Monday, December 28, 2009

The Tao of Poker: 2009 Year in Review, Part 1

By Pauly
Miami, FL

This is the time of year that I love and hate equally. Sometimes it's fun to sift through the static and find a few gems, but most of the time I cringe as I re-read the incessant ramblings that I churned out over the year. I also start fresh in January and remind myself that less is more. Someday I'll listen to my own advice.

Anyway, here's the first part of the 2009 Year in Review for the Tao of Poker...

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January 2009

I started the year on an assignment in the Bahamas covering the PCA for PokerStars. After my first day on Paradise Island at the equal swanky and overrated Atlantis resort, I penned Welcome to Hog Island.

In the Bahamas, Benjo and I recorded an episode of the Tao of Pokerati...
Episode 8.1: International Hotspot (3:25)
PCA Afterthoughts: Midnight Ravers... is something that came together when the PCA came to a close and I reflected on the events, drunken hijinks, and other sordid tales.

But I wasn't quite done with writing about the Bahamas... German Chicks on Sleds, the Bahamas Belch, and Lime Tossing.

In industry news... my friend and colleague John Caldwell resigned from Poker News in early January. I was saddened at the news. Once he left the helm, I found it difficult to want to continue to work/do business with the company.

Flipchip took some salacious pics of porn stars, meanwhile, I appeared on a poker industry Roundtable with the likes of Barry Greenstein, Matt Parvis, Jeffrey Pollack, and super agent Brian Balsbaugh as we weighed in on several topics.

When I returned to L.A. after the Bahamas, I focused primarily on finishing Lost Vegas. The book took up most of my time, so the quantity of posts slipped dramatically on Tao of Poker, however, the quality per piece increased substantially. Looking back at the blog, there was a period in late January and early February when I cranked out some of the better material I had produced in a very long time.

The Lost City of Tunica wondered what happened to the Tunica buzz as more pros have been pulled away from the Southern gambling Mecca in favor of international pursuits.

I delve off the deep end during a discussion of addiction in Chasing the Dragon. It's a dark, raw, and honest piece. One of my favorites from 2009.

Conceptual Paranoia includes a dystopian peek into the financial crisis.

Chevoit Hills Counterfeit is a recap of one of Schecky's home games in L.A.

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February 2009

The Day the Music Died marked the anniversary of the death of Buddy Holly and how he tragically lost his life by a mere flip of a coin.

Where's My Bailout? is my skewed take on the big banks feasting on billion dollar welfare checks from the government.

Soul Cards was originally the opening chapter to Lost Vegas, yet that got trimmed. I posted the scraps for public consumption.

Reader Mail: Busto Brad was the most fun I had writing a post in a very long time. It involves the above photo.

Welcome to AmsterVegas is my suggestion to the Vegas power brokers to seriously study the Amsterdam model to boost tourism after the city and casinos posted another dismal quarter. How about bringing legal prostitution and the decriminalization of marijuana/hashish to Las Vegas? Or maybe just leave that to the Dutch?

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Slim pickins in March on Tao. I was bogged down in the slums of Beverly Hills writing Lost Vegas and then took off for two weeks; Vegas for March Madness and Virginia for the Phish reunion.

Gobbling Pills in the Dark and Returning to the Mothership is where I admit my addiction to Pac Man.

The Feeling I Forgot is an inside look into the Phish Reunion including scalpers, hippies, drug dealers, and local law enforcement types.

The Ides of Imperil is the beginning of the end of me. March Madness. Sports betting.

March Heater and Dream Team Poker tracks my progress early on in the college hoops tournament and on the cusp of playing in my first Dream Team Poker event.

Dream Team Poker at Caesars is my report on how I was the last player standing on my team, Tao of Pokerati, with Michalski and Shaniac.

And of course, we recorded episodes of Tao of Pokerati...
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)

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Coming Soon... Lost Vegas appeared on April 1st. All you fools thought it was a joke. Bleh.

