Wednesday, February 28, 2007

L.A. Poker Classic Day 5: Down to 18

By Pauly

There are 18 players remaining at the L.A. Poker Classic and JC Tran made an amazing run. He jump ed from 363K in chips to over $3.46 million in a few hours. Chau Giang, Kristy Gazes, Jason Strasser, Chris Bell, and Paul Wasicka are all still alive. Gazes is one of the short stacks and needs to double up quickly if she wants to make the final table. Day 5 could be the shortest day as they will play down from 18 to 6.

I wrote a Recap of Day 4 which has been posted over at Poker News.

Head over to Poker News for our Live Reporting updates of Day 4 at the L.A. Poker Classic at Commerce Casino.

There's are also plenty of photos courtesy of Amy Calistri in the LAPC Photo Gallery.

Don't forget to check out Poker News' video galleries with our reporter Tiffany Michelle and Schecky interviewing various pros.

Here's an interview with cipleader JC Tran:

Click here to view the video.

Here are some other interesting player interviews that were shot yesterday:
Jason Strasser
Tad Jurgens
Bill Edler
Nick Schulman
Hans "Tuna" Lund
Jeff Cabanillis
Mike Gracz: Hand Anaysis Part I and Part II
Noteworthy eliminations on Day 4 included: CK Hua, Hans "Tuna" Lund, Nam Le,Nick Schulman, Isaac "I got 800K stuck in Neteller" Haxton, Jeff Cabanillas, Lee Markholt, Ted Lawson, Joe Awada, Michael Carson, Greg "FTB"Mueller, Edward "Bolivia" Moncada, and Bodog Ari.

Here are Final 18 chipcounts:
1 JC Tran $3,461,000
2 Jacobo Fernandez $1,334,000
3 Jason Strasser $1,196,000
4 Bill Edler $1,160,000
5 Tad Jurgens $1,059,000
6 Benjamin Johnson $1,055,000
7 David Bach $985,000
8 Chau Giang $813,000
9 Paul Wasicka $806,000
10 Eric Hershler $745,000
11 Chris Bell $636,000
12 Vincent Procopio $512,000
13 Joseph Cordi $512,000
14 Richard Munro $371,000
15 Jay Chang $333,000
16 Kristy Gazes $307,000
17 Juan Alvarado $282,000
18 Shan Jing $266,000
Action for Day 5 resumes at 3:30pm local time, so don't forget to stop by Poker News and check out the Live Reporting of the LA Poker Classic.

Original content written and provided by Pauly from Tao of Poker. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

L.A. Poker Classic Day 4: Trimming 54 to 18

By Pauly

The race for the mouth-watering $2.4 million first place prize continued at the Commerce Casino for the LA Poker Classic as the bubble broke at 2:45am late last night. 152 players began Day 3 and only 54 players made it to Day 4. All remaining players made the money and are guaranteed to win $22,780.

I wrote a Recap of Day 3 which has been posted over at Poker News. It's one of the best recaps I wrote thus far for Poker News, so you don't want to miss it.

JC Tran began the day as the chipleader, then lost it after he bluffed off most of his chips. 2006 WSOP runner-up Paul Wasicka went on a huge run and became the first player to rush past $1 Million in chips. He'd lose about 30% of his stack late in Day 3 as Jason Strasser got hot. That quiet kid from Duke put on a clinic. With a short stack he doubled through Wasicka, bullied his opponents and ended Day 3 second in chips to Bill Edler.

Kristy Gazes cashed in her sixth straight event and was the last female standing. She doubled up with A-A on the bubble to jump into 18th place in chips, while Change100 was fawning over her choice in shoes. Yes, we al love Kristy Gazes.

Head over to Poker News for our Live Reporting updates of Day 4 at the L.A. Poker Classic at Commerce Casino.

There's are also plenty of photos courtesy of Amy Calistri in the LAPC Photo Gallery.

Don't forget to check out Poker News' video galleries with our reporter Tiffany Michelle and Schecky interviewing various pros.

Here's an interview with the Isaac Haxton who has $800K stuck in Neteller:

Click here to view the video.

Here are some other interesting player interviews that were shot yesterday:
Paul Wasicka
Kristy Gazes
Barry Greenstein
Tad Jurgens
Jacobo Fernandez
Day 2 Recap
Daddy's buddy Chau Giang is still alive! He was cracking me up from the moment he set foot into the ballroom for Day 3. He was engrossed in a deep massage at his table with a pack of Marlboro Lights next to his chip stack. Only twenty minutes into Day 3, Giang appeared extremely spent after a late night at the cash game tables in the Commerce Casino poker room. I wonder if he even slept? When the action slowed down, he entertained his table with wild gambling stories involving high stakes betting on a round of golf. He flew to Mexico with Bobby Baldwin, Phil Ivey, and Doyle Brunson where they played golf with NBA legend Michael Jordan for 50K per hole.

"I'm not good. I don't play," admitted Giang. "I'm just there to gamble."

There's something amazingly surreal about a crazy Asian gambler standing on a golf course in Mexico, wagering on whether the greatest basketball player of all time can sink a 20 foot putt.

Noteworthy eliminations on Day 3 included: Barry Greenstein, Erik Seidel, Minh Ly, Ted Forrest, Crispin Leyser, Toto Leonidas, Daniel Alaei, Steve Brecher, Brian Haveson, Anthony Mak (Negreanu's new protege), Jesse Jones, Quinn Do, Dan Schmeich, Joe Tehan, Steve Dannenmann, Eugene Todd, Parhlad Friedman, and Tim Phan.

Here are the Top 10 chipcounts:
1. Bill Edler 696K
2. Jason Strasser 677K
3. Suk Sung 668K
4. JC Tran 636K
5. Juan Alvarado 634K
6. Richard Munro 631K
7. Paul Wasicka 619K
8. Tad Jurgens 598K
9. CK Hua 597K
10. Chris Bell 570K
And here are some players still alive:
Jeff Cabanillas 515K
Nick Schulman 515K
Isaac Haxton 473K
Jay Chang 463K
Hans "Tuna" Lund 463K
Lee Markholt 388K
Kristy Gazes 339K
Ted Lawson 330K
Ed Moncada 323K
Joe Awada 300K
Chau Giang 283K
Nam Le 276K
BoDog Ari 177K
Vinny Procopio 150K
Greg FTB Mueller 97K
Nick Binger 84K
Mike Carson 84K
Action for Day 4 resumes at 3:30pm local time, so don't forget to stop by Poker News and check out the Live Reporting of the LA Poker Classic, brought to you by Schecky, Shronk, Lavalli, Calistri, Change100, Tiffany, and myself.

Original content written and provided by Pauly from Tao of Poker. All rights reserved.

Monday, February 26, 2007

L.A. Poker Classic Day 3

By Pauly

After a somewhat short Day 2, there are 152 players remaining at the L.A. Poker Classic at Commerce Casino with JC Tran as the runaway chipleader with over 543K. He scooped the biggest pot of the tournament worth over a half of a million when he busted Day 1 chipleader Joe Sebok. JC Tran is looking for some revenge this year after he had his Aces cracked at the final table last year when Alan Goehring rivered a one outer.

I wrote a Recap of Day 2 which has been posted over at Poker News. Take a peek.

Head over to Poker News for our Live Reporting updates of Day 3 at the L.A. Poker Classic at Commerce Casino.

There's are also plenty of photos courtesy of Amy Calistri in the LAPC Photo Gallery.

Don't forget to check out Poker News' video galleries with our reporter Tiffany Michelle and Schecky interviewing various pros.

Here's an interview with the lovely Erica Schoenberg rocking a nifty retro-rock T-shirt:

Click here to view the video.

Here are some other interesting player interviews that were shot yesterday:
Daniel Negreanu & His New Protege
BoDog Ari
Phil Laak
In case you have been following along with the Prop Bets series on, you will know that Gavin Smith and Joe Sebok have been doing outrageous bets with each other. One of them was settled last night. The two had a last longer bet at the LAPC. The loser now has to get the winner's initials tattooed on their ass. Gavin busted out before Sebok and J.S. will be forever inked on his pale white ass. Poor Gavin. Actually, I feel bad for the guy who actually has to do the inkwork on Gavin's ass.

Head over to to see their last prop bet... a food eating contest. Hilarious.

Noteworthy eliminations on Day 2 included: Joe Sebok, Gavin Smith, David Chui, Kathy Liebert, Newhizzle, Shaniac, Chad Brown, Mike Matusow, Eric "Rizen" Lynch, Erick Lindgren, Carl Olson, Tony Ma, Men the Master, Todd Brunson, Harry Demetriou, Robert Mizrachi, David Benyamine, Phil Laak, Shannon Shorr, Maria Ho, Joe Cassidy, My Main Man Freddy Deeb, Patrik Antonius, Michael Binger, Haralabos Voulgaris, Isabelle Mercier, Erica Schoenberg, Joe Bartholdi, Capt. Tom's Penis, Sean Sheikhan, and Martin De Knijff.

