Friday, February 29, 2008

Saturday Reminder and the Tao of Wooderson

By Pauly
New York City

I will be back on Saturday to defend my title! See everyone there.

Grouse14, The Rooster, Buddy Dank, and DrPauly. We all won Saturdays with Dr. Pauly. Who will it be next? Tune in to find out...

* * * * *

Here's a clip of one of my favorite scenes from one of my favorite movies... Dazed and Confused.

Click through to Tao of Poker to view the Wooderson video via RSS...

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

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

In Paths Untrodden

By Pauly
New York City

Last Friday, I experienced one of those rock star moments as I arrived in Copenhagen. It was the fifth city inside of ten day excursion.

Las Vegas. Los Angeles. New York. Amsterdam. Copenhagen.

Inside of a 27 day stretch... I visited five different countries. 11 different airports. Dozens of casinos. Five different currencies. And so many different hotels that I lost count.

Then on Monday, I had one of the magical days that I never thought was possible. Breakfast in Copenhagen with Change100. Lunch in Amsterdam. Dinner in NYC. Three countries. Three meals. One day. Lots of flying in between.

Sometimes, I think this is all a dream... until I see my credit card statement.

During the last two weeks, I spent a lot of time walking around outdoors and aimlessly wandering the streets of five cities. Walking is great exercise for both the mind and body. Most of the time, I'm thinking about life or writing. I try not to dwell too much on the past and try to avoid thinking too much about the future. The primary goal is to be in the moment, in the now, and letting go of all those anxieties and worries and unpleasant thoughts.

Self-knowledge is the path to enlightenment, or what Bruce Lee refers to as "spiritual realization." Over the last couple of years, I have been too busy with work and ordinary life stuff to ponder... myself. I'm fortunate that I finally have the time to wander the streets of cities while wandering through the hallways of my mind attempting to get in touch with the real me. I've also been trying to convince myself that my own way is better for me than the path laid out ahead of me by strangers.

As Bruce Lee said it best, "Formulas can only inhibit freedom, externally dictated prescriptions only squelch creativity and assure mediocrity. Bear in mind that freedom that accrues from self-knowledge cannot be acquired through strict adherence to a formula; we do not suddenly 'become' free. We simply 'are' free."

I know, that sounds like some gibberish that the Oracle from The Matrix would tell Neo. But to me, it makes sense. I have been examining my experiences and I have been trying to absorb the useful ones and reject the negative ones. At the same time, I have been adding what is uniquely my own.

One early morning in Las Vegas, I made my way down the Strip, lost in thought as the sun slowly crept over the mountains and into the Las Vegas valley. I have had such a love-hate relationship with that city. I could have never gotten to where I am today without Las Vegas, but I also strongly feel that a lot of my personal problems and addictions are magnified by the alluring darkness of Sin City.

From one ring of fire to another, I walked around the plastic streets of Hollyweird like a freak since I was the only non-homeless person not inside a car. The random people I saw walking on the street - were simply walking to their parked cars. Hollyweird is the location of the "Big Game" for writers. And I constantly struggle with the reasons that I want to work in that town. My ego is being pulled in all sorts of directions. I know that I'm talented enough to take a shot there, it's more of a question of... will I be ready to produce once I get that long-awaited call?

Two weekends ago, I attempted to organized previously disjointed thoughts on a long run through the rambling hills of Riverdale. I knew that I needed to get back in touch with myself as a person before I could fully immerse myself into any more writing projects.

In Amsterdam, I was overwhelmed by a thick haze of "being in the moment" and instead of working on editing my script, I decided that having fun was more important and I went on a vicious three-day bender. I spent most of my time talking to strangers in coffeeshops about almost every topic imaginable. I spent the rest of my time riding the trams all over Amsterdam and watching people go about their daily business. It was moments like that when I suddenly feel connected to everything on the planet. You know, when you visit a place for the first time, you see things that always existed, but you had no first hand knowledge that it existed. And when you leave that city, any city, life continues on without you.

Realizations like that make me feel so insignificant. Small. Almost nothingness. Humility.

The last couple of weeks (and really, over the last month), I have been blessed with a semblance of happiness. I worked extremely hard the last couple of years and made a ton of sacrifices along the way in order to get to the place I am right now... sitting on a pool of freedom to dictate almost 95% of my schedule. Sure, I had times in my three plus decades of living where I had complete control to do what I wished, but those times were hampered with financial difficulties (i.e. I was dead broke), so although I had the time to do anything, my freedom was restricted financially. Lucky for me, I have arrived at a time and place in my life where there are almost no restrictions.

The only obstacle in my way is the most hindering statement of all time...

What am I really doing with myself? And in the end, does it really matter?

I have no more excuses. I eliminated all of those and issued a challenge to myself. I don't have too much time to make my mark, or as we used to say on Wall Street, "We're burning daylight."

* * * * *

I was on my own path, and that path led me to Copenhagen for a holiday at a most unusual time filled with political cartoons, assassination plots, riots, religious fanaticism, and the inklings of freedom of speech. All of a sudden a poker tournament seemed utterly meaningless to the insanity that had spilled over into the streets of Copenhagen. And it all started with a simple cartoon.

If you're not familiar with Kurt Westergaard, then I'm gonna tell you. He's a political cartoonist that created a caricature of Mohamed. It was originally published in Jyllands-Posten (a Danish newspaper) in September of 2005. The image was a lit bomb growing out of Mohammed's turban.

Westerfaard and his newspaper quickly came under attack by Muslims. They thought it was blasphemous to print such an image. Many of them were provoked into participating in anti-Danish protests that erupted in different Muslim countries all over the world. The result? Extensive property damage and dozens of people were killed in the riots.

All from one cartoon.

I wasn't the brightest idea in the world to provoke religious fanatics. However, that's not as important as the notion of freedom of speech. Many of the older Danes recalled what it was like living under Nazi occupation during WWII and have their freedoms suppressed, particularly freedom of speech.

Almost two years after the original cartoon was published, three men were arrested of plotting the murder of Kurt Westergaard on February 12. PET, the Danish domestic intelligence service, arrested three men, two of whom were Tunisian nationals. They were deported on suspicion of endangering Danish national security.

In a gesture of solidarity, on February 13th, 17 daily Danish newspapers reprinted the controversial Mohamed cartoon when they discovered the news of the assassination plot against Westergaard. The editors felt it was their right to reassert freedom of speech.

The appearance of the cartoon sparked riots once again. The riots lasted over a week and spilled over into several Danish cities.

There had been an original incident in the Norrebro district in Copenhagen. More riots broke out in different immigrant neighborhoods in Copenhagen and in several Danish cities such as Arhus, Brabrand, Gellerup, Bellerup, and Bagsvaerd. Most of the rioting was done by youths aged 13-19. They burned cars, dumpsters, and school buildings.

Some of the youths said that the riots were less about Mohamed and more about police harassment. Danish police recently introduced a stop-and-search policy, where police are allowed to randomly search people for weapons. However, the mainstream media were quick to say that a large amount of rioters lashed out over the cartoons.

Muslim community leaders were quick to admonish the behavior of their youngest members. Their message was clear, "Mohamed did not teach you to burn schools, cars and public buildings. He taught you to behave in a civilised manner."

The Muslim leaders were also critical about the recent reprinting of the Mohamed cartoon. They felt that the move did more harm than good, since it provoked the recent binges of riots.

By the time I arrived in Copenhagen, the fires were out and most of the rioting had dulled down. Over 50 youths were arrested and the police appeared to have regained control.

As I dug deeper into the story, I tried to figure out the cause of the riots. Were they sparked by the cartoons like the majority of the media said? Or where they part of a protest of police harassment and racism against immigrants in Denmark? Or was it a lot of bored youths joining an angry mob as they set Copenhagen and other cities in Denmark ablaze every night for a week?

I was unable to get any answers during my short time in Copenhagen. Getting to the heart would take me months, maybe even a year. Maybe it's a worthy pursuit?

I originally flew to Copenhagen to hang out with friends, take advantage of my girlfriend's free hotel room, and dig up a story for my On the Road column in Bluff. In the end, I stumbled upon a different and more significant story, as poker became suddenly meaningless for me.

It's one thing if I lived in Pakistan or Saudi Arabia and I wrote so nice things about the government or local religious leaders. I expected to have a fahtwah issued from a mullah that allows me to be killed under Islamic law. But Denmark, one of the more dour places in the bleakness of Scandinavia, the streets of Copenhagen were the last place I expected to be the flash point of a Holy War.

Deep down, I know that what happened in Copenhagen was just the beginning of a series of drastic events that will plunge all of us under a veil of darkness.

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

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

AlCantHang's BBT3

By Pauly
New York City

Wanna chance to win a seat to the 2008 WSOP? Stop by AlCantHang's blog for more details about BBT3, which will be held on Full Tilt.

BBT3 will start this weekend with Miami Don's Big Game.

If you do not have a Full Tilt account, you can download Full Tilt Poker here.

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

Monday, February 25, 2008

Referrals: Top 10 in 2088 and Last 5 Obscure Ones

By Pauly
Copenhagen, Denmark

I wish I could make this stuff up!

Last 5 Obscure Google/Yahoo Referrals....
1. Squirting escorts Las Vegas
2. Brandi Hawbaker sex video
3. Commit suicide because lost on poker online
4. Do poker dealer speak English in Bicycle casino?
5. Fred Savage hairpiece

And thanks to all my top referrers!

