Monday, March 31, 2008

23skidoo Wins Saturdays with Dr. Pauly

By Pauly
Las Vegas

It was a small and intimate tournament. 20 runners with the top 3 winning prize money. I had to play the tournament from my hotel room at Red Rock. Luckily it went off a couple of hours before the Elite 8 games.

I tripled up by the third hand and busted two players. I blew a sick chiplead and although I made the final table, I busted out before the money bubble.

My starting table included schlepp571, MrMojo, phxman00, oceannlv, AlCantHang, and Skow-go.

On the first hand I found As-Ad-Jd-Js. Two players limped. I potted to 110. Skow-go called and everyone else folded. The flop was Ah-6c-6d. I love it when I flop a big boat. Skow-go checked. I severely under bet the pot and Skow-go called. The turn was the Kh. Skow-go check-called a 120 bet from me. The river was the 9h. Skow-go checked. I value bet 400 and was called. Skow-go had A-6 for a small boat. I won the pot and jumped to 2.2K.

On the second hand, I found Ks-Kd-6h-2s. I limped into a three-way pot. The flop was Kh-10s-4d. I flopped top set. I under bet the pot again and schlepp571 called. The turn was the 7s. I bet 170. Schlepp571 min-raised me to 340. I raised to 1,190. He moved all in for 1,430. I called. He had Ah-10h-7h-7d for a set. My set was better and held up. I won the pot and schlepp571 busted out in 20th place as Gigli.

I got moved tables and on the next hand, I got A-A-x-x again. I got it all in on the turn when I turned top set. I busted Slow-go in 19th place. I doubled up a player and still had 3K as the chipleader. With 14 to go, Skidoo took over the lead. I slipped to second with 4.7K.

Then I lost a big hand to MrMojo. I had Qd-9s-8s-8h and limped. The flop was 10c-8c-3h. MrMojo bet 200. Smarkacz called. I raised to 1K. MrMojo re-raised all in for 1.8K. Smarkacz folded and I called. He had Qc-Jc-3d-3s. Not a bad hand... with bottom set and a straight flush draw. The turn was the 5c and I lost the lead to MrMojo's flush. I still had outs to win the pot if the board paired anything except the case 3. I missed on the river. MrMojo won the 4K pot. I slipped to 6 out of 13 with just 1.6K.

I advanced to the final table with Family Ice again. I was 2nd in chips with 5.3K behind Skidoo's 5.8K. Here's who made the final table:
Seat 1: 777GMoney (2785 in chips)
Seat 2: 23skidoo (5940 in chips)
Seat 3: holdin-ragz! (2860 in chips)
Seat 4: Family Ice (900 in chips)
Seat 5: MadameMojo (3825 in chips)
Seat 6: DrPauly (5305 in chips)
Seat 7: AlCantHang (1810 in chips)
Seat 8: MrMojo (3515 in chips)
Seat 9: dredful (3060 in chips)
At the break, I was second with 5,555. Holdin-ragz! took the lead with 6.1K.

I busted AlCantHang in 9th place when I caught a runner-runner flush. Family Ice busted out in 8th place and could not cash in his third straight Saturdays with Dr. Pauly.

I snagged the lead for a bit with Ah-9s-4s-2h. It was a two-way pot. The flop was 8d-5h-4h. MadameMojo bet 300 and I called. The turn was the 5c. MadameMojo check-called a 750 bet from me. The river was the Qd. She checked. I bet 2.4K and she folded. I only had two pair and busted draws. That was good enough to win.

I won four pots in a row to jump up to 7K. It was all downhill from there.

I busted out in 6th place. I had 2.7K and found Kh-Ks-10h-7h. I raised 900 from UTG. MadameMojo called. The flop was Kd-Qd-6s. MadameMojo bet 1,950 and I moved all in for my last 1.8K. She showed Kc-Qs-Js-4h for top two. My set was ahead until she caught running spades to win the pot. She flushed my set of Kings and I was out in 6th place.

GMoney finished in 5th place. By the second break, MrMojo was the leader with 11K. Holdin-ragz! was the bubble boy.

On the final hand.... 23skidoo had 16.8K to MadameMojo's 13.1K. MadameMojo raised to 2400 from the small blind. 23skidoo re-raised to 7200. MadameMojo re-raised all in for 13.1K. 23skidoo called.

