Tuesday, September 30, 2008

WSOPE Main Event: Where I End and You Begin

By Pauly

"There's a short Mexican woman in our kitchen," Gloria said matter of factly.

"I hope she's the maid," was my reply.

I had just finished a random walk through the streets of London, sort of navel gazing and stewing in my own misery while listening to music. As I returned to the flat, Gloria was headed to work.

The maid went about her business while I watched the Bloomberg channel in utter desperation. It was past midday in London and the FTSE was tanking, while the US stock market was about an hour away from the morning bell. All the talking heads alluded that things were gonna be ugly based on the domino effect from the foreign markets. And it was. Talk about donkey blood splattered all over lower Manhattan. One of the worst trading days in years. All I could do is sit and slowly watch the wreck unfolded before my eyes.

The late afternoon was wasted in search of a laptop. I thought I found one and made a purchase. The price was too good to be true. Turned out there were tons of problems with the machine which I had to return. I'm still a man without a laptop (and pecking away on Change100's laptop while she sleeps).

Day 2 was in full swing at the Empire Casino. It was the first time the entire field was in one building. The action was spread out at a couple of tables upstairs on a balcony, downstairs in the poker room, and out on the gaming floor. The playing sections were infested with cameras. ESPN is taping the WSOPE (televised in both Europe and the States), but it's not the same crew from the WSOP (the gang at 441). The WSOP crew knows there shit but the crew out in London has very little experience covering a live poker tournament. Most of them are from Poker After Dark and other poker shows that are shot at a single table in a secluded area or in studio or on a sound stage. They are not used to dealing with multiple tables, floor staff, and other media milling around. The result? The surly camera dudes have been pissing off a lot of folks including players and staff. Man, I miss Matt and Dave and their crew at 441.

I eventually showed up mid-way through Day 2. As soon as I arrived, another member of the poker media pulled me aside and suggested that we check out the hot massage girls otherwise known as the Ibiza Angels. I dunno if they actually gave high quality massages, but they were all smoking hot. They were too classy (and too natural) to be working on the pole and they were truly angels wearing tight white wifebeater t-shirts exposing their mid-drifts.

"Let's pretend to do work and stare at the massage angels instead," said one horny and lazy member of the European poker media (not named Benjo). "When there's nothing else to do, that's what I do to kill the time since I don't care about the tournament."

Poker tournaments are boring affairs. It's nice to have some high end eye candy to see waltzing through the tournament area.

There's one that is drop dead gorgeous. I know, that assertion is useless without a pic. My goal is to snap one.

"She's my favorite. I'm in love with her," was one comment that I got.

* * * * *

179 players began Day 2, but only 62 advanced to Day 3. Tons of big names fell such as Doyle Brunson, Jesus, Phil Hellmuth, Barry Greenstien, Scotty Nguyen, Durrrrrrrrrrrrr, the chick who went to Duke, Jen Tilly, Bruno Fitoussi, Neil "Bad Beat" Channing, Roland "Hungry Like" de Wolfe, and Erica Schoenberg.

Here's some useless info...
WSOPE End of Day 2 - Top 10 Chip Counts
Andy Bloch 321,600
Brian 'sbrugby' Townsend 290,100
Erik Seidel 282,300
John Juanda 252,500
Philippe Rouas 233,300
Chris Elliott 231,900
Chris 'Moorman1' Moorman 219,500
Justin 'BoostedJ' Smith 217,700
Daniel Negreanu 203,700
Brandon Adams 190,000
Sherkhan Farnood from Afghanistan won a bracelet in the HORSE event and was one of the guys who cockblocked Phil Ivey in his quest for some bling. Sherkhan Farnood has been a nemesis for Phil Hellmuth. The other day there was an incident (that may or may not have been blown out of proportion) where Hellmuth snapped after getting busted. He pointed at Farnood and said, "How do I lose my chips to the worst player in the world?"

On Day 2, Farnood and Hellmuth were at it again. Farnood won another battle and sent the Poker Brat packing. Before Hellmuth could leave the table he spoke some more smack. He always has to get the last word in. However, Farnood uttered the gem of the day when he said, "I'm trying to prove that I'm the second worst player in the world."

* * * * *

I guess this is a London edition of Bouncin Round the Room...

Whispers about Russ Hamilton being named as the main culprit in the UB cheating scandal made its way around the Empire Casino. He supposedly bilked players out of $60 million as a superuser. I don't doubt that he was heavily involved, however, I'm not buying the lone gunman theory. Wonder if anyone will be able to dig up other names in the scandal.

I spotted Erica Schoenberg on one break. I had read her recent blog posts (over at Poker Road) particularly the stories about her college days and hanging out in the parking lots at Phish and Widespread Panic shows. If you have experienced that scene, you know those are some killer parties. Ah, back in the day I used to sling pharmies in the lot on Phish tour. Anyway, Erica had a tough table late in Day 2 which included chipleader Andy Bloch, Andy Black, and Josh Arieh. Sweet Sweet Erica busted out late in the day.

I heard a rumor that Philippe Rouas was from good stock and from the 4th richest family in all of France. One thing for sure, he's the mastermind behind the Poker Battle clothing line. He sported a jacket that was worth $15,000 and made of sting ray skin. I lost about that much in the stock market in the last two weeks and that clown is walking around with the equivalent of my losses slung over the back of his chair.

Ted Lawson's wife is always on the rail in his tournaments. She usually bakes us cookies or brings the media food. She mentioned that she was enjoying London, "This definitely beats Atlantic City."

Nolan and Seth had some crazy bets on the Monday Night Football game which kicked off around 1:30am or during the last level of play. One of the best was the OVER for total number of sacks.

As I waited for Change100 to finish up the evening, I waited at the entrance of the Empire Casino. Andy Black wandered by wearing an unusual robe-type garment that you'd expect the maitre'd at a restaurant in Chinatown to be wearing. I asked him how he was doing.... "Fuckin' short!" he blurted out before he exited the casino and disappeared into Leicester Square.

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

Monday, September 29, 2008

WSOPE Main Event: Everything In Its Right Place

By Pauly

I returned to London for my second WSOP-Europe. I had a blah time last year covering the event for Poker News. The long days killed me and I was bleeding money with a super expensive hotel. At that point, I had been in Europe for almost two months and I was desperate to return to North America.

This year, things were a lot different because I didn't have to carry a huge workload Poker News and skipped all of the preliminary events. This year I'm only covering the WSOPE for me... which will include a few half-baked posts on Tao of Poker and I'll also collect some fodder for my Bluff Column. I'm also crashing at a cool flat in Soho that Poker News rented for Change100 and their newest on air host, Gloria. Yep, those are my roomies in London.

I showed up late to the WSOPE in true Hellmuthian fashion. Very late in fact, at almost Midnight on Day 1a. My flight from Amsterdam was delayed over two hours due to fog at Heathrow. Then I had two tournaments to play. Of course, my shitty day was made worse when my laptop died in the middle of Saturdays with Dr. Pauly. That sent me on ubertilt. I don't have many material possessions. I don't even have a home. What I have is what I can carry with me during my travels on the road. My laptop dying was like Tom Hanks losing Wilson the volleyball in Cast Away.

"Wilson! Wilson!"

I spare you the remainder of the bad beat stories. Suffice to say, losing one of my appendages overseas cast a dark veil of misery and gloom over me.

The positive spin on the situation was that I had to go old school. Pen and paper. I grabbed my pad and headed down to the Empire Casino in Leicester Square, the locale of the second installment of the WSOPE. Leicester Square is sort of like Time Square with lots of jailbait British hussies running amuck. On the weekends, the square is filled with late night party people getting their drinky drink on before they pack themselves onto night buses and hope not to get puked on by an inebriated binge drinker slurring incorrect lyrics to Oasis songs.

Last year, the organizers fucked the pooch by trying to spread out the £10,000 main event championship over three casinos. Although the Fifty was super swanky, the plan backfired mainly because they did not get the massive turnout that they originally anticipated. The WSOPE just can't compete with the EPT which is the premiere tournament series in Europe, dare I say, the entire world? Aside from the American superstars and underaged internet players, only a handful of Europeans showed up for the WSOPE. Numbers in the preliminary events were unimpressive consider that Europe is supposed to be one of the areas of booming poker popularity.

This year, the entire main event was hosted at the Empire which meant that gaming tables had to be removed in order to make sufficient space for tournament tables. The Empire had three different areas with tables but all were in different parts of the casino. It was impossible to watch all of the action in one spot. Although the Empire relaxed their entrance policy (no more waiting in line to get your passport scanned and get ad admission card) to accommodate spectators, viewing space was still limited.

One positive change included having the media room in the actual casino. Last year, the media room was located in the basement of a hotel across Leicester Square which may or may not have been a bunker during the sullen days of WWII when the Luftwaffe rained down bombs onto the streets of London.

Dozens of media outlets are cramped into a lounge area. Benjo wrote his updates from a couch. Neil was uploading photos while sitting on a stool at a bar, while Martin from PokerListings and Court from Pocket Fives had to share a tiny table. Some might think those are poor working conditions, but that's just par for the course in European casinos where space is extremely sparse.

Annette15 was the reigning champion and the PR gurus set up a heads up match between herself and Doyle Brunson. I missed the match, but Texas Doyle schooled the young Norwegian chick. Brunson has underwear that's older than Annette15. Score one for the grizzled gunslinger.