Top 10 Referrals in 2008...
1. Las Vegas Vegas
2. Tao of Pauly
3. Wicked Chops Poker
4. 2+2
5. Shaniac
6. Iggy
7. Up for Poker
8. AlCantHang
9. Benjo
10. Aaron Gleeman

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

Sunday, February 24, 2008

DrPauly Wins Saturdays with Dr. Pauly

By Pauly
Copenhagen, Denmark

So rigged.

I knew that I'd be in Copenhagen over the weekend. I just didn't know what the internet situation would be like, so my status was questionable, probable, and a game time decision... all at the same time. Lucky for me, Change100 got free internet in her hotel room. She was at work covering the final table of the PokerStars EPT Copenhagen, but I holed up in her hotel room and got wasted, wrote, and watched alpine skiing on the local TV station in the time leading up to the tournament.

38 runners played in the fourth week. The top 5 got paid this week.

My starting table included Grouse14 (Week 1 winner), All_In_Mrs, OneEyedKeith, Family Ice, 3spanky3, AVIGANOLA, and Chewbot.

3spanky3 was Gigli when he went out on the third hand. AVignola doubled up and took over the early chiplead. Jeciimd and Bayne both went out quick.

The Rooster had technical difficulties and arrived 25 minutes late. He was having computer issues.

I busted Vacillate when my double-suited Aces held up against J-J-6-6. I moved up to 11th out of 29.

My brother went out in 29th place. The Rooster headed out in 26th place.

Jumped to 4th in chips with 24 to play. I turned a set of aces against on_thg and doubled up to 3.4K.

I busted The Mark. We both turned a Broadway straight. I had flopped a spade flush draw and The Mark turned a diamond draw. All the money went in on the turn. The river was a spade and I won with the flush. The Mark was out and I had one of the big stacks.

By the first break, I had 7.8K and was second in chips with 22 remaining. MrMojo had just 10 more chips than me.

I knocked out Family Ice when I rivered a flush. I was first with 18 to go. I busted OneEyeKeith and rushed past 11K. I sent AUS-Package to the rail and increased my lead to 14K. Aus-Package played from Australia and got up early on Sunday to play in Saturdays with Dr. Pauly.

I knocked out Resident Evil in 12th place and had 15K, which was 3x the average. I had 6.5K more than the closest person.

I slipped to 8K when I doubled up on_thg. All that river karma came back to haunt me. my Q-Q were overpowered when on_thg rivered a King.

I put a bad beat on o-hole-ne as he bubbled off the final table. I advanced to the final table as the chipleader. Also there were Amy Calistri, Drizz, on_thg, muellagio, Zeem, AVignola, rwlbll, and MrMojo.

Shortstacled rwlbll was out on the first hand of the final table. I knocked out MrMojo in 8th place. I cracked his Aces. on_thg was out soon after in a three-way pot with Amy and myself. I had over 18K then slipped down to 16K. Zeem went over the 10K mark for a while.

I was the chipleader at the money bubble with six left.

Drizz was the Bubble Boy when I busted him in 6th place. Sick hand too. I limped with 7h-7d-3d-3c. The flop was 9c-6h-3h. I bet 1,600 and Drizz called. The turn was the 8c. I bet 4,800 and put Drizz all in. He called with Ac-9d-6c-5s. He had pair and a flush draw. I rivered quads when the case trey spiked. Drizz was out and the money bubble broke.

At the second break, I was the chipleader with 24K and five left. AVignola was the short stack. Arrested Development came on TV in Danish subtitles.

I opened up the lead a bit and passed 30K, then slipped to 26K when I doubled up muellagio.

I busted AVignola in 5th place. I had Qh-Jh-Js-2s. Muellagio limped. AVignola raised all in for 3,330. I called and muellagio folded. I was ahead of AVignola's Ah-7h-5c-3s. I turned a set of Jacks and that was it.

I had 31K. The other three players did not have more than 10K. I had more than 50% of the chips in play. I was the annoying big stack bully and went over 40K by sheer aggression. Zeem hovered around 9K, as I picked on Amy and Muellagio. Their stacks dwindled to next to nothing. Amy busted out in 4th place when her set of Jacks lost to Zeem's straight.

I had 42K when three-way action started. Muellagio was short stacked, but I managed to send Zeem packing in 3rd place. I had 45.5K. Zeem had 8.2K. I found 8h-7d-6h-5h in the big blind. Zeem raised to 2,400 and I called. The flop was Qc-7c-5c. Zeem checked. I bet 4,800. Zeem check-raised all in for 5,870. I called with two pair and an open-ended straight draw. Zeem held Qs-Qd-6d-4d and was ahead. The turn was the Ad and the river was the 9c. I made my straight and knocked out Zeem in third place.

When heads up started, I was ahead 53K to muellagio's 2.4K We chopped the first hand. I caught a lucky river. Again.

On the second hand of heads up play... it was over. I was in the big blind with 10h-10c-5d-5s. Muellagio raised to 2,400. I re-raised to put him all in. He called with 9s-7d-4d-4s. The board ran out As-7h-6c-Qd-Qh and muellagio finished in second place. I won the pot and the tournament.
Final Table Money Winners:
1. Pauly - $152
2. muellagio - $91.20
3. Zeem - $60.80
4. Blue123 (Amy Calistri) - $45.60
5. AVignola - $30.40
Hey, I just realized that I won my first ever PLO tournament. Sweet. It had nothing to do with skill. All luck. The deck hit me in the face. The river was very kind to me. I sucked out more times than I can count. And I had such a monster stack, a monkey could have played it and won.

Anyway, thanks to everyone who played in Saturdays with Dr. Pauly. See you 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, February 23, 2008

PokerStars EPT Copenhagen Final Table

By Pauly
Copenhagen, Denmark

I'm in Copenhagen and stopped by the PokerStars EPT Scandinavian Open yesterday to pick up my press badge. I saw all the familiar faces from PokerStars like Mad, Bartley, Neil, James, Lina, and John Duthie. I ran into Jen and DanaFish from Blonde Poker. Snoopy and Homer were on assignment somewhere in England. I saw Matt & Martin from Poker Listings. And of course, Change100 and Mike Lacey were covering the event for PokerNews.

Two American PokerStars qualifiers made the final table, along with four Danes, a Swede and a Frenchman. Sounds like the start to a bad joke.
Final Table Seating Assignments and Chip Counts:
Seat 1: Rasmus Hede Nielsen (Denmark) - 789,000
Seat 2: Timothy Vance (USA) - 1,408,000
Seat 3: Daniel Ryan (USA) - 557,000
Seat 4: Patrik Andersson (Sweden) - 283,000
Seat 5: Simon Dørslund (Denmark) - 267,000
Seat 6: Nicolas Dervaux (France) - 336,000
Seat 7: Søren Jensen (Denmark) - 500,000
Seat 8: Magnus Hansen (Denmark) - 458,000
Change100 and Mike Lacey will be doing live final table coverage for PokerNews starting at 8am ET.

Also, Bartley is blogging and Neil is snapping for the photos for PokerStars Blog.

You can also check out a live feed on the internet. Visit for more details. Lee Jones is doing the commentary. And my buddy Benjo is doing the commentary for the French version. He invited me to come on the show yesterday, but my French is horrible, so I declined.

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

Friday, February 22, 2008


By Pauly

During our trip to Queenstown, NZ, Change100 and I played mini golf every day at an outdoor course. It was a bit worn out but we had a lot of fun gambling on the matches. Golf is great sport to gamble on because you can assess a handicap on your opponents and be able to play on equal footing. For that mini golf course in NZ, I gave Change100 a total of eight strokes. It seemed about right after I gave her some basic putting tips, and we ended up tying a couple of matches.

Change100 bought me a cool gift for Valentine's Day.... a portable putting green and machine that fires balls back at you. It was a great gesture and both her and Showcase thought it was a lot of fun to play in the living room of their apartment.

With the new putting machines, we had the opportunity to gamble some more. Talk about pressure putting. I had missed four in a row and owed $160 to Change100. I offered up a double or nothing putt. If I sunk it, I'd be even. If I missed, I'd owe her $320.

Lucky for me, I drilled it to break even.

In the VIP lounge at the WSOP this past summer, the big dogs rushed there on their dinner breaks to bet on the putting machine. Doyle Brunson, Phil Ivey, Mike Sexton, Dewey Tomko, Barry Greenstien, and Phil Hellmuth were betting monster dollars during breaks at the WSOP. Golf is where a lot of those guys make or lose a ton of money.

Remember that spat between Phil Ivey and Ram Vaswani? Golf prop betting. And that Lindgen prop bet from this summer when he almost died? More golf prop betting. I heard a few rumors from reliable sources that Daniel Negreanu had lost a ton of cash gambling on the golf course. He had been diligently working on his game in an attempt to get some of his money back and stop the bleeding. Same goes for Gus Hansen and Patrik Antonius.

At one point, Antonius showed up late for the Aussie Millions main event. Amanda interviewed him on one of the breaks. Antonius said that he had been in a bad head space over some personal problems and didn't show up until he felt focused. Usually two things can fuck up a guy so much that he can't play poker... women problems or gambling problems. Schecky and I suspected that Antonius had lost a big match on the links in Australia. And we're not talking about a $320 putt either.

There was an old saying that you need to learn how to play other games (aside from NL) to play in the biggest cash games in Las Vegas. But I'm starting to think that you need to have some amazing skills on the golf course to make some serious cash against Las Vegas' best poker players.

