up Team of the Week honors the last couple of weekends.
Week 10 Winner: LV Degenerates (PokerVixen) - 14 Wins
Week 11 Winner: Niggling Groin Injuries (Garth) - 13 Wins

Tao of Poker Football Pool - Top 5 Thru Week 11:
1 Rummy's TaoPicks (E. Rummel) 113
2 jaguar9499 (r. zacharki) 112
3 PatsRevenge2008 (E. Kalis) 111
4 Scotty's Mich Ultra (P. Grotjohn) 110
5 PokerFool's Purple Power (P. Fool) 109
Click here for complete standings.

* * * * *

And for your Fantasy Sports Live fans, you should take a look at Blinders recent post Top Poker Bloggers at Fantasy Sports, which is a summary of how some of your favorite bloggers who have been faring well over at FSL, such as Buffalo66 who has been dominating FSL since we launched it last summer. My brother also got a shout out.

Anyway, the final series of Sundays with Dr. Pauly kicked off last week and of course, I took a thumping. Holy shit, do I suck at fantasy football this year. I posted an anemic score of 77.5 this week. If you entered you pretty much beat me.

Congrats to Mattazuma for winning Week 11 of Sundays with Dr. Pauly with a score of 136.7. We had 40 runners in Week 11 and Mattazuma jumped out to the early lead in Series 3.
Week 11 - Top 20 Results and Overall Standings for Series 3:
1 Mattazuma 136.7
2 Zeem 127.8
3 Expensive Wino 123
4 BobbyBracelet 122.4
5 Buffalo66 119.9
6 Kaiseroll13 119.9
7 Jag 119.8
8 Family Guy 119.4
9 greengoddess 118.6
10 Acefilleddreams 116.3
11 Da Bidz 115
12 jakehead 113.4
13 Kev 111.9
14 Pokerpeaker 111.8
15 cwfoot 111.7
16 Sconie 109
17 Olliewood 105.4
18 etoppsfan 104.3
19 repete offenders 104
20 spitball 99.8

Click here to view complete results and standings.

Needs to Beat Pauly's Score Next Week for TOC Entry: Repete Offenders

The following players won a entry in the TOC (Tournament of Champions) by beating my score for 3 consecutive weeks.... Jag, Expensive Wino, AlCantHang, Buffalo66, Chewbot, Resino, Greengoddess, Kaiseroll13, Chuckdnb, Brian, ebk03001, Belly2Bar, spitball, cwfoot, Kev, Mattazuma, Big Pirate, bonds, Pokerpeaker.

High Weekly Scores for the Entire Season ($75/$25 added):
1st: jrf361 - 152.8 (week 8)
2nd: Rajah424 - 144.7 (Week 10)
If you don't have a Fantasy SportsLive account, you can sign up for one today! It's legal in the US and you can fund your account with a credit card.

NBA, NHL, and NASCAR contest are running as we speak not to mention plenty of NFL action. I've been getting my ass kicked in fantasy football, but the good news is that I've been doing well playing daily NBA contests. I even won one last week. Heck, if I can win and cash in the hoops contests, well that should tell you how soft they are. NBA contests start as low as $1 and you can play heads up or against a field or either six or ten other players.

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

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Rare Appearance in the Mookie; Even Rarer Appearance at the Final Table

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

I have never seen Mookie, so I really don't know if he really exists. He's at the top of the list of bloggers I have never met, yet dying to meet. All I really know about Mookie is that he has mad Photoshop skills and potent sperm. The guy has like nine kids and hooked me up with plenty of banners including the Tao of Poker logo.

Mookie also hosts a weekly tournament every Wednesday night. I play once in a blue moon (only the fifth appearance from your hero this year) mainly because my free time is restricted and also because I rarely if never play tournaments anymore (with the exception of Saturdays with Dr. Pauly - but that is more like an opportunity to kick back, partake in 4:20 activities, and have some fun with friends and loyal readers). But thank God for Twitter because I never would have remembered The Mookie if I didn't see his reminder tweet.

The girlfriend was away on a business trip and I had the entire apartment to myself. Change100 was dealing with the bleakness of Eastern Europe while she covered the EPT Poland and I basked in the sunshine of SoCal. I had been writing like a fiend all week (blogs, columns, short stories, screenplay, et al) and completed my pages for the day. It was time to unwind and play some poker.

During the Mookie, I also played a 15/30 LHE full ring game with former WSOP champion Berry Johnston. It was a soft table. I had not seen a juicy 15/30 table like that since the Party Poker days. Even though I took a couple of brutal beats, I continued to stay in the fracas because I knew at some point I'd get my money back from the various trout and calling stations that inhabitaed my table. Ah, that never happened. I lost a big pot on a rivered gutshot and then I got Queens viciously cracked. Sadly, the two biggest fish at the table left. One went busto and the other hit and run. I logged off and focused on the Mookie. I realized that even if I won the Mookie, I'd still be way stuck for the day. I'd have to win the Mookie three times over to even get close.