23skidoo: Ks-Kd-7s-6d
MadameMojo: 10s-10d-9d-4h

The flop was 9h-7d-3s. The turn was the Qh and the river was the 6s. 23Skidoo was ahead with Kings and ended up with a flush to win the pot. MadameMojo was eliminated in second place, while 23skidoo won the tournament and finished in first place.
Week 9 Money Winners:
1. 23skidoo - $100
2. MadameMojo - $60
3. MrMojo - $40
Congrats again to 23skidoo for winning Saturdays with Dr. Pauly. He finished in second place three weeks ago. Well done, sir!

Hope to see everyone next weekend. Thanks again to everyone who played and pimped the event.

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

Sunday, March 30, 2008

March Madness Elite 8 Day 2 - The Itch

By Pauly
Las Vegas

The itch. I feel the irritation beneath my skin. I try to scratch it, but I can't get at it.

That's how you know if you are an addict. Zen thinkers would tell you that the itch only exists in your mind. I'm here to tell you that's its real.

Today is my last day to bet on March Madness games in Las Vegas. I'll be back in NYC next weekend during the Final Four. I'm skipping next Saturday's games to attend a Widespread Panic instead. I can TiVo the game, but can't TiVo the concert. So aside from the actual Championship game, today's games are the last two that I'm going to physically watch.

Over the last few days I watched the games at Red Rock with Michalski, Miami Don, Friedman, and JW. Not to mention my NYC crew with Derek, Turtle, and Senor... even though he currently lives in Rhode Island and has brainwashed his children into Red Sox nation.

I forgot how much fun I used to have with my friends from college. I hung out with Jerry several weekends ago in Florida, and I got to spend the last few days with Senor and Turtle. Over the last few years... we have all been separated by distance, careers, relationships, and families. Sometimes we go days and weeks and months without speaking to each other. But as soon as we do, we're back into our old routine.

I could write books about our exploits and hijinks over the years spanning our time in Atlanta during college, the angst-ridden post-college 20-somethings in NYC, the devastating 9.11 effect on our circle of friends, and our worlds since then. Wait! I have written books factionalizing plenty of our misadventures over the years. When I get the chance, I'll write more.

Very few things compare to letting loose in Las Vegas, especially with friends who love to live in the moment. I mean, Senor is the type of guy who jumped on top of a table and dropped his pants in a crowded bar in Rio de Janeiro during Carnival and screamed out, "Who wants to suck my cock?"

And Turtle? The guy is the funniest human being on the planet, sort of a cross between Larry David and Vince Vaughn's character in Swingers.

They have been super supportive of me over the years, especially the lean starving artist years, when I struggled as a writer. They gave me food, drugs, booze, a couch to crash on, and the clothes off their backs if needed. And they never asked for anything in return.

Lucky for me, my oldest friends always keep me in check. They never let my head get too big, and help get me back on course when I get lost or wander away. I love being around them because my true self always shines. That's why our yearly Las Vegas trip is special, since we don't get to see each other very often.

We've been raging hard and eventually I'll sit down to write up some of our stories about the Panamanian stripper at Cheetahs or about the only hooker working the floor at Red Rock.

For now, here's some thoughts on the Elite 8 games.

I picked UCLA to win it all on a couple of my sheets. I bet against them as a hedge... to get something back if they lost. I was also getting good value on Xavier's money line. I took them with points and the money line. If Xavier had won outright, I would have collected a dime on two small bets. Alas, they got stomped like a narc at a biker rally. Thanks to Dennis Miller for that original simile.

We bet North Carolina heavily. Derek took down a dime on the Heels. I've been betting more conservatively, but my brother has not. Last night, I went back to the room to write around Midnight. Him? He played poker for a bit then went to the Rhino until 6am where I must assume, he blew his winnings on strippers trying to pay their way through medical school.

Today's games...
Memphis -3 Texas
Kansas -9.5 Davidson
I'm going with Texas and Kansas today. Kansas is so tough. It's hard not to bet them since I think Davidson's Cinderella story will be coming to a halt. They'll do a better job at keeping Curry in check. If they can contain them, they can cover.

I bet on Texas a lot during the regular season. They won every game I watched and gambled on, but they either barely covered the spread or didn't. I like them as a dog today. Memphis looked like a championship team against MSU, but Texas is going to play them tougher.

I'm only down $170 betting on the games since I arrived in Las Vegas. I can easily get unstuck for the trip and for the entire March Madness if both my bets hit today.