I'm thinking about learning a good golf hustle. I'm sure Johnny Hughes can help me out there.

Anyway, I've been having an up and down in sports betting run over the last few weeks. I made a decent amount during the NFL playoffs and Superbowl. That paid for my trip to New Zealand. I've had mixed results betting on basketball. I'm break even in NBA and have turned a small profit betting on college hoops.

The irony in my life continues. I have been offered freelance writing assignments (online websites and print magazines) involving sports betting and the NBA. My two newest clients are paying me to write about pro sports and I've already written about the Superbowl, NBA, and now college hoops. Both clients are based outside of the US and I'm their supposed American sports expert. Of course, I have no idea what I'm writing about, but they don't care. I'm enjoying my new clients because I'm finally writing something other than poker.

Oh, if you didn't know, Fantasy Sports Live re-launched hockey and recently launched Nascar. I'm sure that the majority of players on the site don't know much about Nascar, so if you do know anything about the sport, you have a huge edge by playing in FSL's Nascar contests. Heck, even Derek won a Nascar contest and he admitted that he only knew a couple of drivers.

Sign up for Fantasty Sports Live today and see for yourself. It's perfectly legal in the US and you can fund your account using your credit card. There are NHL, NBA, and Nascar contest running as we speak.

* * * * *

I'm in Europe for a quick trip. Change100 was hired by Poker News to cover the EPT Scandinavian Championships. Since I'm recently retired for tournament reporting... I'm not working the event. However, she has a free hotel room and since it was so cheap to fly to Holland and Denmark this week... I jumped at the chance to spend a few days in the coffeeshops in Amsterdam working on my script, and then joining Change100 for a long weekend in Copenhagen.

While I'm, there, I also figured that I can dig up some good stuff for my On the Road column in Bluff. I can't wait to sit around and have a few drinks and catch up with some friends in the media who work the EPT.

Anyway, I'm in Amsterdam. Been here since Tuesday. The other day I went to the Van Gogh museum. Before the museum, I stopped off in a coffeeshop called Rookies near the Leidseplein.

"I Used to Love Her" by Guns and Roses played on the stereo, as I sat down in the corner next to a woman and a man. The guy was a dead ringer for Charlie Ward, the former starting point guard for my hometown NY Knicks and former Heisman trophy winner from Florida State. Except that guys wasn't Charlie Ward. You see, Ward is a Jesus freak and I never expected to find him sitting in a coffeeshop in Amsterdam. And besides, the guy and his girlfriend were both British. They were friendly and we started a conversation. We also played some pool. I went 1-2 and got my ass kicked. I only won one game because he scratched on the eight ball with three of my balls remaining. In the last game, I knocked in five in a row to start and he won in only two turns. I was lucky we didn't play for money.

I watched a couple of old Dutch guys play chess outdoors near the Paradiso. They had some sort of wager going, but I couldn't tell what was up. Back in my chess days in high school, I used to play against the junkies in Washington Square park for $5 a game. They were fuckin' good. I rarely won a game and had to struggle to force a draw.

The other afternoon, I left my favorite coffeeshop the Grey Area, and rounded the corner onto the Signel. There was a single black dice on the ground with faded white dots. It had landed on "five" and I wondered if I missed an illegal dice game.

Heck, there were window prostitutes down the canal and hash for sale around the corner. Why not dice? For a triad of vice?

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

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Saturday Reminder

By Pauly

I will be in Copenhagen on Saturday and should be able to play. See everyone there.

Grouse14, The Rooster, Buddy Dank. They have all won Saturdays with Dr. Pauly. Who will it be next? Tune in to find out...

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

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Win a Seat to NBC Heads Up Championship on PokerStars!

By Pauly

I just got an email from a friend at PokerStars who reminded me about their latest promotion.

You can win a seat to the NBC Heads Up Championship over at PokerStars. Between now and February 22, they are running free qualifying tournaments starting at 7pm and 10pm (both ET).

For the first time, a PokerStars qualifier will be among the field of 64 players.

Here's what the eventually winner gets...
1. $20,000 buy-in to the exclusive 64-player Heads-Up Championship
2. Four nights accommodation in Las Vegas (February 28 – March 2)
3. $1,000 cash for travel
These satellites are only available to US players only. These tournaments are located in the PokerStars game lobby under the "Tourney" and then "Freeroll" tabs. Look for "Heads-Up Qualifying – Round 1A (U.S. players)" or "Heads-Up Qualifying – Round 1B (U.S. players)".

If you do not have an account on Poker Stars... you can download PokerStars software here.

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

Monday, February 18, 2008

Light Breaks Where No Sun Shines

By Pauly
New York City

Since Wednesday, I played online poker while waiting for flights in two different airports... Bob Hope (Burbank) and McCarran (Las Vegas). Without fail, both of my flights were delayed and I lost almost two hours of my life that JetBlue will never give back to me. I played two airport SNGs on PokerStars. I bubbled in one and took second place in the other. At least I got something out of it.

I can't wait for the day where domestic flights in the US have internet service... and I can play online poker at cruising altitudes. I've also been patiently waiting for flying cars and true democracy in America. Sadly, I won't be alive to see either. But internet access on airplanes is something that exists... just not on the airlines that I fly the most.

I spent the weekend in New York City. Since the weather was blah, I hung out with my brother and played a slew of online poker. I did not play online that much in January. I spent a couple of days in Hollyweird to start February and took the opportunity to clear my bonus on Full Tilt. Just when I started to get back in the swing of online poker, I headed to Las Vegas for a week, and put the online games on hold.

Aside from Saturdays with Dr. Pauly, I have not played any tournaments, just a couple of SNGs to kill the time when I bored. I'm back to grinding it out at the 8/16 and 10/20 limit tables. ABC poker. Very boring. I'm like a bot. There's zero emotion in my game. I play a lot of raise or fold poker. I occasionally call when the situation dictates that's the most optimal move for me.

Flinging chips around every night in Las Vegas and calling waitresses "Sweetie" and trying to tilt locals reminded me about how much fun I used to have playing poker. You always forget about the love of the game when you focus on other aspects. A couple of years ago, I was mired in a losing streak, and lost all enthusiasm for the game. You really find out what type of person (and more importantly, what type of poker player) you really are when everything is going against you. And most recently, I have been consumed with my career in the poker industry. My passion for poker vanishes from time to time. Some days it disappears and does not reappear for weeks and months at a time.

Now that I have taken a step away from the poker scene, I have been able to enjoy poker as a spectator and player. It also helps that I've been winning.

When you win, poker seems so simple. And it's the simple things that are the hardest to explain.

And of course winning poker has a tinge of luck behind it. In order to post a winning session, your big hands have to hold up, you have to come from behind a beat a superior hand, you have to make your draws, your opponents have to miss their draws, your opponents have to make mistakes, and you have to minimize your mistakes. So many different situations make up any given session, and on the days you're a big winner it seems that everything falls on your side of the fence.

Then there are those dark and dismal days when you can't win a race, you can't hit a draw to save your life, and all of your big pairs get smoked like a cheap bag of ditch weed. That's when desperation sinks in and tilt circles your soul like hungry vultures waiting for the rest of your integrity to kick the bucket, so they can swoop in and feast on your dwindling bankroll. The lost ones are seeking a miracle... for the light to break where no sun shines.

I made a decision in early 2006 that affected my poker bankroll. I decided to stop playing tournaments and NL cash games. I focused on grinding it out at Limit hold'em. It was a tough decision to make and it was even tougher to admit that I had a big leak. By focusing on limit (and some PLO cash games to quell my inner action junkie), I managed to heal a bankroll that was in trouble. I had a good nine months on Party Poker, before they pulled the plug and left American soil.

Towards the end of 2007, I played a lot of live NL cash games. It felt weird for me to play 1/2 NL after consistently playing 15/30 limit. I also took a shots at 30/60 and even 50/100, so sitting down with just $200 took a bit to adjust to. I wanted to make sure I had re familiarized myself with playing low-limit NL. Once I was comfortable, I moved up to 2/5 NL. My goal is to play higher NL stakes this summer during the WSOP.

However, I feel that switching back and forth between limit and NL has been beneficial for my game. Limit for me is automatic. I'm constantly on auto-pilot and I'm playing my cards and the percentages. In NL, I'm relying more upon my instincts and my ability to read people at the tables. After covering the best players in the world for almost three straight years, I have picked up a lot about body language. What I also realized was the astute ability from pros to disguising tells.

After playing 1/2 or 2/5 NL against sloshed tourists in Las Vegas, I had forgotten about that extra edge you can gain by processing body language. Tourists have no idea on how to mask their tells or give off reverse tells. I made a lot of plays and calls in Las Vegas that I normally wouldn't make... but the majority of the time, it seemed so obvious when a player had a hand or didn't have a hand. If they showed weakness, I swiftly attacked. If they indicated strength or deception, I proceeded with caution.

The one thing I liked about NL was the ability to wait for a big hand, double up, then walk away. In limit, I'd have to grind it out for a couple of hours to get a score like that. For me the difference between limit and NL was risk assessment. Do I want to risk a little bit of my bankroll and get back a small amount, or rather I put more of it on the line at any given time... with potential of a big loss or a huge gain.

In early 2006, I was not confident in my game. I made too many mistakes at the NL tables. I played too aggressive and I tried to run over everyone on every single hand. I lacked patience and discipline. I switched to NL in order to focus on ABC poker. I grinded my way out of a losing streak and managed to boost my bankroll. Small weekly wins added up and I finally got my bankroll to a healthy amount, even though I got creamed playing 10/20 limit on PokerStars in 2007.

