Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tao of Pokerati - Dream Team Poker Podcasts

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

We recorded several new episodes of your favorite podcast... Tao of Pokerati. Shaniac makes a cameo in Episode 10.3. And if you haven't read his recent recap... Dream Machine... then what are you waiting for?

Anyway, without further ado...
Tao of Pokerati - Dream Team Podcasts

Episode 10.1: Gel Time (2:47)
Episode 10.2: Shirts vs. Skins (4:15)
Episode 10.3: Spam and Eggs featuring Shaniac (3:16)
Episode 10.4: Karma, Villanova, and Thor (3:53)
Episode 10.5: Bustout Strategy (4:40)
Episode 10.6: Better Luck Next Time (4:58)
Visit the Tao of Pokerati Archives to listen to old episodes.

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, March 29, 2009

Dream Team Poker at Caesars

By Pauly
Las Vegas

I can't remember the last time I had so much fun at a poker tournament. It's been a while. Dream Team Poker pleasantly surprised me. I thought it was going to be cheesy and lame and a mere distraction during gambling on March Madness games. Alas, my assumptions were wrong.

What was Dream Team Poker? 148 teams (444 total runners) made of up three players. The prize pool was split and awarded based on team results (60% or $133,200) and individual results (40% or $88,800). They basically take the top two scores from each team to determine team rankings. First place in the team category paid out almost $60,000 while the individual score was $24,000.

My crew? Tao of Pokerati with Shaniac and Michalski.

Poker can be a solitary pursuit. However, when I stepped into the poker room at Caesar's Palace, I felt the feeling that I forgot...the fun and social aspect... poker as a game for the pure pleasure of it all. The team aspect changed the entire focus of the tournament. Everyone was in a more festive mood. Relaxed. Having a good time and playing poker with friends.

Pros were actually enjoying themselves in a tournament because most of the time tournaments are work (for lack of a better word) in order to pay bills, feed their kids, fund their other vices, or paying off a debt. It's serious shit and they don't fuck around. Dream Team Poker had the air of a laid back celebrity/media or charity event but with a more serious competitive element.

Plenty of entities insist that poker is a sport, or at least, try to package it as a sport or sports entertainment. For the first time, I finally saw the sporting side to poker with the team concept. To use a golf analogy, it is sort of like watching the Ryder Cup when pro golfers from the U.S. form a team and take on a team comprised of Europe's best players. Usually the golfers wanted to gouge each others' eye balls out with tees, but for a brief instance, they all share a rare sense of camaraderie and acted as a support group instead of a group of mortal enemies.

Dream Team had a little bit of everything. Media coverage. Red carpet. A handful of local politicians. Lots of suits. Gaming executives. TV producers. It was sort of a Who's Who in poker with Matt Savage, Jeffrey Pollack, Jack Effel, and Andrew Feldman from ESPN sightings. Even the Mayor of Beverly Hills was in attendance. I shook his hand and told him that I lived in his principality... on the fringe in his slums of Beverly Hills. He flashed a wry smile and wished me good luck.

Lots of side action. Prop betting. Last longers. Some funny team names like '6 Hands, 4 Nuts, and a Rack' made up of Kristy Gazes, Eric Aude, and Jerry Yang. Originally Jose Canseco was supposed to play on that squad and Kristy was a last minute replacement. The crowd favorite was 'Team Favorites' was made up of Hellmuth, Matusow and Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss... who showed up to the cocktail party with a sultry companion in her 20s.

Poker Road entered a team (Sebok, Coourt & Jeff Madsen) along with Huff & Stapleton at Two Jacks in the Hole. The hombres at Wicked Chops Poker were also in the mix. Well, at least two-thirds of the crew. Chops and Addict played with Jason Calacanis, the biggest swinging dick on the internet. Calacanis replaced Snake who was in rehab or getting botox at the time. I don't buy the "running a marathon" excuse.

A couple of pros were too cool to wear their team jerseys. Our Tao of Pokerati jerseys were collared golf shirts and they looked alright. The jerseys served a purpose because it prevented colluding and chip dumping. You couldn't sit at the same table as someone on your team until the final two tables, or you were disqualified. If by chance you were moved to a similar table, you were given a redraw.

My team ate breakfast at the Bellagio and plotted our strategy. Shaniac degen'd $100 away on Keno before my apple wood smoked bacon and Vermont cheddar cheese omelete arrived. We gambled on the bill by playing Price Is Right. My bid was the closest and Shaniac ended up the loser. He paid the bill.

We really couldn't call ourselves the 420 All Stars because Shaniac is off the wagon. Or on the wagon? Whatever, you know what I mean. The kid is laying off the peace pipe and has been writing some kick ass stuff recently if you haven't been stopping by his corner of the interwebs.

The event was sold out and utilized every single table in the tournament room and it spilled out onto tables in the poker room. My starting table included Addict from Wicked Chops Poker and Mas from Poker Poison (Veneno's teammate). There was an empty stack between Addict and myself. After one level, it was pulled.

Maria Ho and David Williams sat at the adjacent table. Maria was constantly on her phone updating Twitter and checking out the progress of her teammates and friends. She even caught a typo from yours truly. I referred to her as MarioHo.

We started with 10,000 in chips and 40 minute levels. I won a pot in the first orbit with A-J. Nothing special, but it's always good to win your first hand especially when you're a little rusty.

I won a 2K pot from Addict. He limped. I popped him with As-Qs. He called. The flop was K-10-x. He check-called a 2/3 pot-sized bet. The turn was another King. He checked. I bet 2/3 the pot and he folded. Since I knew Addict followed my feed on Twitter, I did not mention my hand but planted a seed that I was way ahead with A-K.

The empty stack next to us was pulled and a guy with a short stack sat down. He busted two hands later when Addict took him out. And then the floor moved an empty stack from a late player. Every player got a card when they initially sat down at their starting table. The size of a business card, it had a bar code and your name and your team name. When you busted, one of the floor staff scanned your name and that's how they were able to accurately determine the place you finished in. Dozens of staff in referee-looking shirts wandered the floor with hand held scanners. I was intrigued and wondered how that concept could be utilized in future poker tournaments from both a management and media perspective. It would make the bubble at the Main Event run much more smoothly.

Sort of like a dog tag in war. When you bust, your barcode was scanned to indicate that you were officially eliminated from Dream Team Poker.

Flash forward. In 2029, something out of a speed-induced Philip K. Dick short story, poker media will no longer contain humans. The industry will become totally mechanized with bots and run by AI. We'll have microchips embedded into our index finger fingertip and a bar code on the back of our necks. All you have to do is swipe your finger over a scanner at the poker table to sign in. Or infrared scanners from the eye in the sky locked into your neck barcodes. RIFD poker chips instantly tracked stack sizes.

Anyway, the Dream Team tournament progressed and every few minutes a different team member would stop by to check up on someone at my table. Lots of relaying of information on fellow team members.

Thor Hansen, the Godfather of Scandi poker, took a seat at my table. T.J. Cloutier busted out early and wandered over to my table. He told Thor about the beat how he ran Kings into Aces. When he walked away, a few people snickered, "Is he heading to the craps table?"

I got dealt A-A and got involved in a pot with one of the three crazy Asian players at my table, but he insisted that he was abnormal. On a flop of 7-7-4, he bet out and I raised. He folded to my re-raise and said, "I'm the only Asian in Las Vegas who knows how to fold." He flashed pocket Jacks and tossed his cards towards the muck. I showed one Ace.

At the first break, I hovered around 12K and Shaniac was above average. Michalski took a big hit and slipped to under 3K. He busted shortly after the first break.

Thor Hansen cracked Aces with Queens. The flop was Q-5-5. He got his opponent to shove all in on the turn. I picked up Aces later that orbit and busted a player who had K-J. A King flopped and he shoved. I quickly called and knocked him out. My stack was around 16K until I doubled up Addict. My 8-8 was no match for his J-5.

I chipped up and then busted a player. I opened, he shoved with nines, and I called. My tens held up and my stack increased to 22K. Shaniac busted out and the entire fate of Tao of Pokerati was on my shoulders.

Then I got distracted with my degenerate sports betting. With less than two minutes to go in the UConn/Missouri game, UConn held a three point lead. The spread was six and that queasy feeling invaded my stomach that I always got when I was about to lose an absurd amount of money on a single basketball game. After a time out, A.J. Price drilled a jump shot. UConn led by 5. Missouri missed a jumper and UConn's Kemba Walker snagged the rebound and Missouri quickly fouled the freshman guard from the Bronx. Walker averaged 9 points a game all year. He had scored 23 points in total after the first three March Madness games... and he equaled that number with a 23 point performance to lead UConn in scoring. Walker calmly hit four free throws down the stretch to put his team up by 9 with 50 seconds left. Matt Lawrence from Missouri dropped a trey to get within six. Missouri fouled and UConn hit two free throws. 78-70 with 41 seconds to go. Missouri missed a three pointer, secured the rebound and missed a layup before finally scoring. 78-72 with 23 seconds to go. Two more successful free increased the lead to 8. Missouri made me sweat the final seconds when Zaire Taylor drilled a three pointer. Are you fuckin' shitting me? 80-75 with 12 seconds to go. Missouri fouled Craig Austrie, who hit two of the biggest free throws in recent sports betting memory for me. 82-75 with seven seconds left. The spread was 6 fuckin' points and Zaire Taylor missed a layup with 0:02 on the clock. The final score? 82-75. UConn miraculously covered on a missed layup. Wow. That was a tremendous swing. With that bet locked up. I relaxed and returned to focusing on the tournament.

I convinced Mas to fold Queens pre-flop. He opened 3x and I popped him from the button. He tanked for a couple of minutes and then folded Queens up. I flashed him my Kings. A couple of hands later, I found Jacks and opened to 1.8K. Guy to my right from the "West Coast Rounders" called. Old guy raised to 6K. Thor Hansen shoved all in. He was the big stack and had well over 50K. I folded my Jacks. The guy next to me said that he folded A-K. The old guy tanked and muttered something about folding Queens. He eventually folded and Thor won the pot worth of 10K. Thor tossed his cards towards the deal and lofted them high enough that my end of the table could see that he had Aces.

At the second break both my teammates were busto and with my stack at 17.5K. There were 248/444 left in the field. Joe Sebok was among the chipleaders with 100K. After the break, I picked up A-K more times that I could recall. I got zero action the first two times. On the third time, I raised Thor's big blind with Big Slick and he called. The flop was 10-7-3 rainbow. He checked and I knew that whatever I bet, he was going to check-raise me. I was about to check when I tossed a couple of chips worth 2/3 the pot. He quickly pulled out a half of a stack of 1,000 chips and announced a raise. I folded. I had run my stack up to almost 28K but after Thor manhandled me and I lost another small pot to him, I slipped to 12K.