Ah, and I have not played live poker since my first day in town. I played Saturdays with Dr. Pauly yesterday. Congrats to Skidoo for winning it all. I'll post a recap tomorrow.

I have yet to play a single hand of Pai Gow. Seriously. Once the Elite 8 games are over, I'll roam the pits looking for action. After all, I have this itch that I can't seem to soothe.

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

Saturday, March 29, 2008

March Madness Elite 8 Day 1

By Pauly
Las Vegas

Rough day. Three blowouts. I bet on only one and bet against another. I went 1-1 for the day and lost my shirt on Wisconsin. The Kansas victory saved me from jumping off the Stratosphere. My only regret is not betting twice as much.
UCLA -6 Xavier
North Carolina -6 Louisville
I like UNC and Xavier. I even bet the Xavier money line, which means fade my pick because UCLA should win by 16.

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

Friday, March 28, 2008

March Madness Sweet 16 Day 2 and I Don't Roll on Shabbos

By Pauly
Las Vegas

Well, it finally happened. I managed a winning day at the sports book. I was due. Although I went 2-3 for the day, I lost all of my small bets (Wazzu, Wazzu money line, UCLA) and won both of my big bets (Xavier and Louisville). It's such an amazing feeling (border lining orgasmic) to cash a winning sports bet ticket. Talk about having a spring in your step as you walk away from the cashier.

That Wazzu team I had been trashing in the first two round finally showed up in their game against UNC. Of course, I went with an emotional hedge bet and bet small on Wazzu. I have UNC winning it all on several of my sheets.

I watched the games with my brother, Friedman, Senor, Turtle, and Miami Don. We drank up a storm and all won big with Louisville. Derek went against the grain and bet Western Kentucky hard. He won his bet at the final second. UCLA was up by 12 with less than five seconds left. They played swiss cheese defense and allowed Western Kentucky to score a wide open lay up. That fucked me (I would have pushed), but it won Derek a fistful of dollars.

Today's games:
Wisconsin -5.5 Davidson
Texas -2 Stanford
Kansas -12 Villanova
Memphis -5 Michigan State
Historically, Michigan State has seriously fucked me over the last decade. When I pick them to win, they lose. When I bet against them, they win. They cause me more headaches than I'd like to admit, therefore, I'm avoiding that game... even though I think it's today's trap game.

Today's picks? Kansas -12 and Wisconsin -5.5

I actually got Wisconsin at both 5 and 5.5. I bet them last night and the line moved when I woke up this morning. Should be an exciting game.

* * * * *

After the games, we went beer bowling at Red Rock. We got two lanes, drank endless pitchers, and played four games. We had lots of action going all around while jailbait surrounding us on every side. We had a $100 bounty go to the played with the highest overall game. Senor bowled a 209 right out of the gate and that ended up being the high game.

We also were betting on each game. The lowest score had to pay the top score. That happened to me once. I tilted and rolled an atrocious 75.

Miami Don also hustled us in the money ball bets. We'd random select a frame and whoever got a strike in that frame won a pool of either $50 or $100 depending on what we were betting. If no one got a strike, it carried over to the next frame, like a skin in golf. If two people tied, the pool carried over into the next frame with only the players who tied eligible for the pot.

Anyway, we did the money ball pool four times during our outing. Miami Don won the first three and Derek won the last one.

Senor slipped after his first game and finished up with a 153 average. Miami Don was second with a 127 average. Me? 108.

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

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

I expect to be playing from Las Vegas, even though it's in the middle of the March Madness games.

Grouse14, The Rooster, Buddy Dank, DrPauly, StB, Bikom, Family Ice, and Bettercheck4 are among the previous champions. Will you be next?

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

Thursday, March 27, 2008

March Madness Sweet 16 Day 1

By Pauly
Las Vegas

During my first 24 hours in Las Vegas, I'm stuck a dime courtesy of a bad NL session and the Rhino. Poker sucked, but the Rhino was spectacular.

I'm raging in Las Vegas with Derek and two of my oldest friends, Senor and Turtle. After spending a fair amount of time doing research, I have enough material for a new installment of Existentialist Conversations with Strippers, which I'll post sometime next week.

For now, it's time to bet March Madness games.
West Virginia -1 Xavier
North Carolina -8.5 Washington State
UCLA -11.5 Western Kentucky
Tennessee -2.5 Louisville
My picks? I have no idea yet. I'm still slightly intoxicated by the faint aroma of cheap industrial stripper perfume that has embedded itself into my jacket. Luckily my girlfriend is perfectly cool with me getting rowdy in strip clubs, otherwise I'd have a lot of explaining to do.