There were 52 runners at this week's Mookie and I had a tough starting table that included twoblackaces, jjok, JoeSpeaker, PokerVixen73, NYRambler, NumbBono, Schaubs, and BuddyDank. I didn't play too many pots during the first hour mainly because I was locked in on my 15/30 cash game. At the first break, I was 25th out of 40 and had less than the starting stack.

I lost my first pot of the tournament to Joe Speaker. One player limped. Speaker raised from the button and I called from the small blind with Ad-Kd. The flop was 9h-3d-2s. I bet 75% of the pot and Speaker min-raised me. I had to put him on a big pair or a set but it didn't matter. I whiffed the flop and folded. I told him I had pocket tens and either made a terrific laydown or the worst fold of the day. Speaker said he had a set and I believed him.

I slipped to under 2K when GCox was moved to our table. He wasn't there very long because I knocked him out. I raised with Qh-10h and GCox called. The flop was Jc-10s-9c. He had 380 left and I bet 379. He called. The turn was the 8d and I made a straight. I min-bet to put him all in for his last chip. His 5d-5h was no good and he was drawing dead. GCox went out and I was up to 2.4K.

I picked up a couple of small pots and went over 3.3K before I busted JoeSpeaker. He was short and shoved from the button. I put him on any two cards so I called with Qd-Jh from the big blind. He had 6c-3d and did not improve. All of a sudden I had 5.5K and was no longer below average.

NYRambler was down to his last 1K in chips and I took him out. It was the battle of the blinds and action was folded to me in the small blind. I woke up to Kd-Kh and raised to put him all in. He insta-called with Ad-8h. Some how, my Kings held up since I usually lose to a flopped Ace in those situations. I won the pot and NYRambler was out. I increased my stack to over 7K and improved to 10th place with 20 to go.

I lost some chips when I doubled up BuddyDank. I raised preflop and he called from the blind. The flop was 10d-7s-2s. He checked. I missed the flop was A-9, but fired out anyway for 1,700 or the rest of Buddy's stack. He tanked and eventually called at the last possible second with 5h-5s. His hand held up and he doubled up.

I lost another pot when I missed with A-Q and was back down to 3K. I was one of the shortstacks with two tables to go. It was time to double up or go home. I was short and shoved with J-10s. BuddyDank called with A-J. Alas, I flopped a 10 and doubled up. I had 5K but was 15th out of 18.

Then I got involved in one cooler of a hand. Luckily, I escaped without going busto. I woke up to Jacks in early position. PokerVixen limped for 400. I raised to 2,250 or almost half of my stack. PirateLawyer shoved for 10,545. MiamiDon moved all in for 7,130. Vixen folded and it was back to me. It was pretty obvious that one of them had a monster. Even though I had half of my stack in the pot, I had to fold. Ended up being the correct call since PirateLawyer held Qh-Qd and MiamiDon showed As-Ah. Don's Aces held up and he had almost 18K which put him among the chipleaders.

I slipped to the shortest stack. I was 17 out of 17 and had a mere 2.5K. I made a couple of steals to squeak up to 15th in chips but I still needed a miracle. That finally happened when I doubled up. TheMan2484 raised to 1,500. I shoved for 4,690 with pocket treys. He called with As-3s. My baby pair held up and I doubled up to 10K. I also jumped up to 9th out of 16.

I picked up a big pot against PokerVixen and moved into second place with 15K. She limped. I popped her with Ad-Ks. She called. The flop was As-Jc-2c. She bet 1,500. I raised to 7.5K and she folded.

I had chips and confidence with some good tunes cranking out (Phish at the Roxy). I had been the most sober I had been in almost a week. In short, I felt like I was in a good position and head space to make a run at the title. All I needed to do was make the final table and get a little lucky.

Ah, then I spewed some back to Vixen. My pocket tens lost to her A-Q and I doubled her up when she flopped trips. All of a sudden I slipped to 11th place with under 10K before I climbed my way back up to 15K.

It was time for me to issue a wicked beat. I had Qd-5d in the big blind Action folded to PokerVixen in the small blind. She min-raised and I called. The flop was Ah-Qc-10c. She bet 2,400. I had been bullying her around a lot and figured that she was trying to bully me back. I had her covered and shoved with second pair. She insta-called with Ad-8d. Oooooops. I picked up a gutshot on the turn and screamed for a King. That never materialized but I backdoored two pair when the 5s spiked on the river. She was out and I surged over 20K in chips. I made a bad read and got lucky. That's poker.

I busted CLReeves shortly after. I raised with Kc-Jc. He shoved with a short stack and I called. His Kh-6c did not improve and went out. I seized the chiplead with 28K. I was first out of 12 to go.

On the final table bubble, I still held the lead. But then I'd suffer a vicious beat - one that made up for all the beats I issued all night.