Thor took out Addict and added more chips to his when his A-10 suited held up against Addict's Ah-4h. Marsha Waggoner took Addict's seat when she was moved to my table. In less than five minutes, she instantly doubled up with Kings. That was the start of her building a big enough stack to advance to Day 2.

I ran my stack back up to 23K before I lost most of it bluffing off my chips. As the saying goes, "You can't bluff a calling station." I could have played the hand a little better, although my opponent should have folded top pair with a weak kicker. That was my only mistake of the entire tournament, yet ultimately it led to my downfall.

I busted out a couple of hands later. I shoved with Ad-Jd for around 3K. Action folded to Mas in the big blind. He was pretty much committed and called with 8d-4d. I flopped a Jack and he flopped a four. I led until an 8 fell on the river. He won the pot with two pair and I was knocked out in 147th place. I managed to get some love from Matt at Poker Listings who mentioned me in his updates a couple of times. Matt titled my elimination post as... Dr. Pauly Gets Licensed Revoked.

I went out to the sports book and watched the last minute of the Pitt/Villanova game. I had Nova +2. They blew a 4 point lead with 20 seconds to go and Pitt tied the game at 76 with six seconds remaining. The anxious crowd of sports bettors huddled at Caesar's Palace sports book erupted when Scottie Reynolds hit a shot as time expired. Pandemonium. There was actually some time left on the clock and Nova had to cut short their celebration. Alas, it was essentially over. The last tenths of a second ran off the clock and Villanova advanced to the Final Four and I went 2-0 at the sports book.

The night ended when action got down to 27 players. The top 25 paid and Jamie Gold ended Day 1 as one of the shortest stacks. John Regis from Poker Masters ended the day as the chipleader. Mas, Tom McEvoy, Marsha Waggoner, and Thor Hansen also advanced. When action resumed on Sunday afternoon, the team concept really came into play. Jamie Gold from Team Aced doubled up quickly. He hung on to finish in 9th place. Team Aced, which included his girlfriend, Ashley Nataupsky, locked up first place in the team category.

Although Tao of Pokerati didn't win Dream Team Poker, we had a all around fun time. It was a cool and different concept and it's always a pleasure to play with your friends. Alex Outhred did a kick ass job acting as emcee. I'd actually like to participate again in the next event. Same team.

Stay tuned for new episodes of Tao of Pokerati podcast that we recorded over the weekend.

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, March 28, 2009

Dream Team Poker - Tao of Pokerati's 420 All Stars

By Pauly
Las Vegas

No installment of Tao of Hoops today. But in case you were wondering, I like UCONN -6 and Villanova +2.

I'm playing in the Dream Team Poker tournament over at Caesar's Palace today at noon where 170 teams (3 players per team) are vying for a nice chunk of change in the second installment of Dream Team Poker. Some teams? Defending champs Team Bluff Magazine (Matt Parvis, Eric Morris & Justin Bonomo), Yo Momma (Lacey Jones, Tiffany Michelle, Maria Ho), Team PokerListings (Liz Lieu, Matt Stout, and Quinn Do) and Wicked Chops Poker (Chops, Addict, and Jason Calacanis).

My team? Tao of Pokerati's 420 All Stars featuring Shaniac as our secret weapon and of course, everyone's favorite Texas blogger... Dan Michalski.

I'll be sweating my bets and hopefully playing poker deep into the evening.

A full recap and review will be posted on Tao of Poker in the upcoming days. We're also recording several Tao of Pokerati podcasts.

And if you want instant updates and half-baked commentary of my progress during the Dream Team Poker tournament, you can follow me on Twitter (taopauly).

Twitter Advisory: I update my Twitter feed regularly so please opt out for phone updates if you do not have unlimited text messaging.

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, March 27, 2009

Tao of Hoops: Sweet 16 Friday

By Pauly
Las Vegas

March Madness Sweet 16 - Friday Games:

7:07 PM ET Arizona (12) vs Louisville (1) -9.5
7:27 PM ET Syracuse (3) vs Oklahoma (2) -1
9:37 PM ET Kansas (3) vs Michigan St (2) -1
10:07 PM ET Gonzaga(4) vs North Carolina (1) -8

Pauly's Friday's Twist My Arm Picks:
(I really don't like any of the games... so I'm betting small)
Michigan State -1
Gonzaga +8
Oklahoma -1
Parlay: Louisville, Syracuse, UNC, MSU
Parlay: Arizona, Syracuse, UNC, Kansas
Parlay: Arizona, Syracuse, UNC, MSU

Disclaimer: these picks are for entertainment purposes only. After all, gambling is illegal at Bushwood Country Club and in parts of rural America. The Tao of Poker is not a registered investment adviser or broker/dealer. Readers are advised that the material contained herein should be used solely for informational purposes. Tao of Poker does not purport to tell or suggest which games that readers should wager for themselves. True gamblers should always conduct their own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. Tao of Poker will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by a reader's reliance on information obtained on Tao of Poker. Readers are solely responsible for their own investment decisions.

* * * * * *

3:03pm... Scared Picks?

Louisville and UNC will both win. I just don't know if they can both cover. Most likely, one team will cover and win by a dozen and the other team will struggle in a close game. Which one? I usually have a clue, but not this time. So much so that I'm staying away from both games. OK, maybe I'll bet something on the Zags. However, I'm betting a parlay with both the favorites and Syracuse.

My gut told me that Arizona's run is over and Louisville will stomp them. But L'ville struggled at times. UNC had royally fucked me at times like this in the past. I'm cautious. I wanted to bet them and it seems like most of the money is going on Gonzaga today. The line has dropped in the last 24 hours from 9 to 7.5! Which makes me even more afraid. I picked UNC to go deep in all of my pools and added them to a couple of parlays. A good hedge would be a small bet on Gonzaga. I only wish I bet them at 9.

Michigan State and Kansas are teams that always fuck me when I bet them or bet against them. And guess what? They are playing each other. No way I want to touch that game, yet I think Michigan State could win by five or six if things go their way. So I decided to bet small on the Spartans. Izzo is undefeated as a #2 seed. That's refreshing to know as I slapped down the Benjamins for that game. Time to smoke the Jawhawks.

Syracuse? Well they are one of the hottest teams in the country with their only loss in the last few weeks coming to Louisville. They play close games which is why the spread is a single point. Syracuse wins this game by 2 or Oklahoma wins by 8. Which scenario do you think happens? I think Syracuse's run is over and the Sooners advance to the Elite 8.

Oh and my brother's picks? "I like Oklahoma, Louisville, Michigan State and Gonzaga," said Derek.

Tough day for sure. One of the toughest Sweet 16 days of betting that I can recall.

* * * * *

6:40pm... The Calming

Had a lot of work to do this afternoon and stayed in my room. I placed my bets and settled back into my room to play a bit of online poker before the Arizona/Louisville game tips off. I'll be able to sweat the first two games but then I have to miss part of the later two games. Gotta go to the cocktail party for the Dream Team Poker Tour. The event starts tomorrow at Caesar's Palace. The Tao of Pokerati's 420 All Stars shall make a big splash featuring a new and improved clean and sober and smokeless Shaniac...

* * * * *

7:55pm... Easy Street

Louisville and Oklahoma off to positive starts, while Arizona and Syracuse began their Sweet 16 games in the hole. Louisville shot well and took advantage of a couple of turnovers from Arizona in the first ten minutes of the first half as they opened up a double digit lead.

And the OU/Cuse game? Not so pretty start. The Orangemen held to 2 points in first five minutes of play.

* * * * *

8:25pm... Zona Blowout

Wow. That was the Arizona team that almost bubbled. Many thought they should have been playing in the NIT instead of the NCAA. They silenced the haters in the first two rounds en route to the Sweet 16.... until then were stomped by Louisville. Wow. They stretched to lead to over 23 points and they are not letting up. Louisville finally looked a Final 4 team.

OU took a 13 point lead into halftime. They gotta withstand a couple of runs from Cuse in the second half. If they can do that and hit their free throws down the stretch, they'll win and cover. Of course, I had Syracuse in all of my parlays so if they lose, those are toast.

Showcase Bud Light Commercial Count: 2

* * * * *

3:20am.... Late Night Update

Well, I'm back from the Dream Team Poker cocktail party. Lots of pros and random stars and other big names in the poker world. The team to beat? The Poker Hos with Tiffany Michelle, Lacey Jones, and Maria Ho. We picked up our team Tao of Pokerati jerseys. I'll write more about that later.

I sweated the games during the party, which was held inside the poker tournament area. Luckily there were a few TVs in the room and the sports book was located a few steps outside the poker room. The Michigan State game went down to the last minute of the game and the Spartans held onto win and dethrone the defending champions in Kansas. I stood in the sportsbook with Thor Hansen as I sweated my ass off during the last minute which seemed to last an hour and a half. I desperately needed MSU to cover. I started the day 1-0 after Oklahoma ended Syracuse's run. The Gonzaga bet was just wrong and (even though the Gonzaga/UNC game was not over, I conceded) I slipped to 1-1 going into the crunch time. MSU won and I survived the day with the slimmest of profits.

I overheard one guy say that if Missouri wins the entire thing, then he wins $150,000.

Anyway, the Elite 8 added four more teams... Louisville, UNC, Michigan State, and Oklahoma.

Saturday's games?
4:40 PM ET Missouri(3) vs Connecticut(1) -6
7:05 PM ET Villanova (3) vs Pittsburgh (1) -2
I think I like UCONN and Nova. But I want to sleep on it. I was talking to Shrink and he suggested that I jump all over UCONN before the line moves... higher. I might bet $500 on it now so at least I lock it in and improve my chance by 1/2 point or a full point.

That's it. No live blog on Saturday because I'm playing in Dream Team Poker.

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, March 26, 2009

Tao of Hoops: Sweet 16 Thursday

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

I'm off to Las Vegas today for a couple of things, one of which is to gamble on March Madness games.