I'd live blog the Sweet 16 games, but the NGC has this anal rule about no laptops in the sports book. As our buddy Mustfa from Brooklyn would say, "Damn crackers!"

Ah, I forgot to post the Tao of Poker March Madness Pool update! Harrigan 3 (I. Harrigan) is leading the way with 490 points.
Top 7:
1 Harrigan 3 (I. Harrigan) 490
2 Barry Needs A Job (on_thg) 480
2 Craptacular (B. Perry) 480
2 McCormack 1 (E. McCormack) 480
5 Barr 1 (B Barr) 470
5 theprophecy (N. Walters) 470
5 Ingoal's Invincibles (I. Hildebrandt) 470
Best of luck today.

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

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Bosnian Snipers and Dog Tranquilizers

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

Some nights poker is a relentless struggle because I lack patience when I'm card dead and I sabotaging myself by making mistakes and forcing the action. I have to dig deep and focus otherwise I'm doomed.

Some nights, my poker game is ruled by the "Awww, fuck it!" guy. He gets me in the most trouble. He hijacked my inner dialogue the other night when I sat at a 2/4 NL table. I had Kings and an Ace flopped. I fired out at the pot only to get raised all in for the rest of my stack.

"Awww, fuck it! It's only money. Everyone bluffs on the internet. Besides, my opponent is from Scandinavia. Surely he's really a 13 year old girl shoving all in with bottom pair."

I made the existentialist call and the Norwegian nimrod won the pot with a weak Ace. He/she/bot always does. I got my Kings cracked and had to rebuy.

The poker table is the last place you want to have your "Awww, fuck it" guy making decisions for you. That inner devil has a time and place in your life. He always gets you into a lot of trouble but you also have a lot of fun that you never would have had unless you succumbed to your impulses.

The "Awww, fuck it" guy is responsible for all those one night stands, the bad choice in tattoos, and the reason you got Montezuma's revenge in Cancun because you drank the water.

The "Awww, fuck it" gets you laid more often than you give him credit for.

The "Awww, fuck it" is why you flew to Europe with only a back pack, a $124, and six hits of acid.

The "Awww, fuck it" guy is the reason you kept pushing the envelope on your most recent Las Vegas bender and why you started drinking Singapore Slings at 10am on a Tuesday.

The "Awww, fuck it" guy is who convinced you to tell your imbecilic boss that he was the most useless son-of-a-bitch to walk the planet and that he was the reason why people have to go on anti-anxiety medication and after peeking into his soul, you finally understand why he has to pay women to fuck him.

The "Awww, fuck it" guy convinced you to quit your stable and well paying job to write a novel which you never finished.

The "Awww, fuck it" guy thrives at events like Mardi Gras or during the running of the bulls in Pamplona or if someone offers you dog tranquilizers at a music festival.

It's true. I was thisclose to downing a handful a couple of weekends ago at the Langerado music festival. We were pre-partying for the Phil Lesh and Friends show and shooting shots of tequila. Otis found dog tranquilizers in his baggage, which he gave his dog whenever they went on long car trips. I offered to experiment with them.

I figured that two dog tranquilizers would be harmless, but maybe three or more could slow down time in a Quaalude-like buzz and I'd utter witty remarks a la Truman Capote. Or perhaps things would get ugly and I'd get sloppy and pass out face down ass up in the shitter like Elvis.

In the end, I didn't get to test out the dog tranquilizers. I think Otis was worried that I'd get too fucked up and stumble off into the Everglades and get eaten by alligators. Alas, for the record, I was more than willing to gamble. Dog tranquilizers would have been the least harmful intoxicants pumping through my polluted body.

Sometimes the "Awww, fuck it!" guy puts you in a situation where you get lucky. When faced with a situation that you would normally fold, the "Awww, fuck it!" easily convinces your weak mind to make the call. Of course, you get your money in behind and something miraculous happens like you nail a two outer or catch running flush cards to crack what seemed like an infallible hand.

Those results are deceptive and the "Awww, fuck it!" guy also cites those exact hands as justification to make another preposterous call.

The "Awww, fuck it!" guy has been making the majority of my March Madness picks. He's the reason I'm stuck almost a grand. That's why we were forced to have an intervention. It was ugly. Chairs were thrown. Insults were hurled. Tears flowed. But in the end, I think my mission was accomplished.