Blinds were 500/1,000 with a 125 ante. I had 27.3K to Julkeus' 16.5K. I had 8c-6c in the small blind. Action folded to Julkeus and he limped in late position. I called 500 more from the small blind and the big blind checked. The flop was 7c-5d-4h. I flopped a straight and checked. Big blind checked. Julkeus bet 2,000. I called and the big blind folded. The turn was the 7h. I checked. Julkeus bet 4,000. I went for the good old Scandi min-check-raise. Julkeus re-raised to 12,000. I made it 16,000 and Julkeus called all in for his last 1,414. He had As-7s for trips. I needed to fade a boat (never even considering that I'd lose to the case seven) and I prayed to the poker gods to not pair the board.

Prayers left unaswered. 7d on the river. Fuck you poker quads.

"Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck!" I screamed so loudly that everyone in the Hollywood Hills must have heard me.

Julkeus won a 34,453 pot on running quads and I needed to rip a binger to cool off in order to avoid sliding into the depths of tilt. I was left with 10K and dropped to 6th in chips with nine to go.

Here's the final table...
Seat 1: Julkeus (34,453)
Seat 2: chitwood (6,829)
Seat 3: DrPauly (10,771)
Seat 4: Joshuacarlsen (24,109)
Seat 5: -WYLDKARD- (12,999)
Seat 6: TheMan2484 (4,200)
Seat 7: carmensincity (42,628)
Seat 8: MiamiDon (12,534)
Seat 9: mookie99 (7,477)
I didn't see any decent hands and couldn't find any spots to pick up loose change. I slipped to 6th in chips when action reached the bubble. The top six were paid and Mookie was the short stack.

On the bubble, I made a move and shoved with 10-8 off suit. Carmen called with pocket sixes. I won the race and doubled up to avoid elimination.

-WYLDKARD- was the Bubble Boy when his Ah-Kc lost a race to Joshuacarlsen's pocket tens. With -WYLDKARD-'s exit, I cashed in the Mookie. That was the only cash of the year for me in five attempts. And it was definitely my first final table appearance in the history of the Mookie.

I busted our host Mookie in 6th place. His Kd-5d were no match for my Ac-5c. I was still one of the short stacks and needed some help if I wanted a shot at getting heads up.

I had made two moves against MiamiDon at the final table. I had Kings one time and the other time I had Qs-4s. I figured the next time that I raised him, he would push back so I needed to wait for a decent holding.

I had around 30K and Don had 27K when I found Ac-Jd in early position. I opened for 6,600. Don re-raised from the small blind. I put him on a re-steal since I looked at the hand from his perspective and figured he thought I was on a steal. I had been playing a wide range of hands and it would be a good spot for Don to pop me with air. He bet 16,000. I hate calling in that situation. It was shove or fold for me. I didn't have too much time left on the clock to think it through. I put him on re-steal with a weak Ace or some sort of royal cards. And if he had a middle or small pair, we'd be racing. I shoved as time ticked down. He insta-called with Ah-As. Fuck me. I doubled him up to almost 56K and was crippled. Down to my last 2.7K.

I thought that he thought that I was making a move. I made a hasty decision and should have let it go and found a better spot. Oh well. If that happened at a live table, I would have took more time to think it through. Unless I had a tell on him and knew I was way ahead, I probably would have folded. Alas, it's not live poker, it was online. That bad decision cost me the tournament.

I busted out on the next hand. I shoved blind and MiamiDon woke up to Queens right after he picked up Aces. I was eliminated in 5th place and picked up some prize money, no where close to the amount that I lost playing cash games.

It was late for me and I missed dinner. I didn't think I was going deep in the Mookie and was gonna grab grub as soon as I busted. I drove to Ralph's and bought some pasta and 'welcome home' flowers for the girlfriend. When I returned, it was heads up between Carmen and MiamiDon. Carmen had a massive lead. I was cooking dinner and didn't see how it transpired, but Don came from behind to win.

You can read Mookie's recap here.

Congrats to MiamiDon for the victory. And special thanks to Mookie for hosting. A fun time was had by all and I hope to be able to play sometime soon... schedule permitting. With Turkey Day in New York, a trip to Mexico for the Latin America Poker Tour, and the gathering in Vegas on the agenda the next few weeks... it looks like I might not be in the mix again until early 2009.

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

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tao of Pokerati Episodes: The Hooker Bar and Heads Up

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

I have been getting a slew of emails requesting the audio portions of the Hooker Bar hijinks. Ah, and Tela the hooker makes a cameo at the end of Episode 5.2.