March Madness Sweet 16 - Thursday Games:

7:07pm ET Purdue (5) vs Connecticut (1) -7
7:27pm ET Xavier (4) vs Pittsburgh (1) -7
9:37pm ET Missouri (3) vs Memphis (2) -4.5
10:07m ET Villanova (3) vs Duke (2) -2

Pauly's Thursday Picks:
Memphis -4.5
UCONN - 6.5

Disclaimer: these picks are for entertainment purposes only. After all, gambling is illegal at Bushwood and in parts of rural America. The Tao of Poker is not a registered investment adviser or broker/dealer. Readers are advised that the material contained herein should be used solely for informational purposes. Tao of Poker does not purport to tell or suggest which games that readers should wager for themselves. True gamblers should always conduct their own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. Tao of Poker will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by a reader's reliance on information obtained on Tao of Poker. Readers are solely responsible for their own investment decisions.
* * * * *

12:44pm... Half an Edge

I just got UCONN at -6.5. The line was 7 and 7+. I decided to pull the trigger on that game. I have a set goal on how much I want to win over the next four days. UCONN is just a small step in that direction.

Leaving for Bob Hope airport shortly. I also put in a small bet online for Memphis, just in case my flight is delayed and I miss the tip off in that game. Memphis had been shaving points like crazy during the first two rounds, keeping their opponents in the game but then quickly shutting the door in crunch time. It's time that they played quality hoops during the entire game.

* * * * *

4:20pm... "Smoke 'em if you got 'em!"

Today's smoke break is brought to you by....

* * * * *

5:20pm.... Waiting on a Plane

Sitting at Bob Hope airport in Burbank awaiting my flight to Las Vegas. I'm flying JetBlue which means they have TVs and I'll be able to sweat the first half of the UCONN game. I'll arrive in plenty of time for the Memphis game.

I had a moment of anxiousness when I left for the airport. I had not bet a significant amount on a game in a very long time. I forgot how mentally draining sweating those bets can be. I'm exhausted and it's not even tip off in any of the games. It might be better that I don't watch every play of the games.

Oh, and someone left a fax machine at security check in. Fax machine? Do those even exist anymore? And if so, who brings one on the road with them? Damn Hollywood writerly types having to fax in pages and pages of scripts, that's who.

* * * * *

9:18pm... Nice Sweat

I'm in Las Vegas. Chillin' at Friedman's house. He drove me over to Red Rock Casino so I can bet on Memphis. Gonna be able to chill out and relax and watch the late games.

UCONN? It was a tough sweat. The Huskies won by 12 and covered. They got out to a hot start due to a shitty shooting start from Purdue. Hummel kept them in the game early and scored the majority of their points in the first 10 minutes. Oh, and I caught Showcase's commercial while 30,000+ feet in the air.

I watched the first half on the short flight from Burbank to Las Vegas. Sweating bi bets on the plane? Not fun. I like to pace back and forth and you couldn't exactly do that in a constricted environment.

With UCONN's win, I'm guaranteed to at least break even today (minus a little juice).

Showcase Bud Light Commercial Count: 1

* * * * *

10:16pm... Suit Tilt

Without fail, bet big on one game and CBS will show you the other. I'm not at a casino, so the TV feed switched to Villanova/Duke.

After a slow start, Memphis got their collective shit together. Mizzo jumped out to a 5-0 lead. With the spread, I started the game 10 points int he hole. Stomach got a little queasy. Memphis slowly chipped away and took the lead.

* * * * *

11:50pm... Making a Run

Missouri has a habit of blowing double digit leads. That was my only hope. Memphis made a valiant run... and got within striking distance. Sort of surprised but relieved. Now they have to go on one final push and win the fuckin' thing.

Oh, and Duke sucks. So happy for Villanova right now.

My condolences to AlCantHang who stated, "9 minutes left and making the call. Bracket. Busted."

* * * * *

1:14am... 1-1 and the Vig Wins

I finally checked into my hotel room. I got the 13th floor. No shit. The front desk clerk sort of asked for my permission to give me the floor. I guess some folks are superstitious. I shrugged my shoulders. I didn't care. I just wanted a room.

I went 1-1 for the day and lost money. The juice. The vig. Fuckers. I wanted to bet against Duke out of sheer contempt, but advised myself to not bet with emotions. I should have gave into those gut instincts. Oh well. At least I had a sustained buzz for almost five hours.

My brain feels so fried and scored that I need to dump my head into a bucket of ice. Nothing hurts more than getting your testicle scooped out with a melon slicer. That's the best way to describe the Memphis debacle.

1-1 for the day. Still up for the tournament. Friday is another day. 4 games,, including a couple of tough ones. Holy shit... two games with -1 spreads? And can Louisville beat Arizona by 10 points?

Showcase Bud Light Commercial Count: 2

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, March 25, 2009

2009 SCOOP on PokerStars

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

One week from Thursday on April 2nd, PokerStars is launching SCOOP... or the Spring Championship of Online Poker. SCOOP is different because it caters to players with different sized bankrolls. That's a nice way of saying that they have super low buy-ins to cater to the broke dicks and economically starved poker junkies out there.

And if you're a baller or love to crush satellites, then the highest tiered events are for you.

There are 22 events in all with each event having three different buy-in levels. 66 events in all ranging from $5 to $10,000. The 10K Main Event is a $5M guaranteed tournament. There is over $30M overall in guaranteed money.

Scheduling permitting, I'm gonna try to play a couple of events for shits and giggles perhaps PLO, Mixed Hold'em, and the 8 Game. Interesting events for 2009 SCOOP include Pot Limit 5 Card Draw, the $10,000 buy-in HORSE High Rollers Event, and the $25K Heads Up event.

Here's the schedule...
2009 SCOOP Schedule on PokerStars:

Event 1 - NL w/ Rebuys (6 Max)
April 2 at 14:30 ET
Low: $5.50
Med: $55
High: $530

Event 2 - PLO8
April 2 at 16:30 ET
Low: $11
Med: $109
High: $1,050

Event 3 - PL 5 Card Draw
April 3 at 14:30 ET
Low: $11
Med: $109
High: $1,050

Event 4 - NL (2X Chance Turbo)
April 3 at 16:30 ET
Low: $16.50
Med: $162
High: $1,575

Event 5 - NL Shootout (10-Max)
April 4 at 14:30 ET
Low: $16.50
Med: $162
High: $1,575

Event 6 - PLO (1R,1A 6-Max)
April 4 at 16:30 ET
Low: $22
Med: $215
High: $2,100

Event 7 - HORSE
April 5 at 14:30 ET
Low: $109
Med: $1,050
High: $10,300

Event 8 - NL (2 Day)
April 5 at 16:30 ET
Low: $33
Med: $320
High: $3,150

Event 9 - Limit Triple Draw 2-7
April 6 at 14:30 ET
Low: $22
Med: $215
High: $2,100

Event 10 - NL Heads-Up
April 6 at 16:30 ET
Low: $16.50
Med: $162
High: $1,575

Event 11 - Mixed Hold'em (6-Max)
April 7 at 14:30 ET
Low: $33 buy-in
Med: $320 buy-in
High: $3,150 buy-in

Event 12 - Stud 8
April 7 at 16:30 ET
Low: $22
Med: $215
High: $2,100

Event 13 - Razz
April 8 at 14:30 ET
Low: $22
Med: $215
High: $2,100

Event 14 - NL (6-Max)
April 8 at 16:30 ET
Low: $22
Med: $215
High: $2,100

Event 15 - 8 Game Mixed
April 9 at 14:30 ET
Low: $44
Med: $425
High: $4,175

Event 16 - Seven Card Stud
April 9 at 16:30 ET
Low: $33
Med: $320
High: $3,150

Event 17 - NL (1R, 1A)
April 10 at 14:30 ET
Low: $22
Med: $215
High: $2,100

Event 18 - Limit Omaha 8
April 10 at 16:30 ET
Low: $55
Med: $530
High: $5,200

Event 19 - PLO
April 11 at 14:30 ET
Low: $55
Med: $530
High: $5,200

Event 20 - Limit Hold'em (6-Max)
April 11 at 16:30 ET
Low: $55
Med: $530
High: $5,200

Event 21 - NL Heads-Up
April 12 at 14:30 ET
Low: $270
Med: $2,600
High: $25,500

Event 22 - Main Event (2 Day)
April 12 at 16:30 ET
Low: $109 with $1M guaranteed
Med: $1,050 with $3M guaranteed
High: $10,300 with $5M guaranteed
Click here for more schedule info.

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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, March 24, 2009

March Heater and Dream Team Poker

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

My favorite sportswriter, Steve Rosenbloom, called March Madness... "National Screw Your Employer Weekend."

Even though I was fortunate enough to watch all of the games sitting on a couch while raging solo, pantsless, and smoking enough ganja to keep an entire reggae band stoned for a month... several of my friends (who held 'real' jobs) managed to skirt the system. They snuck out of work early, extended their liquid lunch breaks, and followed along with the games in their cubicles online via the live stream.

Even the techies behind the live stream of March Madness games on NCAA.com installed a "boss button" to help keep up the rouse that you were actually working on a TPS report instead of wasting work play productivity by sweating the first half of the UNC-Radford game.

For a couple of weeks every year, I'm reminded about the cultural and economic significance of March Madness. The annual college basketball tournament has grown into a monster over the last two decades. The intertubes drastically affected the growth, the popularity, and availability of the games to a world wide audience. I had friends in different countries all over the world sweating the games online. Even though Otis and Change100 were on an assignment in South America, they watched the same games as I did online.

According to Iggy's stat of the day, "CBS's NCAA March Madness On Demand drew more than 2.7 million unique users on the first day of the tournament. #1 paid iphone app too. 5.6 million hours of live streaming video and audio delivered over the first 3 days. Some sick numbers."

Insane. The WSOP might be the greatest thing in the poker world since sliced bread was mass produced courtesy of an invention of a machine by Otto Frederick Rohwedder int he late 1920s. But even March Madness' watered down coverage filled with testicle-numbing commercials absolutely destroyed anything put forth during the WSOP.

Obviously, the gambling aspect of March Madness helped inflate the popularity of the tournament. Sure, there are enough true hoops fans that welcome the reprieve and take advantage of non-stop hoops action. The tournament is an enthralling competition. You lose? And you're out. But only a small percentage of viewers are hard core hoops junkies or alumnus of whatever university happens to be playing.

The gambling aspect makes the games attractive. That's why so many people were sweating them. And I'm not talking about the gamblers betting on the games... but rather all those casual gamblers who forked over $10 or $20 to fill out a sheet. The federales have a hard-on for thwarting illegal gambling, but the law enforcement and judiciary entities overlook the March Madness bracket pools and the Super Bowl boxes. After all, many of them might even be running their own pools.

I worked in an office environment a couple of times in my adult life. I loathed the birthday cake parties and constantly contributing cash to buy flowers to whoever just had a triple bypass. But, I absolutely loved the Superbowl and March Madness because it gave me something to chat about with my fellow co-workers. You really got to glimpse into their personalities better.

March Madness also gave meaning to something that previously had no meaning or significance.