I'm a good player, but the reason I've done well playing NL cash games most recently has been my ability to contain my (many) mistakes and take advantage of the numerous mistakes from my opponents. Most of the time, I walk away a winner not because I played magnificently... rather, because my opponents played so bad that they spewed away their stacks. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.

Timing. Luck. Karma. Math. Instinct. Mental stability.

You need to master four or five of those six things. You are born with instinct. You can learn math and work on positive metal health. You make your own karma. And depending on who you talk too, some people have a predisposition for good luck or bad luck. Some people believe that they make their own luck.

I'm a firm believer in karma. You get back what you give off and more importantly you affect others with the type of energy you radiate onto the world. Karma is not something that can be calculated in Poker Tracker, and it extends to more important things beyond the poker table. Bottom line... those people who have their shit together and do not lug around hefty amounts of emotional baggage will have a more pleasant time at the tables.

Your emotional weaknesses in life will eventually be exposed at the poker tables. I see it happen all the time. Like so many things in life, such as business and relationships, you need to improve your personality flaws and focus on your assets. When you don't take your personal problems into work, dating, or to the poker tables... you will quickly discover that things run more smoothly instead of slowing things down... which usually happens.

So the next time you're caught in a rut at the tables... it might not be your opponents, or the poker site (or poker room) you're playing at, or the cards you are getting. Most likely, the biggest problem is... yourself.., and your reluctance to take account for your own actions. Time to step back. Reassess everything. Then make better decisions.

Self-knowledge is one of the most necessary steps towards self-fulfillment. The most important thing a human being needs to know... is him or herself. Once you figure out who you are, everything else in life becomes easier to understand. We often admire and replicate our lives based on what other successful people do. As many Eastern philosophers have stated, "The lock to the door of ego or self-consciousness, which separates us from our natural, spontaneous and true selves, cannot be opened by any other key than self-knowledge. There is no master key."

Basically, if you use someone else's way to play poker or to lose weight or to seek enlightenment, then you are setting yourself up for frustration and disappointment. The Hindus called that maya which means a false image. You are confusing yourself with a false image. And the result? A unsatisfying life caught up an illusion of dualism. That's the worst pursuit of all... trying to find enlightenment in a way that's not your own. The result is often an empty soul.

Bruce Lee explained this concept best in an essay he wrote in 1973 called "In My Own Process." Here's an excerpt...
Most people only live for their image. That is why where some have a self, a starting point, most people have a void. Because they are so busy projecting themselves as "this" or "that," they end up wasting and dissipating all their energy in projection and conjuring up the facade, rather than centering their energy and expanding and broadening their potential or expressing and relaying this unified energy for efficient communication. When another human being sees a self-actualizing person walk past, he cannot help but say: "Hey now, there is someone real!"
Basically Lee said that you are headed in the wrong direction if you substituted the ways and beliefs of others in place of cultivating your own. It's your life. Your journey. Time to start following your game plan.

In case you were wondering, this post was a regurgitated homage to several authors/philosophers/poets that I recently read including Alan Watts, Bruce Lee, Dylan Thomas, Betrand Russell, and Sun Tzu.

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

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Grateful Dead in Las Vegas Videos

By Pauly
New York City

I'm in a Jerry mood today.

Here's a couple of videos of my favorite band... The Grateful Dead... from almost 16 years ago.

The first video is of them performing a cover of Bob Dylan's Knocking on Heaven's Door at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas on 5.30.92.

Click through to Tao of Poker to view the Dead video via RSS or Bloglines

And yes, that's Vince Welnick from The Tubes playing keys and piano for the Dead.

The second video is from 5.31.92, when the Dead performed Franklin's Tower at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas.

Click through to Tao of Poker to view the Dead video via RSS or Bloglines

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

Saturday, February 16, 2008

BuddyDank Wins Saturdays with Dr. Pauly

By Pauly
New York City

We had a special guest for the third installment of Saturdays with Dr. Pauly, the one and only... Poker Champ. Lots of different faces in this event, which is always good. Iggy was among the first timers in the crowd and even Benjo (everyone's favorite malcontent chain smoking French journalist) played in the event.

There were 44 runners this week, up from 42 from last week. Not too bad of a turnout for a lazy Saturday. The top 5 won prize money.

The Rooster was talking smack all week after winning Saturdays with Dr. Pauly last week. He didn't stop the trash talk when the tournament started.

My starting table included etl4, JoeSpeaker, thejim2020, Prieure, rgpars, and Stewman20.

Benjo lasted three hands and busted out first. He was Gigli. StB was out next, followed by Sir Waffles. Yosoyveneno busted out courtesy of the Dirty Ochoa.

Bayne jumped out to a big lead in the first fifteen minutes and had over 5.2K.

I started out bad... again. I bled some chips early and hovered around 1,250. I flopped three pair with K-J-10-7 and couldn't boat up against Prieure's turned straight.

A half hour into the tournament, Derek was moved to my table and I flopped quads with 4-4... and I got no action. What a fuckin' joke.

I finally got back to even when I rivered a boat against BigHeeb.

Then I lost a crucial pot against thejim2020. I turned a straight when he made a boat. Luckily, I still had chips... less than 600.

I busted out in 28th place. I shoved with K-K-3-2. I lost to Stewman20's flush. He took over the lead with three tables to go.

At the first break, only 22 players remained. Stewman20 had almost 7.7K, while BiskoKid was not far behind with 7.4K. Change100 was third in chips with 5.4K. The Rooster was alive, but at the back of the pack. He was two-tabling at the same time and had gone deep in a Stud tournament.

The Rooster's quest to win back-to-back weeks ended when he finished in 20th place. On a flop of 10d-6d-2d, BuddyDank bet 300. The Rooster raised to 1,500. BuddyDank moved all in for 2,400. The Rooster called with his last 165. The Rooster was all in with Ah-Qd-Js-7d against Buddy Dank's Ad-10c-5d-2c. The Rooster's hand could not improve and he was eliminated in 20th place.

With 19 to go, BiskoKid was the chipleader as he closed in on 9K.

Change100 took over the chip lead after she won an 8.5K pot and busted Iggy and BlackJack14 on the same hand. All the money went in pre-flop. Iggy opened with a raise and Blackjack moved all in with a shortstack. Change100 potted and Iggy moved all in she quickly called with Ah-Ac-Qs-2d. She was ahead and sealed the hand when she turned a set. Iggy and Blackjack were out. Change100 increased her stack to 12K.

PokerChamp flopped quad Queens and busted Jakehead's A-A-x-x in 13th place. He jumped up to 5th in chips.

Stewman20 bubbled off the final table in 10th place when his Hammer House lost to Buddy Dank's Jacks full. Buddy Dank was second in chips with 11K, behind Change100's 13K.

At the final table, AlCantHang was shortstacked and doubled up when he flopped a set of sixes and snapped off Bayne's Aces.

AlCantHang finished in 9th place when the karmic hammer swung back his way and smacked him in the junk. He was all in with Ad-Ah-7d-2d against Chewbot's Kh-Js-Jh-4s. The river was a Jack which sent AlCantHang to the rail. Lucky for him, that he was playing at the bar, so he didn't have to go far to get a consolation cocktail.

Derek busted out in 8th place. His two pair lost to Change100's bigger two pair. She increased her stack to over 16K and still held the chiplead. BiskoKid, who The Rooster referred to as "that hippie kid" was in second with 11K.

At the second break. there were seven players left. BuddyDank had taken over the chiplead with 16.8K. Change100 slipped to second and 11.8K, with BiskoKid in third with 11.6K.

At the point, The Rooster had made the final table of a Stud tournament. Derek and I were sweating him.

I missed Chewbot's elimination in 7th place. Schlepp571 was the bubble boy in 6th place, when BiskoKid took him out. Schlepp571 held Ad-Qc-Qd-Jc but BiskoKid rivered a King to take him out.

The five remaining players made the money.

PokerChamp was the next player to bust out. He was all in on the flop with As-Ac-7s-3h and lost to BuddyDank's Qd-Ts-Tc-9c. Dank flopped a straight and PokerChamp went busto. BuddyDank took over the lead with four to go.

Change100 was shortstacked and needed help. She doubled through BiskoKid to get up to 12K. At that point, Bisko, Bayne, and Change all had about 12-14K, while BuddyDank was sitting on 24K.

Meanwhile, over in his stud tournament, The Rooster was the chipleader with four to go.

Change100 busted out in 4th place. On a flop of Qd-8d-2h, she ran into BuddyDank's two pair. She couldn't improve her pair and was out. BuddyDank was still the chipleader with three to go.

Bisko took third place. On a flop of Ah-5c-3c, Bayne bet 4,800. Bisko was all in for his last 4,190. Bayne held As-6s-5s-2s and was ahead. The turn and river did not help Bisko and he was out.

Action reached the final two with BuddyDank holding a 35K to 30K margin over Bayne. On the third hand of heads up play, Bayne got crippled. On a board of Ad-Jh-2h-As, all the money went in the pot. Bayne held J-J and Jacks full, while BuddyDank's A-2 and Aces full of twos were ahead. His hand held up and he jumped out to a massive lead.

Bayne only last ten more hands before he busted out in second place. On the final hand, Bayne raised to 3,600 and BuddyDank called. The flop was 8s-7h-2h. Dank checked. Bayne moved all in for his last 4,400. Dank called.