Well, here you go...
WSOP Addenda: Tao of Hooker Bar (feat. Otis and Nigel)

Episode 5.1: Boundless Nature, Las Vegas (6:05)
Episode 5.2: Hurricane of Hookers (7:25)
Episode 5.3: Cage-Savvy Coochie (3:05)

Description by Michalski: Your WSOP Experience is hardly complete without a drink or seven at the notorious Rio hooker bar ... and while I skipped out early on post-coronation festivities, Pauly stuck around to yuk it up with Otis and Nigel (from, and England). Frightening observations of obese depravity lead to existential musings on the pathetic existence of all who domicile in Vegas (umm ...) and while the trio don’t talk with Peter Eastgate as he walks through the Rio casino eerily alone for a guy who just won $9 million, they do interview one of the working girls ... and before you know it they're negotiating a deal to shoot a tag-team porno, all of which eventually deteriorates into threats of a lawsuit.

Hey, that's just how things float early after sunrise on a Wednesday morning at the Rio.

* * * * *

And here's the last batch of November Nine episodes....

Book 4: WSOP Final Table

Episode 4.11: Deal or No Deal? (5:33)

Description by Michalski: When the security guys came out with the money in silvery aluminum briefcases — 9 million semi-real American dollars — a few of us in media row joked about telling the story that the guys left at the final table had decided to chop up the remaining prize pool and play for it Deal or Ne Deal style. (Ha ha, we are so damn funny.) But on this episode of Tao of Pokerati, Pauly and I take the issue a bit more seriously, and break down what’s really at stake for Ivan and Peter — who became friends recently playing on the EPT on PokerStars' dime — beyond just the $3.34 million in prize differential between 1st and 2nd.

Episode 4.12: Dealer or No Dealer? (3:31)

Description by Michalski: Pauly and I discuss what goes into becoming a WSOP final-final table dealer, his crazy series of prop bets with Otis, Lou the Dealer's up-close observations about the heads-up action (both were nervous, and Peter Eastgate kept messing up his bets in early hands), and the Linda Tran vs. Jena Phillips controversy, both of us unaware that Lou (my pick) would end up winning the side-action on who deals the final hand a few hours later.

Episode 4.13: Web Player Down! (3:31)

Description by Michalski: You can' tell from the groovin' tunes in the background, but Pauly y yo are in the PT Theater as the heads-up battle is just one hand from completion — and I'm suffering from severe WSOP separation anxiety tech tilt as Pokerati goes offline at a fairly critical time, presumably at the hands of loyal Tao of Pokerati listeners. (Bastards.) From there we speculate on the future of the WSOP's relationship with Milwaukee's Best Light, particularly in light of a pretty major biz merger we missed during the start of the regular WSOP.

Episode 4.14: That's a Wrap (3:49)

Description by Michalski: The 2008 WSOP has come to an end, and with crews tearing down the set... Pauly and I give our after-the-fact analysis of heads-up play and The November Nine Experiment.

You can always visit the Tao of Pokerati archives to listen to older episodes.

* * * * *

Ah, and in case you missed my token appearance on Lou Krieger's radio show Keep Flopping Aces, you can download the episode from 11/13/08 here.

Ah, and I almost forgot to mention that the Poker Shrink will be a guest on Lou's show this week. He'll be discussing the Mike Matusow book that he's writing with Amy Calistri. Poker Shrink will be on at 9pm ET on Thursday. Head over to Rounders Radio to listen in.

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

Monday, November 17, 2008

Existentialist Conversations with Hookers: Maelstrom at the Hooker Bar

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

We were outnumbered 3 to 1 by a spirogyra of working girls. Otis, Nigel, and myself sat at one end of the bar when no less than nine of them had taken up refuge at the other end. Sounds like the beginning to a crude joke... Otis, a British journalist, and Pauly sat in the Hooker Bar... Alas, it was just another day in the life.

As the Nevada sun slowly crept over the mountains, we were lost in a supernatural time warp with a distorted concept of time and space. We sat in the darkness of the Rio wanting to be left alone. We sipped moderately chilled beers and shared stories about our exotic travels (Otis in Costa Rica, Nigel in Barcelona, and my drunken escapades in Budapest) while several classic rock tunes cranked out on the sound system. In the blink of an eye, they appeared. First one, then two, and a couple of more. We only had a few minutes before they pounced on us. After all, we were the only marks left standing at that time of the morning.

The prostitution industry felt the full force of the credit crunch and quality tricks were few and far between. It's a numbers game. Less conventioneers meant less potential clients. The hookers at the Rio were a combination of famished vultures and parched vampires ready to pick apart any carcass. Any john. Any drunk. Anybody in their path. They were evil personified and depending on who you talked to, they were the absolutely best/worst thing about Las Vegas.

We were their imminent prey and in the vernacular of Otis, we were illequipped.

We had a hurricane a brewing on the western front. The torrential downpour and relentless winds sprang up as soon as they spotted the trio of us. After all, we were drinking at the bar named for them. Nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide. We had to endure the tantalizing menagerie for a couple of hours. Luckily, we all lived to tell about it. No one got rolled. No one got a rash. But there might be a hooker's rotting corpse stuffed in a utility closest somewhere in the Rio.