Although Dolye Brunson was able to fend off an hyper-aggressive Scandi, He could not beat gravity on Day 1B. Benjo saw Brunson fall as he waited to take his seat after a break. I had just walked past a camera crew interviewing Brunson as he leaned up against his single crutch. Apparently, moments after the interview ended, Brunson took a nasty spill. It wasn't anything serious such as a heart attack or stroke. Brunson simply lost his balance. He managed to cut his arm in the fall. But Brunson is a warrior. He didn't let the fall distract him. He survived his flight and advanced to Day 2 despite having a tough draw that including Jesus, Chino Reem, and several Scandis in hoodies at his table.

Overall, there were 362 runners in the WSOPE Main Event. That equaled last year's number. The prize pool is £3,620,000 but the 2008 Champ will win £868,800, which is less money that the £1 million that Annette 15 took back to Norway last year. Seems as though the prize pool is less top heavy this year.

Sunday in London meant that Americans were jonesin' for NFL action. I was fortunate enough to be invited to sports bar to watch the games. The suits at Harrah's rented out a private suite which included free food and booze. Seth, Nolan, and the TDs Steve and Charlie invited me to check out the action. NFL games come on at 6pm so I was able to get a couple of hours of work in before I headed down to sports bar.

As soon as I walked inside, Phil Hellmuth was slumped over a stool with his eyes peering into the souls of the players in the Packers game. He was rooting for his home state team. A few pros were in the corner on laptops sweating their bets and fantasy football pools. At one point, Hellmuth retreated to the corner to play high stakes (either hearts or spades) with Brandon Cantu, Layne Flack, and Jeff Madsen.

A couple of super agents, Chris and James from Poker Royalty were there. I didn't recognize them since they were in their civilian clothes and not wearing suits. I grabbed several Stellas at the bar and kept my eye on the Jets game. Talk about a shoot out.

I also met a player named Craig from Texas. He told me that he read my site a few times and it wasn't until 15 minutes into the conversation when I realized that he was Craig Marquis, one of the November Nine. Good kid and he hasn't let any of the hype go to his head.

I left the suite and headed back to the Empire where I chain smoked with Benjo. Yeah, I'm been super stressed out the last couple of weeks. My left eye ball has been twitching uncontrollably which I was told was a sign of high stress or epilepsy. Awesome. I have turned to tobacco as a stress reliever.

As Gavin Smith put it best, "Where you able to import your pharmaceuticals into this country?"

Sadly, no. And that's why I'm smoking like an angry Frenchman.

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

Sunday, September 28, 2008

ArcticAction Wins Saturdays with Dr. Pauly

By Pauly

Let me first start off saying that this recap will be brief because my laptop died in the middle of Saturdays with Dr. Pauly. I also had to miss the final table because I had to head over to the Empire Casino to pick up my media badge for the WSOP-Europe.

Anyway, we had a good turnout with 27 runners. The top 3 were paid out.

BankCraft was Gigli. I busted out in 20th place. My A-A-x-x were cracked by MrCrakyPants K-K-x-x-.
Here's the final table players...
Seat 1: crazfn
Seat 2: lineside
Seat 3: thecitybaron
Seat 4: bayne_s
Seat 5: fugeboston
Seat 6: BigHeeb91
Seat 7: Sydney 8
Seat 8: ArcticAction
Seat 9: ZClub

Bubble boy was crazfn.

On the final hand, thecitybaron was super short with 3.1K to ArcticAction's 37.3K. ArcticAction potted and thecitybaron moved all in. ArcticAction called.

thecitybaron: Qh-7d-6d-5s
ArcticAction: 8s-8c-5d-4s

The board ran out... 8h-3c-2d-Jc-8d. ArcticAction won the hand and the tournament with quad eights! Nice job.
Week 35 Money Winners:
1. ArcticAction - $135
2. thecitybaron - $81
3. lineside- $54
Thanks again to everyone who played and pimped the event. COngrats again to ArcticAction for taking it down.

I will do my best to play next weekend. I'll be covering EPT London if I can get a new laptop in time. Hope to see everyone next week!

Original content written and provided by Pauly from Tao of Poker at www.taopoker.com. All rights reserved. RSS feeds are for non-commercial use only.
Change100 Wins Run Good!

By Pauly

Sorry for the brief recap. My laptop died within hours of the completion of PokerListings' Run Good Challenge final event. I have to use either an internet cafe or someone's laptop until I can get a new one.

Six of us made it to the final with over $1,000 up for grabs for first place. Those lucky souls? Amy Calistri aka best boobs in poker, Michele Lewis aka the Poker Cougar, Change100 aka my girlfriend and the biggest pothead in poker not named Shaniac, Short-Stacked Shamus aka the quiet assassin, Dan Skolovy aka the dude who schooled us all, and of course, myself, the heavily flawed hero. Six of us battled it out for cash, glory, and bragging rights.

Dan from PL busted out first which was surprising since he dominated the field during the first three events.

I hit the rail in 5th place when I picked one helluva bad time to make a move against the Cougar. She raised my big blind and I re-raised with 7c-2c. She called. The flop was 10c-10h-5h. I shoved all in for the rest of my stack (which was about the same size of the pot). Cougar Lady called with A-10. The turn was an Ace and my goose was cooked. Out in 5th.

Shamus busted out in 4th, which left three ladies at the top.

Amy went out in third and Change100 was heads up with Michele Lewis. The pothead had the cougar outchipped almost 2-1 and it didn't take very long before Change100 emerged victorious and $1,235 richer. I'm glad she won because she could really use the cash and a confident boost. Plus she was a wild-card player and only gained an entry after she beat Spaceman heads up for the last seat.
The Final Event Money Winners:
1st Change100 - $1,235
2nd Michele Lewis - $802
3rd Amy Calistri - $494
4th Shamus - $247
5th Pauly -$185
6th Dan Skolovy - $123
Check out Matt's recap titled... Change100 Wins Run Good Grand Final.

Thanks again to Matt and Dan and the gang at Poker Listings for the honor of being among the dozen or so people who got tapped for the first challenge. Nice job, hombres. You're all aces in my book.

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

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Fantasy Football - Week 3

By Pauly

It was another weird week in the NFL.

My team in the Lamont Jordan Fantasy Football League lost its second straight game. Uncle Jodd's Band slipped to 1-2. We lost Week 3 by 0.4 points. We were down 6 points going into Monday Night Football with one guy left to go... Thomas Jones from the NY Jets. They fell behind and Farve threw like every play in the second half. The result? A close loss.

In the Pauly's Pub money pool, I'm tied for first place. It's all downhill from there.

And in the Tao of Poker pool... I'm not doing so hot. I'm tied for 49th place. PatsRevenge2008 (E. Kalis) is in sole possession of first place. There are seven other tied for second place.
The Top 8 thru Week 3:
1 PatsRevenge2008 (E. Kalis) 34
2 Oyster Bay Moore (J. Moore) 33
2 Niggling Groin Injuries (Garthmeister) 33
2 jaguar9499 (r. zacharki) 33
2 Scotty's Mich Ultra (P. Grotjohn) 33
2 McKenna (K. McKenna) 33
2 Rummy's TaoPicks (E. Rummel) 33
2 VinNay (VinNay) 33

Click here to see the overall standings for Tao of Poker's football pool
* * * * *

And over in Fantasy Sports Live, we completed Week 3 of Sundays with Dr. Pauly.
I had another blah week with 104.8. Kev had the highest score of 140.4

TOC Entries by Beating Dr. Pauly's Score 3 straight weeks ($200 added): Jag, Expensive Wino, AlCantHang

Needs to Beat Pauly's Score Next Week for TOC Entry: bonds, only1calvary, eddieleb

High Weekly Scores for the Season ($75/$25 added)
1st Jag 141.8 (Week 2)
2nd Kev 140.4 (Week 3)
Week 1-5 Series Standings:
(Winner gets $25 + Super TOC entry with $125 added)

Jag 375
Expensive Wino 362.5
AlCantHang 350.9
Buffalo66 350.7
bonds 348.5
Brian 342.5
Chuckdnb 328.4
TaoPauly 318.8
greengoddess 317.3
Mattazuma 316.8
repete oiffenders 312.7
Chewbot 309.6
bayne_s 295.6
Humperdink 292.6
jek187 292.6
Big Pirate 283.6
Joe Speaker 282.7
ebk03001 276.8
HermWarfare 273.6
BigHeeb91 266.7
Mr. Decker 253.3
Pokerpeaker 253.1
belly2bar 252.3
only1calvary 251.5
Kev 244.9
kinnehboo 244.5
eddieleb 239.7
Olliewood 234.5
donkeypuncher 227.2
RTrizzle 213.4
Kaiseroll13 212.7
23skidoo 206.2
lexx575 200.1
unbreakable 192.6
Snickers 190.6
Click here for more details on how to participate. We will be running three series this season. Series 2 begins on Week 6.

If you don't have a Fantasy Sports Live account, you can sign up for one today! It's legal in the US and you can fund your account with a credit card.

Open to all FSL users. $500 in bonus cash is added. Enter contests called "Sundays w/Dr Pauly."

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

Friday, September 26, 2008

Saturdays with Dr. Pauly... Saturday at 4:20pm ET!

By Pauly

Saturdays with Dr. Pauly will be running as scheduled on Saturday at 4:20pm ET (or 16:20). I will be playing this event from merry ole England. It will be the first of two UK editions of Saturdays with Dr. Pauly. I hope that you can attend.

According to the suits at Poker Stars, last week's champion Bad Blood passed his drug screening. There have been rumors over the last four years that Bad Blood has been juicing. He and GRob get special herbs and spices mailed to them in G-Vegas all the way from the outer provinces of China. GRob uses the baby Panda urine to make his hair all poofy and shiny. And Bad Blood has been taking all sorts of exotic animal items to improve his manual dexterity. Although there were traces of random rhinoceros extract in his BadBlood's blood stream, he still passed the drug screening. That might get him banned by the IOC but it's 100% legal for Saturdays with Dr. Pauly.

