Saturday, June 25, 2011

2011 WSOP - Day 25: Rubber Soul, Electric Daisies, and Two-Tabling Pai Gow

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

Sorry for the late recap. I was waiting until the ecstasy wore off before I posted anything to the internet. God bless the Electric Daisy Carnival. I haven't seen this much pixie dust in Vegas since Phish played a three-show run in April 2004. If you're not in Vegas right now then you have no frigging clue about the mayhem going on this weekend with over 100,000 raver kids attended the biggest rave on the West Coast. Someone told me 250,000 but they're too fucked up to count how many eyes they have in their head, let alone give me true figures on how many ecstasy-popping candy-eating raver kids descended on Vegas.

For a couple of days, the Rio is not the biggest freak show in Las Vegas. Poker players were no longer gods in sunglasses among mortals, instead they seemed like malodorous, dirty old men compared to the half-naked pacifier-chewing, glowstick twirling untz-untzers roving the Strip and trying to get to/from the speedway for Electric Daisy. If there was every a time to score some good fucking drugs in Vegas, it's this weekend. But be advised, drink tons of water and don't do anything retardely stupid because the po-po are out in force. I really hadn't seen that many cops in Vegas since... well, ever.

Okay, I'm feeling much better after chugging 2 quarts of water and I've stopped dancing in place, something I had been doing since the sun had popped out out of the darkness of the Nevada sky. With hundreds of thousands of known-drug fiends humping, grinding, and rubbing up against each other on the outskirts of town, there was still poker to be played at the Rio, where glow-in-the-dark bracelets were scoffed at because grown men wanted the real bling -- a gold bracelet.

Day 25 at the WSOP was one of the random days when three bracelets were handed out. There could have been a fourth bracelet, but a hard-stop time prevented the conclusion of one of the Donkaments. By the way, with the hard-stop times at 10-levels, it seems as though we're caught up in a perpetual Donkament, which means a lot of min-wage carpet cleaners stay up all night trying to steam the donkey blood out of the carpet of the Pavilion. The carpet used to be white, and now it's beige and brown because they were unable to extract all of the spewed donkey blood from the killing floor.

If the speedway and Electric Daisy was a love fest, then the Pavilion was the personification of the brutality of a butcher shop. I probably shouldn't write too much about this donk on donk violence, because those PETA true-thuggers will show up and try to douse WSOP suits with red paint, or some of them will dress up like poker dealers and try to release captive donks into the wild.

* * *

Two final tables from Day 24 spilled into Day 25. As a result a pair of bracelets were handed out with an hour of each other. The locales had swapped. The 10K HORSE championship had started out in the Mothership, but when the heads-up battle between Fabrice Souiler and Shawn Buchanan resumed, the were moved to an outer table. Meanwhile, the rowdy Brits railing the $2,500 NL final table (with five still alive) was moved into the Mothership.

Fabrice Soulier wins his first bracelet and third for France in 2011
Photo courtesy of

It took only four hands before Fabrice finished off Buchanan. Another silly, retarded example on why hard-stop times when it gets to heads-up is foolish. But no one cares what I think, or thirty screaming French people for that matter. That final table should have been completed on Day 24, but the staff sent everyone home.

"I couldn't sleep," remarked Fabrice Soulier. I don't know how I could either holding a substantial lead and then having to stop play and come back the next afternoon.

Fabrice prevailed and won the third bracelet for the French. The former film and TV director from France made a decision over a decade ago to quit his job in the entertainment biz because he was staying up late every night playing poker, and dragging ass the next day at work. He decided to take one year off and play cards before resuming his career as a director. Flash forward 11 years later to the 2011 WSOP and Fabrice shipped his first bracelet.

"The happiest day of my poker career," said Fabrice as he fought back tears.

Fabrice explained that he's a very emotional player, which was one of his biggest problems over the years because he expended a lot of energy at the tables in order to retain control. This summer he spent time focusing on meditation and yoga, which helped center himself and focus on the task at hand.

Clear the mind, win a bracelet.

Right after Fabrice won his bracelet, much to the delight of dozens and dozens enthusiastic French supporters on the rail, I headed to the Mothership to watch Middy and the binge drinking Brits railing the conclusion of the $2,500 NL. When we last checked in with the Brits, they were pounding shots of Jager out of shoes. On Day 25, the rail for Tom Middleton was smaller and more subdued than the previous night. Most of the rambunctious hooligans were sleeping off their hangovers. Middy didn't win the bracelet and hit the road in third place. Russia and the Motherland took home its second bracelet when Mikhail Lakhitov beat Hassan Babajane heads-up for the title.

I had skipped out of the Rio to hang out for a buddy's birthday party before the third and final bracelet was awarded to Mitch Schock, after winning Event #39 $2,500 PLH/PLO.

In case you were wondering and a fan/stalker of Melanie Weisner, who at one point held the chiplead late on Day 2 in the Donkament, she busted out in 14th place.