We reached a compromise. The "Awww, fuck it!" guy gets to run rampant down the hallways of my mind during specific times, sort of like free swim at summer camp. However, at the most crucial times, like when I'm gambling on sports or at the poker table, the "Awww, fuck it!" guy will be as far as way from the decision making process as possible.

Photo Credit: Pauly

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

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Weird Fishes

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

"Could you hold this for me for just a sec?"

I glanced at the her engagement ring as she handed me her purple overcoat. An anxious line of passengers waited as she nervously shoved a generic black carry-on bag into the overhead compartment. I handed her the purple overcoat and she tossed it into the empty seat by the window.

She was in her late 20s and looked like the actress from the Scary Movie flicks. For a second I considered that it very well could be that same actress. After all, I was on a JetBlue plane bound for Burbank, California where most of the Hollywood corporate offices were located and where the studios churned out artistic feces for mass consumption. My brother once sat next to a random actress on a JetBlue flight from Las Vegas to New York City. Why couldn't that be happening to me?

I had been sitting in the aisle seat and stood up so she could scoot by. I realized that she wasn't that actress and simply a random chick who looked like someone famous. She plopped down a stack of magazines in the empty seat between us. Bridal magazines dominated the stack. She also slid a Lonely Planet travel guide for Bali into the seat pocket in front of her.

"Lemme guess," I said. "Honeymoon in Bali?"

She smiled and picked up the guide book. "How did you know?" she said as she fanned out the pages in a dramatic fashion like a game show hostess.

"Bali. Now that's a very romantic location. Magnificent and ravishing in the same breath. You're going to have the time of your life. Just don't go during the rainy season and keep your eyes open if you go to Kuta. Fundamentalist Islamic terrorists target tourists there. Especially Americans."

The once smile unfurled into puzzled look that quickly morphed into panic. That's when it hit me. At some future date, that young woman was going to walk down the aisle and gamble the rest of her life on a coin flip. Marriages in America these days are coin flips because about 50% of them end in divorce. Plus, she was about to take the biggest gamble of them all and book her honeymoon in a resort town that was bombed twice since 2002.

As much as I try to take time away from poker, it seeps into my every day life. I was waiting for my delayed flight to get the hell out of JFK and out to the West Coast. That's all I was thinking about when I sat in my seat. As soon as I saw the engagement ring my immediate thought was "coin flip."

The point of telling you that story was to explain how I often poker invades my waking life. Like how I caught an angle shooter on my KLM flight from Amsterdam to Copenhagen.

Some fat dude was in my aisle seat. He played the "Me don't speak good English" bit. I sniffed out that bluff. Basically he didn't want to be squished in the middle. Well, that's why I didn't to sit there. And that's why I get to the airport early enough to sweet talk the check-in counter chicks into making sure I have an aisle seat.

It was only an hour from Amsterdam to Copenhagen. I was holding up the plane from boarding.

"I'll do it for twenty bucks," I said.

"Ehhh?" he moaned.

"I'll do it for 20 Euros."

"I will not pay money."

"Then you have to get up."

He pulled out a 5 Euro bill. I snatched it out of his fat fingers and sat in the middle seat. Talk about a bad beat.

See? Three poker references in just one encounter.

Here's another example. When I got back to New York City from a trip to Florida, I was bombarded by the Eliot Spitzer sex scandal. He was a VIP member of a high class brothel and this is where the hypocrisy card comes into play since he used to prosecute those types of cases. Wicked Chops Poker had some of the best coverage of the scandal including photos of Spitzer favorite girl... Ashley Alexandra Dupre aka Kristen. Check that out. Anyway, we hated Spitzer with a feverish passion on Wall Street during his Draconian reign as attorney general of New York State.

Ashley Alexandra Dupre became another one of those chicks who solely got famous for fucking a married public figure. When the press-types got wind of where Spitzer's high priced ho lived, the vultures swooped in to peck at the last remains of her dignity, as the media conglomerates scrambled to feed the voracious scandalous appetite of the American public, who eagerly waited to get a glimpse of her. I chuckled when I saw the address of her loft. It was located on West 25th Street, one block up from where I used to live back in 1994-95 before I migrated to Park Slope, Brooklyn.

I lived in a loft on 24th Street between 6th and 7th avenue. Billy's Topless used to be located on the corner. Any of you Rounders junkies knows that Billy's Topless was the strip club that Worm went to after he got out of the joint. Grama cornered Worm in the bathroom and took all of his money after Worm accused him of "rolling fags in the Village."