With JC Tran as the chipleader going into Day 3, several other players are left in the hunt including: BoDogAri, CK Hua, Jason Strasser, Joe Tehan, Bill Edler, Paul Wasicka, Parhlad Friedman, Ed Moncada, Nam Le, Barry Greenstein, Greg "FTB" Mueller, Ted Forrest, Kristy Gazes, Mike McClain, Jeff "Happy" Shulman, Dan Schmiech, Crispin Leyser, Ted Lawson, Nick Schulman, Jesse Jones, Danny Alaei, Brian Haveson, Steve Brecher, Quinn Do, The Grinder, Erik Sediel, Toto Leonidas, and Eugene Todd.

Action resumes at 3:30pm local time, so don't forget to stop by Poker News and check out the Live Reporting of the LA Poker Classic.

Original content written and provided by Pauly from Tao of Poker. All rights reserved.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

L.A. Poker Classic Day 2

By Pauly

791 players bought into the L.A. Poker Classic on the latest stop on the WPT. By the end of the first day of play, 368 players remain in the hunt for the $2.4 million first place prize.

I wrote a Recap of Day 1 which has been posted over at Poker News. Take a peek.

Head over to Poker News for our Live Reporting updates of Day 2 at the L.A. Poker Classic at Commerce Casino.

There's are also plenty of photos courtesy of Amy Calistri and don't forget to check out Poker News' video galleries with Tiffany Michelle interviewing various pros.

Here's a rare interview with Crispin Leyser:

Click here to view the video.

Joe Sebok ended Day 1 second in chips even though he was playing injured. Poker is a dangerous sport and it's refreshing to see the tough guys gut it out and play through the pain.

Daddy's two most favorite poker players, Chau Giang and Kathy Liebert, made it to Day 2. Stop by Poker News to see who made the cut and end of Day 1 chip counts. Tao of Poker's favorite pothead, Shaniac, ended Day 1 in the Top 10 in chips. Plenty of top pros are still alive such as Isabelle Mercier, Patrik Antonius, Barry Greenstien, CK Hua, Crispin Leyser, Paul Wasicka, Mike Matusow, Ted Forrest, My Main Man Freddy Deeb, Jason Strasser, Ed Moncada, Prahlad Friedman, The Grinder, Kristy Gazes, Erica Schoenberg, Phil Laak, and Gavin Smith.

Gavin Smith and Joe Sebok have a prop bet at the LAPC. The loser has to get the winner's initials tattooed on their ass. Gavin has a lot of work ahead of him on Day 2, otherwise, he's gonna have JS on his cheeks for the rest of eternity.

Jamie Gold was one of the first players to bust out. Daniel Negreanu got aces cracked twice within three hands by junk hands to get eliminated (and his latest protege is still alive). Jen Tilly took a wicked bad beat from Danny Alaei late last night and is still complaining about it.

Action resumes at 3:30pm local time, so don't forget to stop by Poker News and check out the Live Reporting of the LA Poker Classic.

Original content written and provided by Pauly from Tao of Poker. All rights reserved.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

L.A. Poker Classic Coverage

By Pauly

Usually, I'm a solo act. It takes something special to get me to work with a team and Poker News is one of those rare exceptions.

Starting Saturday at 3:30pm local time, Poker News will be providing coverage of the latest stop on the World Poker Tour... the prestigious L.A. Poker Classic at Commerce Casino. Head over to the Live Reporting tab on Poker News to follow the action.

John "Schecky" Caldwell assembled a mega-team of tournament reporters and I'm fortunate to be a part of this super group. We're the Traveling Wilburys of the poker circuit. You've heard the names before in different capacities... Schecky, Shronk, Lavalli, Calistri, Change100, and Dr. Pauly. And for the first time, you'll get to see us in action over the next week or so as we provide you with multimedia coverage of the biggest tournament in California for Poker News.

Send out an email blast. Tell your friends. Wake your neighbors. Spam poker forums. Blog about it on your knitting blogs. Because the gang at Poker News is going to try to set the standard on how poker tournaments should be covered.

Let's meet the LAPC coverage team at Poker News:

Schecky eating corn

Schecky: John Caldwell is the Editor-In-Chief of Poker News and the mastermind behind assembling the super team. He recently got engaged to Jen Leo, who is a super catch. The former music industry guru once shaved his goatee for $5,000 at the bequest of the dudes at Hootie and the Blowfish. The bidding starts at $5,001...


Shronk: Justin Shronk is a multimedia genius and drank fourteen energy drinks in a row at the Aussie Millions without pissing once. He also ate Vegemite for a prop bet and has yet to get that salty taste out of his mouth four weeks later.

The Poker Shrink

Dr. Tim Lavalli: The Poker Shrink is the captain of the live blogging team and his impressive resume includes covering tournaments for multiple outlets. With Amy Calistri aka Nancy Drew, they cracked the case of the missing $2 million chips at the 2006 Main Event. And yes he can psychoanalyze you in less than four minutes and has Liz Lieu's number on speed dial.

Amy Calistri

Amy Calistri: The best cleavage in poker will be providing some of the best photos at the LAPC. I'll do my best to sneak a boob shot of Amy for all of you die-hard fans of Calistri's Cleavage. And as always, if there's any gossip to be found at Commerce, it will eventually waft its way towards Amy.


Change100: Everyone's favorite former-child-actor turned Hollyweird-exec turned freelance poker writer is joining the zoo at PokerNews. Change100 broke into the grueling world of tournament reporting at the 2006 WSOP with where she dazzled everyone with her hilarious WSOP Fashion Reports: Winners and Losers. If you're a fashion victim, she'll be quick to point it out.

Dr. Pauly: You know my story. I actually retired two years ago and moved to Amsterdam. Nothing I've written since late 2005 is actually mine. Don't you love outsourcing and interns? Never underestimate what $5,000 can get in Banglore, India and what creative writing students at NYU will do for a bag of weed and free pizza.

Don't forget to stop by Poker News and check out the Live Reporting of the LA Poker Classic starting at 3:30pm on Saturday.

Original content written and provided by Pauly from Tao of Poker. All rights reserved.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Steal This Fucktards!

By Pauly

Thanks to Mookie for the banner help.

Like the banner reads, if you are not reading this on the Tao of Poker, you are supporting internet thievery. So head over to the Tao of Poker and bookmark that page.

Editor's Note: That excludes legit RSS readers like Bloglines, Feedburner, Google Reader, MyYahoo, etc. I thought that was obvious.

And consider this a general "Fuck you!" to all those asstards, fucknuts, and douchebags out there who can't do... so they steal.

While I'm a it, I'm gonna use your sites to place my PokerStars affiliate banner on it. Eat that, dipshits!

Download PokerStars

Original content written and provided by Pauly from Tao of Poker. All rights reserved.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Thursday Pimp

By Pauly

I will be covering the L.A. Poker Classic starting Saturday for Poker News. Justin Shronk will be the mastermind behind the multimedia as John "Schecky" Caldwell will be doing video updates just like he did at the Aussie Millions. The Poker Shrink, Dr. Tim Lavalli, is the leader of the live blogging team which includes myself, Change100, and Amy Calistri. I think we have one of the best tournament coverage teams ever assembled. Stop by Poker News this weekend for videos, pictures, hand in depth analysis, live blogging, and other random stuff.

Thanks to everyone for the well wishes. I am slowly getting back to normal after a losing bout with strep throat. I've lost 15 pounds in past week which means I shredded my beer gut that I acquired in Australia. I still can't talk for another day, but I'll be fine. Change100 has been an angel and took amazing care of me the last few days. I'm lucky to have her in my life.

Jay "Big Shot" Greenspan finally has a blog. Take a peek at his madness.

Stop by Raw Vegas TV and see the hilarious prop bet video with Gavin Smith and Joe Sebok as they take on Chinese Water Torture for $10K.

Spaceman is back blogging for Bluff, covering the final table of the WSOP Circuit event in San Diego. Shaniac and Nordberg made the final table.

Congrats to Maudie who won the Mookie last night. She's on a roll and took 3rd place in the Blogger Big Game on Sunday.

Stop by AlCantHang for Riverchasers tournament info. There's an event tonight.

Amy Calistri wrote Harrah's Confirms Revised WSOP Ad Policy which means no more hospitality suites at the Rio. Where am I gonna drink for free this summer?

By the way, I picked up $40 in a veggie food prop bet when I ate carrots at a diner in LA. Perhaps that's how I got strep throat, hmmmmmm?

And lastly, check out some of Flipchip's most recent Las Vegas photos.