BuddyDank: Jh-9h-5h-5d
Bayne: Ad-Qd-9s-7c

Bayne was ahead with a pair, buy BuddyDank turned a flush when the 8h fell. The river was the Qs. Bayne was out in second place. And BuddyDank won Saturdays with Dr. Pauly.

"This was my first real money game on Stars, that I've ever played so obviously I was going to win," explained BuddyDank.

Nice job, for sure. Congrats to BuddyDank and all of the money winners. Thanks to everyone who played and pimped the event.
The Money Winners:
1. BuddyDank - $176
2. Bayne - $105.60
3. BiskoKid106 - $70.40
4. Change100 - $52.80
5. TequilaMom (PokerChamp) - $35.20
I hope to see everyone next week. I'll be in Copenhagen next weekend and will do my best to be able to play.

And if you wondering, The Rooster won his stud tournament. He outlasted 105 runners and was ahead for most of the final table. He took a couple of bad beats and lost the lead, but then The Rooster issued a few beats on the way to his first place victory. The Rooster has won two tournaments over the last two weekends in different events. Nice catch!

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

Friday, February 15, 2008

Folding the Hiltons

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

On my last night in Las Vegas, I wandered to Mandalay Bay to play. That had been my early evening poker spot, and I was hoping to bump into Poker Grump, but I didn't see him. I played 1/2 NL and had an interesting session. I raised into the nuts twice and then flopped two sets with big pairs.

A young and attractive black woman sat in Seat 7. By the way she handled her chips, she struck me as a newbie. I was involved in two pots with her and lost both.

On the first hand, I raised with A-K and she called from her big blind. The flop was K-9-x. She fired out $15. I raised to $45. She called. The turn was a blank. She check-called a $70 bet from me. Another blank fell on the river. We both checked. She flipped over a pair of nines. Ouch. I was surprised that she didn't play her set more aggressively.

An orbit later, I raised with Qd-Jd and got four callers. The flop was J-10-x. Everyone checked to me and I bet the pot. The chick called and everyone else folded. The turn was a Queen. She bet out $15 again. I wondered if she had 9-8, so I raised to $50. She called. The river was a blank. She checked and I checked behind. She showed 9-8 for the straight and I tossed my two pair into the muck.

Hot chick 2, Pauly 0.

I got lucky on one hand with Jacks. Player from UTG raised and I called from the small blind. Heads up. The flop was K-J-x. I checked called a pot-sized bet. I thought about check-raising, but decided to slow play. The turn was a 10 and I didn't like that card. I check-called another pot sized bet. The river was another King. I made a boat, and bet about 1/2 the pot. He raised all in. I had him covered by $6 and called.

"How big is your boat?" I asked.

"If you got a boat, it wins," he said as he tabled A-Q.

He turned the Broadway straight, but I rivered a boat. I was ahead until the turn and got lucky on the river. I almost got in trouble slow-playing my flopped set.

"If I moved all in on the turn, would you fold?"

"It's hard to get away from a set there," I said.

I doubled up and got all the money back that I lost from the hot black chick.

A couple of hands later, I cracked Kings with a set of Queens. Two players limped. I raised to $10. Guy from Staten Island raised to $25. The hot chick called from her big blind. I called as well. The flop was A-Q-7 with two diamonds. I was watching the guy from Staten Island when the dealer fanned out the flop. He cringed when the Ace appeared as the door card. That convinced me that he had Kings. I would have bet at the pot even if I had not flopped a set. Anyway, the hot chick checked. I bet about $50 or 2/3 the pot. The guy from Staten Island tanked even though we both knew he was going to fold. He shook his hand and tossed his hand into the muck. The black chick folded. She said she had pocket fours.

I flipped over my set of Queens.

"You had Kings, right?" I asked.

"Yeah, how did you guess?" he asked.

"You re-raised me pre-flop and then you looked like you wanted to die when that Ace flopped."

I probably could have gotten an extra $50 out of the guy if I check-raised him. Alas, I won an $80 pot and left shortly after.

* * * * *

3am. I couldn't sleep and found myself wandering over to MGM for another late night session. I played 2/5 NL and was involved in a tough situation, just 15 minutes after I sat down at the table.

Player A was a middle-aged guy without a wedding ring. I couldn't tell if he was a local or not. He wore khakis and a golf shirt. Based on his tan, I pegged him for a golfer. The one time he showed down, he had called a big raise in position with A-10. He flopped trips and cracked Jacks. He had about $650 in front of him and was sipping a coffee.

Player B was in his twenties. He wore sunglasses, had a slew of tattoos and never stopped shuffling his chips from the moment that I sat down. He had a half-empty Corona in front of him and I never saw him take a sip.

I found Qc-Qh. Player A raised to $25 from UTG. Action was folded to me on the button. I re-raised to $80. Player B was in the small blind and he quickly announced all in. Player A asked for a count. It looked like almost $250. The dealer said $240 and change.

Player B tanked. He looked at his stack a couple of times, then he said, "I'm all in."

He had me covered for sure. I went into the tank for five minutes. I apologized a couple of times but no one called a clock on me. I tried to figure out which guy had a better hand than me. Yeah, I was trying to convince myself to fold. One of them must have a better hand and maybe I was ahead of one of the guys. I figured I was a long shot to be ahead of both.

I replayed the hand inside my head. Player A raised. I re-raised. Player B moved all in. Who squeezes with a raise and re-raise in front of them? I had to give him some credit for a decent hand. I'm ahead if he had A-K and any pair below Jacks. Would he shove with 10-10 or A-Qs? Could he be making a move with total junk?

But Player A worried me just as much. He originally raised. Facing a re-raise and an all-in raise in front of him... he moved all in. If I had A-A in that position, I would have just flat called to try to get more action. But the re-raise all in got me thinking that he had Kings.

Player B looked like he didn't have me. He tried to stare me down, but I was more concerned with trying to get a read on Player A.

If I thought at least one of them had Kings or Aces, my decision was a no-brainer... I fold. My gut told me that I was at least tied or ahead of Player B and behind Player A. I had no other choice... but to fold.

Player A showed Qh-Qd. Player B (the short stack) flipped over Js-Jc. Fuckmesilly.

I dunno the exact board, but there were four clubs including the ten of clubs on the river. The short-stack won with a flush and cracked Queens.

If I called... I would have won the main pot and side pot... and rivered a Queen-high four flush.

If that hand happened online, I would have insta-called. But I don't play NL online much, strictly limit hold'em. And I rarely play limit hold'em live anymore, it's been strictly live NL cash games.

* * * * *

A similar hand happened to me on PokerStars. Except, it was during an SNG and I had K-K in a three-way all in. We were on the bubble and I folded since I had the big stack. The other hands? K-K, Q-Q, and As-Js. Guess what won? Yeah, it was ugly too... with an Ace on the river.

Speaking of PokerStars, I played in a private tournament on Monday afternoon. Mad Harper hosted a tourney for members of the European Poker Tour media. Since I covered EPT Barcelona, I was eligible to play.

There were 54 players in all. My starting table included Howard Swains from Poker Stars Blog and Lina from the Swedish Poker Stars Blog. Swains busted me when I ran my Kings into his Aces. I was out in 48th place. That went quick, but I had a blast anyway. Thanks to Mad for hosting. I hope to see everyone on the EPT crew next weekend in Copenhagen.

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

Thursday, February 14, 2008

You Know About Saturday, Right?

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

Just a reminder about Saturdays with Dr. Pauly. Thanks to everyone in advance who pimped it. Registration is open... so, sign up now.

This tournament is held every Saturday on PokerStars, so if you miss this week, you can always play next week. The format is always... PLO (high) and you can find the tournament under the Private Tournament tab. If you don't have an account... you can download PokerStars here.

The Rooster (a.k.a. the self-appointed A-lister) won last weekend and he's been talking shit nonstop since his victory over on_thg. Hope to see everyone there.

And since it's Valentine's Day, this is a good time to say that I'm fortunate to have someone special in my life. Time flies! We've been going out for over two years. We don't live in the same city, which makes it tough, and I travel so much, which makes it even more difficult. Despite the obstacles of distance and a relentless work schedule, we managed to make the best of our time together, particularly over the last year when I go to share a lot of my exotic travel adventures.

I'm a lucky man.

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

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Searching for Fat Elvis

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

Flipchip gave me a late Christmas present. It was a knife.

"Why did you give this to me three years ago when I moved into the Redneck Riviera?" I asked.

"I thought you already had one," said Flipchip.

"I could have used it then," I said.

"I think you need to stay in a new place this summer and call it the Hillbilly Hilton. That's what your readers want to read about - you living among the wasted masses and visiting strip clubs," he said.

"If I do, I'm gonna bring the knife."

* * * * *

Las Vegas is America's fattest city. Did you know that?

I'm sure the all you can eat buffets and slew of fast food chains all over town had a lot to do with it. Along with lack of parks, habitable weather for outdoor activities, and the most bars per capita than any other place on Earth.

And since I have impeccable timing, how fitting is it that I'm on a new diet in the middle of a trip to Las Vegas? I have been living off of egg white omelets, mineral water, and Cliff bars for the past week... aside from two or three normal meals. I have no idea if I lost any weight, but I feel a little better.

And I had no more than five or six drinks. For a week in Vegas, that's remarkable. Most of that was consumed this weekend. And they were healthy drinks... vodka and some sort of fruit juice. Definitely healthier than drinking eight beers in three hours.