Here is when I introduced the masses to Guess Her Muff. Since that moment, I'm up several hundred dollars wagering on the daily pictures on that website. When in doubt, go shaved.

I played PLO SCOOP on PokerStars and wrote about it... The Philistine Liberation Orchestra.

While I was still in Las Vegas, I went bowling with Michalski where we recorded another episode of Tao of Pokerati...
Episode 10.7: Bowling for Dollars
You Can't Change What's Already Happened is how I was sitting on a 7K score in Vegas yet had one night more to go. What could possible go wrong at the tables?

I landed a deal with a French publisher and Benjo got tapped to translate Lost Vegas en francais.

I had a haiku binge...
Poker Haiku Vol. 1: Razz
Poker Haiku Vol. 2: PLO
My friends the Poker Shrink and Amy Claistri sent me an advance copy of their Mike Matusow book. I wrote a review of Check-Raising the Devil: The Mike Matusow Autobiography.

I went to Argentina on a work assignment and covered the LAPT with Mean Gene, Joe Giron, Change100, and Otis. Fun times. Lots of hot models. Heavily armored cops. Oh, and there was the bar fight. I wrote a three part series aptly titled... The Vicodin Diaries.
The Vicodin Diaries, Vol. 1: Prayers
The Vicodin Diaries, Vol. 2: It's a Tough Job, But Someone's Gotta Do It
The Vicodin Diaries Vol. 3: Stray Dogs, One-Armed Bums, Paint Huffers, and Bar Fights
I also recorded a couple of episodes of Tao of Pokerati...
Episode 11.1: South American Models... Pauly and special guest MeanGene discuss the highlights from LAPT Grand Final in Argentina while they drank at the LAPT wrap party hosted in a club in a sketchy part of Mar del Plata. They discuss their favorite parts of Argentina especially the sleek and silky models hired by PokerStars that were all over the tournament area.

Episode 11.2: Costa Rican Hookers... Pauly's special guest includes Chip Monkey, who Dan nicknamed 'the Costa Rican Benjo'. Pauly and Chip Monkey discuss seedy Costa Rican strip clubs, the advantages and disadvantages of street corner trannie hookers, and the local narcotic scene.
Lest we forget Otis and the nipple?

When I was in Argentina, I got word that my colleague Justin Shronk passed away. I wrote a tribute titled... R.I.P. Shronk. And yes, you can see his infamous Vegemite prop bet video in that post.

I made my first appearance on The Poker Beat.

21 Dead Horses is something I have no idea why I wrote it.

And I ended the month with Placemat Superpanchos, Pig Profiteers, Iron Man IX, and PLO Malaise, which was a potpourri of reflections on the Swine Flu, Argentina, and online poker.

* * * *


Glass Tappers is just another rant about enduring bad beats at the virtual tables.

With the WSOP approaching, I announced my plans to unleash the Tao of Poker All Stars onto the scene. Yes, afew of my talented friends agreed to write guest posts on the Tao mainly during my days off.

WSOP Food is a good read even if you're not going to the WSOP.

Pusherman Reprise is another take on the Pusherman angle and the underbelly of drugs in Las Vegas.

Beef Jerky and the WSOP is where I lampooned the latest sponsor.

Atlanta: Where It All Began
is a flashback post where I wrote about my home game during college.

I made another cameo on The Poker Beat.

Tao's 2009 WSOP Bracelet Picks. So much potential.

And I finally arrived in Las Vegas for the 2009 WSOP. I wrote exclusively for the Tao of Poker. Here's the coverage...
2009 WSOP Day 1: No Respect
2009 WSOP Day 2: It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times
2009 WSOP Day 3: The Valley of Ashes
2009 WSOP Day 4: Nostrum Donkulus
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Stay tuned for Part 2 and a recap of June through December.

And if you like what you read, I encourage you to vote Tao of Poker for Best Poker Blog in Bluff's Readers Choice Awards. Thanks for your support.

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

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