Original content written and provided by Pauly from Tao of Poker. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Mookie Day

By Pauly

I'm still under the weather and bedridden in the City of Angels with a nasty case of strep throat. I'm under strict orders not to speak for two days. I'm confined to Change100's bed and it's nowhere as sexy as you think since I'm sick as a dog. Therefore, unless Nurse Jaxia comes over to give me a sponge bath or Dr. Iakaris, Dr. Jeff, or Dr. Chako makes a house call to jack me up with steroids, I will not be able to play tonight. However, that should not deter you from playing in The Mookie. See below for details.

In case some of you were wondering if you could switch lives with me, there are two instances where you wouldn't want to. The first is... I don't have health insurance. I've been reluctant to pull the trigger and head over to Cedars Sinai's ER which would cost an uninsured person like me a few grand which is out of my price range since I still have money in limbo via Neteller. After two days of intense throat pain, I sucked it up this morning and Change100 drove me to the free clinic in West Hollywood peppered with homeless people, AIDS patients, 16 year pregnant girls, and people who don't speak a lick of English. After two plus hours sitting in disease infested waiting room, all I got was penicillin, some extra-strength Motrin, and a possible case of scabies from the guy in front of me who looked like Abe Vigoda. But at least my conversational Spanish has improved.

The second bane of my existence is trying to track down deliquent clients who promised to pay. You fuckers know who you are and if you don't pay up soon, my collection agents Derek and The Rooster are going to pay you a visit.

Original content written and provided by Pauly from Tao of Poker. All rights reserved.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Lucky Pig and the Blogger Big Game

By Pauly

Sunday marked the Chinese lunar New Year of 4705. The Year of the Dog was quickly ushered out and the Year of the Pig made a rumbling entrance. Chinese Astrologists believe that babies born during the Pig Year are subjected to a blessed life filled with honesty, plenty of luck, and good fortune. So if you are having children this year... your kid is going to be born under a lucky sign. Hemingway, Woody Allen, Thomas Jefferson, and Johnny Knoxville were all born in the year of the pig. However, for the rest of us, the Pig Year under the fire cycle represents one of the worst stretches of time in the 12-year lunar cycle. The Feng Shui masters have been touting a year full of natural disasters and poor health. So make sure you eat your vitamins and have a flashlight.

Photo courtesy of Flipchip

One of the activities you're supposed to do on Chinese New Year is to gamble. That's why Macau, Atlantic City, and Las Vegas had a heavy influx of visitors over the weekend. In some Asian cultures, people save up money for years before they embark on one momentous gambling trip. The outcome of their gambling binge is determined by the gods. If they are blessed to lead a prosperous life, luck will surround them and they'll come out ahead as a big winner at the tables. Otherwise, if they're not the lucky ones, they lose their roll and have to accept the fact that they are supposed to live an ordinary life of struggle and mediocrity.

The last two weeks were tough. I was on uber-tilt for a fortnight. I caught a nasty cold that still lingers today. I was caught in a rut at the tables, couldn't get paid by a bunch of clients, and it took me two days to get out of JFK airport and out to California due to the JetBlue's major league fuckup during the Valentine's Day blizzard. Heck, at least I got out. Some folks were stuck on planes for several hours, while others could not find their luggage or had flights canceled through today... five days later.

I played in Miami Don's Blogger Big Game at Full Tilt on Sunday. I'm not a tournament player these days and I'm on a strict cash game regimen. I occasionally play in random blogger events but I shy away from pissing away my bankroll at higher buy-in events. One of the biggest leaks to my bankroll the last few years has been MTTs and the best way to plug that gapping hole is to avoid tournaments outright. Besides, after covering poker tournaments for the last two years, I've grown an aversion to playing in them.

There's one thing I have noticed about being on the tournament circuit all over the world is that over the long haul, the better players will be more successful that the rest of us. However, on any given night, anyone can win which is why so many people are attracted to tournaments. More often than not, the luckiest player wins the tournament that day. I've seen it time after time on the EPT, WPT, WSOP, and at the Aussie Millions.

When I sit down to play a tournament, I used to psyche myself up in order to play the best poker. These days, I don't even bother wasting that energy because if luck falls my way, I'll win the tournament or go deep. If I'm not destined to win that day, I won't.

Of course the definition of luck comes into play. Is luck sucking out when you are behind? Is luck catching cards? Is luck not having your big hands cracked? Is luck winning coin flips? Is luck having your opponent push all in with a pocket pair smaller than yours? Is luck getting a good table draw?

I believe that luck during poker tournaments are a combination of all of those things along with making the best possible decisions along the way to put yourself in the best possible position to get lucky.

I originally bought in directly when I signed up on Saturday morning. Then I got into the Big Game for an $8.80 investment. On Saturday, I played an 18 person peep with Garth. We both made the final table and I won a $24 token. On Sunday morning, I used my $24 token and parlayed that into a $69 token. That was an indication that I was going to do well, along with the fact that I had a nice run at the cash game tables. I was feeling good poker-wise because I felt an energy field of luck flowing through me.

When it was time to play the Big Game, I found myself sickly. Since I was staying at Change100's Beverly Hills apartment, I had to play in seclusion in her bedroom since her roommate Showcase was dog sitting for the weekend. That dog in particular was a homosexual Dachshund named Rudy that had a propensity to hump other male dogs and roll on his back and gnaw incessantly at his testicles. The dog that is, not Showcase. I've spent more than my share of time playing online in Change100's living room while sitting on the same couch as the ball-suckling dog. Last night, I wanted no part of that. Concentrating with a nasal drip, a fever, and a head cold was hard enough, let alone being distracted by nut-nibbling canines.

I flipped the TV back and forth between the Simpsons and having the NBA All-Star game on mute while I listened to a James Brown bootleg, Taj Mahal, Delta Nove, and Otis Grove, which is now my new favorite band because that's what was playing on my iTunes when I made the final table.

17 runners bought into the Big Game and although it was one of the toughest 17 player fields I've ever played against. Some solid to exceptional players were in the mix and I definitely was at the back end of the field as far as tournament ability goes. My first table featured Lucko, Raveen, Sir Waffle, KrazyBangs, jjok, Maudie and our host Miami Don.

I jumped out to an early chiplead when I took a pot off of Lucko and took half his stack. I raised preflop (my standard pot-sized pre-flop bet). Lucko called from the small blind and Rav called from the big blind. On a flop of 9d-7s-4d, Lucko bet about 75% of the pot and Rav folded. I called. The turn was 8d and Lucko bet about 80% of the pot and I moved all in. He asked me if I had the hammer and eventually mucked. I took about half of his stack and did not show my cards. That hand put me into the chiplead and also neutralized the best player in the tournament early on. Lucko had to play shortstacked for several more levels as he slowly built back up into contention.

It took almost 45 minutes before the first player busted. Sir Waffle won the Gigli when he took the Hilton Sisters up against Raveen's A-Js. Although Waffle flopped a set, Raveen filled in his flush as Waffles headed to the rail. Two hands later, Miami Don felt something bad was coming before the flop when he was all in with K-K against Raveen's Q-Q. The flop had a Queen as Miami Don was eliminated in 15th place. Derek was moved to my table after Waffles busted out.

I folded for the next hour or so and picked up plenty of small and uncontested pots to keep my stack about the same. I was in the top 3 for most of the tournament with Rav as the chipleader. He was crippled after he lost consecutive hands to jjok and Maudie.

I added to my stack against jjok when I had A-5s in the big blind. We both limped and I flopped an ace with a flush draw. I check-raised him and he mucked. That had put me up to 7.5K in chips and I was in second behind jjok's 9.3K.

Lucko made one helluva comeback until he lost a big hand against Maudie. She had a straight and he had two pair on a flush board. At that point, our table was six-handed. Maudie, jjok, and myself had big stack while Derek, Rav, and Lucko were shortstacked.

I had Q-9s on the button and I raised the pot. From the small blind, jjok called. The flop was 9h-4s-2d and he checked. I bet the pot and he moved all in. I put him on nothing and almost called with top pair and a mediocre kicker. I reluctantly mucked as I lost about 1/3 of my stack.

A couple of hands later, I raised the pot with Q-Q. With a monster stack, jjok pushed all in with 9-9. I called and my Hiltons held up. That hand put me back into the Top 2 in chips. I had the most chips at my table with over 8K as jjok slipped to 7.2K.
Here's the final table at the Blogger Big Game including chipcounts:
Seat 1: lucko21 (3,120)
Seat 2: hoyazo (2,574)
Seat 3: smizmiatch (10,366)
Seat 4: Fuel55 (5,918)
Seat 5: DrPauly (8,705)
Seat 6: jjok (7,295)
Seat 7: Maudie (5,135)
Seat 8: Zeem (5,242)
Seat 9: Derek (2,645)
Surly Poker Gnome (aka smizmiatch) was in the lead and I was second. I made another final table with my brother. Derek has been on fire recently and less than 20 hours earlier, he won a $50 MTT Horse event on FT. Derek caught a lucky card against Lucko when his A-10 outflopped Lucko's A-J. Lucko busted out two hands later.