Bring on the Balco. Smoke 'em if you got 'em. Mainline the China White. Saturdays with Dr. Pauly is back.

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, and Bad Blood

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

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 www.taopoker.com. All rights reserved. RSS feeds are for non-commercial use only.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Hump Day, Pimp Day

By Pauly

I'm on a short holiday in Amsterdam raging solo before I head to London for two assignments. I rented a tiny little apartment and the goal is to write as much as I can while I am here, unfortunately, it won't be about poker. Although I played at the airport (5/10 shorthanded) before my flight left JFK. If I can get wifi access at one of my favorite coffeeshops, then I'll multitask and play from here.

And, I will definitely tape at least one episode of Tao of Pokerati live from Amsterdam. Still waiting for Michalski to post the new ones we taped. Nudge, nudge lazy ass.

Anyway, here are a few things you should check out...

Starting off with Flipchip. He posted photos of OJ's Vegas trial and he also posted a ton of Vegas construction pics.

My friend Maridu, aka the Brazilian hottie, recently signed a deal with PokerStars to be one of their sponsored players. She'll do an awesome job because her English is amazing and although I can't read a lick of Portuguese, my friends who can say she's a hysterical writer. Listen to her podcast via Pocket Fives.

If you have been living in a rock or lost in media blackout zones like Las Vegas or China, then you missed the insanity on Wall Street last week. I have been keeping up to date following my two favorite Wall Street blogs and friends of Tao of Poker... Deal Breaker and Wall Street Fighter. If you want a British business writer's take on poker and the overall economy check out Peter Birks. He's a daily read along with my boy Kid Dynamite.

And lastly, Joe Sebok told me about the newly launched PokerRoad forums. Sign up today! The gang at Poker Road were cool enough to tap me as a "red poster" which is sort of like being a Full Tilt red pro except that I don't get $35/hr and 100% rakeback. That would be cool, Joe Sebok. I'm just saying... pay me $35 a post on Poker Road and I'll light that shit on fire!

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

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Borgata Tales, Part III

By Pauly
Atlantic City, NJ

These are some excerpts from my notes over the second half of my 16 day Borgata assignment. Here's a glimpse into my past...

Day 8.

Wednesday. Clint and I stayed up too late partying. We shrugged off the hangover and hit up the buffet. I had two comps. The guy who worked the omelet station was a true artist. He had four to six omelets going at once and each were near perfection. It was worth the wait. I tipped him $2. Karma.

The $2,500 event attracted the first wave of pros that were absent from some of the smaller buy-in events. Nicky Frangos and Gobboboy were at the same table. Other pros such as Erik Seidel, E-Fro, ZeeJustin, Newhizzle, Sheets, and Johnny Bax were also in the field.

There was one stacked table that included Ylon Schwartz, Action Bob, Jason Young (2008 bracelet winner), Kathy Liebert, and the WakoKidd. Jamie Gold was up all night playing cash games and slept through the registration time.

There was one surly local who was a pain in the ass to everyone within his path. Crotchy old man. He was bigged stacked at one final table and I tried to get an estimated chip count. I saw him watching me as I glanced at his dirty stack.

"What the fuck you looking at?" he barked.

"Someone with a bad combover," I passive-aggressively mumbled.

I avoided an actual confrontation but he was definitely in the running for Cranky Old Guy of the year award. During one hand, the old guy's opponent asked the dealer how many chips that he had behind... "I have enough to cripple your ugly ass!" was the old man's retort.

Andre Boyer made the final table of one event. The French-Canadian was a dead ringer for Kenny Rogers. He often wore cowboy boots but his Quebec accent gave him away. Boyer won a bracelet in 2005 when he beat AC local Matt Glantz heads up. I vaguely recalled covering that event during my first ever WSOP.

When my shift ended, I hung out with Clint again. We partied until very late and talked about our glory days in college. I rarely do those sorts of things, so the conversation never got old. We avoided the pits and skipped poker since Clint had been running bad since he arrived in AC.

Day 9.

Thursday. It was the 9/11 anniversary. Tab the TD asked for a moment of silence for the victims and their families. For the first time (and only time) during the Borgata Poker Open, there was complete silence in the Events Center. The constant sounds of chip shuffling had stopped. As soon the moment was over, it started back up again.

I met NewinNov. We played online many times together and it was great to put a face to the name. He busted out early in one event when his Aces lost to A-K.

One guy near the media desk flopped a straight flush with 9h-8h and lost to a royal flush. It was a pretty interesting hand at the time, but the guy would not shut up about it. He called up all his friends. He told everyone that was moved to his table. He stopped by the media desk and told us several times. A week later he'd still be talking about it.

I also achieve a personal highlight when I urinated next to Eskimo... in the bathroom.

Garry Gates stopped by late in the night. He won the Tao of Poker's 5th Birthday Tournament and I handed over $5,200 in cash. It had been sitting up in my safe and I was tempted to put it all on black many many many times. I joked that Garry could have walked right out the front door and pocketed the cash. But he's a stand up guy and went right to the registration desk. He wanted to win the 5K event.

Day 10.

Friday. I slept in for the first time since my arrival. Clint had left and I finally got some rest. I went downstairs to Bread and Butter for breakfast. The guy next to me was on the phone with his secretary. He skipped out of work and told her to not mention anything to his boss or his wife. "Tell them I'm in a meeting."

Big day since the $5,000 started. It was the last event before the main event. I saw Coop. He wasn't going to play in the 5K event but he hit a big college football bet the previous weekend. That cover 80% of the buy in so he decided to press his luck.

There was a Tiffany Michelle sighting. She sported an Obama shirt. Tiffany didn't last very long. She had her A-K outgunned by K-J and was busto.

Garry Gates had a tough draw with John Phan and Jon Little to his left. Garry also caught a little bad luck when his Kings were cracked by Jon Little. Garry was short for the remainder of the tournament and could not get anything going. He eventually busted before the money.

AlCantHang showed up and would remain a fixture at the Borgata for almost another week. NewinNov played a satellite and won a seat into an Act II.

Amnon Filippi went deep and made a final table. They nicknamed one dealer "Action Dan" because as soon as the kid got in the box, he busted three players inside of four dealt hands. Amnon would be calling out for his favorite dealer... "Bring back Action Dan!" John Phan was on the rail sweating Amnon until he busted out.

Friedman got punk'd by one of the suits and a local pro. It was a hysterical prank which sent him on ubertilt. I'm gonna have to save that juicy story for another time.

Bacon Mary arrived late on Friday night. I let her crash in my room since she was going to play in the 100K guaranteed in the morning. We hung out and talked and caught up, while I watched David Benyamine play online and run up his stack to almost $1 million in a cash game.

Day 11.

Saturday. I had a semi-day off and caught up on a ton of work. I played a bunch of online poker tournaments. I cashed in the Iron Man freeroll. I won the Brit Bloggerment. I bubbled out of the money in Run Good 2 and I got my arse kicked in Saturdays with Dr. Pauly.

Mary hung on to cash in the 100K minefield and took a bad beat for most of her stack. She wanted to drown her sorrows at B Bar. AlCantHang and I were already there. Evy the poker milf joined us. When you hang out with AlCantHang at the B Bar... you get plastered. No questions asked. One moment you're sober and the next, you're waking up the next morning with a wicked hangover trying to piece together the events from the night before.

Day 12.

Sunday. The $10,000 main event arrived and so did the WPT and a horde of media. I pretty much knew everyone who showed up and had not seen some folks since the summer.

Gobboboy and Kristy Gazes were at the same starting table. The two had battled before during the Aussie Millions in 2007 when both made the final table.

Anna Wroblewski and Sweet Svetlana were at the same table. When I wandered by Maria Ho's table she poked a little fun at me.

"We never see each other during the World Series of Poker because I don't hang out in the men's bathroom as much as you do?"

Ted Lawson's wife brought the media a box of cookies. She's always doing something nice like that. Ted Lawson is old school. He uses traditional ear plugs to block out the ambient noises of a poker tournament.

Scottie Upshall, a winger for the Philadelphia Flyers, was playing in the main event. If he won a prize money, it was all going to go to charity.

Tiffany Michelle played in the main event. She texted me her chip counts. She even went in for a wardrobe change during the dinner break. She sported a yellow hoodie that matched her purse.

The Borgata guaranteed $5 million for the main event. They fell short by 5 players or $50,000. They dug into their own pockets to add the extra money. With the EPT Barcelona and the WSOP-Europe in London running around the same time as the Borgata, it was inevitable that many pros skipped out on Atlantic City and headed to Europe instead. The sponsored pros often have to play in certain tournaments or events. The Full Tilt pros were in Germany filming a high stakes cash game. That prevented Phil Ivey from returning to his old stomping grounds. Daniel Negreanu was always a fixture at the Borgata, but since he's Team PokerStars player, he was playing in the EPT Barcelona (sponsored by PokerStars).

Gavin Smith was in the house and he completely sober. Gavin stopped drinking and has to stay clean for another month in order to collect a nice chunk of cash. He admitted that drinking makes a lot of things more fun, but the time away from the bottle was doing wonders for his health.

Day 13.

Monday. The stock market tanked. Although it was Day 2 of the main event, I spent most of my time keeping an eye on the market and several of my positions than worrying about chip counts.

