Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Borgata Tales, Part III

By Pauly
Atlantic City, NJ

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

Day 8.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day 9.

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

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

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

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

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

Day 10.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day 11.

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

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

Day 12.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day 13.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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