So, as I played connect the dots inside the hallways of my mind, my neurons were firing out a slew of different messages, memories, and thoughts. My brain processed images of Eliot Spitzer's hooker before I flashbacked to the mid-1990s then trailed off into a montage of random scenes from Rounders.

"In a legal sense, can fuckin' Steinbrenner just move the Yankees? Does he have the fuckin' right to just move them?"

"We get to Steinbrenner in the third year of law school."

Flashback again to 1995. Jerry Garcia was still alive. Don Mattingly was playing in his last year for the NY Yankees. Hootie and the Blowfish had the #1 hit song. And I was living with my girlfriend at the time with two other roommates, both of whom were drag queens. One worked at Lucky Chengs. It was an odd situation, but the rent was cheap and I was madly in love with Sabine.

"Everything happens when it happens, the way it happens, and it just is," she once wrote me in a love letter.

I had a penchant for crazy and dangerous women in my early 20s. Sabine fit that description as a malcontent chain-smoking French painter that loathed and scorned everything including being an artist, living in America, and the mere fact that she existed. She encouraged me to write everyday and to experiment with poetry. I was insanely jealous of her talent because even though she was an artist, she would write several poems a day... in English... and I couldn't even scrape together a decent short story. She turned me onto different writers, may of which I continue to admire to this day. She gave me my first copy of Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller and Post Office by Charles Bukowski.

Then again, that was the same cunt that waited five weeks to break up with me on my 22nd birthday. Why? Because once a year I would always remember that my heart was shattered in a billion different pieces.

That was some cold shit, man. Seriously demented and calculated. Worm was right.

"Women are the rake."

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

Monday, March 24, 2008

1,000 WSOP Main Event Seats on PokerStars

By Pauly
New York City

PokerStars is gearing up for the 2008 WSOP. They are giving away 1,000 seats. This year's promotions include a special cash bonus for making the main event final table or making an TV table.

If you don't play on PokerStars, you can sign up for a Poker Stars account today.

Here's excerpts from the press release that I got from Poker Stars...
PokerStars Awarding Over 1,000 Seats to the 2008 WSOP; Largest Satellite in History Offers Richest Packages to Main Event

Douglas, Isle of Man - March 19, 2008, the world's largest online poker site, announced the launch of their WSOP satellite tournaments, where players can win prize packages worth $12,500.

PokerStars qualifiers who make it to the final table at the WSOP Main Event will win an automatic cash bonus, including a cool million for bringing home the Main Event trophy. Finish second, get a $400,000 bonus. Finish in third place, get $300,000. Finish in fourth-fifth or sixth-ninth and get $200,000 or $100,000 respectively. Cash bonuses of up to $50,000 also are available if a sponsored player makes it to a WSOP "TV table."

PokerStars will be sending over 1,000 players to the Main Event. Registered users can test their skills to win a ticket to the "Big Dance" for free at

The full prize package also includes:

$10,000 Main Event buy-in
$2,500 for expenses
Free hotel accommodations at the Palms for eight nights
Hotel suite upgrades for Supernova and Supernova Elite VIP members

PokerStars sends more players to the Main Event than any other site. Since 2002, over 3,600 qualifiers have won a seat by traveling the satellite route. In 2006, PokerStars qualifier Greg Raymer also went on to win the championship and $5 million.

To learn more about winning a seat to the WSOP, go to

If you don't have a PokerStars account, get one today! Download PokerStars.

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

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Bettercheck4 Wins Saturdays with Dr. Pauly

By Pauly
New York City

It was a crazy March Madness and holiday weekend and we managed to get 28 brave souls to show up for Saturdays with Dr. Pauly. I was hyper-distracted trying to watch the basketball games, live blog the action, host a tournament, and play poker... Pot Limit Omaha at that.

My starting table included my brother Derek, U_madness, bayne, Mean Gene, TanOrpheus, and I_CrackQuads.

I had 9h-8h-8d-6d and a short stack. Mean Gene raised 70. I_CrackQuads called and I called from the big blind. The flop was Qd-4d-2c. I checked. Mean Gene bet the pot. I_CrackQuads folded and I called. The turn was the 5c. I shoved with a gutshot and a flush draw. Mean Gene called with Ks-Kd-5h-3s. The river was the 8s. I backdoored a set. Heh. I overlooked those outs.