* * * * *


Within an hour after Peter Eastgate won the 2008 WSOP, I was ready to officially celebrate the completion of that ersatz assignment. The post-final table festivities were extremely tame compared to previous main event final tables. A smaller group of poker media covered the November Nine. Instead of the army of reporters that some sites had deployed this summer, they only sent out an elite unit of one or two at the most to cover the final table. And with this press corp, most of them had to catch early flights or were on rigid deadlines. Even the free-wheeling Michalski was swamped with work. He headed home instead staying out to the wee hours.

Jen sat at the corner of the Hooker Bar and I joined her along with Change100, Matt, Otis, and Nigel. The rest of the bar was empty aside from two people who sat next to Jen. For sake of simplicity, we'll refer to them as Hemingway and the old hooker.

The portly guy was in his early 50s with thick glasses and a scruffy white beard, which reminded me a bit of Ernest Hemingway. The tourist happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time because a working girl latched herself onto him. She was way past Judy Garland drunk and her prime years as a prostitute were long gone.

The tipsy old whore wore a black satin corset with tight black pants, but it was the standard hooker heels that gave her away. If a chick wore those in Soho, you knew right away that she was part of the bridge and tunnel crowd. If you saw those heels on Sunset Strip, then you were dealing with a Valley girl. And when you saw those garish heels in Vegas and were certain that she didn't have a New Jersey accent, well all the clues suggested that she was a pro.

* * * * *


Our group thinned when the only females in our party, Jen and Change100, crashed for the night. Matt went home to write. Only Nigel, Otis, and myself remained. I figured that I'd be good for one more beer. Well, one beer turned into three more hours of pure hooker hijinks.

The barkeep consistently served Hemingway a fruity drink, either a Greyhound or some sort rum and pineapple concoction. The old hooker slammed Jagermeister like a Florida frat boy on the morning of Gator Growl. She was drunk. Plastered. Crunked. Shitfaced. Tanked. Loaded. Fucked up. Hammered. Toasted. Wrecked. Blitzed. Luggage. Sloshed. As the liquor seeped into her bloodstream, the volume of her voice grew louder and louder while her level of friskiness increased. She took off her heels and Hemingway massaged her wrinkled feet.

Within minutes, he kissed her bare left foot then the right one before he inserted three toes into his mouth. He sucked on those for a few seconds and licked the bottom of her feet. A spume of sexual invigoration seized his better judgment and they began making out. And it wasn't erotic like two sizzling hot lesbians sucking face with one another. Their public display of affection was rather awkward and ungraceful and outright pathetic. Hemingway had not 'made out with a chick' since the Watergate days. We watched in amazement as he slobbered over a soused old hooker juiced up on Jager.

In disbelief, I uttered a quote from National Lampoon's European Vacation. Without even breaking stride, Otis quickly returned the lines from one of my favorite comedies.
Rusty Griswold: [Rusty still watching the couple] ... Dad, I think he's gonna pork her.
Clark Griswold: He's not gonna pork her, Russ.
Rusty Griswold: I think he's gonna.
Clark Griswold: He may pork her.
* * * * *


"I think he can do better, which is saying a lot because he's a fat bald guy," mentioned Nigel.

"She had a woman's body that looks like she had a kid six years ago," said Otis.

Six? More like sixteen years. She had a couple of C-Section scars and started out on the pole in 1993.

She stood up and almost fell over. We've all been that drunk before. So drunk that you barely notice it when slumped on a bar stool until the excess booze hits you like a ton of bricks as soon as you stand up to go take a leak. Your legs disappear and you spin around like a weeble wobble hoping to get lucky and gain your balance before you smash your face into the edge of the bar. The old hooker stumbled back and twirled around a few times as she nearly collided with the electronic roulette table.

"She's going to get 86'd," said Otis.

I nodded but there was not one security guard in sight. The Rio was abandoned. I had never seen it that unpopulated before. Even our barkeep would disappear for ten minutes at a time. A couple of bluehairs were hidden away behind a row of slot machines. We were on our own.

Hemingway eventually realized the gravity of the situation and decided it was time to call it a night. The old hooker could no longer speak and was reduced to babbling incoherent words. She lost all motor functions and crashed to the ground. Hemingway was a little snookered himself and had a tough time picking her up off the Rio's carpet.

One of the security supervisors walked by the bar. Otis nodded at the guy and suggested that he might want to take care of the incredulous situation. He pointed to his lapel where his name tag and badge used to be. He was off the clock and handed off the responsibility to a thuggy looking security guard who looked half asleep. The guard reluctantly stopped Hemingway. The old hooker leaned up against Hemingway, but her sedentary body slowly slid down to the floor as the security guard asked her for some identification. This all went down about five feet from where we sat.

The security guard scribbled down her name and address on a piece of paper. He avoided all eye contact and didn't even ask Hemingway for an ID. He let them both go.

"This shows the boundless nature of Las Vegas," explained Otis while Piece of My Heart by Janis Joplin blasted on the speakers. "All Vegas does is look at it and write it down, just in case there is a lawsuit or the cops come when she shows up dead. And lets it go on."