Julio from CardPlayer ran the media pool. I got the last pick in the draft. I went with Vivek, an online pro and a buddy of Gobboboy's. I also picked another internet kid and a local player to round out my team.
Mandy -- Justin Bonomo, Ted Forrest, David Pham
Tom -- Kyle Burnside, Jonathan Little, Mark Weitzman
Friedman -- Brandon Cantu, Steve Dannenmann, Darren Nelson
AlCantHang -- Miami John Cernuto, Robert Mizrachi, Beth Shak
Marty-- Nick Frangos, Onofrio Reina, Ryan Young
Steve -- Adam Gerber, Tiffany Michelle, Raj Patel
Andy -- Nam Le, Mark Seif, Joe Sebok
Pauly -- Vivek Rajkumar, Aristedes Santana, James Sowers
Julio-- Thayer Rasmussen, Justin Scott, Jason Somerville
BJ -- Cliff Josephy, Jamie Gold, Jared Hamby
BJ was a no-show for the draft. He picked after everyone else made their picks.

Kristy Gazes busted out on the first hand. Then, I watched Ted Forrest destroy a pastrami sandwich.

Tiffany Michelle started calling Tropical Steve a new name... "Scuba Steve." I guess he was good luck for her because she always seemed to pick up chips when he was around.

Tiffany was moved to Jesse Martin's table. He told me that he saw Trey in Brooklyn last month. I told him I can't wait for Phish to get back together so I can stop covering poker tournaments.

Lacey Jones made an appearance. She looked relieved despite the fact that her boyfriend broke up wit her the night before... via a text message.

"No more guys. I'm a fucking lesbian now!" she said.

I'd pay good fuckin' money to see that.

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

Monday, September 22, 2008

Run Good 3

By Pauly
New York City

I pulled a Vinny Vinh on Saturday. No, no. I wasn't doing what you were thinking... smoking crystal meth inside a dumpster behind Bed Bath and Beyond.

Rather, I was at Yankee Stadium with Derek. It would be our last game at Yankee Stadium and the second-to last game ever held there. Tickets weren't cheap. They were a birthday present. I had a difficult decision to make... money or baseball.

I chose baseball and missed out on a shot at free money courtesy of PokerListings' Run Good Challenge Event #3.

Alas, I sat out. Posted and folded. But something magically happened. My empty chair went deep and finished in 7th place. I outlasted almost half the field including Change100. Since I had a 2nd and 4th place finish int he first two events, I finished up with enough points to qualify for the final event. Shamus won Event #3 and finished near the top of the standings.

Check out Matt's recap of Event #3.
The Standings
Shamus - 14 points
Dan Skolovy - 12 points
Amy Calistri - 8 points
Your Hero - 8 points
Michele Lewis - 6 points
Change 100 4 points
Spaceman - 4 points
Spaceman and Change100 have to play heads up for the last official qualifying spot for Event #4. That's TBD.

The final event will be held next Saturday. Although I'll be flying from Amsterdam to London that afternoon I expect to arrive in time to play. I'm crashing with Change100 and Gloria's rented flat in Covent Gardens.

Thanks again to the gang at PL for the invite.

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

Sunday, September 21, 2008

BadBlood Wins Saturdays with Dr. Pauly... Pending Drug Test

By Pauly
New York City

BadBlood and I go back. way back. To the early days on Party Poker. About four years ago, we used to regularly play together on those wacky low limit NL tables where you'd buy in for $25 and sometimes walk away with $300. Those were some fun and hilarious times. And then most recently, BadBlood had tapped me to join him on special secret missions to strip clubs during the day otherwise known as The Procedure.

So when I found myself heads up for this week's edition of Saturdays with Dr. Pauly, I thought that it was fitting that Bad Blood and I were battling it out for first place.

20 runners this week. The top 3 paid. I didn't promote this as much because I knew that I could not play. It was my birthday. Derek and I had tickets to the Yankees game. The next to last game ever at Yankee Stadium. The game started at 1:05 and it went quick. It was a 1-0 game. The Yanks won in the bottom of the ninth and the game ended before 4pm. We hopped on the subway and only missed about a half hour of the tournament.

Andynelson was the first player out. He took Gigli honors.

I didn't waste anytime picking up chips. I won lots of small pots and hit a ton of draws. I knocked out the Poker Shrink and built up a 5K stack. I was 2 out of 12 remaining.

AlCantHang bubbled off final table in 10th place. I was 3/9 with 4.7K. MrCrakypants was the chipleader.
The final table:
Seat 1: badblood44 (4023)
Seat 2: Bikom (1065)
Seat 3: Derek (1483)
Seat 4: bayne_s (2144)
Seat 5: AcerbicOne (3966)
Seat 6: MrCrakypants (5705)
Seat 7: ResdentEvil (5572)
Seat 8: DrPauly (4735)
Seat 9: boscodon (1307)
At one point, I snagged the chiplead with 6K. That did not last very long. Badblood took out Derek in 9th place, then BoscoDon jumped into first. But then the Last King of Scotland struck. The three-time Saturdays with Dr. Pauly Champion was looking for win #4. I vowed not to let that happen on my birthday. I wanted to win. Badly, yet spewed some chips to Bayne and slipped to 3k or 5/7.

I was third in chips when we reached the bubble. BadBlood has 13K to my 3K. Then I got kicked in the junk. I was third in chips and had about 900 more than ResdentEvil in 4th.

I had Kc-Ks-Js-2h and raised the pot to 1,050. ResdentEvil shoved for 2,333. I had him covered and called. ResdentEvil had Jh-Jc-6c-5s. The board ran out Ad-Qh-10c-3c-8c. Runner-runner flush. ResdentEvil sent me on tilt. I flopped the joint, but lost to a flush. I was still alive, albeit, barely.

I cracked Evil's A-A on the next hand with J-J when I flopped the case Jack. Then I doubled through Bayne on another bad beat.

Bayne bubbled out in 4th. His A-A got cracked by Bad Blood's flush.

Then it was my turn to bad beat Evil. My Js-Jd-7s-6h trailed his Qc-Qs-4d-2d. But I flushed him out... runner runner'd out of the tournament. The Last King of Scotland was dead in third place.

I was heads up, but behind.
Seat 1: badblood44 (20886)
Seat 8: DrPauly (9114)
At the second break, I slipped and trailed BadBlood 25.6K to 4.3K.

And on the first hand after break, I struck gold. I had Kh-Kc-10s-8h. I raised to 1,800 and BadBlood called. The flop was Jd-10d-10c. BadBlood checked. I bet 1,800. BadBlood min-raised me (which put me all in). I called. Blood had Kd-Qc-9d-8d for an open-ended straigthflush draw against my trips. Guess what? I dodged a ton of bullets and doubled up to almost 9k.

A couple of hands later, I doubled up again and jumped up to 12.4K when my Ah-9d-9c-5c beat out Blood's Kd-Qs-Jc-10h.

Sadly, just when I thought I was about to pull even in chips... I went out. I raised with Ks-10s-9h-7h. Blood called. The flop was Qh-Jh-6s. I had a ton of outs for a flush and straight. Blood checked to me and I bet the pot. He check-raised me all in. I said fuck it and called off the rest of my chips. Blood had Ac-Qs-5h-2h for top pair and a lower flush draw. I screamed for a heart or running spades. But no cards could help me. Blood won the hand and I was out in second place. BadBlood won his first ever Saturdays with Dr. Pauly and it only took him 17 hands to send me packing.
The Money Winners:
1. Badblood - $100
2. Pauly - $60
3. ResdentEvil - $40
Thanks again to everyone who played and pimped the event. Congrats again to BadBlood.

We will be back next week and I will be playing the next two Saturdays with Dr. Pauly across the pond in merry olde England. I'm heading out to Amsterdam this week and will be in London for the WSOPE and EPT starting next Saturday. Looks like we'll have two London editions of Saturdays with Dr. Pauly.

See you there!

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

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Fantasy Football - NFL Week 2

By Pauly
New York City

Uncle Jodd's Band is now 1-1 in the Lamont Jordan Fantasy Football League. We put up the second most points last week... and lost. Of course, our opponent had a sickly week. Our RBs did jack shit and combined for 10 points. Our WRs? Put up 70 points combinded led by Boldin and Santana Moss. Tony Romo had another solid week. I'm definitely worried about our lackluster RBs... Thomas Jones and Larry Johnson. We're a 20 point favorite to win this week. But that means nothing.

* * * * *

In the Pauly's Pub money pool, my team Shakedown Street is tied for 7th place. One of my Wall Street buddies is winning it all. He knocked out Jordan from High on Poker and Professional Keno Player Neil Fontenot out of the top spot.

For the Tao of Poker football pool, I'm tied for 28th place. Scotty's Mich Ultra (P. Grotjohn) is in sole possession of first place.
Tao of Poker Pool - Top 7 (thru Week 2)
1 Scotty's Mich Ultra (P. Grotjohn) 24
2 ShutdownthePats (S. Conklin) 23
2 PatsRevenge2008 (E. Kalis) 23
4 Oyster Bay Moore (J. Moore) 22
4 bookmakers 51 (T. Drysdale) 22
4 Shady Dealings (A. Kelly) 22
4 VinNay (V. Catanzaro) 22
Click here to view the Tao of Poker football pool overall standings.

* * * *

We had 42 players in week 2 of Sundays with Dr. Pauly. I finished smack in the middle in 21st place.

Congrats to Jag for winning week 2.

Click here to view Week 2 results.

If you beat me in three straight weeks, you get a seat into the TOC. Players who beat me two weeks in a row: Jag, AlCantHang, Expensive Wino, Chuckdnb, Olliewood, and Greengoddess.

Click here for more details on how to participate. We will be running three series this season. Series 2 begins on Week 6.