For a quickie round-up of Day 25 at the WSOP, you should check out Change100's recap on RISE Poker and read about the WSOP Day 25 highlights.

* * *

I went on a bender. Call it sheer frustration that I couldn't head out to the speedway to trip my balls off at the Electric Daisy Carnival. I'm taking off next weekend to see Phish perform at the Superball IX festival at Watkins Glen, NY, which is perfect timing right before the Main Event, so I can recharge my batteries after working for 24 days in a row. Alas, I stayed at the Rip/Gold Coast/Palm's area to keep an eye on poker and survey the before/after Electric Daisy scene.

Anyway, my bender started in mid-afternoon with a trip to the Hooker Bar. I was sweating a baseball bet using the AlCantHang system. We're 3-0 so far and I'm ready to launch a new baseball tout site with ACH and KevMath. It's been a surreal heater and even more fun to cash those winning tickets. Don't ask how the fuck we tried to bet on a Florida Marlins homegame at Safeco Field in Seattle. Somehow the Mariners were a road team in the home ballpark.

After a quick rum drink at the Hooker Bar, I wandered over to the Gold Coast for a late afternoon session of Pai Gow with old people. I've been trying to teach my new roommate Halli how to play (I promised her that I wouldn't use the term lesbian or fake-lesbian anywhere within a ten-word radius of her name, so not to confused the SEO bots and spiders crawling all over this page) and after two sessions, she's getting the swing of things.

I was on the winning end of peculiar, yet exhilarating suck out that I have to share with you. After all, no one likes to hear demoralizing bad beat stories, especially Pai Gow bad beat stories, but here's a tale about redemption. I got dealt a miserable hand -- Queen-high Pai Gow. I opted for the Dragon and slowly unfurled my hand to see another Queen-high Pai Gow, but this one was even worse than the first one.

"I need a Jack-high Pai Gow," I begged my dealer. She was a tiny Asian woman, but definitely not a bot because she blinked and laughed, and besides the Gold Coast didn't employ boots until sundown.

She flipped over half of her hand and slowly positioned all of the cards. She turned over a Jack of clubs with only one card to come. The six visible un-paired cards had no straight or flush potential. I was sweating a Jack-high Pai Gow and she reached for the final card. In dramatic fashion, she tabled a 9 of hearts. Holy shitballs, I sucked out with a Jack-high Pai Gow and both my bets.

Highlight of my entire summer of Pai Gow... thus far.

I returned to work for a bit and recorded a podcast with Snoopy, before heading back to the Hooker Bar to celebrate WhoJedi's birthday. The party migrated to the Gold Coast late night for more hijinks. I spotted the weird old Asian guy who walked around with his arms folded and sweated random tables. My favorite dealer returned and Change100 and Katkin didn't believe that we were actually Facebook friends.

"Wait," my girlfriend said in astonishment, "You're friends on Facebook with Pai Gow dealers?"

"Actually, I'm friends with three."

Pro tip on how to separate the bots in the pits from real people? Bots don't have Facebook pages... yet.

Inspired by Daniel Negreanu's two-tabling performance at the WSOP, I decided to push the limits of getting 86'd from the Rio and ran back and forth between two tables. My original table included VeeRob, MerchDawg, Katkin, and Change100, and I would set my hand as quickly as possible and jog over to the other table with AlCantHang, Shirley, Halli, and Marie Lizette. I'd set my hand, run back over to my original table to see the result, then run back over to the second table to view that result, before I returned to my original table to repeat the process. I got away with those hijinks for 15-20 minutes before the pit boss brought in a cooler.

There's one particular dealer at the Gold Coast that is a known bot. She's tilt-inducing. Humorless. Emotionless. Never blinks. Bloody awful. Never responds to jokes and constantly gives you guff about not playing the bonus. I always lose when she deals to me, so I always reduce my bet to the minimum when she gets pushed to my table, or I get up and take a walk around. As soon as she took a seat at AlCantHang's table, I picked up my stack. Fuck the bots. My two-tabling experiment had come to a close.

Hopefully, AlCantHang will write up how he got 86'd from the Gold Coast. I had bailed by then, but one of the most funniest moments happened when Al accidentally punched Mel Judah in the face. Al had shipped a hand after the dealer flipped over a King-high Pai Gow. Al thrust his hands in the air and clipped Mel Judah who was hovering over the table. I couldn't stop laughing at Al's drunken antics because he didn't realize he cold-cocked the Aussie pro. We coined a new term for a sucker punch -- you just got Judah'd.

* * *

Follow @taopauly for Twitter updates throughout the day and over the weekend for random WSOP stuff and other hijinks.

Also, help support indie writers and buy my books: Lost Vegas: The Redneck Riviera, Existentialist Conversations with Strippers and the World Series of Poker, and my recently released novel, Jack Tripper Stole My Dog. Both are also available for Kindles and iPads.

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