Hey, once the Jets get bounced from the NFL playoffs (or more likely, they failed to advance to the playoffs), I have zero emotional investment in the games. But once I wager on the outcome of a game, my focus shifts. A random game went from having ill-significance to being the most important thing in the world at that given time. Same thing applies to March Madness. Normally people who never gamble on anything or wouldn't even watch a college basketball game even if you put a gun to their sexual organs... all of a sudden become ravenous hoops fans and can't get enough of the action. They have to know the score... constantly. Like rabid crackheads, they're constantly refreshing ESPN's scoreboard or toggling back and forth between the games in order to sweat the action.

And yes, March Madness is that time of year when a random secretary, who dropped out of SUNY-Buffalo after her freshman year, ends up winning $1,500 in your office pool because she luckboxed her way into picking 15 out of the Sweet 16 teams including Arizona going deep into the tournament. It almost makes you think... what's the point on doing any research when anyone who can circle a team can win large sums of money on a minimal investment?

But then again, that's what makes the March Madness tournament so special... that any of the 65 teams can win (obviously the better teams have a higher percentage of a chance of winning, but upsets do happen and that's part of the miracles that routinely happen during the most random games). And it goes without saying, that anyone filling out a bracket or sheet has a shot of winning it all. That's why you participate and that's why you play multiple sheets. I must have had 10 different entries in five different pools. I need to win one outright to turn a profit. I need to come in the Top 5 in at least 2 of them to break even.

March Madness is one of the rare times that I wished that I still worked in an office environment. I missed that electric buzz in the office during the opening rounds on Thursday and Friday when you knew that at any given time 90% of the entire workforce was goofing off and zoning out on the games. And not to mention the talk around the cooler on Monday morning when everyone revealed their personal bad beat stories about the weekend games.

I went on a heater. It's been a while since that happened to me. Late on Friday night, Cleveland State upset West Virginia. I was getting eight points and could barely contain myself during the entire game. I paced back and forth. I screamed at the laptop screen. I cursed the suits at CBS for not showing the game on national TV and opted for the USC game instead (since that was the regional coverage) and I was forced to watch the game on the online feed.

I bet Cleveland State with the money line in addition to the points. Cleveland State maintained their lead and successfully pulled off an upset. They headed into the next round, as I ended the night on a positive note after winning a clutch bet. That set the tone for Saturday's games. I woke up in a good mood and bubbling over with confidence. I did most of my research the night before and placed a couple of bets. I quickly scanned the lines to see what moved and put in a couple more. Out of eight games, I wagered on five of them. I threw down $200 a piece and settled in for another long day of March Madness.

By the end of the night, the unthinkable had happened. All five hit. I was a little stunned and overjoyed at the same time. I also knew that all of that profit could be wiped out in a single day. At least I had a cushion. No matter what happened on Sunday, I'd survive the first week with a surplus. Although I had a hefty bankroll to bet on the games, my goal was to not have to use my own money and build up enough winnings in the first weekend and press that profit during the second weekend. That way, even if I lost my entire profit during the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games, I'd walk away... even.

Sports betting was/is/will always be a leak for me, but not as bad of a leak as the stock market. Even though I knew it was rigged, I bet on it anyway. My own cockiness and ego got the best of me. I had my money with a certain cabal of bankers who I thought were on the right side of the fix. Alas, I was wrong and the losses piled up. I started to wonder if I wasted the last five years of my life busting my ass and becoming a whore in the poker industry. I did it for the money, but as 25-30% savings slowly evaporated, I second-guessed my decisions over the last half of a decade with regard to my career and investing.

Alas, Instead of worrying about how current events will lead us into a dystopian future, and moaning about our new President's economic policy of corporate welfare, I decided to allow my financial fate to be determined by garbage time free throws. So far? I can't complain with the results. I'd edging out the SP 500.

Like the hordes of other dreamers flying into McCarran airport on Thursday, I'm heading to Las Vegas hoping to hit a big score and return to the City of Angels with enough money to pay for Phish tickets at Red Rocks and a few bucks to help fund the rest of my personal writing project.

* * * * *

I'm also playing in the Dream Team Poker tournament at Caesars Palace on Saturday. My team? Shaniac, Michalski, and myself. If you don't know, Team Bluff won the first event during the November Nine. Two of my colleagues from Bluff (Eric Morris and Matt Parvis) had won along with their ringer... Zee Justin.

Of course, our X-factor is Shaniac.

Originally, I wanted to call our team the '420 All Stars' but I didn't think that could be cool with the event organizers. So instead, our team name on paper is Tao of Pokerati, but in theory we're the Tao of Pokerati's 420 All Stars.

And yes, we'll be taping new episodes of your favorite half-baked low-rent poker podcast... Tao of Pokerati. No Benjo this time around, but we'll have special guest Shaniac.

I wonder how focused I'll be in the tournament. I mean, I'm gonna be sweating the Elite 8 games at that point and have more on the line in sports betting than invested in the poker tournament. I guess I'll finally know what it feels like to be Erick Lindgren or Phil Ivey sitting around at a poker table and not really paying attention to the game because they have both eyes locked onto the TV screen while sweating their bets.

Action junkie, am I.

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, March 22, 2009

Last Call: March Madness - Round 2 Sunday

By Pauly
Hollywerid, CA

And on Sunday, the Lord sayeth, try to get unstuck!

March Madness Round 2 - Sunday Games

12:10 PM ET Arizona St. (6) vs Syracuse (3) -2.5

2:20 PM ET Wisconsin (12) vs Xavier (4) -3.5
2:30 PM ET Dayton (11) vs Kansas (3) -8
2:40 PM ET Cleveland St. (13) vs Arizona (12) -2.5
2:50 PM ET Oklahoma St. (8) vs Pittsburgh (1) -8

4:40 PM ET Marquette (6) vs Missouri (3) -3.5
4:50 PM ET USC (10) vs Michigan St. (2) -4
5:20 PM ET Siena (9) vs Louisville (1) -11.5

Pauly's Sunday Picks:
Arizona St. + 2.5
Xavier -3.5
Dayton +8
Cleveland St. +2.5
Missouri -3.5
USC +4
Chalk parlay: Syracuse, Kansas, Pitt, Louisville

Disclaimer: these picks are for entertainment purposes only. After all, gambling is illegal at Bushwood and in parts of rural America. The Tao of Poker is not a registered investment adviser or broker/dealer. Readers are advised that the material contained herein should be used solely for informational purposes. Tao of Poker does not purport to tell or suggest which games that readers should wager for themselves. True gamblers should always conduct their own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. Tao of Poker will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by a reader's reliance on information obtained on Tao of Poker. Readers are solely responsible for their own investment decisions.
* * * * *

12:01pm... Game Time Sunday

Well, I'm back in position on my couch for a fourth straight morning of March Madness, degenerate gambling, constant bong toking, and snarky commentary. I opened up the coffeeshop on the corner and beat the church rush. Change100 called mid-way through my breakfast sandwich and said that her flight from Uganda landed safely in Miami and that she was trying to get on an earlier flight to LAX. After my breakfast, I rushed over to the store to pick up a bouquet of flowers.... so when the girlfriend returned home from an exhausting overseas assignment there were some pleasant aromatic flowers greeting her as she walked into the apartment. And yeah, I've been raging solo for a week and the apartment is very messy. I'll have to tidy up during the halftime of the first game, unless I can find an out-of-work Beverly Hills maid to do it for $10/hour.

Onto the games... Friday's action included a plethora of upsets. So it goes without saying that the Sunday games are featuring higher seeds and mid-level teams struggling with their own limitations in the face of stardom on the cusp of a Sweet 16 berth. That included a team like Cleveland State. They were my sleeper before the tournament even started. I'm gonna ride them hard until they fizzle out... and I doubt that will be today. They take on a #12 seed, the controversial Arizona, who many pundits thought should not have been invited. So what did they do on Friday? They blew out Wake Forest and looked like a team that deserved a berth. Alas, they are still flawed and I doubt they can handle the Vikings of Cleveland State.

Saturdays games seemed much more clearer for me.... meaning I did 1/3 of the research and time toiling over the picks compared to today. Alas, yesterday was a day when I bet 4 favorites and 1 dog and went 5-0. Today, I'm going with four dogs and two favorites. Let's see how I do. Sometimes, you have to go against the grain. I'm betting small on the upsets and bigger on the favorites.

Best of luck today. At the end of today's games, the Sweet 16 will be set.

Here are Derek's picks... Xavier, Kansas, Arizona, OK state, Missouri, USC, Louisville,... and "Arizona St. vs Syracuse... this is a tough one. Probably stay away from it but I'd take AZ State."

* * * * *

12:34pm... Chez Log

Tao of Daddy. I miss that Donkey Fucker. He sent me an email that said...
1. Drink two shots of Imodium AD.
2. Eat an entire wheel of cheese.
3. Wait.

When that turd FINALLY gets there have your penis ready for orgasm. Time it perfectly, and you will be rewarded.

Wisconsin Log Cabin.
And the first commercial for the first break in the ASU/Syracuse game? Showcase's Bud Light commercial. I can't say how thrilled I am to see it... over and over. I get giddy like a school girl every time that I see it. Trying to be an actor in LA? Overwhelming odds. That guy took bad beat after bad beat. Heck, even after he booked and shot the commercial, he was told that it was not going to be aired. He gave up on it and then... he caught a major wave of luck and Bud Light added it to their rotation of March Madness drinkability commercials. Of course, 97% of the other commercials send me on mega-tilt, but for now, hi is not annoying... yet. Oh, and then I found out that it was aired during SNL last night as well, so it's getting into the non-hoops rotation.

Showcase Bud Light Commercial Count: 1

* * * * *

12:53pm... En Feugo

Syracuse dominated the game for the first 18 minutes. They looked nothing like the sloppy lackadaisical team that played in the first round.

The Orangemen also couldn't miss from the floor... from three point range. When you start off shooting a sizzling 70%, you're going to open up a double digit lead. Obviously, they can't keep up that pace in the second half and law of averages suggest that their hot shooting will taper off, however, Arizona State struggled with Cuse's zone defense. They could not match Syracuse's offensive output because they missed too many wide open shots. The sharp shooting of Rihards Kuksiks, an exchange student from Latvia who hit five treys in the first half, kept ASU in the game.

The sloppy and lazy Syracuse team that I bet against took the floor for the last two minutes. They hoisted a couple of bad shots and played complacent defense, as ASU scored a couple key baskets (including two big ones from way downtown from Kuksiks) en route to an 8-2 run. ASU closed out the half strong and pulled within nine.