If you don't have a Fantasy Sports Live 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 www.taopoker.com. All rights reserved. RSS feeds are for non-commercial use only.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Day of Reckoning... Borgata Poker Open and WPT Final Table

By Pauly
Atlantic City, NJ

This is it. The last day of the Borgata Poker Open. Down to the final six players.
Seat 1: Vivek Rajkumar (Seattle, WA) - 6,400,000
Seat 2: Dan Heimiller (Henderson, NV) - 3,360,000
Seat 3: Andrew Knee (Mount Sinai, NY) - 1,475,000
Seat 4: Mark Seif (Henderson, NV) - 4,665,000
Seat 5: Jason Strochak (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) - 1,650,000
Seat 6: Sang Kim (Leesburg, VA) - 3,085,000
I will be part of the live updates team over at the Borgata Poker Blog. Tropical Steve will be doing play-by-play and I'll be doing half-baked color commentary. The final table begins at 4pm ET.

Ten of us in the media began a pool on Day 2. We got three picks each. I had the last possible pick in Round 1. My pick? Vivek. Yeah, he was my first round draft choice and he survived the field and advanced to the final table as the chipleader. Only Andy from WPT and I are left in the pool. Andy has Mark Seif. When it got down to 8 players, Andy and I decided to chop it. I know that the WPT does not allow chops and depending on the tournament series, we in the media are not permitted to write about chops and deals. But the media pool is another beast. Andy and I split the money which I promptly pissed away at the B Bar with AlCantHang and Tropical Steve.

Anyway.... follow the final table action over at Borgata Poker Blog.

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

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Almost Final Table at the WPT Borgata

By Pauly
Atlantic City, NJ

Wednesday is Day 4 of the Borgata Poker Open. There are 27 players remaining. They will play down to a final table of six. Veteran Vegas pro Dan Heimiller is the chipleader. My boy Vivek Rajkumar is second in chips. On Day 2, he was my pick to win it all in the media pool. I hope he makes me look like a genius.

You can follow the action over at the Borgata Poker Blog starting at 11am local time.
End of Day 3 - Chip Counts:
Dan Heimiller - 2,870,000
Vivek Rajkumar - 1,756,000
Thayer Rasmussen - 1,413,000
Steven Levy - 1,317,000
Jason Strochak - 1,266,000
Nicky Frangos - 1,140,000
Andrew Knee - 1,091,000
Mark Seif - 1,087,000
Patrick Carney - 1,050,000
Stephen Vanauken - 1,009,000
John Myung - 946,000
Michael Binger - 718,000
Steve Dannenmann - 627,000
Ted Forrest - 607,000
Bobby Shasta - 606,000
Ralph Villela - 345,000
Christopher Baksh - 344,000
Vinh Nguyen - 336,000
Sang Kim - 316,000
Mikiya Takitani - 301,000
Randy Pfeifer - 288,000
Robert Toft - 269,000
Nam Le - 235,000
Kevin Lang - 209,000
Chris Arvanitis - 177,000
Natale Kuey - 175,000
Chris Bell - 165,000

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

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Borgata Tales, Part II

By Pauly
Atlantic City, NJ

I have been working a two plus week assignment at the Borgata. Here are some of my notes.

Day 4.

Saturday. Derek was a bit banged up still from his SoCo binge with AlCantHang on Friday afternoon. Derek and AlCantHang drank heavily for four hours as AlCantHang put a dent into the B Bar's SoCo supplies. On Saturday morning, we headed downstairs to breakfast at Bread and Butter. Robert Varkonyi sat at an adjacent table and read an article that Change100 wrote for Bluff.

It happened to be Action Bob's birthday and he hoped that he'd get some birthday luck from the poker gods. He played the night before and was eliminated around 1am. His birthday has been going on for an hour and his first birthday present was getting kicked in the junk and busting out.

There was another Eskimo sighting in the Events Center as the last remnants of the big storm system flew through southern New Jersey. I watched some of the storm from 30 stories up. I saw hail and rain flying in every possible direction.

I spotted a guy wearing a pink visor sitting in a satellite while sipping out of a flask.

I also bumped into a guy from G-Vegas who played regularly with the gang; Otis, TheMark, BadBlood, and GRob. He was shocked that I knew guys from G-Vegas.I told him it's a small world and even smaller poker world. GRob sucks out in a game in GVegas and a tree silently falls in the mountains of Southern China crushing a baby panda in the process.

Quote of the day was from pro Bill Blanda who has won three different Borgata events over his career... "These large fields test your restraint to lay down good hands in the early levels. Especially in this donkfest."

Day 5.

Sunday. Ladies Event. I only knew a few people playing which included Lacey Jones and Jamie Gold's mom.

As Tab mentioned, "AlCantHang tried to register but he wasn't properly dressed."

There was another tournament going on and since it was the opening weekend of the NFL season, the room was pepper with football jerseys. I spotted tons on Brett Favre NY Jets jerseys. And zero McNabb jerseys. Event that cracker Eli Manning got a little love, but it was obvious that the Philly locals had very little support for their QB.

I met Tony, a Captain from the NJ State Troopers. He mentioned that he's read the Tao of Poker and especially enjoyed the Bruce Lee and philosophy pieces. I told him that I'd write more of those pieces during my vacation in Amsterdam.

Eskimo was back following his usual routine. Smoke downstairs. Drink coffee. Eat Pizza. And stand on the rail hoping to get bought into a satellite.

During dinner break, I did a prop bet with Friedman... elevator races. Two elevators arrived on the ground floor at the same time and it was a race. He got a bad beat when a woman slid into his elevator at the last second. She got off at the spa and slowed him down. I won by a few lengths. Ship it.

We also engaged in a round of lime tossing in another act of sheer degeneracy. Friedman was outta his league. The late night sessions with Otis in the Nevada desert paid off. I easily won lime tossing. Ship it.

Gene Todd has some unusual bling. It was a diamond star of David which dangled around his neck. His girlfriend was on the rail sporting a Jets hat.

Lacey Jones had a rough day in the Ladies Event. "You can't bluff the ladies," she explained. One of Lacey's tablemates sort of recognized her. The woman called her husband on one of the breaks and found out who she was. Turned out the husband was a huge fan and asker his wife for Lacey's autograph. Lacey obliged. Lacey eventually busted out and drowned her sorrows in a cup of Cherry Garcia ice cream. Oh, and what does Lacey Jones play on her iPod during Ladies Events? Jimi Hendrix.

The buzz in the room on Sunday involved Tom Brady's injury. He went down in the first quarter and a couple of players stopped by media row to inquire about his status. When Tab announced over the PA that Tom Brady was going to be out for the year, the room exploded with a Philly cheer. I joined in with them. Eagles fans are rough. They booed Santa Claus and a paralyzed Michael Irvin.

Our favorite waitress, Tammy, was working on Sunday. She always keeps us flush with beverages in media row. "Make sure you write something nice about me," she said.

A slew of Albanians in unmatching track suits were sweating their buddy Avdo who made the final table. He was a big guy and reminded me of a evil henchman from an old school James Bond flick. Avdo was the last dude I'd want to fight in a bar brawl. "Check the Albanian for steroids!" continuously shouted one drunk on the rail.

Day 6.

Monday. I waited for my elevator with another guy. He asked me if I was playing. He saw the PokerStars patch on my bag and assumed that I was a player. I told him that I was media. The evelator arrived and we stepped inside. Just as the doors were closing a guy rushed in. He was a very tall black guy. My immediate thought was, "I wonder if he's a NBA pro?"

I looked up at the guy and it was none other that Charles Oakley with an unlit cigar in his mouth. As a lifelong Knicks fan I was blown away that I stood two feet from the heart and soul and glue of the Knicks playoff teams in the 1990s. I wondered if he was going to play in the poker tournament but Oak headed straight to the craps tables. I immediately called my brother and Jerry since they were also hardcore Knicks fans. Man, I wish we had those teams again from the Riley > Van Gundy era. It's been all downhill since Van Gundy left in 2001.

There was a gobboboy sighting at the Borgata. He played in the Stud event and told me that he has been up since 3am playing cash games downstairs. Eskimo was also in the Stud event with gobboboy. Eskimo found someone to buy him in. When he eventually busted, he hung out on the rail. Ricky Bobby mentioned that he played a satellite with one guy who said he used to stake Eskimo twenty years ago and that nothing has changed since then.

We got the player list for one of the NL events. Robert Iler, the actor who played AJ Soprano, was on the list but I never saw him that day.

I met one of Jamie Gold's high school buddies. For all you Entourage fans, if Jamie Gold is Vince, well this guy is Turtle. That's even his nickname. Turtle was on a mission to get carrot juice for Jamie and asked me where he could find some. They were staying in a swanky suite at the Water Club, which is a signature hotel and the Borgata's newest addition. I suggested that he hit the "butler" button on the phone and have someone named Jeeves make the juice from scratch.

There was two Monday Night Football games. Double the action and an extra chance to get unstuck. My buddy JW was stuck big from Sunday's games. He got some of that back from Denver's demolition of the Raiders.

I bumped into a reader named Bradley (also known as "The_B") from North Carolina. He was playing in one of the No Ante events and we shot the shit on the break. When the tournament got down to under eight tables, I did not know too many players still left aside from John Gale and Bradley. I wandered by Bradley's table to check up on him. One player raised from middle position and Bradley shoved from the button.

"Are you getting this hand?" Bradley joked.

His opponent quickly called with K-K. Bradley didn't look too happy as he tabled Ac-Qc.

"You'll get your Ace," I whispered to him.

Bradley flopped a Queen but rivered the Ace to double up. He survived the day and advanced to Day 2.

Day 7.

Tuesday. I ran into BoneDaddy. He had a Yosemite Sam card capper. "I'm going big stack or bust by dinner break," he said as he shared his strategy for the day. I reminded him that if he made the dinner break that he'd get a food comp.