I doubled up against Mean Gene. He busted out soon after and took down Gigli. His new moniker, Mean Gigli, quickly became popular in the chat.

I double up against Derek, who had been the table chipleader. I had Qs-Jd-7s-5d. The flop was Qh-9s-2s. I bet 250 and Derek called. The turn was the 3c. I bet 750. Derek moved all in for 2.7K. I called. Derek had Ac-Ah-10h-10c and I was behind. The river was the 8s and I rivered a flush to win the hand and double up.

I moved up to 4th in chips with 19 to go. I had 4K with 18 to go. I got as high as third in chips. At the first break, Bayne was the chipleader with 6.8K.

With about 13 to go, I bluffed at pot when I missed a flush draw and lost to Bisko Kid. I was 4th in chips but slipped to 7th.

I made the final table along with change1OO, Chitwood, S.t.B, Bettercheck4, BiskoKid106, Family Ice, justsomeDude, and bayne_s. I was 6th in chips. Bayne was the chipleader.

Bisko Kid went on a tear and jumped to 14K. He took over the lead. I was languishing until I tripled up. Bayne_s raised to 1.2K. I called along with Bisko Kid in the big blind. The flop was Js-9d-5h. Bisko Kid checked. Bayne bet 2K. I called all in for 1.5K. Bisko Kid check-raised to 4K. Bayne moved all in for a bit more and Bisko Kid called.

Pauly: Ah-Jh-Jc-10c
Bisko: Jd-9h-7d-5s
Bayne: As-Ks-Kd-2d

I was ahead with a set. The turn was the 2c and the river was the 3c. My set held up and I tripled up to 8.5K. Bayne busted out on that hand.

On the bubble, Bettercheck4 took the chip lead from Bisko Kid. I sucked out on Chitwood to bust him on the bubble in 6th place. I was third in chips with 11K.

I moved up to 13K and was second in chips when I played a big pot with the chipleader. The result? I busted out in 5th place. BiskoKid limped. I called from the small blind with Kh-Qh-Jh-9s . Bettercheck4 checked the big blind. The flop was Ac-10c-9d. Everyone checked. The turn was the 8c, which gave me a straight. I bet 1.2K. Bettercheck4 raised to 3.6K. I re-raised to 12K. Bettercheck4 moved all in for 14.3K. I called and was all in. Bettercheck4 also had a straight but was free rolling a flush with Qs-Qc-Jc-7s. The river was the 10c and I was out.

Family Ice hung on with the short stack and busted justsomeDude in 4th place. At the second break, bettercheck was the chipleader wit 28K. Biski was second with 10K and Family Ice the short stack with 3.3K. Family Ice eventually busted out in third. He won last week and returned this week with another impressive performance.

Heads up. Bettercheck4 was ahead 37K to 14K. The battle last only three hands.

On the final hand... BiskoKid106 raised to 1800. Bettercheck4 called. The flop was Kc-Ks-2s. Bettercheck4 checked. BiskoKid106 bet 3.6K. Bettercheck4 check-raised to 7.2K. BiskoKid106 re-raised to 10.8K. Bettercheck4 re-raised to 14.4K. BiskoKid106 called all in.

bettercheck4: Kh-9c-7s-5s
BiskoKid106: Qs-Jc-Jd-10s

The turn was the 8s and the river was the 7c. Bisko Kid turned a flush, but Bettercheck4 rivered the full house to win the pot. Bisko Kid was eliminated in second place and bettercheck4 won Saturdays with Dr. Pauly.
Week 8 - Money Winners:
1. bettercheck4 - $112
2. BiskoKid106 - $67.20
3. Family Ice - $44.80
4. justsomeDude - $33.60
5. DrPauly - $22.40
Congrats to bettercheck4 for the win. Thanks to everyone for playing. See you next week.

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

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March Madness Easter Sunday

By Pauly
New York City

I forgot that today was Easter Sunday and I got wrangled into a family dinner, which means no live blogging for today's games.

My brackets have a lot of Xs on them. The good news is that I still have most of my Final Four teams alive.