James Harden, where the fuck are you? The sophomore guard from ASU averaged 20 points during the year. Harden scored zero points in the first half and 0-4 from three point range. Gonna start calling him... John Starks.

* * * *

1:57pm... ASU on Life Support

Harden woke up and finally scored, but Jeff Pendergraph fouled out. Just when ASU started a rally and it appeared that they might make it a game, Syracuse pulled away with a timely three from Devendorf to push the lead over 11Unless they go on a 10-0 run over the next three minutes, that best is not looking good.

* * * *

2:17pm... Battle of the Bulge

I gave up on ASU and conceded the win to Syracuse. At least I have Syracuse in a chalk parlay... something I thre together to hedge against mt bets on the dogs today.

I watched a Band of Brothers marathon on the History channel instead of the end of the Cuse game. Nothing is more depressing that watching the final seconds tick down in a game that you lost.

We have reached the busiest part of the day with four games. Gonna have to watch a couple online, but I'm assuming that we'll get the Cleveland State/Arizona game on in LA.
* * * * *

3:13pm... Rough Start... 0-4 Today?

The suits at CBS threw me a bone and aired the Cleveland State team. I'm rooting for them as if they were my alma mater. Alas, I went to A DIII school and sadly, more student watched our fraternity intramural games than went to root for our school team.

Cleveland State started flat. They shot just 25% for the first 10 minutes while Arizona looked sharp shooting over a .500 clip in a balanced attack. Arizona took a ten point lead and I got that sick feeling in my stomach... it's gonna be a long game filled with misery and unfilled expectations. Sometimes first round upsets die a slow and ugly death in the second round. Let's hop that's not Cleveland State's fate.

Kansas attacked early and jumped out to an early lead plagued by poor shooting from Dayton. They rallied back int he last minute or so to get within three points.

What happened to Wisconsin? They played Dayton tough and headed into halftime with a 2 point lead. Trevon Hughes scored 10 points (8 from the FT line) in the first half.

Oklahoma State surprised Pitt with a barrage of three's as they took the early lead. The Cowboys extended their lead to ten points with 10 minutes to go in the first half, but the #1 seeded Pitt showed why they were one of the best teams in the country. They chipped away at the lead via Sam Young's 16 points in the first half. He averaged 18.5 the entire season and stepped up his game to keep Pitt in the game.

Showcase Bud Light Commercial Count: 2

* * * * *

4:20pm... Smoked and Toked, No Joke

Wisconsin tried to pull away in the second half, but Xavier had enough and went on a run of their own. They took the lead and finally looked like a team that could win by ten and cover the spread.

Dayton? Woe is me. Horrendous offensive output (a mere 19% from the floor). Chris Wright shooting blanks. Kansas took a double digit lead by sheer ineptness from Dayton. I'm almost flush that ugly turd down the toilet with six minutes to go.

CBS Tilt: The wizards at the almighty Eye sent me on tilt and switched to the Pitt/OKSt game. It was close and Pitt did everything they could to prevent an upset, but I had more interest in two other games including my new favorite team Cleveland State.

And yeah, the Vikings looked like ass in the opening minutes of the second half as Arizona maintained a ten point lead, until the picked up a couple of cheap buckets and cut the lead to six with 12 minutes to go.

Today's smoke break is brought to you by PokerStars....

* * * * *

4:44pm... Le Whiffe

I stated the day 0-2 whiffing on both my upset dogs bets. I won the first bet of the day with Xavier (2x the amount of the dogs). I'm even for the day (minus a little juice). Glad that Xavier got their shit together in the second half and put the Badgers out of their misery.

Whenever Cleveland St. made a run, Arizona beat them back. They are on the verge of closing the door, but perhaps a couple of garbage three pointers could help me beat the spread.

Pitt looked like they were on the verge of covering with five minutes to go to go. I have them in a four-team parlay that is half-way there with Kansas & Syracuse winning both of their games. Alas, OK St went on a 9-0 run to get back in the game and take the lead.

* * * * *

5:05pm... Garbage Time Saves Thee

Cleveland State's run is over, as Arizona told all their haters to fuck off with a Sweet 16 appearance. Those fuckers were a bracket buster on every single one of my sheet in like ten different pools. I still think they suck and totally got lucky because Cleveland State played like a bunch of wanna-bes that got cut from the JV team.

Pitt? Won by 8. Push. Fuckers. Push is a loss on a parlay ticket. Thanks for the kick in the junk.

I'm -330 on the dogs and with the $50 busto parlay, I have -380 in losing tickets, but Xavier paid out 200 so, I'm -180 for the day. Even if I lose my last two bets, the worst case scenario is a -505 day. At best? I could turn a slight profit after pissing away yesterday's winnings on the dogs infested with fleas.

Missouri better cover and I'd love to see USC pull off an upset since I took the Trojans with the points. Maybe that will be the one underdog that I bet that actually wins?

* * * * *

6:06pm... Missouri Rolls

More than pleased with Missouri's performance in the first half as they opened up a double digit lead. Marquette closed out the half strong and cut the lead to just 11 points.

USC didn't play too bad and hung with Michigan State. They only trailed by 3 at the half.

I haven't seen one second on the Louisville game. They should whoop Siena.

* * * * *

7:01pm... D'oh!

Marquette did not lay down and gave Missouri a little fight. They cut to lead to five and got even closer. As Dr. Jeff put it, "C'mon Mizzou! How do you blow a 16 point lead?"

USC? They stormed out of the locker room with a 10-4 run and seized the lead. DeMar DeRozan scored five points in the first three minutes. Momentum swung the other way, and Michigan State quickly ran off a couple of baskets to regain the lead, and ten USC tied it up again. Back and forth. Trading baskets. Classic March Madness game. You knew with 10 minutes to go that it was going to come down to the final possession.

Uggh. Two games heading into crunch time... sweating both bets. One team getting four points the other having to fade four points... and I could not watch the outcome.

Week of raging solo has come to a close. I have rush off to the airport to pick up Change100. Airport run during March Madness? Looks like I'll have to sweat the games via radio.

Thanks for following along the last four days. I can't recall the last time I actually had fun live-blogging something. And I can't recall the last time I actually posted four days in a row on Tao of Poker!

Next weekend? I'll be in Las Vegas for the Sweet 16 and Elite games, and who know what sort of hijinks I'll get myself into.

* * * * *

8:56pm... Close Shave

I'm back from the airport... I listened to the USC game on the radio. Fuckers lost by 5. I went 0-4 betting dogs. On a good note, Mizzou held on to win... and cover... by a half a point. I had them at 3.5 and then won by 4. I went 2-0 betting favorites... and 2-4 overall for the day. I finished up -90. For the first and second round? +1465. More than pleased with those results.

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, March 21, 2009

One More Saturday Night: March Madness - Round 2 Saturday

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

And we're back after 48 hours of non-stop, pantles, bong-rattling basketball. How's your bracket holding up? Now is when the real fun begins and I start escalating my bets.
March Madness Round 2 - Saturday Games:

1:05PM ET UCLA (6) vs Villanova (3) -2

3:20PM ET Maryland (10) vs Memphis (2) -9
3:25PM ET Texas A&M (9) vs UCONN (1) -10

5:40PM ET Purdue (5) vs Washington (4) -1.5
5:40PM ET Michigan (10) vs Oklahoma (2) -6.5
5:45PM ET Louisiana State (8) vs North Carolina (1) -11

8:00PM ET Western Kentucky (12) vs Gonzaga (4) -11
8:05PM ET Texas (7) vs Duke(2) -7

Pauly's Saturday Picks:
Villanova -2
Oklahoma -6.5
UNC -11
W.Kentucky +11
Parlay: Gonzaga, UW, UCONN, and Memphis

Disclaimer: these picks are for entertainment purposes only. After all, gambling is illegal at Bushwood and in parts of rural America. The Tao of Poker is not a registered investment adviser or broker/dealer. Readers are advised that the material contained herein should be used solely for informational purposes. Tao of Poker does not purport to tell or suggest which games that readers should wager for themselves. True gamblers should always conduct their own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. Tao of Poker will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by a reader's reliance on information obtained on Tao of Poker. Readers are solely responsible for their own investment decisions.
* * * * *


I'm starting the day with a small profit which means that even if I whiff on every single bet, I'll end the day with only a modest loss.

Lines moved overnight. UNC is now -12.5 (locked in at 11). Nova is now -3 (locked in at 2) and Oklahoma is now -7 (locked in at 6.5).

I'm starving. Going to head to my local neighborhood diner for an omelet and try to beat all the rush of hungover hipsters.

I'm not looking too good on my sheets... however, if Louisville wins then I'll win my pool. Otis leads the Pauly's Pub Pool at the end of Round 1.

* * * **


The local eatery was packed to the hilt with the weekend crowd. I luckily found a spot at the counter. They had a TV on in the corner airing NCAA chicks hoops. Once the time reached 10am local time (or 1pm ET), I sorta asked them to change the game to CBS.

Just returned from breakfast. MiamiDon emailed me his picks and sadly he pretty much picked against me in a lot of games. Yikes! He likes the two Texas teams. We should have probably just bet each other to eliminate the juice. Senor texted me his big picks and they matched up with mine.

Nova is shooting out of their tits in the fist nine minutes against UCLA. Rollie Massamino sighting! The former coach of Nova was at the helm of the highest seeded team to ever win the championship (they were #8 in 1985 and beat #1 seeded G'Town).

How flaming is Jay Bilas?

Commercial Tilt: Been seeing a lot of financial services being pitched over the last 48 hours... including TIAA Cref (which does a lot of planning for university workers and professors) and Fidelity. They're trying to gobble up the last bits of your money and trying to brainwash you during a blitz of commercials that at this point happen every five fuckin' minutes. It used to be a standard formula that commercials represent 23% percent of the coverage in any given one hour period (or 7 minutes every 30 minute block). I betcha there's gotta be some geek out there timing commercials for March Madness.. I'd wager that that percentage of commercials is around 30% and sometimes higher.

* * * * *


Nova took a double digit lead into halftime. It could have been much worse for UCLA, but the Bruins woke up in the last bit of the first half and went on a mini-run. Just when it looked like they finally showed up to play... the buzzer sounded. Nova got saved by the bell. In the second half, Jay Wright's Nova crew should continue their dominance in the paint... and hopefully they can keep them off the glass. They absolutely dominated the boards.

* * * * *


Commercial Tilt: I sat through a commercial break at 16:06 left in the second half. Action resumed for one play and the whistle blew at 15:55. Then they went to another commercial break. 6 minutes of commercials and just 11 seconds of play. At least I saw Showcase's commercial among that mutated consumerist barrage.