A Phishead and poker guy from NYC also stopped by to chat. Craig was kind enough to invite me to his homegame in the city. He was in the tournament that day but sadly, he didn't last too long when his Kings got cracked by 9-9. He told me that he kicked off the tournament by listening to Piper by Phish.

AJ Soprano made it to Tuesday's event. He lasted long enough for us to take a photo but he did not go deep.

DonPeters from PokerNews came down to sweat his buddy Bradley (the Tao of Poker reader that I had met from the night before). Small world. Anyway, Bradley made it to Day 2 of his event and advanced to the final table along with former WPT champion and WSOP bracelet winner John Gale from the UK. Bradley didn't have too many chips and was the shortstack at the final table. He busted out in ninth place out of 483. Nice job, bro.

When action was short-handed, it was Gale versus a bunch of locals. They all went around the table and asked everyone their home town. When they got to Gale he blurted out in raspy British accent, "Alabama."

Gale went on to win the tournament despite the maelstrom of bad beats.

"This is the worst final table I ever played at," explained Gale. "So many suckouts. I should have won this three hours ago."

Gale was the best player at the final table and he eventually won it all around 9:30pm. Gale had back surgery just before the WSOP. He showed up at the Rio in a wheelchair and looked awful. He was in a world of pain and lost a foggy haze of painkillers. I hurt my back this summer in a car accident, so I understood Gale's plight. Despite a miserable WSOP, Gale hunkered down won a 5K event at the Bellagio Cup for a nice 200K score. Gale appeared much healthier when I spotted him for the first time at the Borgata. He said that he still had a little pain. British people always tend to down play their emotions and feelings so I took that as an indication that Gale was still hurting more than he let on. He overcame the pain and bad beats to win the No Ante event.

On Thursday, an old college friend stopped by to say hello. I had not seen Clint in 13 years. He's been reading my blogs for the last couple of years, but from a distance. We had very little interaction aside from a few emails.

Poker players from Virginia usually end up in Atlantic City since it is the closest option they have for casino poker. Clint read that I was at the Borgata. He thought about calling to let me know he was coming but decided to surprise me. At first I did not recognize him. I was busy at my laptop typing away. I saw someone approach the media row out from the corner of my eye.

"Is Phil Laak here?" he asked.

I didn't look up and said, "No."

"How about Phil Lesh?"

That's when I looked up. I figured it was a Tao of Poker reader that was also a music fan since Phil Lesh played bass for the Grateful Dead. That's when I realized that it was Clint. 13 years is a long time. Slick Willy was still in his first term as President when we last saw each other. Hootie and The Blowfish's Cracked Rear View was the number one album that year.

Clint played some cash games and even helped get me a few bustout hands from the rail. He's a tall guy. Over 6-8. We played intramural hoops together in college and used to party it up together back in the day.

I've been in a weird head space the last month or so. The artist inside is hyper-grumpy and wants to let loose in the world. The battle within is between the malcontent artist who desperately wants to ditch poker and create other things while the wealthy businessman/pimp inside is holding him back and continuously saying, "Just a little while longer. Let's make a little more money, then we can quit."

Clint's unannounced appearance was a godsend. He broke up the monotony of a 2+ week assignment. At the same time, we were able to catch up and analyze our hazy lazy college days. I'm one to constantly live in the now... in the moment. I rarely look towards the future and the past because neither actually exist. It's the right now that is the most important thing for me. However, an intense examination of my past was inevitable when Clint arrived. He brought back a flood of college memories. Most of them were good and a few were bad. We focused on the good.

After my shift ended, we got super wasted and stayed up late talking about life and writing and poker and traveling. Clint even told a couple of blackjack bad beat stories that included getting slow rolled by the dealer on numerous accounts.

Clint even insisted that I leave the Borgata for a couple of hours. I never would have left the property of he didn't show up. We drove over to Harrah's. The poker room was packed. DonPeters and Bradley had made the final table of one of their tournaments. We decided not to play and headed to the pits to drink and gamble.

We opted for Pai Gow. Clint had never played and I gave him a crash course inside of 90 seconds. By the fourth hand, he easily picked up the game. We sat at a $15 table with a young Asian guy and a working girl. I didn't know hookers played Pai Gow.

I picked up quad Aces (three aces and the Joker) on one of my first few hands. I never play the bonus, so I lost out on a 25-1 shot. I eventually grew antsy like I always do and started betting big. We had a hot Polish waitress. Clint and I tipped her well and she kept bringing us drinks.

I lost $130 playing Pai Gow but got my fair share of booze. We stumbled back over the Borgata and stayed up late. Partying until the wee hours and reminiscing. The conversation surrounded our old fraternity brothers. Larry is on his second wife. Curley is expecting triplets. Moe owns a restaurant in Oregon. Did you know that Shemp was gay?

It was sometime around 4:20am when we stumbled upon the iguana story. One summer in the early 1990s, I lived in my fraternity house in Atlanta. We had an empty room where a ferret and iguana lived. It was also the location where I tried to grow pot for the first time. Well, the guy who owned the iguana (the name of the iguana was Iggy) went out of town and forgot to tell someone to feed the Iggy the iguana. Well, Iggy the iguana got out of his cage/tank and feasted on my pot plants. Iggy the iguana got the munchies and ate up all the plants. My cash crop was decimated by a hungry and stoned lizard.

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

Monday, September 15, 2008

Run Good 2, Brit Bloggerment, and the Iron Man Freeroll

By Pauly
Atlantic City, NJ

Tropical Steve covered the final table of the Borgata Poker Open event so I could play in a couple of online poker tournaments. I played four on Saturday which is rare for me.

I participated in the second leg of the Run Good Challenge hosted by the gang over at PokerListings. $600 in prize money was rolled over into Week 2. The top three paid out... $960, $480, $160. Not too shabby. I took second place last weekend and wanted another shot at playing Dan from PokerListings heads up.

Michele Lewis could not play because she was evacuating her house and kids from Hurricane Ike. She managed to pop on and say hello and let us know that she was safe.
My Starting Table:
Seat 1: Chops
Seat 2: Spaceman
Seat 3: Your Hero
Seat 4: Poker Shrink
Seat 5: Shamus
Seat 6: Change100
Bad beat of the tournament? Shamus 2-2 vs. Chops Q-Q. Shamus flopped a deuce. Chops = Gigli.

I made the final table.
Seat 1: KidDynamite4 (1520)
Seat 2: Matt from PokerListings (1845)
Seat 3: Dan from PokerListings (4195)
Seat 4: Spaceman (545)
Seat 5: Amy Calistri (1440)
Seat 6: DrPauly (1220)
Seat 7: PokerShrink(1110)
Seat 8: Shamus (3340)
Seat 9: change1OO (2785)
I was bubble boy. Out in 4th place. Change100 busted me.

Dan from PokerListings went onto win consecutive Run GoChange100 came in third place.

Check out Matt's wrap up.

Here are the overall standings through two events...
Dan Skolovy 12 points
Dr. Pauly 8 points
Shamus 8 points
Change100 4 points
Michele Lewis 4 points
Amy Calistri 4 points
Matt Showell 1 point
Spaceman 1 point
I'm second in points which is not too shabby. Thanks again to the gang for PokerListings for the freeroll.

* * * * *

AlCantHang invited me to play in the Brit Bloggerment. I ended up winning it, but it was only a seven person SNG. The players were tough... cloud71, katitude, AlCantHang, BURNLEY FC BB10, OtisDart, and Acornman.

Busted Otis. Bad beat.

Busted Kat. Bad beat.

Busted AlCantHang when he shoved with the hammer.

I eventually got heads up with Acornman. He led 5.9K to 4.5K. It was a lengthy battle, but I eventually won. Most likely on a suckout. But to be honest, the deck hit me in the face.

* * * * *

I qualified for the Iron Man freeroll. $4,500 went to first place. 465 players. I took 46th place.

The field had several decent players. Since it was the highest Iron Man level, the competition was much better than the average freeroll crowd. Not too many people sitting out either which means everyone came to play

Two Russians, a German, and a Brazilian at first my table. Sounds like the beginning to a crude ethnic joke.

Early on, I ran into Aces and got crippled. I was one of the shortstacks and managed to doubled up with A-K.

I found Aces and won a small pot. I got back to starting stack and jumped up to 203rd place out of 351.

I found Aces again and won another small pot.

At the first break, I was 191th out of 329. Only 1/4 of the field gone.

I was moved to a new table that included two Germans, a Dutchie, and a Brit. Pocket tens held up and I won nice pot with A-10. I got up to almost 4K.

Moved to a new table with three people posting and folding. I had an Estonia, a Canadian and a Norwegian at my table.

I won a small pot and pushed my stack to over 5K which was almost average. I was 112/250.

Guess what? Moved again. Another new table. More international players... from France, Finland, Canada, and two Germans. Oh, and RecessRampage was at my table as well. He got to see me issue the bad beat of the day. I snapped of Aces with K-Js. It was ugly. I flopped a King and my opponent instantly moved all in on the flop. I put him on a flush draw so I called. I was wrong and he had Aces. I spiked a King on the river to double up and crack Aces. That was some pissed off German...

I increased my stack to over 11.5K. I was in 31st place out of 182. I whiffed with A-Ks and slipped to 10K. That's where I was at the break. 10K with the average at 11K. I was 49th out of 121. I was in good shape to make the money and all of the dead stacks were out.

Bayne was moved to my table. He busted out near the bubble when his A-Q lost to A-K. I tightened up on the bubble and cashed in the freeroll! As one of my tablemates said, "Def a better value than some stinkin' metals."