Hemingway dragged the old hooker back to his room. We speculated if she puked all over his bed, or passed out on the shitter, or most likely she was sodomized with a remote control and then her throat slashed in fourteen different places. Dead hookers are a dime a dozen in Las Vegas, especially on a Tuesday morning.

An obese necrophiliac dragging a comatose hooker back to his room is the type of degradation that shoves Otis over the edge. He spirals into the depths of mega-tilt because of the omnipresent cycle of endless perversion.

"This is a depraved and soulless city. And this shit goes on all the time," lamented Otis. "After you spend five weeks here, that becomes real. It becomes your reality. And when you start to except that is reality, you are living in a world where no one should actually live."

And out of nowhere, Peter Eastgate appeared as he walked down the corridor. Only a couple of hours earlier, the 22-year old Scandi smashed Phil Hellmuth's record for the youngest WSOP champion and won $9 million in the process. The biggest swinging dick in Las Vegas walked around by himself, while in a room somewhere in the Rio, the corpse of an old hooker was covered in glops of semen and she may or may not choked to death on her own bile.

* * * * *


One middle-age guy in an orange Texas Longorns hat sat down at the end of the bar and shoved $20 into a video poker machine. An attractive young woman with Halle Berry looks slid into the stool next to him. She pulled out a cigarette and asked him for a light. I started to wonder if those were assigned seats for johns and working girls.

Just as we took note of the latest harlot, a gaggle of them showed up at the other end of the bar. First one, then two, and a couple of more. We only had a few minutes before they pounced on us. After all, we were the only marks left standing at that time of the morning. The hookers at the Rio were a combination of famished vultures and parched vampires ready to pick apart any carcass. Any john. Any drunk. Anybody in their path. They were evil personified.

Three of them sat near by Otis and ordered drinks. Two of them broke off from the larger pack and made a beeline towards us. They flashed seductive glances with every step. They always operated in pairs. One did the stroking while the other one did the talking.

"You guys looking for a little fun?" she said which was the standard opening line from the local strumpets.

I played hardball. "Umm, that's what we were doing before you arrived."

"So where are you from?"

I pointed to Nigel. He's a proper Englishman who resides in London but I blurted out, "He's Irish and I'm from Colorado."

"What's your name?"

"Steve," I said. "I'm Steve from Colorado. I sell propane and propane accessories."

"What's his name?" she said as she pointed at Otis who had his head down, tucked way down that it looked like he was sleeping on the bar.

"Cameron," muttered Otis.

"Have you ever been with a black girl, Cam?"

Otis instantly raised his left hand and practically shoved his wedding ring into her face.

"I have," I said in order to rescue Otis.

"Well how about we have some fun?" she cooed.

"How much does fun cost?" I inquired.

"Depends. What do you want to do?"

At that point, both slags stroked various parts of Nigel's paralyzed body. Dogs, bees, and hookers can smell fear, but Nigel eschewed all of their advances.

"How much for a threesome? I want to videotape both you and her tag-teaming my Irish friend."

"What's his name?"

Nigel remained still and silent.

"This my friend Bartley," chimed in Otis.

"We'd both do him, but you can't videotape us," she demanded.

Before I can retort with a counter offer, she instantly changed her mind.

"O.K., you can tape us, but no faces!" she said. "I don't wanna see you getting fuckin' rich by putting that shit up on the internet."

At that precise moment, Otis noted that we were dealing with a hooker who had a keen business acumen. She demanded that I sign a contract. We suspected that she let a previous john tape her and it ended up on YouPorn. Otis offered up his services as a choreographer and that's when the negotiations broke down.

"You want a fuckin' cut? You get 10%. What's my cut?" she demanded.

"Umm, 3%," I said.

"Fuck that!"

Foiled again.

"What's your name?" I asked.

"Tela," she said.

Wow, that's was a peculiar coincidence. Tela was the name of a Phish song and she had never heard of that band before. No shocker there. The only other Tela that I came across was a cat. My ex-girlfriend had a Siamese cat named Tela. (Later that morning, I'd send my ex-girlfriend a text that said, "u named your cat after a vegas hooker." She's a third grade teacher at a parochial school in Dallas and was not exactly thrilled when she received my drunken text.)

I steered the conversation towards economics. I wanted to know how the credit crunch and the collapse of the hyper-risky subprime-mortgage market affected the average Las Vegas working girl.

"It sucks," she said. "Business is bad. No one has money. Shit, I might have to actually get a real job."

The Joker had emailed me a couple of questions that he wanted me to ask any hookers or strippers that I came across. He was curious to find out if working girls were benefiting from the popularity of a president elect or if they look up to Michelle Obama.

"Did you vote for Obama?"

"I would have but I didn't vote."

"Why not?"

"I'm from Oregon."

"Don't take this the wrong way, but I don't know too many black people from Oregon, unless you count the guys playing basketball for the Portland Trailblazers."