Showcase Bud Light Commercial Count: 1

* * * * *


Positive start of the day with a +200 score on Villanova. The cruised in the second half against an inept UCLA team that should have lost to VCU. Nova won by 20. Second tiered Big East stomped on another weak Pac-10 team. Balanced attack from Nova with seven players scoring at least 8 points.

Two mid-afternoon games with MD/Memphis and UConn/A&M. I added Memphis in a four-team parlay and bet UConn laying 10. Waiting for UConn to tip off.

Memphis jumped out to double digit lead over MD in the first few minutes of play, a much different looking team that started out flat in their opening round game on Thursday. MD is a team that has caused me headaches over the last decade... one of those teams that fuck me when I bet on them and fuck me harder when I bet against them.

I was talking to Change100 in Uruguay via Skype when Showcase's commercial came on during the end of the UCLA game. It was the only game running at the time, so he might have gotten some good exposure.

Showcase Bud Light Commercial Count: 2

* * * * *

4:20pm... 10-0

Derek overslept and woke up late. He told me his picks: Villanova, UConn, Purdue, OK, UNC, WKY, Texas and MD.

"MD since Memphis likes to shave points," he said.

I should have bet Memphis. I know, I know. We're all saying the same fuckin' thing. At least I'm looking good for my parlay.

The first minute and last minute are some of the most import parts of the first half. You have to get off to a positive start during Round 2. In the opening round, especially on a Thursday game, everyone is tight and nervous and you can get away with not playing optimally. However, during Round 2, it's essential for dogs to strike first and it's even more important for heavily favorites to jump out to an early lead.

During the opening round, the #1 and #2 seeds (Duke/UNC/UConn) that covered the spread opened up double digit leads in the first half. The top seeds that struggled in the first half (Memphis/Louisville/Pitt) all won their games but failed to cover.

With that said, UConn seized control from the opening tip and ran off a 10-0 run against Texas A&M. Nothing makes a gamble happier than laying ten points and seeing your team open up a can of whoop ass with a 10-0 lead.

UConn took the floor with Coach Calhoun back on the sidelines after being hospitalized. I think he had a weak haaaaaaahhhhht. If this was Hollywood, we'd say he ODd on something and needed to be revived. Maybe old Jimmy C hit the sauce too hard and had to be tossed in the drunk tank to sober up like Shooter in Hoosiers? He strikes me as a guy who takes nips off a flask of bourbon at halftime.

Commercial Tilt: Vin Diesel drives his car underneath a flaming tumbling truck in Fast & the Furious. I mean how could you not want to see that fuckin' flick? If Jordanna Brewster reveals her ta-tas and we get a beaver shot from M-Rod, then that schwill is definitely worth the $12 buck entry fee.

Today's smoke break is brought to you by PokerStars....

Hey Dick Enberg, this toke's for you!

* * * * *

4:44pm... Fudgepackers

Blowout City. I haven't see anything that ugly since I watched a guy blow another guy in front of my rented apartment in the Soho section of London last October.

Both Uconn and Memphis are up by 20 in an fugly afternoon. Uconn is on pace for 100 points.

Last night's games were exciting and too bad they all conflicted with one another. They should have saved some of that nail biting excitement until now.

Am I the only one who is not missing Billy Fudge Packer? Well, I know this guy is not...

I miss Al McGuire. He was one of my favorites when he and Dick Enberg used to do ACC games back in the day on NBC.
Pauly's Top 5 College Announcers (Off the Top of My Head with Zero Research):
1. Al McGuire
2. Bill Raftery
3. Gus Johnson
4. Len Elmore
5. Keith Jackson*
*I know Keith does college football, but he has such an old school outstanding voice that I wished he did March Madness games.

* * * * *

5:00pm....Easy Company

CBS Tilt: Boring games. Too many commercials. I decided to watch a Band of Brothers Marathon on the History Channel until the next batch of games start.

* * * * *

5:40pm.... Trio

Finally. Some action. Three games. UW/Purdue. OK/Michigan. UNC/LSU. I have bets on all three in some way or another. We get the UW game on the west coast so I'm gonna be sweating the other two games online.

The first three games are over and all three favorites won. Easily. There's 5 minutes left in the UConn game and it's garbage time with the Huskies up 21. Weirder things have happened, so I that winning bet isn't 100% confirmed yet. Still keeping an eye on that clock. If they cover, I'll be half-way to winning the parlay.

Commercial Non-Tilt: e-Trade baby golfer commercial made me laugh. Shankapotomous.

* * * * *

6:33pm.... Swollen Heels

Ty Lawson played and then sat. They should have benched him and saved him another five days to let his turf toe heel. UNC is gonna need him next weekend in matchups against Gonzaga in the Sweet 16 and potentially Oklahoma in the Elite 8.

Championship teams close out the half strong. That's what UNC did with a 17-7 surge at the end of half. They're up, while Oklahoma struggled with Michigan. Purdue is dominating UW and my parlay ain't looking too good.

* * * * *

7:04pm... Micro-Wright

Oklahoma can figure out how to handle Michigan's Anthony Wright. He came off the bench and dropped 12 on them. Oklahoma went into the locker room up by one.

LSU came out all fired up in the second half and seized the lead. Ty Lawson is keeping UNC in the game. He scored 8 points in the second half and provided a much needed boost.

* * * * *

7:27pm... Isiah Who?

Oklahoma must have gotten a verbal whipping by their coaches at halftime because they opened up a double digit lead and shut down Michigan from the offensive end. Blake Griffin has been scoring at will for the Sooners.

Just when it look like Purdue was about to pull away, UW made a run and cut Purdue's lead to two with 7 minutes to go. Isiah Thomas (yeah, that's his name from UW) dropped 20 points (most of them in the second half) and took over the game like Zeke used to back in the day.

Wayne Ellington stepped it up with ten minutes to go to help thwart a run by LSU. The game was tied and at that point, I didn't care about the bet. That was not a important as UNC winning straight up which had been in jeopardy. I had them to go all the way in more than one pool. But after that scare, the Heels elevated their game and extended the lead to 11 with 4:20 to go.

* * * * *

7:55pm... Jesus Weeps

UNC? Wow. I "almost tore up the ticket" on that game. Typical story. They stormed back. Lawson dropped 23. Ellington hit some big shots. Hansborough was smacked in the face. No bad garbage time buckets and they covered.

G-Rob went to the game in Greeensboro specifically to root against UNC and Duke. Anyway, when UNC won, he sent me a text... "Was tied. UNC wins. Jesus weeps."

Purdue led the entire game, but the second half was exciting. Back and forth with UW inching closer and closer, as that game came down to the wire. UW lost by two and Purdue advanced to the Sweet 16. I put UW in a parlay ticket and that's now toast.

Oklahoma's Blake... 28 and 15 at one point. Big numbers. A team like Oklahoma could ride his back to the final four. Oklahoma led all the way in the second half but hovered around the 7 point range. I needed 7.5 and felt more comfortable when they held a double digit lead. FT's down the stretch would determine the outcome in that game.

* * * * *

8:08pm... 4-0

Oklahoma covered and a smile unfurled on my face. First four bets? 4-0 on Saturday. All of them were winners I whiffed on a $50 parlay.

Outstanding bets? A small bet on Western Kentucky tonight. No action on Duke aside from my normal air of contempt that I have for the BlueDevils.

Wow, I'm surprised at my half-baked results. On Thursday I felt so out of touch with my bets all day until everything clicked late on Thursday night with the VCU game. Been on a mini-rush since then. I'd love to close out the day... perfecto.

Time to step outside for a victory smoke.

* * * * *

9:09pm... Sexy Grilled Cheese

CBS Tilt: Without fail, the suits decide to ruin my night and air the Duke game, instead of the other game which I had wagered on. I think that's what they call Murphy's Law or just "shit outta luck." Oh, and we got a JJ Reddick highlight. Awesome. Pure joy. I'm gonna shave my nuts now with a carrot slicer.

WKY took an early lead over Gonzaga. They're +11, so I'm more than ecstatic. Hopefully they can keep up that pace ad stay a couple of buckets ahead of the Zags for the rest of the half.

I whipped up some munchie food before the start of the last batch of games...

* * * * *

9:51pm... Finally Clark

I can't gush/jizz/fawn over how much I'm digging Clark Kellog (Fudge Packer's replacement) doing the game with Jim Stiffpants Nantz. His voice of reason almost makes the Duke game watchable. A Texas upset would make a lot of fuckin' people happy right now.

And.... Western Kentucky coughed up the lead but are still within striking distance.

My boy Kid Dynamite keeps texting me saying that Phish will definitely play Fenway Park on June 1st according to someone that he knows who knows Trey well.

Showcase Bud Light Commercial Count: 3

* * * * *

10:30pm... All Smiles

Texas tied Duke with less than two minutes to go and I got a hard on. Wow! It was on-the-edge-of-your-seat action that was dragged out over 15 minutes of commercials, commercials, and more commercials. Sadly, Texas could not defeat Duke. They choked and Duke advanced to the Sweet 16.

At the same time, WKY/Gonzaga game was also in the middle of crunch time, but the final of that game ran out much smoother. The winner would go on to play UNC. Amazing finish with both teams scoring with less than 10 seconds to go. Down by two, WYU gard AJ Slaughter bricked a trey and Steffphon Pettigrew got the rebound and tipped it in to tie the game at 79. Gonzaga quickly inbounded the ball, despite the WKY's coach's please for a TO. With seven seconds to go, Gonzaga's Demetri Goodson went coast to coast for the winning bucket with 0.9 seconds left on the clock. That winning moment will be enshrined on plenty of highlight reels. That kid just made his mark on history. One of those amazing things about March Madness.

Western Kentucky lost by and I was getting 11. That put me at 5-0 for the day. +950 overall. My only bad bet? $50 parlay.

Saturday: +950
Overall: +1555

I got an email from MiamiDon... "Well done bro. 5-0 rocks. You can appreciate how hard it is to pick four games and get your ass waxed in everyone! I feel like fucking Waffles today. Oh well, tomorrow I double down until I'm even."

He had a tough day. I've definitely been there. The fog of war in sports betting makes it difficult to consistently pick winners. Looks like MD will win his Texas bet though.

I'm definitely a little Giddy. Time to some a victory doobie, then I'll do some homework for tomorrow games,and squeeze in work on the next issue of Truckin'.

Oh and in case you missed it... here's the last 24.8 seconds of the Gonzaga/WKU game...

See ya tomorrow...

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, March 20, 2009

Fried Green Ham and Eggs: March Madness - Round 1 Friday

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

Well, yesterday was a wild ride. I shot a goose egg for 8 hours until I nailed three bets in the last hour to end the day +180.