As soon as the bubble broke, I went on a stealing binge. I jumped up to 37th out of 75. JW and AlCantHang were birding me. Change100 too all the way from Barcelona.

Then I got crippled when I lost a race... A-9 to 8-8. I was next to last in chips with 51 to go. I doubled up and looked like I was going to make another money jump. However, I lost another coin flip. My J-J was run down by A-Q.

I busted out in 46th place out of 445. I won $120 which is about 1/3 of what I probably spent in rake trying to achieve Iron Man. Heck, at least I got something, not like those poor schmucks at Lehman Brothers.

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

Saturday, September 13, 2008

dfense072 Wins Saturdays with Dr. Pauly

By Pauly
Atlantic City, NJ

Great turnout this weekend. 37 runners. Top 5 won prize money.

Special guests included Chad Pukarama and Maigrey. Sorry, no Wil Wheaton sightings.

My starting table included... chenzilla, Friedman, CherriebombV, AlCantHang, GratefulLive, Chad Pukarama, Donegal, last week's champion ResdentEvil, and chompy_jr.

Boscodon was Gigli.

I went out soon after. Crazy hand. I flopped a boat with 9-9-x-x on a 9-3-3 board. I fucked up and slowplayed. The turn was a Jack and I got it all in against GratefulLive who has J-J-x-x. Boat over boat and I'm busto in 35th place

StB chipleader at the break with 5.5K and 22 players to go.

At one point, two of the biggest potheads I know were 1 and 2 in chips.

Dredful bubbled off the final table.

Resdent Evil went out in 9th.
The Final 8:
Seat 1: thejim2020 (14260)
Seat 2: princeharibo (11795)
Seat 4: AcerbicOne (3730)
Seat 5: dfense072 (4930)
Seat 6: Blue123 (3150)
Seat 7: 777GMoney (5620)
Seat 8: jkalib (9330)
Seat 9: AlCantHang (2685)
When the final table began, thejim2020 was the chipleader with 14.2K.

At the second break, thejim2020 still chipleader with 18K. 6 to go. The bubble... the bubble lasted forever. LJ started the final table second in chips and she ended up getting blinded out in 6th as the bubble girl. She went to see Lisa Lampanelli and had to leave the tournament.

Amy went out in fifth place. AcerbicOne was short stacked most of the final table and hun on to finish in 4th.

hen action was three-handed, thejim2020 had more chips than dfense072 and Gmoney commbined.

dfense072 won a big pot from thejim2020 to take the lead. And then thejim2020 busted in third place. dfense072 was heads up against GMoney with a big lead.

Seat 5: dfense072 (39950)
Seat 7: 777GMoney (15550)

GMoney fought back to pull within even, then got coolered... His Q-Q-x-x lost a major pot to dfense072's K-K-A-x. He went out on the very next hand. Heads up last just 18 hands before dfense072 won his first Saturdays with Dr. Pauly.
The Money Winners:
1. dfense072 - $148
2. GMoney - $88.80
3. thejim2020 - $59.20
4. AcerbicOne - $44.40
5. AmyCalistri - $29.60
Congrats again to dfense072. Thanks to everyone who played and pimped the event. See you next week!

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

Friday, September 12, 2008

Fantasy Football Friday - NFL Week 1

By Pauly
Atlantic City, NJ

Well, where to begin?

My best buddy Senor and I have a team in the Lamont Jordan Fantasy Football League. That's a 14-team league made up of lawyers and other middle-aged guys and we play for some big bucks. Our team, Uncle Jodd's Band is 1-0. We had the 11th pick this year and despite the low pick, we had a decent draft. We got Tony Romo, Larry Johnson, Thomas Jones, Boldin, Santana Moss, and J. Shockey. Our WR corp put up more points than our RBs in Week 1.

I'm in a confidence pool with some of my fraternity brothers and I think that I'm 12th out of 40 or so.

I run two different NFL pools. The private one is called the Pauly's Pub pool. Jordan and Professional Keno Player Neil Fontenot are tied for first place in that one.

And in case you were wondering, we got 110 players in the Tao of Poker football pool. Right now, there's a tie for first place after Week 1. My team the Tao of Bacon is tied for 27th place...
Tao of Poker Pool - Week 1 Top 5:
1 bergen (a. bergen) 12
1 Scotty's Mich Ultra (P. Grotjohn) 12
1 Shady Dealings (A. Kelly) 12
1 PatsRevenge2008 (E. Kalis) 12
1 VinNay (V. Catanzaro) 12

Click here for more results.
* * * * *

I also go my ass kicked in Sundays with Dr. Pauly, which is a contest being held over at Fantasy Sports Live. We had 40 contestants and I finished in 18th place.

Congrats to kinnehboo for winning Week 1.

Click here to view Week 1 results for Sundays with Dr. Pauly.

Click here for more details on how to participate. We will be running three series this season. Series 2 begins on Week 6.

If you don't have a Fantasy Sports Live 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 www.taopoker.com. All rights reserved. RSS feeds are for non-commercial use only.
Good Luck Garry... Tao of Poker's 5th Birthday 5K Borgata Winner

By Pauly
Atlantic City, NJ

Garry Gates and the buy in to a 5K event
Yeah, this could have been... you!

Garry Gates is here playing in the 5K NL event at the Borgata Poker Open. Last month, Garry won the Tao of Poker's 5th Birthday Celebration which included a seat into today's 5K event. You can follow his progress over at Borgata Poker Blog.

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

Thursday, September 11, 2008

In Memoriam

Jason Defazio
James Riches
Scott Hazelcorn
Matthew Burke
Charlie Heeran
Steven Schlag
Nigel Thompson

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

More Marked Bills

By Pauly
Atlantic City, NJ

Time to put on your tin foil hats. We're back with more chop marks on some bills that I got...

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

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Borgata's Newly Added $100,000 Guaranteed Tournament - This Saturday!

By Pauly
Atlantic City, NJ

Gotta keep the suits happy! (Just kidding, Ray.)

The Borgata Poker Open is already a massive $5 million guaranteed tournament series. And they just added an extra $100,000 guaranteed tournament this Saturday. Click here for more info.

And don't forget to tell your friends about the Borgata Poker Blog.

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

Monday, September 08, 2008

Borgata Tales, Part I

By Pauly
Atlantic City, NJ

I began my journey in New York City. I found myself wandering the down trodden complex otherwise known as the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Bus travelers are a distinct breed of people. And the souls on the buses to Atlantic City are sometimes even more sketchier.

I sat across from a pregnant white girl with hoop earrings. She had the word "HOOD" tattooed on her forearm. A teenaged Puerto Rican girl and her portly grandmother took the adjacent row of seats. Within seconds of sitting down, the old woman spilled juice all over the floor. That pissed the bus driver off. He screamed and wouldn't leave until the girl cleaned it up, as she muttered curse words in Spanish underneath her breath.

A disheveled middle-aged guy with a copy of the NY Post sat in front of me. He could have used s splash of cologne to mask that foul odor which reminded me of a cross between a wet dog and a sour tuna fish sandwich. The degenerate looked like he was a step away from being homeless, yet he was headed down to Atlantic City... where the sand turns to gold.

I read a book on the bus and prayed that we wouldn't have any psychopaths traveling with us. Getting shanked on a Greyhound was not my ideal way to start a 16 day work assignment.

The bus dropped me off at Trump Plaza and I caught a cab over to the Borgata. Part of what makes the Borgata the most exclusive casino on the East Coast is their location... away from the Boardwalk and all the riff raff.

The Borgata put me up in a room on a top floor. 40+ stories up. It's technically an ocean view because I can see out to the Atlantic. I can't see the actual Boardwalk because the cluster of casinos are blocking it. However, I can see the plight peppered below me in the void between the Borgata and the Boardwalk. Somewhere out there, the infamous Atlantic City hookers were strolling the streets that have the same names from the Monopoly game.

My assignment was simple... cover the 2008 Borgata Poker Open for the Borgata Poker Blog. I worked with a great crew that included Friedman and Tropical Steve. The hours were long but the Borgata is a laid back environment.

Day 1.

Wednesday. I had not covered a tournament since the WSOP. I was rusty and still in vacation mode. I had to shake off the rust. Luckily, a familiar face stopped by media row. It was Action Bob. He handed Friedman a small rock.

"You gave me this as a good luck charm in Vegas during the WSOP. It didn't work. Now I'm giving it back," he said.

Friedman's card capper gave Action Bob some bad juju. Poker players are a superstitious bunch.

Jason Young won a bracelet this summer and stopped by to say hello. He was proudly wearing his WSOP bling. For the Borgata Poker Open, event winners won a watch instead of a bracelet. That's a much better winner's gift especially because more players would be inclined to wear a watch than a bracelet.

Dale Pinchot was hanging around. He told me that he was the first player to directly buy-into the $10,000 main event (also a WPT event).

I also spotted the first of many Brett Favre #4 NY Jets jerseys.

The first event was a $300 NL. Davidson Matthew and Robert Varkonyi were the notables in the field that day. One was a former WSOP champion and the other was a Canadian who sported an "Obama for President" hat. If only 50% of eligible voters in America actually exercise their right to vote, I say we let Canucks go to the polls.

A met a couple of readers. One guy looked like an extra straight off the set of The Sopranos with pinky bling and a Nike track suit. "Yo, Pauly. I hear you wanna get out of poker. Do you wanna job? You can come work for me. Whaddya know about pools and spas?"

Day 2.

Thursday morning I ate Fatburger for breakfast.

When I arrived at press row, I ran into another reader. His nickname was Ricky Bobby and he happened to have a poker blog called At Least They Were Suited. He wore a hat with a Superman logo on the front. (The next day he did not wear that hat after his subpar performance that day... in fact I have yet to see him wear it since. As I stated earlier poker players are a superstitious bunch.)