Hoy was eliminated in 8th place when he moved all in with 10-10. Fuel called with 6-6 and flopped a 6 to send Hoy to the rail. That poor guy take more bad beats than almost anyone I know. I slipped to third in chips behind Gnome and Fuel.

Gnome and his monster stack tried to steal my big blind. I pushed with 3-3 and he mucked from the button. Two minutes before the break, I picked up a decisive pot. Gnome's stack was over 11K and I had 7.5K. Blinds were 200/400 with 50 antes. I found Kh-Qh on the button. Gnome raised the pot and I called. The flop was Qc-10c-4d. Gnome checked and I bet the pot at 3750. Gnome check-raised me all in. I only had about 2K left. I took a deep breath and called. He flipped over 10d-9h. The turn and river were blanks as I scooped a 16K pot and jumped into the chiplead. Gnome had about 3K remaining.

I found A-A on the next hand and was heads up with Maudie. The flop was 6-6-6 and Maudie mucked. I was up to 18K. On the next hand, Derek was all in with 8-8 up against Gnome's 2-2. And Gnome flopped quads. Ouch. Derek was crippled and busted out in 7th place on the next hand.

With six players remaining, I went on a rush and busted the next five players en route to the victory. First victim was Gnome and it was payback for busting my brother. I sucked out on him with A-8s. He had 10-10 and I flopped top pair on an 8 high board. All the money went in the pot on the flop. I turned the Ace as Gnome headed to the rail in 6th place. Luck is sucking out at the final table, which I had done.

At the second break with five players left, I was the chipleader with 44% of the chips in play. Physically, I felt like shit but I was catching cards. I raised every pot I played and tried to steal a pot with the Hammer. Alas, Maudie moved all in on me and I had to muck.

I knocked out Zeem in 5th place when I won a race with 6-6 against Q-10. I had 55% of the chips in play and went into hyper-aggressive mode where I raised almost every pot. We settled on a $75 save for fourth place so technically Zeem was the bubble boy. Luck is winning coin flips at the final table, which I had done.

I had 61% of the chips in play when I busted Fuel55. My 4-4 held up against his A-K and he headed to the rail in 4th place. I raised UTG and Fuel popped me back with a 3x raise. I knew I had the best hand and called. I should have moved all in preflop but I didn't. The flop was all overcards with Qc-10d-9s and when Fuel moved in for his last 4K, I was committed and had to call. The turn and river didn't help him and he busted out as I scooped a 22K pot. After that hand, Fuel called me a "prick" in the chat. Whatever.

With 84% of the chips in play, I was in control with jjok and Maudie about even in chips. I took a hit to my stack on consecutive hands. The first was a bad beat from jjok (my A-8 lost to 10-7) then I lost a coin flip against Maudie (my 4-4 lost to Maudie's A-8). My stack slipped to 30K but I still had 58% of the chips in play.

Maudie played an amazing tournament and hung on to make the money with a small stack. She eventually busted out in 3rd place when my A-7 held up against her Q-9. I had been bullying her blinds the entire tournament and when I raised from the button, she called. The flop was Ah-Qd-8s. Maudie pushed all in with second pair. I called with a pair of aces and my hand held up. Someday I'll get to play Maudie heads-up in a blogger event.

With 72% of the chips in play, I had a 37K to 14K margin. Heads-up play against jjok lasted six hands. On the fifth hand, I found Kh-10h in the big blind. When jjok limped, I raised the pot and he called. The flop was Jc-9c-7h. I fired out a pot-sized bet with a double gut-shot and he moved all in. It was about 4K more to call and I did. He flipped over 10d-9s and was ahead with a pair. The turn was 5h and the river was 8s. That river card gave both of us a Jack high straight and we chopped the pot.

On the last hand of the tournament, I raised with 9c-4h from the small blind and jjok called. The flop was 9s-9d-8h. After jjok checked, I bet the pot. He moved all in and had check-raised me with Qd-8d. He picked up a flush draw on the turn when a 3d fell. My trip 9s held up and I won the Blogger Big Game when the Ace of spades fell on the river. And yes, luck is also having your big hands hold up against a draw.

Congrats on jjok for second place and to Maudie and Fuel for making the money. Thanks again to Miami Don for hosting. It was a tough field in the Blogger Big Game, which makes the victory somewhat special for me. I don't play too many tournament and it felt good to win $560 on a $8.80 investment. Luck was on my side last night and that's why I won.

I began the Year of the Pig sick as a dog. However, as the first day of the new year progressed, I had a profitable day at the tables, was fortunate enough to work on my book proposal, and was contacted by a prestigious entity about doing some freelance work with them.

In the immortal words of Thom Yorke, "I'm on a roll, I'm on a roll this time. I feel my luck could change."

Original content written and provided by Pauly from Tao of Poker. All rights reserved.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Saturday Pimpage

By Pauly

Let me start out by welcoming Michele Lewis to the Pokerati crew. She'll be a nice addition to the mayhem over there posting under the moniker Fresh Princess. She's been writing about her LAPC run. Michele Lewis is also a contributor to a new book called Women's Poker Night written by Maryann Morrison. Check it out.

The NBA All-Star Game Weekend is in full swing in Las Vegas. Flipchip has been all around Sin City snapping up random photos. Stop by and check out his photos on the Las Vegas Blog and the Poker Prof's Poker Blog.

If you don't know, I'm a frequent contributor and business partner at We currently have three different blogs; Las Vegas Blog (Vegas Entertainment & News), Poker Prof's Poker Blog, and the Las Vegas Business and Politics Blog.

* * * * *

And now, a word from our sponsor... BoDog.

I got this information from BoDog directly. BoDog is launching qualifiers today to Calvin Ayre Wild Card Poker II online, where a BoDog player will win a spot on the reality TV show and a chance at the $2 million grand prize package ($1 million in cash plus a one year $1 million BoDog contract).

Photo courtesy of BoDog

The coveted spot on the popular poker TV show will be given away to the winner of's "Calvin Ayre Wild Card Poker II" poker tournament, held on April 28, 2007. Qualifying tournaments for this final event start this Saturday, Feb. 17, with a buy-in of $5.00+.50 or 300 Bodog Poker points, and will run every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday. The top five finishers from each qualifier will automatically be registered to play in the final event on April 28, where they will battle it out with competitors from around the world. The winner of the final event will receive a spot on "Calvin Ayre Wild Card Poker II" and the opportunity to play on international TV for the $2 million grand prize package. The remaining top five finishers in the April 28 tournament will win prizes ranging from a trip for two to Antigua and dinner with the show's host Calvin Ayre to a flat screen TV.
The April 28 Championship Tournament Prizes:
1st Place - Spot on "Calvin Ayre Wild Card Poker II" TV show and a
shot at the $2 million grand prize ($1M cash + $1M contract with Bodog)
2nd Place - Trip for two to Antigua and dinner with Calvin Ayre
3rd Place - Home Entertainment System
4th Place - Custom Bodog Poker Table
5th Place - Flat Screen TV
For more on the "Calvin Ayre Wild Card Poker II" Online Qualifiers and Tournament, visit BoDog. And while you are their visit BoDog's tournament schedule.

* * * * *

And lastly, Miami Don is hosting The Big Game this Sunday on Full Tilt. I will play if my schedule permits. Here are the details:

Best of luck and thanks to Miami Don for hosting.

Original content written and provided by Pauly from Tao of Poker. All rights reserved.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

More Online Poker Hands

By Pauly

I posted Cacophony of Bad Beats one day too early. I got issued a wicked bad beat at JFK airport yesterday. My flight to California was canceled due to the blizzard and rescheduled for Friday at 6:30am. Head over to the Tao of Pauly to read Snowed In.

Here are some hands that I played online at PokerStars or Full Tilt in the past week.

8h-8d: PL Hold'em MTT on PokerStars

I made the final table of the WWdN second chance tournament on Tuesday. I thought it was a PLO event when I signed up and was shocked to see only two cards dealt to me instead of four. I gutted it out and made the final table along with Wil. With four players left, I was second in chips with less than 4K in chips separating first from fourth. Blinds were 300/600 and I found 8h-8d in the small blind. Jeciimd raised on the button to 1800. I re-raised to 6000. Carneggy in the big blind moved all in for 11575 total. Jeciimd folded and I went into the tank. It was only 5575 more to call with 19K in the pot. It was shorthanded but I popped the button for 10x the original big blind and over 3x more the original raise. I really didn't want to play PLH to begin with so said fuck it and called. I knew I was ahead against any baby pair, even against any big cards, and totally fucked if he had a pair of 9s or higher. Carneggy flipped over Ah-Qd and the board bricked out for him as my 8-8 won a race. Carneggy busted out in 4th place as I took over the chiplead with three players left.