The main reason I've been able to curtail my drinking and eating has been my lengthy writing sessions. I locked myself in my hotel room and fended off the maids who try to give me new towels every eight hours it seems. I turned off my cell phone and unplugged the clock in my room. I crank out two or three writing sessions a day. They last anywhere from three to six hours. Since Thursday, I wrote well over 50K words (and didn't write at all on Sunday). That's twice as much as I intended to write. I'm more than pleased that I had this opportunity to work everyday without any interruptions.

* * * * *

I have some qualms about lamenting over losing basketball bets. Its the equivalent of writing about bad beats, which I usually don't do. I get so many that I'd be writing up dozens of hands every night, so what's the point?

On Sunday, I liked Rhode Island, Denver, and Richmond and bet small. When the day was over, I went 1-2 and had slipped to 5-3-1. I went 1-1 in NBA games for the day and broke even.

On Monday, I mounted a comeback with the dogs. Winners included.... Villanova + 13 and Texas +5.5. I finally won an NBA bet! The Cavs line jumped at the last minute because they flew into Orlando on the morning of the game instead of the night before. They were getting +9.5 and I couldn't resist. They ended up winning outright by six, I think.

On Tuesday, the streak continued. It started with the Quakers at Penn beating Princeton by five. I had Penn -2. I also had Purdue -2 over Michigan State. Those two wins wiped out the weekend losses. I split my NBA games. Detroit won by 4 and the spread was -5. Fuckme.

I started a new handicapping system which I wanted to try out before the March Madness games. Looks like I'm doing better than average in college hoops and below average for the NBA.

I liked the notion of betting on games every day because I love the action. I crave the sweat equity, whether it's following along online or watching the game on ESPN in while pacing my hotel room or sitting in the sports book agonizing over the outcome.

* * * * *

Best friends of girlfriends/wives/spouses are a tricky thing for guys to deal with. There always a ton of pressure. It can be total heaven or utter hell. Lucky for me, Change100's best friend was cool and easy to get along with.

Bean is not much of the gambling type, so Change100 and her had set aside Sunday for a shopping spree. The problem was that Bean had blown her entire unemployment check on a "cute top at Barney's" to wear at LAX the night before.

Since she was broke and not much of a gambler, Bean was interested in seeing Red Rock Canyon. It's one of my favorite things un-Las Vegas things in Las Vegas and only costs $5 to get into the park and drive around the magnificent scenic loop. Bean wanted to touch the rocks because I told her that the rocks had healing powers.

On the way back to the Strip, we stopped off at Red Rock Casino. I popped into the sports book to check the score of the Mavs game,then met Change100 at the $10 Pai Gow tables. She had given Bean a quick tutorial.

When the session was over, Bean walked away as the only winner. She even got a straight flush. I wanted to die. I lost like $10, but couldn't believe the cards that she was getting unreal. It put me on Mega Pai Gow Tilt (MPGT). Ever since I swore of Pai Gow at the Excalibur, I played twice... at Mandalay Bay and at Red Rock.

On Sunday night, we were on a mission. Well, Bean was on a mission to find Elvis. The only place we could think of (besides Fremont Street) was the IP. Change100 had no desire to drive downtown. Instead, she drove up to the Mirage. We rescued Falstaff, who was playing Stud with guys twice his age, and drank at Revolution while a sultry chick/stripper/go-go dancer in a psychedelic dress shook her ass in front of us.

After a quick drink, the time had come to seek out Elvis. The Elvis Museum was closed and these days, andthe suits that own the casinos are imploding the old Las Vegas icons and wiping it off the face of the Earth. Las Vegas has been getting a face lift. Welcome to Hipster Vegas. That's why you don't see Elvis impersonators running rampant down the Strip. Instead, you get parties with Paris Hilton.

We wandered into the IP. I had not been back since I got fined for trashing my suite during a trip in December. Bean wanted to find Fat Elvis and didn't really like Skinny Elvis. We wondered if Elvis was working... and sure enough, Young Elvis was dealing blackjack. He didn't really look too much like Elvis at all and Bean was kinda disappointed.

Bean finds Elvis...

There was an open seat at Elvis' table and I told Change100 to play a few hands. That's when Bean shrieked and pointed at the table.

"OhmyGod! Is that an Asian woman with a mullet?" Bean asked.

"OhmyGod, it is!" said Change100.

* * * * *

On Sunday, I played 1/2 NL at Excalibur. I lost half of my stack with 10d-8d. I flopped trips against a guy with 9-8. We got it all in and he rivered a runner-runner straight.

I won a pot with 9-7o in the small blind. I flopped an open-ended straight draw and got there on the turn. I made a huge check-raise on the turn to chase any flush draws away. I got a guy to fold top-pair.

Anyway, after a long day of writing on Monday, I went to play poker. I won a quick $110 at Mandalay bay against a crazy Asian guy. I rivered an Ace-high flush and he had rivered a King-high flush.

Then I went to the Excalibur where I won $200 from a woman who I swear to God looked like Lindsay Lohan's mom. I flopped a set on fours and she couldn't get away from top pair.

I tried to sleep, but the people next to me were in the middle of a domestic dispute. The female was super drunk and the male was telling her to shut the fuck up. I left the room and walked over to MGM. I played 1/2 like a maniac. I three-bet almost every chance I had. I raised with junk. I built up a stack without having to show down.

Then I got my Queens cracked from a guy that, no joke, said that he was a parasitologist.

I was down to my last $60 and played a couple of hands blind. On the first hand, I raised and got two callers. I bet the Ace high flop and everyone folded. I looked at my cards... Qc-2c. On the second hand, I re-raised a limper and he called. The flop had two kings. He checked. I bet 1/2 the pot. He check-raised all in. I peeked at my cards. I had 6-3 and folded. On the last hand, I raised and got two callers. I moved all in on the flop Jack high flop and was called. I woke up to 8-8 and was up against A-Q. I busted when a Queen spiked on the river.

I was going to leave, but decided to stay when a very drunk guy sat down to my right. He said that he had been drinking all night... and looked like it. I could smell the booze on his breath from my seat. I was hoping to get his chips before he busted... and I didn't get a chance.

Instead, I doubled up with pocket nines and pissed off a kid wearing a Cubs hat. In a four-way pot, the flop was K-7-x, and action got checked around. The turn was a 9 and I made my set. I got it all in against J-10 and pocket sevens. The river was a blank and my hand held up. I nearly tripled up. The kid in the Cubs hat was a sore loser and bitched and moaned about the hand for ten straight minutes. A Middle Eastern guy told the kid to stop his whining.

"You played your hand bad. Stop complaining."

I didn't think he necessarily played the hand bad. If he bet the flop, I fold. He decided to slow play his set and got caught. That's one of the risks you take by slow playing a hand that's not the nuts.

I left MGM and walked back to the Castle. I was tempted to sit down at the Pai Gow tables, but managed to ignore that tantalizing vice.

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

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Las Vegas Hookers

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

"Nothing shakes off a bad beat better than hate fucking a hooker," an elderly local once told me at the poker table.

We were sitting in a 4-8 limit game at Green Valley Ranch. I couldn't tell if the geezer was serious or just joking. But it made sense. There's a running joke in poker that when someone tells you a bad beat story, they have to pay you $1 for wasting their time. I always imagined that being a hooker would be one of the worst jobs on the planet. But I'm almost brought to tears at the thought that somewhere in Las Vegas, right now, there's sloppy, smelly, sweaty fat poker player telling a bad beat story to a hooker while he's humping her doggie-style in his hotel room.

I have always felt that prostitution should be legalized. That's what is great about America. We're made up of fifty states and if one state wants to allow hookers and another wants to decriminalize pot and another wants to host a slew of Mormons, then so be it. Some states say poker is legal. Others don't. While most of the union is against prostitution, Nevada has a different stance. It's the only state in America that allows it. However, the legal brothels are nowhere near Las Vegas. And that means that the local hookers (aside from those girls who work in massage parlors) have to seek out the customers. That process involved hitting up the different hooker bars.

For the most part, the girls that worked the hooker bars in the casinos were above average looking girls in Las Vegas. You occasionally saw the high end girls, usually draped on the arm of an elderly gentlemen as they strolled through the casino, but you rarely saw the hottest hookers in Las Vegas because they were too busy chugging cock or biting pillow.

The girls who walked Tropicana in front of the Redneck Riviera were the bottom of the barrel hookers. They were strung out, overweight, and outright nasty. But they managed to pick up clients, who would swoop them up and drive away. Those girls often disappeared and were strangled by psychotic serial killers, if they didn't end up overdosing on the car ride out of town.

There are two types of people in Las Vegas... the hustlers and those getting hustled. Which one are you? Mostly everyone I know is the worst kind. Because they're someone who thinks they are a hustler, when in fact, they're the ones getting hustled and never saw it coming.

Everyone in town is running a con or a scam or always looking to shoot an angle. Even the Jesus freaks and Mormon missionaries are scooping lost souls by the baker's dozen. Missionaries never go into rich neighborhoods to recruit members, only Scientologists do that. God is most often sought in places of despair like poor communities and ghettos. Hospitals. And very frequently, God's good will is sought at the craps tables in Caesar's Palace.

Someone tried to hustle me the other night. I looked like a tourist. I looked like fresh meat. I lived on and off in Las Vegas for three years. I know a hustle when I see one.