"No shit. That's why I'm here. So do you guys wanna have fun or what?"

I sipped a bottle of Amstel Light as four hooker hands continued to stroke Nigel.

"What the hell is that?" Tela asked.

"Amstel," I said and she proceeded to give me guff about drinking a beer that she never heard of before.

A steady stream of conventioneers, with name tags dangling around their necks, walked by us every couple of minutes while on their way to breakfast. Some of them stopped and leered at the maudlin skanks hovering around us.

Tela didn't mess around and switched to lewder tactics as she unleashed an aggressive sales pitch.

"Don't you want a blow job? All guys want their cocks sucked. Let's go up to your room," she cajoled.

"We can't go up to my room. My girlfriend is sleeping there."

"Girlfriend? Who the hell brings sand to the beach?" said Tela.

That was actually a funny line but the banter ended right there. The hoochies knew when to fold a losing hand and finally gave up especially since Otis kept flashing his wedding ring and I constantly reminded them about my extremely understanding and wonderful girlfriend who was fast asleep upstairs. They were also worn down by Nigel's icy demeanor in the heat of battle. Nigel was as cool and smooth as a John Coltrane solo. He admirably displayed nerves of steel and did not blink once, nor did he utter a single word, or move an inch as the frisky hookers molested him.

"They fancied me," said Nigel once the storm had subsided and the harlots retreated. "I think we could have had a non-commercial relationship."

We managed to mollify the foul temptresses. We were unattainable and no longer on their radar. They left us alone and we ordered another round.

One of the working girls seated next to Otis received a phone call. She quickly wrote down an address and two of them scurried off. The last of hussies had bailed. It was time for us to document our experiences and we recorded a future episode of Tao of Pokerati. As we finished taping one installment, Nigel nudged me.

"They're back!"

Tela and her friend returned. She thought that my mini-recorder was a phone and snatched it out of my hand. She sang along to a pop song that blasted on the speakers. She freaked out when she realized that it was not a phone.

"You're not videotaping me are you? I'll sue your ass if you're fuckin' videotaping me!" she screamed. I forcibly grabbed my recorder from her hand and she stormed away.

* * * * *


Tela and her friend returned for a third and final time to hawk their goodies. They looked fidgety and solicited themselves one last time before they darted towards the cashier's window.

"I wanna know where they've been?" asked Nigel.

"Doing blow?" was my quick answer.

"They're going to the cage. Why else would they be going there?" Otis said.

He theorized that they held a couple of $100 black chips that they acquired after turning a quick trick. I suggested that they went on a heater at the blackjack tables and were cashing out their winnings. Otis was not convinced with that theory. They were not gamblers, rather they business women and were paid for their services in chips. They were not like those dumbass Bellagio hookers who were duped by johns when they got paid with tournament chips from the Bellagio poker room that had no cash value.

Tela and the other working girls at the Rio were savvy veterans. They earned their MBAs in whoring and hustling. With cash in hand, they disappeared into a sea of conventioneers. We never saw them again.

Otis polished off his Corona and motioned to the barkeep for another round of beers. He dug into his jeans pocket and pulled out a crisp $100 bill.

"This is just a semi-horseshoed bar in a no name casino in a barely named city in a fuckin' country that's barely anything in the world," said Otis. "There is a reason why this bar is named the Hooker Bar. And we saw it tonight."

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

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Emissaries from the Land of Indulgence

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

Peel back the layers and expose Las Vegas for what it is; a playground for the filthy rich amidst a cesspool of hopelessly addicted souls representing the decay of modern society. Just when I thought I knew a town like the back of my hand, I got shamefully slapped upside the head by a dose of poignant reality.

I spent the last four summers in Las Vegas. The first year it felt like a journey to Fantasy Island. The second year was as joyous as a sojourn to summer camp. The third year was a brutal prison sentence and the fourth was a pivotal self-imposed exile.

The bean counters used to say that gambling towns are impervious to recessions because at the core root, humans will resort to drastic measures during desperate times. Gambling your last $500 on black seems like a more logical choice than jeopardizing your money in risky situations like signing away your pension money to the shysters on Wall Street, who have about as much credibility these days as a drunken used car salesman. Credit default swaps turned our most prestigious financial institutions into blathering crack whores.

I caught a glimpse of the economic crunch on the streets of Las Vegas. Construction projects halted. Rusted steel beams shot out of concrete blocks on unfinished architectural superstructures. The vertical ghost towns cluttered the Las Vegas skyline. The illumination of Sin City, once glorious and majestic as the morning light at the dawn of the new day, has been dulled by a morass of financial gloom, so much so that even the languorous hookers were bitching. Shit, everyone was bitching. Cocktail waitresses. Poker dealers. Cab drivers. Valets. And even the crackling snaps of pamphlets from the porn slappers seem a little sullen these days.

Seasons change. The winter of discontent is on the horizon and the vast gaming floors were no longer packed with small town tourists on summer vacation in the big city. And all those casual weekend warriors were opting to skip a trip to Vegas for a cheaper alternative.