Qs-10d: PL Hold'em MTT on PokerStars

Heads up with hacker59 in the WWdN PLH tournament. He's got me outchipped 38K to 14K. Blinds are 400/800 and I found Qs-10d in the big blind. Hacker59 raised the pot to 2400 and I called. The flop was Ad-10h-2d. I flopped second pair and check-called a 3200 bet. The turn was Qh and I had two pair. With two flush draws on the board I wanted to check-raise. That didn't happen because hacker69 checked behind me. The river was a Jd which filled in a flush and gave the board a possible straight. I checked the river, as did hacker59. My two pair lost to a Broadway straight when he turned over Kc-8c. I typed in the chat, "I played that poorly." I should have jammed on the turn instead of trying for a fancy-play check-raise. Hacker59 would have most likely folded if I bet out on the turn and the stacks would have been about 30K to 20K. Instead the bad decision meant I was crippled and down to under 3K. I busted out in second place a couple of hands later.

Ks-Kc: 2/4 NL on Full Tilt

Derek can tell you how juicy the 2/4 NL tables are on Full Tilt. My brother has been crushing them as of late so I sat down at a table. Otis happened to be seated to my left. I posted at the cutoff and Otis was the button. For my first hand I found Ks-Kc. Player in MP with a $195 stack raised 4x the BB to $16. I raised to $40. Everyone folded to the raiser and he called. The flop was Qs-4s-3s. At least I got the Ks. He checked and I bet $86 or roughly the size of the pot. He check-raised me all in. Bastard. I put him on a set of Queens or the Ace of spades. I had him covered and it's only $70 more for me to call. I went into the tank and eventually called. he showed Qh-Qd for the set. The turn was a Jack of spades and the resuck came my way. The board did not pair on the river and I scooped a pot close to $400. I hit and run and left three hands later.

2h-2c: 5/10 Limit on Poker Stars

Player A in MP raised and I called with 2h-2c. The button called and the small blind raised. Player A, the button, and I all called. With $65 in the pot, I flopped a set on a board of 5d-4s-2s. Small blind bet out, Player A called, and I raised. The button folded and the small blind three bet. Player A called and I capped it with a raise. $125 in the pot. The turn was 4d. The small blind bet and Player A called. I raised and both players called. The river was Qs and both players checked to me. I bet and both called. My full house won as the small blind showed Js-Jc and Player A had 3d-3h. I won a $212 pot with 2-2 after outflopping a big pair.

* * * * *

One year ago today on the Tao of Poker, I wrote Third Place Sucks:
I took third place in the LA Poker Classic Media Tournament. First place paid out a seat to the WPT Invitational which starts right after the LA Poker Classic ends. Third place paid nothing today, except a t-shirt. And they only had a large. I'm an XL kinda guy. I got bad beated by Barbara Enright three times. The three-time bracelet winner also was the only female to ever make the final table of the WSOP main event. The best player in the field sucked out on me three times and crippled me at the final table before I was finally eliminated... More
Two years ago, I wrote Bounties, Hilton Sisters, Commercials, Reader Mail, and Life:
I used to think that young girls who hit you or treat you like shit on the playground really like you deep down and have a tough time expressing those feelings for you. I used to think that. It's all bullshit. You know why? I'm 32 years old and chicks are still kicking me in the junk. Why? Because that's what they do. Hell hath no fury than a woman ready to kick you straight in the junk. They might not exactly aim for my groin area with their brand new Manaolos, but you get the picture. Some of them might get drunk in a cafe in Paris and hook up with a cheesy, dirty Frenchmen named Pierre and of course they feel horrible every second they are doing that to you and they do it anyway. It's like your inability to fold a high pocket pair when their are three flush cards on the flop. Be realistic kid, it's going to get worse. Enjoy getting kicked in the balls today. In fifteen years some chick will snort all your drugs, fuck your next door neighbor, run up all your credit cards, and then sell your dog to a bunch of hippie kids for a used Avril LaVigne CD. "Life's not fair," as our former President Jimmy Carter once said in a speech to unemployed factory workers on the campiagn trail in the South. Listen to his words. The quicker you accept the brutality of life, the quicker you will be on the road towards middle management... More
Original content provided by Pauly from Tao of Poker. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Cacophony of Bad Beats

I went out to a birthday dinner for my mother on Saturday. Five minutes into the dinner, my uncle who was seated to my right, blindsided me with a bad beat story. I was shocked and horrified. I couldn't even retreat into a quiet family dinner without someone titling me with one of their horrible beats.

"I had A-J and flopped a straight," he said and I rolled my eyes as he slowly delivered the painstaking bad beat.

His opponent flopped bottom pair and caught running cards for a boat, which he spiked on the river. The awful part about this story... it was on a Play Money table. He had been playing on Empire but after they shut down operations to US players he was looking for a new site. When I was in Australia, Derek downloaded Full Tilt for him and he's been on the play tables ever since.

Bad beat stories are like weird dreams. After you get one, you can't wait to tell someone, but it's nowhere as interesting for the listener as it is for the teller.

Derek had a tough situation when he worked down on Wall Street. One of his co-workers caught the poker bug and when the guy found out that Derek played online, he would stop by his desk to tell him bad beat stories. At first it was once a week. Then twice a week. Then everyday. Then twice a day. Then... you get the picture.

Sometimes I can be an asshole. Derek or Change100 will start telling me about a hand and I'll interrupt a few seconds in.

"Wait, is this a bad beat story?"

"Umm... yes."

"Save it for your blog."

I had a bad beat while waiting in line at the drug store the other day, when I picked the wrong line. Again. It happens all the time. I pick the shortest line and get stuck waiting and waiting, as lines longer than mine are moving at a much faster pace. Kicked in the junk.

Or the other day when I got on the subway. The door stopped right in front of me, but I noticed that the car that had just passed me featured two extremely chubby-popping smoking hot Jessica Alba-esque chicks sitting near an empty spot. I quickly ran over to their car and sat down across from them. They got off at the next stop and a homeless man with hands caked in dirt and grease sat down instead. He smelled like shit and vomit and blew a snot rocket which landed a few inches from my feet. Talk about a bad beat.

Relationships are bad beat stories waiting to happen. Several girls in my life ended up horrendous bad beats. At the end of our interaction with each other, not only did they suck the life out of me, they also left me completely broke. Of course, they all looked good preflop but somewhere along the line, they backdoored a better hand on you and you're toast. Like that cute girl from college I met standing in line at the bookstore one day sophomore year. Who knew that she was a cutter and would go Liz Wurtzel crazy on me? You bet your ass I was concerned when I found a note attached to my door with steak knife.

* * * * *

I'm a hired scribe. At this point I'll write for almost anybody on any topic. In the past I've made money writing school papers and various speeches. For a while, I was the speech writer for a County Commander in the American Legion and cranked out several patriotic gems. I've also written best man speeches, retirement speeches, eulogies, and even an obituary or two. And for a while, I made most of my freelance income during February when I sold love poems to friends so they could pass it off to their loved ones during Valentine's Day. Some of them were 100% total cheese, but they worked and my clients were happy with phrases like, "Diamonds might be forever, but these words came from deep inside my heart." Or... "You are the sun in my otherwise darkened universe." Or my favorite," I hope you liked the flowers and chocolate. Now how about a blow job?"

Then I read the Tao of AJ and his zen-like approach to picking up chicks in JoeSpeaker's post called A Valentine Gift.

Since it's Valentine's Day, I encourage you to avoid online poker today. Use that extra time and spend it with your significant other, wife, husband, boyfriend or girlfriend. Normally, I'm scorned or embittered on V-Day so that's why many moons ago I adopted the philosophy that 2-14 should be special to celebrate all of the friendships in your life. Instead of playing poker, take the time to call that friend from college you lost touch with or a family member that you owe a call too. Trust me, they will appreciate the sentiments and you'll feel better about yourself. And think about all that good karma you're putting out into the cosmos when you take the time to tell them that they mattered in your life and that you are thinking of them.

* * * * *

One year ago today on the Tao of Poker:
My Olympics prop betting slide continues after the US ladies dropped their curling opener to Norway. Due to my incorrigible betting habits, I have become a laughing stock in the pubs in Oslo. Time to win back my dignity! At least I won a few bucks on my favorite potheads who finished 1-2 in snowboarding and my goal is to have a huge American medal surge over the next few days. At press time, the Norwegians still have more medals that us... More

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Missing Two Million Chips Reprise

Taken by Pauly at the 2006 WSOP

The saga continues. Enyclopedia Brown and Nancy Drew are back on the case of the $2 million chips controversy at the 2006 WSOP main event. They wrote a follow up to their stellar reports from last summer.