I have faith in the majority of cab drivers. But there's always a couple bad seeds in any group. I've been around taxis for most of my waking life. One of my earliest memories was puking in the back of a taxi headed to the doctor's office in upper Manhattan. Living in New York City, you get used to all kinds of different types of drivers. Taking a lot of cabs in Vegas also offers some insight in the differences between a good driver and a bad driver.

The good driver was the guy who picked me up at the airport. My taxi was captain by an elderly chatty fellow. He said that I was his first fare of the day. We spoke about the weather and where I flew in from. He said that he used to live in L.A., right around the corner from where Change100's parents live now. The ride was quick and the fare was $11. I only had a $20 or $100 bill. I asked him if he could break the $20.

"No problem," he said.

I gave him a $3 tip.

A couple of hours later, I picked up another taxi. The guy was very quiet. The fare was $9.10. All I had was a $20. I told him to give me $9 back and keep $1.90 as a tip. He tried to pull the old "I don't have any change" trick. He said that I was his first fare of the day. All he had was $3. He showed it too me. Essentially he was trying to get an extra $6 when I tipped him almost $2.

"Don't bullshit me," I said. "I don't believe you. Show me your wallet! Show me your till!"

I took the $20 back from the driver. He protested my requests and had a thick accent. I couldn't tell where he was from. He muttered some other bullshit. I told him to go get change. He wouldn't get out of the cab and do that. I looked through my pocket. I had exactly $9.60... the fare plus a fifty cent tip.

"If you're lying to me, well fuck you man," I said. "And if I'm wrong and you are telling the truth, then tough shit. It's your own fault that you showed up to work unprepared and only $3 in change."

I never liked stiffing cabbies or waitress, but sometimes you have to make a stand. I overtip so much that I feel as though my tipping karma can take a small hit from those instances.

My gut told me he was lying. When I saw the look in his eye when we exchanged the money, I knew I was right.

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

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Nocturne in a Deserted Brickyard

By Pauly
Las Vegas. NV

Friday night. I sweated both losing NBA bets in the sports book at Mandalay Bay. The drunken masses were focused on the Lakers game. An influx of L.A. Douchebag flooded the Strip, particularly Mandalay Bay... since it was the closest Strip Casino from the City of Angels. 95% of the people in the sports book were watching the big screen. While everyone looked one way, I was looking the other, intensely focused on two smaller screens. Luckily, they were on top of each other and I could scan back and forth. My fate unfolded before my eyes.

I started the week 2-1 in my NBA picks, but I've been not-so-hot since I arrived in Las Vegas. I'm now 0-3, after I bet against two home dogs... and the dogs won. Lucky for me that I've been betting small on the NBA.

The San Antonio Spurs looked like a lock -7 at Madison Square Garden and the anemic NY Knicks. Except, the Knicks played like a playoff caliber team in the first half as they rushed out to an 18 point lead. I know enough about the Knicks (how they suck and don't play defense in the second half), that my bet still had life. Like clockwork, the Spurs made a run with a 4th quarter surge as they attacked teh Knicks swiss cheese defense. The Spurs forced an overtime, which was a miracle for me and the only way I had a chance to win the bet. Alas, the Spurs only one by six. I lost. Fuckmethatsuckeddonkeyballs.

I also bet the Celtics at Minnesota, even though KG was out with a stomach injury. The spread was -5.5. Minnesota led by a small margin for most of the first half, but I was waiting for a 4th quarter run by the Celtics. It happened like I planned it. They took the lead, but could not pull away. Just when it looked as though the game would also head into overtime, the Celtics scored a bucket at the buzzer to win the game by two points. Another loss.

I went back to my room and completed my bonus at Full Tilt. I did not play online poker for over a month while I was in Oz/NZ. I broke even trying to clear the bonus on 8/16 limit tables. I crashed early and woke up at 4am to play against the drunks. I grabbed a cab to the Bellagio and ate a Cliff bar along the way. I played 2/5 NL to almost 6am. I lost $10 during that time. Nothing exciting to report. There was one drunk guy, but he was playing pretty good. I got bluffed out of a big pot by a local when I folded top pair on a flush board. I won a race with Queens versus A-Q to felt a Russian chick who was short stacked.

I cashed out and walked down the Strip back to my hotel. I worked for a couple of hours. I put in my bets on college hoops... Texas and Wake Forrest. Then it was time for Saturdays with Dr. Pauly. After I busted out, I left my hotel room and went directly to the sports book to sweat my games... Texas and Wake Forest. Both were in the second half. I was winning one and losing the other. The Texas/Iowa State game went into overtime and I had another chance to win that. Wake was way ahead during the closing minutes of that game. They won by 16 and covered. That put me at 4-0 for college hoops.

However, I was still sweating the OT game. Change100 just arrived in Las Vegas. She parked the car and needed to meet me at the room. I didn't want to leave the sports book. I stayed to the last possible second. Texas was up by four points with 20 seconds to go in OT. Then they called a time out. I had to make her wait. They hung on to win by six points. The spread was 6. Push. I'm content with my college picks so far... 4-0-1... with Yale, James Madison, UCLA, and Wake all coming up big.

FYI... For Sundays games, I like Rhode Island -4 at Fordham. RI is 18-4 while Fordham is 8-11 and only 5-4 at home. I'm conflicted on UCLA at UW. My gut tells me to bet it, but I think I'm gonna stay away from that game. I'll wait until game time to decide. The other two games I like are Richmond -3 at home against St. Louis. Go Spiders! They're a deeper team than St. Louis and should win. And Denver -2 at home against Louisiana-Lafayette. The Denver Pioneers are 7-1 at home this season.

I finally met Change100's best friend Bean, the Pittsburgh Fashionista, who was in town to attend a wedding, where the bride was a good eight months pregnant. Anyway, she was just as Change100 described... a beautiful quirky hysterical neurotic Jewish girl who looked like Marisa Tomeii. Derek and the Rooster would be drooling over her. We both clicked right away, so no drama, which was important since Change100 and I had been dating for almost two years, but I had yet to meet her best friend.

After dinner, I let the girls frolic and I went back to the room. I thought I was going to write. No inspiration. Instead, I felt the spastic urge to play poker. I wandered down to the Excalibur poker room and sat in a 1/2 NL game filled with a bunch of mediocre tourists and a couple of angry locals. The big stack had about $650 in front of him. I bought in for $300 (the max) and I was the second biggest stack. I won $30 in an hour, most of it was on a bluff with 8d-5d. I had bottom pair and a gut shot straight flush draw.

I got bored and quit when I found Change100 sitting at a Pai Gow table. I sat down, played an hour, and lost $150. I was betting $25 a hand at a $10 table and got cold decked by the fast dealing stone-cold-face elderly Asian woman that didn't speak much English. I know, she sounds like 90% of the Pai Gow dealers on the planet.

On the last hand, I had trip tens as my high hand, and Q-8 as my second highest hand. The dealer? Trip Jacks and... Q-9. So fuckin' rigged. I walked away and vowed never to return to a Pai Gow table for the rest of eternity this trip.

Change100 and Bean got on the list to LAX, the latest trendy club in Las Vegas. I didn't go. I'm not a club kinda guy. I skipped and went to Mandalay Bay instead. Falstaff called. He was at the Venetian playing poker with Mary and CK. Hmm... center Strip on a Saturday night? A cab from Luxor would have taken forever and I was too lazy to walk to the Monorail. I had to take a raincheck and gambled at Mandalay Bay.

I played Pai Gow for fifteen minutes even though I said I quit. I played while I waited for a seat in the poker room to open up. I lost $25 and swore to myself that I wouldn't play Pai Gow for the rest of the trip.

I was seated at a 1/2 NL and got pocket Aces three times in one hour. I played them different every time. They went 2-1 for me.

#1... One player limped in early position. I raised to $6 with Ah-Ac. The big blind called as did the original raiser. Three way. The flop was J-7-x. Big blind fired out $10. Other guy folded. I raised to $30 and he called. The turn was another Jack. I put the guy on K-J or A-J and figured that I was toast, especially when he led out for $15. I knew he had me, but I couldn't lay down Aces. I called. The river was another blank. He bet $20. It was such a low bet that I insta-called and said, "Show me your Jack."

He said, "Sevens full."

He tabled a pair of sevens. He flopped a set and turned a boat. Aces.... cracked.

#2... About ten minutes after I had my Aces cracked, I had about $100 left. I was in big blind and a player from early position raised to $10. I just called with As-Ac. Heads up. The flop was Qs-7s-3s. I fired out $30 and had only $62 left. He tanked then said he put me all in. I quickly called. I tabled As-Ac for a nut flush draw. He showed 5s-4s for a flush and a gutshot straight flush draw. The turn was another Queen. I picked up a couple of more outs. The river.... a Queen. Ouch. Runner-runner boat. I almost got my Aces snapped off a second time in one orbit. I got saved by a little river luck. That hand tilted my opponent and he had to get up and walk away.

#3... Maybe a half hour after I got even with Aces, I looked down and found As-Ad. Unreal. Two players limped. I bumped it up to $12. I got three callers. Four way pot. The flop was Qs-8s-2s. Here we go again. The big blind fired out $25. Everyone folded to me and I raised to put him all in. He called. He had Ks-8h. I was ahead with my Aces and had a better flush draw. The river was the 5s and I busted a short stack with Aces.