I love to eavesdrop on conversations. One guy was rattling off plenty of arcane football statistics like he was a cross between Rain Man and Beano Cook. The line that made me chuckle was... "You never pick a divisional game and you never ever pick an away game."

Gentleman John Gale from the UK made an appearance in the $500 NL event. The last time I saw him, he was in a wheelchair and hobbling around the WSOP after back surgery. He looked much better this time around.

Evy had made it to day two of Event #1. She had car trouble and arrived 45 minutes late. We finally met and I covered her progress as she advanced to the final table and eventually busted out in 5th place.

I met a local. We'll call him Coop. Anyway, Coop told me a hilarious story (dunno if it's true or not) that happened several years ago when he had a Party Poker account. He had not played on it in a while. He logged on to play but his account was emptied. He discovered that his 8-year old son was the culprit. What happened? The kid logged onto a 15/30 LHE table and lost the entire bankroll on one hand. The kid had his Aces cracked. Start 'em young.

And yeah, the kid who came in third in Event #1 was 21 and playing in his first ever live tournament. He said that third place prize money was more than what he made as a yearly salary in the insurance industry. He was thinking about quitting his job to play full time.

The quote of the day occurred after a guy sucked out on the river to bust an opponent who flopped a set... "This is so easy. Just like PokerStars."

Day 3.

"Fuck the economy," said Tab the TD. The numbers were up for his tournament series and unlike a lot of other casinos... he wasn't going to take a hit in this recession.

Derek arrived around Midnight on Thursday. We woke up early for breakfast when the Rooster called us. He had just arrived in AC and wanted to join us. Later on AlCantHang showed up with Riggs. Derek, Al, and the Rooster specifically showed up to see me. I was struggling a bit with some stuff... but their appearance definitely cheered me up.

I went to work and Derek and the Rooster wandered around the Borgata. I got a text from Derek saying that he saw Eskimo Clark by the gelato bar. I kinda ignored it because there's a guy who is a regular at the Borgata that is a dead ringer for Eskimo. I assumed that it was him and went back to work. That's when Ricky Bobby stopped by to tell me that he had just seen Eskimo. Two sightings inside a half hour. I had to investigate. I headed out to the floor of the casino and sure enough, Eskimo was there. He sat at a slot machine and chain smoked as he looked off into nowhere.

Robert Varkonyi made Day 2 of the $500 event. As soon as he sat down, he ordered a massage. It's good to be the champ. During one of the breaks, a fan wandered over and asked him for an autograph. Varkonyi obliged and went back to his massage.

Varkonyi made the final table and went on an impressive run. The deck also hit him in the face as he amassed a monster stack. By the time action was four-handed, Varkonyi had almost 70% of the chips in play. I went on a dinner break to meet Derek. Upon my return less than an hour later, Tropical Steve told me that Varkonyi busted out in 4th place. Wow.

Derek and AlCantHang were camped out a B Bar. Drinking. Heavily. For about four hours. When I walked inside, AlCantHang looked normal. Derek? Completely shitfaced. Derek attempted to go heads up and shot-for-shot with AlCantHang. Derek said that he drank 8 double SoCos. Al later told me that he thought that number was much higher. Good grief. Derek stumbled out of B Bar and we went to grab dinner. It wasn't even 6pm.

Before AlCantHang left, he told me that when he returned, he'd bring me a gift.

"So what's your favorite bottle of booze?" he asked.


And the quote of the day? One player lectured his table about moderation. "Everything in moderation," he said. "That's what's important in life. I don't drink anymore. I don't smoke anymore. I don't have sex anymore. All I do is play poker."

"That's not really moderation," chimed in one of his opponents.

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

Sunday, September 07, 2008

I Run Good and the Return of the Hammer

By Pauly
Atlantic City, NJ

That Run-Good Challenge? Despite being hyper-distracted, I finished in second place and won $300. I was very close to collecting $600 for first place, but I lost a grueling 140 hand heads up battle against Dan from PokerListings. He was a classy opponent. You will soon discover why.

So did I really run good? Not really. Talk about suckout city. I was the suckout king. Suckout. Suckout. Suckout. I even cracked the Hilton Sisters with the Hammer. What the fuck? Is this 2004 or something?

I wanted to play in the Run-Good Challenege. Badly. Several of my friends were playing and it was free money! But I also had to work. I covered a final table at the Borgata and tried to play at the same time. Lucky for me, Tropical Steve and Friedman covered for me so I could try to win the $600 first place prize.

We had 11 players for Event #1. The top three paid out (600,300,100). Sweet prize pool for basically an SNG.
My Starting Table:
Seat 1: Matt from PokerListings
Seat 2: Spaceman
Seat 6: Michele Lewis aka the Cougar
Seat 7: Short-stacked Shamus
Seat 9: KidDynamite
Change100 took Gigli honors. I played a couple of hands early on, then headed back to work. When I returned, I managed to advance to the final table.
Run Good Event #1 Final Table:
Seat 1: PokerShrink (580)
Seat 2: Michele Lewis (1220)
Seat 3: Dan from PokerListings (5590)
Seat 4: KidDynamite (1235)
Seat 5: Shamus (2675)
Seat 6: Amy Calistri (2560)
Seat 7: Michalski (95)
Seat 8: Your Hero (1015)
Seat 9: Spaceman (1530)
I was 7th in chips when the final table began. Michalski had overslept and missed the start. When he woke up, he had 95 chips left. He was out soon after.

I got super short when I moved all in with the Hammer. Kid Dynamite woke up to Queens in the big blind. KidDynamite4 said, "HAMMMMAH." Spaceman replied, "Hiltons vs hammers."

The flop was innocuous and I grabbed my notebook and pen ready to rush out onto the floor of the Borgata to return to work. The turn was a 2s. I miraculously sprang back to life. I sat back down. Then the 2d spiked on the river.

KidDynamite4 said, "Aiyahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh."

To which Amy Calistri added, "But of course"

Runner runner suckout with the Hammer. I was up to 1.6K. Back from the dead. Resurrected. Second life. A couple of hands later, I busted KidDynamite. My 8-8 held up against his A-10. I actually won a race.

Suckout + Coin Flip = third in chips.

I won another hand and moved up to second in chips. After Spaceman busted, I went back to work. There was five players left. When I returned, I discovered that I was heads up with Dan from PokerListings. In a true display of sportsmanship, he also sat out as action posted and folded to the big blind. I dunno long that went on for, but I gotta give Dan from PokerListings huge props for that level of sportsmanship. Total respect, bro. The guys at PokerListings also cover tournaments so they understood my situation. Seriously guys, thanks for accommodating me.

The rules of the contest specifically stated that Dan or Matt from PokerListings could not win any prize money. If they happened to win, that money would get rolled over into next week's contest. So either I was gonna win $300 or $600 and depending on what place Dan from PokerListings finished, either $300 or $600 was getting added to next week.

Dan from PokerListings had a 2 to 1 chiplead when I found Jacks. We got it all in preflop. He showed A-7. The fop was Qh-10h-8c and I was still ahead. The turn was an unfortunate Ace. Alas, I had some outs and spiked one when the King of hearts fell on the river. My Broadway straight doubled me up. I took the chiplead for the first time in the tournament.

Too bad, I coughed up the lead. That was just the beginning of a 140 hand rollercoaster ride. We exchanged the lead several times. It seemed like whenever someone was short stacked and all in (usually me), they'd win the pot and magically stay alive.

I slowly pulled away until I lost a big hand when Dan slowplayed Kings. He regained the lead, but I got it back.

I had 11.6K to Dan from PokerListings' 4.8K. We got into a raising war preflop and got it all in. I had Ad-8s. Dan from PokerListings showed pocket nines. The flop was Ac-8h-7s. I flopped two pair and was way ahead.

Dan from PokerListings said, "gl me."

The turn was the 6s. Uh oh. I felt it coming. That queasy feeling in my stomach churned up. That's when the 10c fell on the river. He doubled up with a straight and regained the chip lead.

It was my turn to issue a bad beat. We got it all in. I had A-7. He had A-9. I flopped a seven. It held up and I doubled up and seized the lead.

I squandered the lead. Again. I was back down 2 to 1. I flopped two pair and slowplayed 8s-7s and beat Dan from PokerListings' J-9o. I got paid off and guess what? I had the lead again. Shamus had counted that we had 120+ hands of heads up play. Wow.

Alas, the time had come for me to quietly exit. I spewed some chips and missed a couple of big draws. On the 140th hand or so, I busted out. I was super short and made a stand with A-8. Dan from PokerListings called with K-Q. I was ahead on the flop and turn. I typed, "Keep it kosher," into the chat box. That's when the Qd fell on the river.

Fuck you, PokerStars.

Dan from PokerListings won the first event in the Run Good Challenge. And me? I finished in second place. $300. I'm also happy with free money.

I had tons of fun playing. The best part was the incessant chat. We taught Michele Lewis some new slang. Also, at one point, we tried to configure the dirtiest word that would slip through the PokerStars censors. My favorites that I use are... asscock, cumstain, and pandaclit. You can say those and it won't get flagged. Everyone had a good time trying to out do each other.

Kid Dynamite summed it up best...
As Pauly and Dan from Pokerlistings got into a lengthy (120+ hands!!!) heads up battle featuring numerous suck-resuck scenarios, the busted players, myself included, got involved in what turned out to be a very fun game of "type the dirtiest word you can that Pokerstars won't censor." Believe me, it's more fun that it sounds.
Thanks again to the gang at PokerListings for a sensational time. I can't wait until next week!

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