Check out Amy Calistri and Tim Lavalli's new report called Two Million Chips: Six Months After.

Here are the original reports:
Two Million Questions. Will Poker Answer?: Part One
Two Million Questions. Will Poker Answer?: Part Two
Two Million Questions. Will Poker Answer?: Part Three

Monday, February 12, 2007

Doyle Brunson Arrested?

I took this pic of Texas Dolly during the 2006 WSOP Main Event

Rumors have been trickling in the last couple of hours of the arrest of Doyle Brunson which originated at Poker Network and has since then made the rounds. Texas Dolly pinched by the SEC? FBI or DOJ? There is nothing confirmed as of yet.

Here are some threads:
Doyle Brunson Arrested? (Poker Prof's Las Vegas & Poker Blog)
Doyle Brunson Arrested...Fact or Fiction? (Poker Prof's Las Vegas & Poker Blog)
Doyle Brunson Arrested (Poker Network)
Doyle Arrested?!? (2+2)
Doyle Brunson may have just been arrested (NeverWin Poker)
Dan Druff's Article (Never Win)
Rumor: Doyle Brunson Arrested (Wicked Chops Poker)
Doyle Brunson "Arrest" Rumors a lot of Hooey (Gambling911)
Doyle and the Law (Gary Carson)
Brunson: Arrest or No Arrest (Poker-Mac)
Was Doyle Arrested? (Lou Krieger)
Deconstructing Doyle (Up for Poker)


11:43am... I talked to a source at PokerStars who cannot confirm the rumor.

12:04pm... I called Todd Brunson to confirm the rumor. I got voicemail and left a message.

1:36pm... Gambling911 calls Bullshit! on the rumor.

3:01pm... Gary Carson wrote:
If he has been arrested it has nothing to do with online gambling. He should be arrested for securities fraud and I wouldn't at all be surprised if he has been. I certainly expect him to be arrested for securities fraud eventually, for that fraudulent offer he made last summer for WPT... More
3:45pm... According to a report... Doyle Brunson is alive and has not been arrested. I need a couple of more sources to confirm this.

4:20pm... New rumor that has surfaced... Dan Michalski from Pokerati is indeed the father of Anna Nicole Smith's baby. Discuss.

Stay tuned to the Tao of Poker for more info.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Legalize It and I Will Advertise It

If I ever ran for elected office I would introduce a simple platform to legalize (and regulate and tax) marijuana, prostitution, and online poker. That sounds like a normal Thursday night for some of my readers.

I would funnel the revenue generated for taxing pot fiends, hookers, and online poker rooms into better schools and affordable healthcare for all Americans and the fortunate Mexicans who scurried across the border in the Arizona desert. I would also hand out big ass tax breaks to U.S. corporations who kept jobs at home and hired American citizens as their customer service reps instead of outsourcing them fourteen time zones away.

Our current politicians would not cure our social maladies if they got their hands on an abundant pool of revenue generated from taxing online poker, prostitution, and marijuana. Think about the possibility of Uncle Sam getting $1 for every bong hit, blow job, and dealt hand on Poker Stars... then they'd have no problems funding the next war in Iran. With a war chest thanks to taxes on marijuana, prostitution, and online poker, the U.S. military could offer twice as much in bonuses to sign up for the armed forces which would alleviate their current enlistment problems. Americans will do anything for money, if the price is right.

Risking a limb against an IED on a road in the Al Anbar province is what many of our soldiers do on a daily basis. That's the most real and brutal form of high stakes gambling out there. Life can really be boiled down to that gambling cliche "luck of the draw." I know 19 and 20 year old kids with six figure poker bankrolls who are paying off their parents' mortgages while kids their age are half-way around the world praying their balls don't get blown off during a routine mission.

Legalized weed, hookers, and Party Poker is a pipe dream. They will never happen because there are entities paying off or blackmailing the career criminals in DC to keep those things illegal. Multi-national drug companies, the duplicitous religious right, and the big swing dicks like Harrah's, Apollo Texas Group, Penn National Gaming, Aztar Corp., Columbia Sussex, MGM Mirage, Carl Ichan, Steve Wynn, Boyd Gaming, Station Casinos, and Sands contribute enough money to politicians on both sides of the fence to make sure their interests are given preference instead of yours and mine.

We all fucked the donkey like a bunch of idiots with regard to online poker and acted like fat lazy Americans. The blame should be placed on ourselves not the soulless bad suit wearing thugs in Washington. Instead of buying plasma screen TVs and donking off our winnings at the WSOP, players should have been supporting advocacy groups and using their winnings to bribe and payoff local officials and the fat cats in DC.

Poker pros should have greasing the palms of the IRS and acting like Mike McD in that scene in Rounders at the judges game to the important magistrates and noblemen of America. The suits at WPT and ESPN should have been kissing serious ass and contributing to the reelection campaigns for influential politicians.

The online poker rooms like Party, Poker, PokerStars, Full Tilt and companies like Neteller should have showed up in Washington with truck loads of cash and dumped them on the steps of the Capitol while they handed out fortune cookies that read, "Online poker in America equals happiness and wealth."

That might all seem like it could work on paper, but like the shady results of the 6th race at Belmont, the fix was in before you even woke up in the morning. Welcome to Newmerica. Where there's the illusion of freedom of choice, 945 cable TV stations, a Starbucks on every corner, and everyone speaks Spanish.

* * * * *

I can't help but reread a post that I wrote in October called Exile on Main Street. Some passages are haunting. It's worth reading again. Here are some excerpts:
The post-apocalyptic poker world will not have mutant kids with three eyes running around and Jesus Freaks jumping out of the bushes spraying Holy Water onto the faces of hedonists. I don't think black helicopters will land in your cul de sac and the federalies will whisk you away if they find you playing an SNG on Poker Stars and ship you in a secret CIA prison in Djibouti where they'll fry your testicles with car batteries and rip out your fingernails with rusty pliers before they toss you into a 10 by 10 cell with a fingernailess zealot named Ahmed who has a tattoo of "Death to America" written in Farsi on his forehead.

Or maybe they will?

Poker players are gamblers at heart and some will take risks to maintain their fix. The world is filled with greedy people and they'll be several ruthless companies who'll flip the bird to the American courts and lawmakers that will take risks to gain access to the subculture of online poker players.


Politicians don't care about the people. They only care about themselves. Same goes for corporations. If it comes down to a choice between you or them... they'll cut the rope everytime and let you fall to your death. That's the way it is and that's why I've lost my passion for politics. It's not apathy but ultimately realizing that we don't live in a true democracy and we don't have freedom of choice but the illusion of freedom and choice. We can vote out the politicians currently in office, but they'll be replaced with a new group of lying scumbags that will sell your kids to the highest bidder if it meant they'll get another term in office.

That's why I don't see a revolutionary change happening in America. Not just with poker but with everything else surrounding the eroding civil liberties of Americans. Here's my reasoning... my peers in Generation X and the kids born after me are spoiled, lazy, dumbass little shitheads. We're overly selfish, hypersensitive, and too self-centered. We don't have the vision or the passion to evoke a world wide change like the baby boomers did in the 1960s. The hippies were better educated and organized. They believed in a better way and a brighter future. They put themselves on the line and for a while, the people in power got spooked the fuck out.

Most of the Americans that I know are more concerned with watching TV and buying stuff rather than hitting the streets to protest en masse. Some might write up whiny diatribes on their blogs or write nasty letters to their congressman, but after their little rants they'll never leave the couch or their cubicle to actually do something. We're a nation of apathetic scared fatasses and we're going to continue to let scrupulous politicians and multinational corporations dictate policy. Me included.


I've traveled around the world enough and extensively throughout America to honestly say that this is an amazing country but our leaders are war mongering pimps selling our souls to suits in a boardroom somewhere.
* * * * *

Ryan had an interesting post about the effects of Neteller called The Price and Cost. It's worth a read. Here's a bit:
I think about prices and costs a lot. I essentially get paid to do it. I think about shearing sheep and skinning them, about schooling the fish and killing the frog. I have been accused of being even-tempered to a fault, and the fact that I'm not currently on the phone with Neteller, my congressional representatives, a lawyer and a shrink, well, that might put some truth to that. I'm not angry over this, just disappointed. But if I'm disappointed, stands to reason plenty of people are angry. The cost of online poker should be higher than what we've been paying, but it's to nobody's benefit for it to cost any of us everything... More
The hard thing for me to stomach is that I was paid for the Aussie Millions via Neteller days before the debacle with the federalies. Maybe I should be pissed off that the government seized my freelance pay?