The uber-rich folks stuck out in the sparse crowds. They were bored to the tits and had pockets stuffed with money to burn on extravagant meals, unsentimental strippers, and slippery dice. They splurged when everyone else tightened their belts. Their decadent binges were the primary reason why most casinos were breaking even. The high rollers from Europe and Asia along with the whales from Dubai will always play astronomical Baccarat limits, but gaming conglomerates that feasted off of the middle-ranged players like you and me were screwed since those were the exact gamblers who have been absent from Las Vegas.

All those bags of money that flew in town every few minutes? There's less and less of that arriving at McCarran.

During tough times when the steady flow of casual gamblers dries up, the skeletal remains of Las Vegas are comprised of the retardedly wealthy and utterly perverted miscreants that scurry around the gaming floors like cockroaches; grandmas pecking away at the slot machines while waiting to expire, blackjack junkies doubling down in desperation, and the spiritually starved looking for answers at the roulette tables. Ah, and don't forget about the life-long losing sports bettors chomping on the last bits of their fingertips since there's no more nails and cuticles left to chew out after being gnawed away. Their entire life flashes before their eyes during a last second field goal attempt because they bet everything they had on a sure thing.

Yeah, you hear a lot about a sure thing in Las Vegas. Almost too good to be true, because they are. Illusions. Mirages. Hallucinations. Everyone has gotten properly fucked in the ass on a sure thing and the only certainty of the situation is that you wished you had KY jelly.

The broke dicks always succumb to the allure of Las Vegas, addicted to maintaining their own broken dreams instead of escaping the capitalistic mutation of Pai Gow poker.

Some people firmly believe in good luck charms despite the known fact that they have zero scientific value. Rocks. Coins. Hats. Watches. Or whatever the superstitious ones decide will bring them a wave of good fortune. Personally, I think that people create their own luck because in the end, you are only as lucky (or unlucky) as you think you are. We tend to ignore all the bad mojo when things go right and conversely, we forget about all those positive things when the shit hits the fan. But let's save that discussion for a later date.

Coolers. Not those styrofoam pieces of shit you can buy at the gas station, but an actual living and breathing humanoid that is a magnet for all things bad. Some folks believe that coolers attract all of the negative forces in the universe and anyone within a five foot radius of a cooler will all of a sudden get swept up in a tornado of misfortune and bad luck.

The paranoid gamblers fear the coolers. I'm not a superstitious person (with the exception of US $50 bills) but from time to time my usually calm demeanor gets disturbed when I think there is a cooler nearby. I honestly don't believe in those sorts of things, but sometimes peace of mind is worth the extra effort to ward off a potential cooler. It's like wearing a belt with suspenders or wearing a condom after you had a vasectomy. Sometimes, you just want extra assurance.

Last Tuesday night. Change100 was on a heater at the Pai Gow tables at the Gold Coast. She's one of those people who firmly believe she's shrouded in bad luck. I sat with her and Otis at the same Pai Gow table. We stood out in a sea of crazy Asian gamblers who were bussed in from Southern California to the off the Strip property located in the shadows of the Rio and the Palms.

Michalski arrived a little late. Otis and I made a prop bet on his outfit. Otis suggested t-shirt and I had the field. Yep, I lost and tossed Otis a red chip. Michalski stood around since there were no available seats at our Pai Gow table. He flagged down a harried cocktail waitress and smoked a cigarette. Within a couple of minutes of his arrival, Change100 lost several ugly hands. So much so, that she asked him to move.

Michalski stood behind me and I was immediately dealt a Jack-high Pai Gow. I flashed Michalski the evil eye and he retreated behind Otis. After a few losing hands, Otis turned around and said, "Go stand behind the dealer."

Michalski got the hint. He wandered over to the craps table and cooled that sonofabitch down. We started to wonder if he was on the Gold Coast's payroll? Even if we had a glimmer of doubt that Michalski was indeed a cooler or a government informant, that was all put to rest when we each started winning hands. I walked away a winner, as did Otis and Change100. Usually Pai Gow is a bleeder. It's my biggest leak in Sin City, more so than sports betting and strippers.

And don't forget about my deviant weakness for prop bets. I had a bit of a setback in lime tossing and at bowling. Otis also smoked me in our Peter Eastgate vs. Ivan Demidov heads up prop bets. I lost 11-3 and the last hand saved me otherwise I would have won only one wager.

It just wasn't my night. Shoddy luck. Mishaps all around. If I had won, I would have talked a ton of smack because the outcome would have been all based on skill. My deft skills. And if I lose, I shy away from taking responsibility for my own actions. I always tend to project blame upon the unknown... such as those damn inner demons who are always fucking with me. My dilapidated fortunes haunt me to no end due to my willingness to indulge every single craving for action.

Or maybe I'll just blame Michalski aka the professional cooler. It's so much easier that way.

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