And yes, today is a brand new day and I love the smell of napalm in the morning.

March Madness Round 1 - Friday Games:
12:15 PM ET Stephen F. Austin (14) vs Syracuse (3) -11.5
12:25 PM ET Tenn (9) vs Oklahoma St.(8) +2
12:30 PM ET North Dakota State (14) vs Kansas (3) -9.5
12:30 PM ET Utah St. (11) vs Marquette (6) -4.5

2:45 PM ET Temple (11) vs Arizona St. (6) -5.5
2:55 PM ET East Tennessee St. (16) vs Pittsburgh (1) -19.5
3:00 PM ET Cornell (14) vs Missouri (3) -12.5
3:00 PM ET Dayton (11) vs West Virginia (6) -9

7:10 PM ET Arizona (12) vs Utah (5) -1.5
7:10 PM ET Morehead St. (16) vs Louisville (1) -20.5
7:20 PM ET USC (10) vs Boston College (7) +2.5
7:25 PM ET Portland St. (13) vs Xavier (4) -10.5

9:40 PM ET Cleveland St. (13) vs Wake Forest (4) -8
9:40 PM ET Siena (9) vs Ohio St. (8) -3
9:50 PM ET Robert Morris (15) vs Michigan St (2) -16
9:55 PM ET Wisconsin (12) vs Florida St.(5) -2.5

Pauly's Friday Picks:
Utah St. +6
North Dakota St +10
Dayton +9
Cornell + 13.5 ($10 bet with Otis)
Utah -1.5
Louisville -20.5
USC - 2.5
Florida St. -2.5
Cleveland St. +8
Parlay: Pitt, Louisville, Michigan St, Syracuse

Disclaimer: these picks are for entertainment purposes only. After all, gambling is illegal at Bushwood and in parts of rural America. The Tao of Poker is not a registered investment adviser or broker/dealer. Readers are advised that the material contained herein should be used solely for informational purposes. Tao of Poker does not purport to tell or suggest which games that readers should wager for themselves. True gamblers should always conduct their own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. Tao of Poker will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by a reader's reliance on information obtained on Tao of Poker. Readers are solely responsible for their own investment decisions.
* * * * *


I woke up with a wicked headache and popped a painkiller on the way to the coffeeshop around the corner. I sat at the counter and read the L.A. Times. Yeah, I know. A physical newspaper. It's like spotting an endangered species. I read an interesting article about Denzel Washington's kid who's a point guard for a HS hoops team in LA. He's a little undersized but has a good shot.

The cooks at the coffeeshop were talking about that UCLA game last night. The Bruins caught a break. Obama actually picked VCU as his upset pick, when it was Western Kentucky knocking off his home state Illinois.

Anyway, I'm feeling a lot better today about the games. It felt as though I was running in quicksand for most of yesterday. Today, I'm feeling a lot more confident about my picks... small bets on upsets with one or two medium-sized wagers on the favorites. I took a lot of dogs today and the Cornell game has significant implied tilt odds since Otis is a proud alum of Missouri. After all, the greatest Grateful Dead show of all time was performed at Barton Hall at Cornell. You can download that epic 5/8/77 show... here.

Anyway, back to hoops... four early games...
Stephen F. Austin (14) vs Syracuse (3)
Tenn (9) vs Oklahoma St.(8)
North Dakota State (14) vs Kansas (3)
Utah St. (11) vs Marquette (6)
I have money on Utah State and I was on the fence about NDSU. MiamiDon told me that he bet the money line on them, so at the last second I bet them with the points. They are one of the best shooting teams in the country, so they can score points at will. I have a feeling that there's gonna be an upset in the early game. I'm hoping it's Utah State since I actually picked them on my sheets, in addition to betting it.

So we're about ten minutes into the games, and I'm already on tilt with CBS's schizophrenic scheduling jumping back and forth between the Syracuse and Kansas game. I'm watching the Utah State game online.

Big East and ACC fared well on Thursday and went a combined 5-1, while Big Ten teams? 2-2.

* * * *


That Ben Woodside kid from NDSU is winning me over. He's got 16 points and kept them in the game against the Jayhawks. It seems as though NDSU can't contain the Kansas big guys who are scoring at will, but Kansas can't stop NDSU's perimeter shooting. If they could stay within 4 or 5 at halftime, I'll be happy with that result.

Syracuse cruised to a double-digit lead at halftime led by Jonny Flynn who has as many points as the entire starting squad at SFA. Hopefully, they can win by 20 and keep my parlay ticket alive.

Marquette's out-rebounding Utah St. in the first half, but the Aggies have the crowd on their side. That's the only thing going for them. The entire arena in Boise is filled with rowdy Mormons binge drinking on 1% milk. Marquette played blah and still dominated in the first half and Utah was lucky to be down by only 8 at the half. I'm sorry, but 18 points in a half in a March Madness game? Pathetic. Time for Utah St. to start shooting better if they want to be a Cinderella story.

Wow, I just saw a rare In & Out Burger commercial. At least some of the commercials today are different from yesterday. No Showcase Bud Light sightings... yet.

* * * * *


CBS finally threw me a friggin' bone and switched off the Syracuse game and gave us the Kansas/NDSU game since it's much closer with a four-point margin. Kansas looking a little rattled in the second half against NDSU's squad that included four crackers and a token soul brotha. Still 15+ minutes to go in that game and the Utah State game. Can the dogs keep it close?? The Aggies are surging and pulled within one. Holy sheeeeeet!

Too many James Bond commercials hyping up their Blue-Ray. When is it available on VHS?

* * * * *


It's a battle of the point guards in the Kansad/NDSU matchup. Sherron Collins at Kansas has been tough to contain all game, but his counterpart Ben Woodside at NDSU is doing everything right. Someone aside from Collins has to step up for Kansas to help kill NDSU's momentum.

Woodside and Collins are literally trading buckets back and forth. Highly entertaining to watch.

I never heard of Ben Woodside before today. He's my size... six foot and 180 lbs... and the senior guard averaged 22 points and 6 assists during the season. One of the amazing things about March Madness is that it can help shine a spotlight onto an unknown player from an obscure school like NDSU. I'm sure everyone in Fargo already knew that Woodside had a sick game. I'm sure he was the best player in his high school and one of the greatest players from his hometown in Minnesota. But now, the masses are getting a glimpse at his fearless ability to take over a game and attempt to lead his team to victory over the defending champs.

Rockchalk Jawhawk? Rockchump Jawhawk?

Signs of the depression? Longest running titty show in Vegas is closing after 50 years. RIP Folies Bergere.

Commercial Tilt: Those 'Becoming Legendary' commercials have become legendary annoying. Initially, I appreciated the concept of the campaign... taking painful moments in college basketball afflicting tremendous grudges in their victims. But, most of them are gutwrenching to watch. Anyway, they should have just show clips on those moments. Would have been a better campaign.

* * * * *


CBS switched me to the Tenn/Okie St. game. I screamed and cursed Verne Lundquist, even though that game was a thriller. Tenn and that Sampson clown choke. Again.

I had action on two other games and scrambled to watch both of them online. Aldrige stepped up down the stretch for Kansas to keep them ahead of NDSU. Just when Kansas would pull away, NDSU hit a big shot to keep it within two possessions. Yet, it all comes down to crunch time and NDSU faded. Kansas sealed the win.

Once the NDSU/Kansas game was out of reach, it came down to those crucial seconds of bullshit time... do the winning teams run out the clock or play "Ole!" defense or do the losing keep on fouling and chucking up treys? The spread was 10. Kansas led by 10 with 33.3 seconds to go. Meaningless for them, but those 33.3 seconds meant the world to me... alas. It was a push. Muthafuckers. So close. I started the day 0-0-1.

Utah St. took the lead with 2+ minutes to go and Marquette stormed back and took a lead. Then that lucksack banked a three pointer with 23 seconds to put Utah St. within two points. The spread was 6 and I was getting those points, so every bucket counted for me. When the clock ticked down to zero... Utah State lost by one, but I won my bet. Ship it. 1-0-1.

No upsets in the opening games, although two were pretty close. Betting the dogs is always a tumultuous, yet exhilarating time. It's always more fun to start the day with a win, than have to chase a loss. Time for a victory spliff.

Big East continued their domination and improved to 4-0. Syracuse easily covered in their game and my four-team chalk parlay is looking good.

* * * * *


Times are tough in the slums of Beverly Hills. I smoked a doobie in my alley and I aw three different people (inside of a ten minute period) check my dumpster for empty bottles. Two of them looked sketched out and the third looked like a twenty-something kid. I was a little surprised. Was the economy that bad or was he just a petty thief using dumpster diving as a cover to scout out apartments to rob? I gave him the stink eye.

I had a dream a few weeks ago that a #11 seed went deep. I bet on three of them and snubbed Temple. Utah St. and VCU came close and both of those #11 seeds lost by 1 point. Dayton and Temple are both #11 seeds and among the afternoon games. I took Dayton, which also happened to be my old man's alma mater. They offered me a full academic scholarship but I turned them down. Atlanta seemed much cooler than hanging out in Dayton. After all, some of my favorite bands (remember this is in 1990 and I was in a heavy REM phase) were from Athens, GA so it seemed like a much more hip place.

Anyway... here are the afternoon games...
Temple (11) vs Arizona St. (6)
East Tenn St. (16) vs Pitt (1)
Cornell (14) vs Missouri (3)
Dayton (11) vs West Virginia (6)
I have action on three of the games. Pitt is part of my chalk parlay. And of course, the one game that I don't really care about... is the game that CBS decided to air. I can't win. It was a blowout too as ASU went up by double digits early on.

What I like about March Madness is that I have visited some of the same venues and arenas where the teams are playing. Chances are... I dropped acid in one of those venues because I passed through on Phish tour or while I was following the Grateful Dead. Odd to think that the last time I was at the arena in Boise... my brain melted during a Phish show.

Commercial Tilt: Subway's $5 footlongs make me want to puke. I grew up with Blimpie's in New York City. They were OK during their heyday, but the franchise definitely got sloppy and started cutting corners. I encountered Subway during college in the early 1990s. Subway's subs were top notch and you got a ton of value. Over the years, the overall quality of their product diminished.

* * * * *


#1 seed Pitt struggled. Hopefully, they'll make adjustments and blow out E. Tenn in the second half. Arizona State tried to pull away in the second half. Temple's shooting guard Dionte Christmas has one of the best names in the tournament. He's Temple's all-time leading three pointer shooter and put Mark Macon and his flaptop to shame.