My funds in Neteller felt like those poor folks caught on the roof of the American Embassy during the fall of Saigon in 1975. They were so close to escaping and next in line to get out. Alas, they were left behind and seized by an angry mob. In the fog of war, my funds have become a casualty and thrown into one of those prison camps right out of The Deer Hunter. If given the choice, I'd rather play Russian Roulette to get them out.

Maybe Chuck Norris (early 1980s Chuck Norris ala Missing in Action) will come to save the day and rescue my money. Until that happens, I light a candle every day in remembrance of my missing funds knowing deep in my heart that they are gone forever.

And yes, I ended up working for two weeks at the Aussie Millions for free. At least I got $50 a day in free food and booze. There ended up being a minor problem with my per diem and instead of charging items to my room, I was given the go ahead to charge things to Shecky's room. For the last week I went around signing the tab as "Shecky" at the Pub or for the $32 breakfast buffet.

Or maybe I should not leave the country? The last three times I left America... Katrina destroyed New Orleans (Spain), the Tao of Poker was hacked (Holland), and my money got seized in Neteller (Australia).

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Deep Stacks HORSE

AlCantHang mentioned this event and I'm here to pimp it:
Name: Special Event #1
When: Sunday February 11th, 2007 @ 2pm ET
Where: Full Tilt
Game: H.O.R.S.E Deepstack
Buyin: $24+2 or token
Password: riverchasers
I loathe Razz, but will do my best to play on Sunday. I happen to have a random token sitting in my FT account. I honestly can't recall how long it's been in there and when I won it. I'm assuming sometime in between Turkey Day and before I left for Oz.

Green... I played 5/10 Limit last night and turned a decent profit for the first time this year. The cash games on PokerStars are either tighter or softer depending on the table and what time of day. Friday nights tend to bring out the recreational players or weekend warriors while during the week before 6pm ET the 5/10 tables are filled with rocks who are waiting for 10/20 and 15/30 games.

Yellow... I've been afraid to play any big PLO games on FT or PokerStars. I dunno why. I regularly played the 5/10 PLO tables on Party Poker and held my own. I discovered that I came across Kirill Gerasimov a few times. I figured out his Party Poker screen name and he's in my poker tracker for a few hands. I guess he was slumming! He supposedly was killing the PLO tables on Party and pulling in testicle-numbing yearly numbers in the highest PLO cash games. I've been slumming at the low-limit HA tables (PL Hold'em and PLO) on FT, mainly because I don't have the roll (or the means to add to my FT bankroll) to handle my inner action junkie and the variance of PLO cash games.

Red... I dropped a buy-in at the 2/4 NL tables. It wasn't as brutal or quick for that matter when I sat with Otis the other night at 2/4 NL and he ran his K-K into A-A. Instead, it was a slow painful death for me. I missed a few flops with middle pairs and A-K. I flopped two pair with a junk hand but lost to a flush on the river and then had to fold K-K in a four way pot when an ace flopped. The only pot I won was when I jammed the flop with a royal flush draw and as called by a guy who flopped a set. I missed the royal but filled in the flush on the river.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Google, Truckin', and Top 10 Referrals

There are a lot of horny poker players out there. I get searches everyday looking for pictures of your favorite poker players naked. The typical search is... Brandi Hawbacker naked pics or Clonie Gowen anal or Evelyn Ng nipples or Isabelle Mercier thong or Shana Hiatt porno. And yes those were actual Google searches in the last week.

Here are a few searches in the few weeks that make me question the mental stability of a few of you...
1. Brandi Hawbaker Bryan Micon sex video
2. Teabagging Partik Antonius
3. Young black ass worship cum shot
4. Keezel Haley Dirty Sanchez
5. Pauly Michalski bald spots

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Truckin' - February 2007, Vol. 7, Issue 2

The latest issue of Truckin' has been published. It has stories from Gracie, BTreotch, Nick Cantwell, May B. Yesno, and an Aussie tale from me.

1. Big Day Out by Paul McGuire
We did not have a hotel room in Surfer's Paradise with fewer than 18 hours before we were scheduled to board a flight to Coolangota Airport on Australia’s Gold Coast. We were caught up with work in Melbourne and waited to the last minute to book a room... More

2. A.M. by Nick Cantwell
Disoriented at first, then a realization. Lisa. No Liz. Yeah that's it - Liz. She's naked. Sound asleep... More

3. My Clog by Gracie Logan
When my film's start time drew near, my clogs and I said good-bye to the sunny afternoon. We purchased one ticket (my clogs travel free) and entered the inviting cool darkness that is the lobby of the Music Box Theatre... More

4. Emilio Estevez Is Born by BTreotch
Joe Estevez was in a pickle, he knew Janet was in the midst of some invisible shrimp tickle. Scooping her into his arms, Joe got an erection and asked where the ladies room was... More

5. Title by May B. Yesno
On the inside boiled and roiled the heathenish and brutal trail of mangled flesh, from every direction, tokens of small bottles of human - and sometimes, from the early days, animals - blood... More

If you like these stories, then please do me and the rest of the writers a huge favor: Tell your friends about your favorite stories. It takes a few seconds to pass along Truckin'. I certainly appreciate your support. Feel free to shoot me an e-mail if you know anyone who is interested in being added to the mailing list.

Thanks to the writers who exposed their souls to the world and wrote for free. Thanks again to you the readers for wasting your precious time with Truckin'. The March issue is a special L.A. edition. If you are from L.A. and would like to contribute a story about L.A., shoot me an email.

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Many thanks to my Top 10 Referrals. Only forty days into 2007, I'm shocked that the Tao of Pauly sent so many visitors (and new ones at that).
Top 10 Referrals:
1. Tao of Pauly
2. Twenty-one Outs Twice (Chris Fargis)
3. Las Vegas & Poker Blog (Poker Prof & Flipchip)
4. Wicked Chops Poker
5. Aaron Gleeman
6. Up for Poker (CJ, G-Rob, Otis)
7. Shaniac
8. Brandon Schaefer
9. Guinness & Poker (Old School Iggy)
10. AlCantHang
Thanks again.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Liz Lieu Thursdays and CC's Bash

At the 2006 WSOP (courtesy of Flipchip)

First of all, congrats to Liz Lieu! She won an event at the LA Poker Classic for a second year in a row. Last year she won a Limit event. This time, she took down a $1K NL event and will be donating 20% of her winnings to charity. With a $148K score, she can buy at least one Roberto Cavalli outfit. Good job, Liz.

By the way, CC is hosting an event tonight over at PokerStars.

I'll be playing in this event. I actually won the first round of CC's Thursdays Bash last year, but was unable to play in the first tournament of the second round since I was traveling somewhere in Oz. I have a title to defend...

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

St. Grubby's Day

Today is February 7, the day when we honor St. Grubby, the patron saint of degenerate gamblers. When good Catholics are stuck at the craps tables, losing at the racetrack, getting slammed online at PokerStars, or stuck at their day trading desk, they look deep into their souls and whisper a prayer to St. Grubby, hoping that their words will penetrate the heavens and a symphony of archangels will pass along the message while St. Grubby is dining on Alaskan King Crab and Kobe Beef in God's special buffet designated for holy rollers such as the Twelve Apostles, every anointed saint, members of the Opus Dei, former popes, selected Jesuits, and Marie Osmond.

There is no doom switch because online poker is not rigged on a human level. Spiritually speaking, all of the games are fixed. The outcomes of your coinflips and the frequency of bad beats are all controlled by rouge element of fallen angels who like to mess with gambler's minds. Ever wonder why a hall of famer field goal kicker misses a chip shot to miss the spread? Wonder why one outers spike on the river?

Only St. Grubby can help you from the depths of hell and enteral damnation. He gave us a valuable weapon to ward off the infidels a.k.a. The Hammer. 7-2 is not just a hand to use to tilt your opponents, it's been known throughout history to give the common man an edge over his superior opponents. In the ancient Chinese text Circle of the Dead, 72 was often written on the chests of their warriors before they went into battle while carrying a spear and a hammer. Any evil spirits were warded off during attacks. And to ensure that the ghosts of fallen enemy combatants would not haunt them in the afterlife, the warriors bashed in the skulls of their dead opponents using their hammers in order to free the spirits from this world.

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I made up the first three paragraphs of the historical and religious significance of St. Grubby's Day. But we're not too far off. Many numerologists will tell you that the combination of 7 and 2 is an interesting and potent mix. 2 often represents balance or the "yin" in the yin yang. 7 refers to thought and/or consciousness.

Since the inception of poker blogs, the Hammer had become an initial part of everyday vernacular after being introduced by Grubby. I don't think too many new bloggers or readers know the origins of the Hammer. So we'll take this time to have a quick review.
The Hammer

Definition: 7-2o
Creator/Credit: Grubby

The specific definition of the Hammer is 7-2o played out of the blinds for a preflop raise. 72s is the "Suited Hammer" although I've often referred to 72s as the "Swedish Hammer."