I ended up -$9 for the session. An intoxicated Change100 and Bean had stumbled over to the poker room. They wanted to drink and play "Spot the Hooker or Ho" at the Hooker Bar in the Mandalay Bay. I knew my luck had run out for the session, so I cashed out. Aces three times in an hour? In a live game? Only happened to me once before...

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

Saturday, February 09, 2008

The Rooster Wins Saturdays with Dr. Pauly

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

All hail the one we call... The Rooster.

Another good turn out for the second week of Saturdays with Dr. Pauly. We had 42 runners for a total prize pool of $420. The top five places paid, instead of nine from last week. First place won more this week than last week in a top heavy prize payout distribution.

I played from my hotel room, and had been up since 4am. I already put in a full day with a session at the Bellagio, a walk down the Strip, a couple hours of writing, and a trip to the sports book to place bets.

My brother couldn't play because he was at my mother's birthday dinner in New York City. Change100 was somewhere in Bat Country, at the edge of the desert as she drove out to Las Vegas for the weekend.

I was happy that Jules got up early to play (it was Sunday morning for her in Melbourne). Once again we had a nice mix of players from all over the globe.

And I can't even remember the last time BG played in a blogger tournament! He said it was at least a year.

Phtnm was this week's Gigli. Last week's winner, Grouse14, was moved to my table early on. I got off to a slow start and slipped to 30th out of 40.

I never got anything going. I played a lot of hands and saw a lot of flops. I missed a couple of big draws including a straight flush draw against Kat. I whiffed there and was doomed.

Jakehead busted me in 37th place. I was shorstacked with 275. Three players limped in front of me and I moved all in. Four callers. I was either fucked or gonna get back a lot of chips. I had Ah-Ac-Qh-9c. Double suited Aces. You can't ask for something better than that. The board ran out Kd-Qc-8s-6h-2c. Jakehead won with a set of Kings. I was out and Jakehead took over the chiplead.

At the break, 28 players remained and Bigjer98 was the chipleader. I left the hotel room to sweat my bets in the sports book. I returned to check out how the tournament progressed... and with two tables to go, Double Dave was the chipleader.

With 13 to go, The Rooster jumped out to a big lead. He had over 11K in chips. I left again and returned when it was nine handed. The Rooster was one of the leaders with Preiure. At the second break, The Rooster was the chipleader with six to go. It was the money bubble.

The Rooster got crippled. He was all in against on_thg. The Rooster held As-Ad-6d-2c 6d. On_thg held Ah-Ac-Kh-4h and rivered a Broadway straight. The Rooster was under 1K while on_thg took over the lead with 27K.

The Rooster mounted a comeback, which I missed. I had to meet someone special (Change100's best friend from college) for the first time and had to miss the end of the tournament. The Rooster kept me on top of things with several test messages.

Zeem bubbled out in 6th place. The Rooster sent me a text, "Five left. Game opening up."

I got another text four minutes later from The Rooster, "4 left chip leader me."

One minute later, "3 left."

Thirteen minutes later, "2 left."

Three minutes after his last text. I got, "Game, set, match. THE ROOSTER."

The Rooster beat on_thg heads up. Congrats to both for making it that far and congrats to everyone who made the money.
Week 2 Money Winners:
1. The Rooster - $168
2. on_thg - $100
3. Prieure - $67.20
4. thejim2020 - $50.40
5. Jakehead - $33.60
The Rooster is a cagey mofo. Nice comeback. Thanks again to everyone who played and pimped the tournament. See you next weekend! I already set up next week's event, so you can sign up right now.

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

Friday, February 08, 2008

Insomnia Poker

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

It was the Chinese lunar New Year yesterday. Happy 4706. We're now in the Year of the Rat. I was born in 1972 during the Rat. They call that the Water Rat year. So, I wonder if that means this will be my special year? Last Chinese new year, my horoscope said that I would spend the majority of the year sick but it will also be my most prosperous year... ever. That ended up being spot on. This year's horoscope speaks of a lot of hard work, renewal, and change. It sounded like it was penned by Barack Obama's speech writer.

I've been in Las Vegas for almost two days. The first 8 hours were dedicated to business. Since then, I've been on a writer's retreat. I picked Las Vegas instead of a location in nature mainly because Las Vegas is a 24 hour city and it caters to insomniacs, like myself. Plus, you can get what you want to eat and at any time. My body is wired differently. Sometimes I want breakfast at night and sometimes I want lunch for breakfast and most of the time I want to eat dessert first. It's just how I am.

My internal clock is wired for 30 hour days. I can stay up for a 24 straight without any problems. I discover that I actually sleep better when I don't force myself to sleep and go to bedwhen I'm tired... instead of forced sleep when "I'm supposed to" crash. The hardest part about working for other people is having to make your body adjust to their schedule. The best part about being completely alone... is that I can allow my body to run it's natural course. The result has been two decent nights of sleep. I got eight hours in the last two days. That's better than average.

My Thursday was a weird one. I didn't actually wake up until late afternoon. I unplugged the clock in my hotel room. I turned my cellphone off. Unconnected for the vast majority of the time, for the first time, in a very long time.

I wrote for several hours at a furious pace. Before I knew it, I was at 3,200 words. I had breakfast (at a time normal folks call dinner, but since your first meal of the day is breakfast - breakfast it is...) and wrote another 2,000 words. My goal was to crank out a minimum of 5,000 words a day that I'm in Las Vegas. The rest of the time is devoted to research and gambling. I traveled super light. Aside from my laptop, I took one change of clothes and eight pairs of underwear for a week in Las Vegas. I knew that I'd be spending the majority of my time inside my room and only a couple of hours a day outside of it.

I haven't had a drop to drink since my arrival in Las Vegas. Not to worry, I didn't find Christ or anything like that. I just needed to slow down. All I did in Australia and New Zealand was drink. Balance is essentially in anything you do, especially liquor consumption. I have been wagering the majority of my sports bets at Excalibur's new sports book. They give out drink tickets but I haven't used them for booze yet.

Excalibur is part of the MGM-Mirage junta and I can use my player's card at the sports book. Comps are atrocious. $1 per $600 that I wager. I'd have to bet through $600,000 at the sports books just to get a dime back in comps.

The only game I bet on yesterday turned out well. I took UCLA -2 over Wazzu. It was close for the first 30 minutes of the game. The score never deviated for one or two buckets on either side. Then UCLA pulled away and was ahead by eight points for the remainder of the game.

For Friday, I have two small bets on the NBA. I'm going with San Antonio -7 against my hometown NY Knicks (who have dropped seven straight and 8 out of 9). I also like Boston -5 at Minnesota, even though the Celtics are KG-less (he's listed as questionable).

In my only college hoops game, I'm betting on the Ivy League. I got Yale -7 over Harvard. One's a 7-11 team and the other is a 6-14 team. Talk about ugly. The Yalies won four straight against Harvard, who are 1-7 in their last 8 road games. A friend of mine who went to Harvard and is a big hoops supporter told me that forward Pat Magnarelli (10 ppg, 6 rpg) is questionable for tonight's game with a knee injury.

I played 1-2 NL and 2-4 NL at the Mandalay Bay last night. They used to spread a soft 4-8 Limit with a half kill. Grubby and I loved that game when we used to live in Vegas. Mandalay Bay was the closest strip casino from our apartment in Henderson, so we gambled there a lot. Tourists have no idea how to play well in a limit game with a kill pot.

Anyway, I had a break even session at Mandalay. I lost $50 playing 1-2 NL and won $50 playing 2-4 NL. Norm MacDoanld (from SNL) walked into the room and sat down at a 2-4 Limit table. Limit? That was a shocker. I got on the list and by the time my name was called, he had already left.

At 1-2 NL, I had my Aces snapped off by K-Q. He flopped a king, turned trips, and rivered quads. I should have been able to get away from that hand. But when he bet small on the river, I knew that was a value bet... the perfect size because I ended up calling.

The only other hand of significance was A-K versus J-J. The flop was Q-Q-9. Player from early position bet out 1/2 the pot quickly. I didn't put him on a Queen and min-raised him. He called. The turn was a King. He checked. I bet about 3/4 of the pot. He tanked, then folded. I showed him the King. He told me (about an hour later) that he folded Jacks.

I went back to my room and wasn't ready for sleep. I walked over to the MGM poker room and played 2-5 NL. I acted invisible again and barely talked to anyone at my table. I didn't get any hands over the first hour. Then I got a flurry of baby pairs. I played them all and three-bet with them a couple of times in position. I flopped two sets. I won both on the turn for a small profit. I made a nice bluff with Qs-9s to win a decent sized pot, and I lost a big pot when I flopped a flush with 9c-8c and lost to a runner-runner boat. I ended up down $20 in three hours. Half of that was probably in tips to the waitress.

It's Friday night in Las Vegas, which means all the weekend warriors from all over America will be coming in town, looking to get fucked up, looking to get laid, or maybe get into a fight. I usually avoid the drunken masses on the Strip during the weekends.

I'll watch the NBA games from the sports book (somewhere) and spend rest of the time holed up in my room writing. And when insomnia strikes around 5am, I'll go out on the prowl, looking for a juicy game with a lot of drunk hipsters at the tail end of their Friday night session. That's something right out of Johnny Hughes playbook.

P.S. Congrats to my buddy Damo for making the final table at the WSOP Circuit event in San Diego. The Aussie is a NY Giants fan. He flew to Vegas to watch the Super Bowl. Not only did he get to watch his favorite team play, they ended up winning. Then he headed to San Diego and final tabled the Circuit event. Nice work, sir!

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