Cornell hung tough in the first half and even took the lead at the 4:20 mark. They didn't close out the half strong and Missouri went into halftime with a four point lead As DonkeyPuncher said, "This Cornell-Mizzou game is setting basketball back a few decades."

Dayton led for most of the first half and went into halftime up by 5... The Flyers surprised Bob Huggins' squad on both ends of the court. Marcus Johnson hit a couple of big threes... for a team that doesn't score a lot of points. Alas, WV struggled from the offensive end (scoring most of their point from the FT line), while Dayton shot almost 50% from the floor and over 57% from beyond the arc.

CBS Tilt: The suits at the Eye are conspiring against me. The two games I want to watch were ignored by CBS. They gave us a live-look in with Pitt and the ASU is a regional game for me, so I have to flip back and forth between the online feeds that seem to have more commercials.

Commercial Tilt: The new Nick Cage Armageddon flick? I'd rather pay you $10 and you just kick me in the nuts. What happened to Troy Aikman? He's pitching Wing Stop.

Showcase Bud Light Commercial Count: 1

Today's smoke break is brought to you by PokerStars....

* * * * *


Arizona State cruised all afternoon and knocked off Temple. Pac-10 team prevailed over the A-10. Pitt struggled and didn't look like a team that a lot of people picked to win it all. ETS pressure defense complicated things for Pitt. Talk about imploding. With less than four minutes to go, ETS pulled within a bucket... to make things interesting. #1 seed has never lost before. Pitt doesn't want to be that first team. If I had an actual betting slip, I'd be tearing up my parlay ticket right now.

West Virginia played Dayton tougher in the second half, but Dayton still maintained a slim lead.

Missouri pulled away in the second half. They were simply too athletic compared to the Ivy Leaguers at Cornell and led by 15+ points. Bad Blood sent me a text, "We need some garbage time buckets."

* * * * *


Pitt pulled away in crunch time as ETS wilted. #1 seed prevailed once again and they are 99-0 lifetime, with #1 Louisville scheduled to play tonight. The other #1 seeds (UNC + UCONN) crushed their opponents while Pitt looked like a bunch of amateurs during the first 38 minutes of that game.

Dayton held tough in crunch time and they went onto win. Go Flyers. I picked them for the upset on one of my sheets and bet them at the moneyline at +350 along with the points. Sweet delicious +275 game for me. Overall, we're looking at +325 for the day with five open bets in tonight's games.

Games resume around 7ish. Break time. Smoke 'em if you got 'em.

* * * * *


During the break, I showed my office to a director of a short film. It's gonna be used as a shooting location and he wanted to check out the natural light and the layout of the room. One of those odd things about living in L.A.

I also tuned into PokerStars Blog and read Otis and Change100's coverage of the LAPT Uruguay. (Wow, I spelled it right on the first try without even having to utlize utilize spell check. In fact, I actually spelled 'utilize' wrong but nailed Uruguay.)

Anyway... I have action on three of the first round of night games...
Arizona (12) vs Utah (5)
Morehead St. (16) vs Louisville (1)
USC (10) vs Boston College (7)
Portland St. (13) vs Xavier (4)
Utah and USC are favorites but by small margins so I expected those games to be close the entire way. CBS is airing the USC game... obviously.

* * * * *


Halftime for three games and I'm losing all three bets. No shocker there. Not looking good for the #1 seed Louisville. Pitno's crew is barely ahead of Morehead St. Wow. That was a shocker. They actually shot well from the floor, but Morehead didn't back down.

USC had and up and down half against BC. They couldn't close our strong and BC took a four point lead into the locker room. Utah got off to a slow start and trailed Arizona, a team that many pundits felt had no business being in the tournament. I'm gonna need help in the second half. I'm almost conceding the L'ville bet, but both USC and Utah bets are winnable.

Showcase Bud Light Commercial Count: 2

* * * * *


I was on the verge of writing off the Louisville pick and then it sprang back to life. They are now up 18 with 11 minutes to go. Plenty of time left, but at least least there's a chance of covering and winning by 21. At halftime, the outlook was grim.

USC took the least with 12 minutes to go. I have a feeling that this game will come down to the last possession. I need USC to win by 2.5 or essentially 3 points.

Utah? Still down by 8. If they don't make a run soon, they are milk toast. The Mormons getting beat down by an Arizona team that should be playing in the NIT.

* * * * *


Interesting stat.... Big 12 teams are 6-0 so far.

Xavier coasted in their matchup and was almost up by 20 when I stopped checking the score. I don't think I saw one play in that game.

Utah couldn't hit a trey and Arizona didn't miss, especially their Big 3. It was ugly. The Mormons were missing wide open three point shots and could not convert. Yet, they somehow cut it to two points. Arizona responded and went back up by 8 with three minutes to go. Arizona obviously responded to their haters and beat up the Mormons en route to a double digit victory. And yes, another #12 topples a #5 seed. Arizona? Fuckers. At least it was only a small bet.

With 7 minutes to go, USC went on a run to open up the biggest lead of the game. They sealed it up in crunch time with some solid free throw shooting. Taj Gibson was a perfect 10-10 from the field and DeMar DeRozan is one heck of a ball player scoring 18 or so in his first every March Madness game.

Louisville's victory was locked up and luckily, Morehead St. gave up and the coach emptied the bench and put in the second string with two minutes to go. It came down to which team's bench scored garbage time buckets. With a 14-point lead, Louisville nailed back-to-back three pointers to push the score to 20. Wow, I had a shot at covering. Morehead St. turned the ball over and Louisville just dribbled out the clock in the last 20 seconds. I screamed at my laptop like a maniac, "Shoot! Shoot! Shoot! Shoot the fucking ball!" I betcha there were hordes of people in sports books all over Las Vegas screaming the same thing. Alas, they didn't shoot and only won by 20. I lost that bet.

Overall? +260 for the day. I'm 1-2 in the night games after starting the day 2-0-1 (not including the Cornell bet with Otis).

Commercial Tilt: Triple hops Miller Lite commercials makes me want to puke. That trailer for the new Seth Rogan movie is being heavily publicized. Doesn't look very funny, like saw Pineapple Express which was non-stop hilarity.

Well, so far two #12 seeds have already won and a #11 seed (Dayton) won today. Is that going to be it for the upsets? Or can Cleveland State or Wisconsin join the list of bracket busters.

* * * * *

9:40pm... Here are the last batch of night games...
Cleveland St. (13) vs Wake Forest (4)
Siena (9) vs Ohio St. (8)
Robert Morris (15) vs Michigan St (2)
Wisconsin (12) vs Florida St.(5)
I have money on FSU and Cleveland State. Let's see if one team can pull off an upset and if the other can hold off one. At this point, even if I whiff on bets the rest of the night, I'll post a winning day. Obviously, I'd like to finish up strong and head into Saturdays games with a +500 margin.

The FSU line moved to -3.5. I locked it in at 2.5
* * * * *


Cleveland St. got off to a smoking hot start with a 9-0 run. Nothing could have made me happier as they opened up a 12 point lead after the first six minutes of play. I love J'Nathan Bullock, the guy on CSU with dreadlocks. Those guys play in the Horizon League. That totally sounds made up... like the California Penal League. Well, the Horizon champs are trying to upend an ACC team.

J'Nathan Bullock

* * * * *


An upbeat Cleveland State was up by double digits on the verge of a blow out, but Wake finally woke the fuck up and closed out the half strong with a 9-2 run. They hit a big three in the last minute to cut the lead to nine.

FSU shut down the Badgers and held them to 19 points and shot an anemic 1-10 from downtown and 27% overall from the floor. Led by Toney Douglas's 10 points, FSU opened up a double digit lead.

With both games at halftime, the bets looking good. Time to step out side for some fresh LA smog-ridden air and smoke a fatty before I hunker down for the second half.

* * * *


All the annoucers wer eputting me on tilt with all of their cheesy cliches, so I turned off the sound on the TV and on my laptop and I'm listening to music instead. I put my iPod on shuffle.... a little Jimmy Cliff and Widespread Panic.

FSU has some hot, but skanky looking cheerleaders, kind of girls that had back tattoos since they were 13, and as he saying goes, all Tallahassee girls are tube steak guzzlers, but beware of those STDs.

Siena trying to advance to the second round for the second year in the row. Last year,. they were an upset team at a #13 seed. Siena doesn't come to mind when you think about a college basketball power house. Siena? Sounds more like the stage name of a dancer on the afternoon shift at the Rhino.

Wisconsin went on a 16-2 run to start the second half that made me shake my head and stand up and star pacing around the apartment. They actually took the lead 35-33 after a clutch three which capped off their outburst.

* * * * *


The first OT game of the year. Siena came from behind to tie Ohio State and send the game into OT.

After Wisconsin stormed back into contention after halftime and took the lead, FSU went on a run of their own and regained the lead. The momentum went back and forth and with three minutes to go, both teams were at a 46-46 standstill.

Cleveland State? Are you kidding me? Looking good to beat the spread and win the game. That +350 moneyline bet is within sights as they're on the cusp of a 20 point lead. Wake Forest should be embarrassed with how the gang at Cleveland St. wiped them off the court.

Showcase Bud Light Commercial Count: 3

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About time things got zanny at March Madness. Two Midnight OT games... one of them a double OT game. What more could you ask for?

I needed the FSU game to go into OT. That was the only way that I'd win my bet.

Cleveland State game is over and the Vikings are Cinderella stories. I'm looking like a genius among bowling retards with a moneyline bet along with getting +8. Hello Cleveland!

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Wisconsin fucked me. They took a two point lead with two seconds to go. I needed another OT to get a shot at winning the game with a -2.5 spread. They could not connect and the cheese-eating Badgers were the third #12 seed to advance to the second round. I lost the bet and FSU did the walk of shame off the court. Oh well.

Siena and Ohio State went back and forth in the second OT. Siena's Ronald Moore drilled a couple of huge treys. He hit one from waaaaaaaay downtown to put them up for good. Back in my schoolyard days in NYC, we'd say, "He shot that so fat downtown, he was in Chinatown."

Siena? Indeed, they are the best college hoops team in New York State.

Friday's results? +425. I went 4-3-1 (not including the Otis bet and the chalk parlay that I whiffed on) for the day. I also nailed two clutch money line bets with Ohio-based dogs (Cleveland St. and Dayton) which more than made up for the losing bets.

How about some bad beats? Two games were so close. North Dakota pushed in their game. Louisville did not cover by a half of point. Half a fuckin' point.

Overall for Round 1? +605. I'm more than happy with that amount. I'm basically freerolling into the first batch of tomorrow's games.

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