The Hammer came from one of Grubby's home games back in DC before he moved to Las Vegas. One regular played 7-2o a lot and the other players decided to call that hand the Hammer because it happened to be that guy's last name.

When I first started reading poker blogs in late 2002, there were less than a dozen. Grubby's The Poker Grub was one that I read everyday because his sense of humor and excellent writing skills made him an instant favorite read of mine. I couldn't wait to read about how many SNGs in a row Grubby played before going to bed or what he ate at Wendy's that day.

Grubby also held cool contests on his blog like the Hammer Challenge. If you got 7-2o online and played it in any ring game, won it at showdown, and typed "Hammer!" into the chat, you would won the jackpot if you emailed Grubby the hand history. The progressive jackpot started at $5 and increased $5 everyday until it was hit, capping at $250. Grubby also threw in a wallet and a T-shirt to the winner. He only held few of them, and every possible poker blogger did their best to drop the Hammer during the ring games. Intrepid Card Player, Stick & Move, and The Poker Penguin each won Grubby's Hammer Challenge. The longest it went was almost 2 weeks when the Poker Penguin won $65. It was usually cracked in 3 or 4 days.

"I knew The Hammer officially made it when I saw it mentioned on Wikipedia," Grubby said in a recent interview with the NPR.

The Hammer is also a philosophy and a reminder that especially in No Limit, you do not need playable cards to win. Playing the Hammer and showing it is also a great way to mix up your playing style and getting other players on tilt in the process.

The Hammer has become a mantra for some bloggers, a part of the logo for the unofficial logo for the WPBT, and an original contribution to the world of poker. I will get wicked goosebumps the day I hear it announced during a televised poker tournament.
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Today is as much a holiday to commemorate The Hammer, but we also take time out to pay homage to The Poker Grub and of course his lovely sister Grubbette. He's been a friend and colleague of mine for a few years ever since I met him for the first time at The Borgata in Atlantic City when he felted me at a NL table, then bought me dinner. That was the same night AlCantHang made some kid cry.

I've had the rare opportunity to live with Grubby in Las Vegas. It was some of the best fun I had in the last few years, but it's also been one of the hardest things to endure having to watch your friends fall hard and fast. I've witnessed his three-day long gambling benders topped off with a few trips to the buffet in between. I've seen the dark side of Las Vegas turn a jovial playwright into a walking zombie while he emptied his savings account chasing the gambler's rush.

When young poker players write me and ask me for advice on moving to Las Vegas, I often tell them Grubby's brutally honest story and point them to his blog. Unlike some players I know, he's not afraid to talk about the losses and publicly state them on his site. And yes, we all know that if Grubby stayed out of the pits and away from blackjack and slots that he'd still have a decent bankroll. And I guess that's his charm and what really makes Grubby... Grubby, is that he knows it's a problem. He knows it's wrong. Yet, he does it anyway.

Sure, I miss our apartment in Henderson but getting out of Las Vegas was the best thing for Grubby. Now, he lives in Chicago and has a dream job getting to create slot machines. He's also getting paid big bucks to write for the Poker Works junta while he also conributes to I'm hoping that someday he returns to his original passion of writing screenplays. For the last year or so, I've been planting the seed in Grubby's head that we should move to Hollyweird together and become script writing partners. We made a half-baked pact that if his job in Chicago doesn't work out, then he'd have no other option than to move to California.

My favorite part about living at the Redneck Riviera in the summer of 2005 was the two weeks after the WSOP ended. It would be so friggin' hot during the days that I'd stay in and write from noon to five or so, while the $20 crack whores were coming off a 36-hour high and the pot-bellied mulleted kids were infesting the pool with Rickets. Grubby would pick me up and we'd hit up the buffet du jour. Either he had a coupon or a comp, or we'd find someplace cheap to eat like Ellis Island or at Terribles.

We'd then head to a poker room and fleece the soused tourists or tilt the locals in the 1-2 NL games by playing junk hands and raising a lot with The Hammer. If we had a good night, we'd head over to a strip club and hand over our winnings to the magnificent smelling odalisque strippers at Crazy Horse or The Rhino after a couple of hours of groping, grinding, and lap dances. If we lost at the tables, then we'd go to a strip club anyway to ease the pain. Alas, we'd have to settle upon cheaper and sleazier joints where the strippers had awful boob jobs, C-section scars, and were doped up after chasing the dragon in the parking lot.

When I moved to Henderson last year, we spent less time at the strip clubs and more time playing online poker. Grubby did not have a TV, so we'd sit in the living room and play poker. He'd be playing three or four SNGs while I was grinding out at the cash game tables. To see each other play different situations helped us become better players. And of course I got to witness some horrible beats that Grubby would take. I'm shocked he never threw his mouse through the wall.

One of my favorite past times involved Saturday afternoons in Las Vegas. Saturdays were when local's casinos gave away free gifts to their frequent players. Grubby would drive around to five or six different places. Sometimes I waited in the car and smoked weed, while other times I went along with him to make sure he didn't stop at the blackjack tables or play through $100 at Mr. Cashman. That's how Grubby accumulated odd gifts like salsa dishes, jumper cables, fanny packs, scales, and wind breakers. He'd store all of his gifts into his closet, which was wall to wall with various items from the Station casinos.

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Of course there are some of my favorite posts on the Tao of Poker that talk about the Hammer. This one in particular involved the first gathering of the bloggers in December of 2004. Here's the excerpt from Sunday Night in Vegas:
While I waited for my new table, BG and Grubby came up from behind me as I was dealt the Hammer. I showed them my hole cards and smiled. Nothing was cooler than getting the Hammer in Vegas with a fellow poker blogger watching. I raised preflop and got two callers, including one of the Israeli guys. The flop: A-10-x. I bet and the Israeli guy called (the Swedish guy folded). The turn was a rag and I bet out again. He called. On the river another ace fell. I bet and he thought about it for a while, then folded. He was on a straight draw (Grubby told me afterwards that he saw the guy peek at his hole cards... he had K-Jo) and missed.

I promptly flipped over 2-7 and yelled "Hammer time!" as I scooped up my pot.

The local woman in seat 6 scolded me. "You raised with that hand? 2-7o? That's the worst hand in poker!"

I sarcastically quipped back with an elegant riposte and a big smile, "Really? It is?"

She wasn't digging my humor and folded her arms in disgust and said something under her breath. I heard her call me an "asshole" and a "faggot". I dropped the smile in protest of her uncouth vituperations and quickly fell into my confrontational New Yorker mode, "Excuse me, what did you just say?"

She didn't say anything and avoided eye contact as everyone at the table was watching me stand up to her.

"That's what I thought," I said a little louder as I slowed down in stacking up my chips.

"I am going to call you next time," the Israeli guy whispered to me in English.

"I hope you do," I whispered back.

Two hands later I found KK. I raised preflop and got 5 callers!! I had two callers all the way to the river (the Israeli guy and the local woman) and luckily no aces were on the board and I won with pocket cowboys. I could tell she was even more pissed when I glared at her while I slowly stacked up my chips.

"You still think I'm an asshole?" I muttered across the table in her direction. "Or how about a faggot?"

And then there's this gem post by Grubby about the same weekend:
I'll leave you this morning with my Hammer story. Monday night I'm sitting at the Excalibur 2/6 impending lawsuit fight table (and Pauly, she wasn't a hooker or am I just refusing to believe a hooker would reject me?) with Pauly and his brother. Pauly was to my right, and we were chatting often enough that I felt other people were suspicious of collusion. I made sure not to talk if we were both in the hand.

I get 72o in the BB, which excites me as much as pocket Aces. Everyone in the world limps for $2 including Pauly, and I raise to $8. All fold except the person in the cutoff. Sigh. This is my first hand raising at the table, and here I have a caller.

The flop is A3x (rainbow). My Hammer is looking good. CO bets out.

Little did he know the monster I held.

I raise.

I bring up the cards to Pauly and ask, "Wanna see?"

He shakes his head, "No."

CO calls. The turn is 5.

CO bets.

I ask Pauly, "Wanna see?"

He says, "I know what you have."

I now have a gutshot straight and no odds to call. Such is the glory of The Hammer and will make my eventual win all the sweeter.

I consider raising but decide to slowplay this one and pop him on the river.

River is nothing and he bets. I let him off easy this time and fold, though I did consider raising so I could show the hand.

Pauly said he also had The Hammer. Had he raised, I would've reraised, and we would've driven everyone out and then split the pot with The Hammer.

But he said his was suited, so not technically a real Hammer.

I forgave him.
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I can't leave without posting one of my favorite You Tube videos featuring Grubby's infamous secret soap drawer!

Click here to view the Grubby video.

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And AlCantHang is hosting a Hammer Day tournament tonight. Here are the details:

See you there and Happy St. Grubby's Day.