For the Tao of Poker March Madness Pool, Barry Needs A Job (on_thg) is tied for first with McCormack 1 (E. McCormack). I'm at the back of the pack. Change100 is beating me. She's tied for 22nd place.
Tao of Poker Pool - Top 6:
1 Barry Needs A Job (on_thg) 380
1 McCormack 1 (E. McCormack) 380
3 Harrigan 3 (I. Harrigan) 370
3 Ingoal's Invincibles (I. Hildebrandt) 370
3 Zeem (Zeem) 370
3 Moos 1 (B. Moos) 370

Here are today's games...
Sun 3.23
12:10pm (12) Villanova -5.5 (13) Siena
2:15pm (2) Texas -6.5 (7) Miami (FL)
2:30pm (2) Tennessee -4 (7) Butler
2:40pm (12) Western Kentucky -5.5 (13) San Diego
2:50pm (2) Georgetown -4.5 (10) Davidson
4:45pm (1) Memphis -9 (8) Mississippi State
5:00pm (3) Louisville -7 (6) Oklahoma
5:20pm (1) North Carolina -11 (9) Arkansas

Here are my bets...
Texas -6.5
San Diego +5.5
Memphis -9
My advice? Fade them. I'm 6-7 during the last three days and only stuck $500. I hope to make that back up today and go into the Sweet 16 unstuck. Good luck to everyone!

* * * * *

If you are looking for something non-poker to read, check out my hijniks at the Langerado music festival...
Day 1: The Arrival and the Battle of the Fire Ants
Day 2 & 3: The 45 Hour Bender
Day 4: Phil Lesh Shines
Pauly's Langerado Videos
Phil Lesh Videos

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

Saturday, March 22, 2008

March Madness Saturday Live Blog

By Pauly
New York City

32 games. 2 days. Several upsets. Lots of bracket busters. How did you come out after the first 48 hours of March Madness? I finished up 6-4 betting wise.

For my Tao of Poker Pool, I only picked 23 out of 32 teams. I'm in 35th place. Beer and Snausages (B. Fowler) is leading the way. He got 27 teams correct out of 32 in the first round.
Tao of Poker March Madness Pool - Top 5:
1 Beer and Snausages (B. Fowler) 270
2 Maranca 1 (A. Maranca) 260
2 McCormack 1 (E. McCormack) 260
2 DE JESUS 1 (G. DE JESUS) 260
2 Magggg (j. kwiecien) 260
In my other pool, Pauly's Pub, I have two entries. I got 22 and 24 correct on those.

There are eight games today to kick off Round 2. There are a couple of gems including four games that featured matchups between two Top 25 teams (last ranked before the tournament began).
3.22 Saturday's Games:

2:10pm (2) Duke -4 (7) West Virginia

4:20pm (3) Wisconsin -4.5 (11) Kansas State
4:40pm (3) Xavier -3 (6) Purdue

6:40pm (4) Washington State -2.5 (5) Notre Dame
6:45pm (3) Stanford -3 (6) Marquette
6:50pm (1) Kansas -13.5 (8) UNLV

9:10pm (4) Pittsburgh -2 (5) Michigan State
9:15pm (1) UCLA -10 (9) Texas A&M
* * * * * Live Updates * * * * *

1:18pm... Ah, I found episodes of The OC to watch before tip off.

1:30pm... Today's bets... Kansas State +4.5, Notre Dame + 2.5, and Pittsburgh -2.

1:33pm... Early game previews.
(2) Duke -4 (7) West Virginia
(3) Wisconsin -4.5 (11) Kansas State
(3) Xavier -3 (6) Purdue
After Duke's close call on Thursday, they appeared beatable, hence when the line is only 4. They played like shit. What are the chances that they play like complete ass for two consecutive games? Coach K should have his crew fired up which means they'll not only win, but cover. West Virginia cruised to a ten point win over Arizona. They shot 11-of-19 from three point land. They are gonna have a tough time with Duke's perimeter defense, provided that they actually play solid defense today. I picked Duke on my sheets. I'm not betting the game.

I have a feeling that I'm going to have to watch Wisconsin and Kansas State online because Duke will dominate the east coast coverage. Kansas State is in prime position to knock another big dog en route to the Sweet 16. Only Wisconsin stands in their way. Michael Beasley had a solid performance (23 points, 11 rebounds) against USC but Bill Walker stepped up and scored 22. He's the X-factor. Beasley will get his points, but when Walker fades... so does Kansas State. Wisconsin will have to keep Kansas State off the boards. Wisconsin is in the middle of an 11 game winning streak, but it's hard not to go with Kansas State and the points.

Purdue and Xavier is a tough match up. I don't even wanna touch that game. If Xavier plays like they did in the first 30+ minutes against Georgia, then they are doomed. Purdue's last two loses came in overtime. They have been playing tough basketball and easily handled Baylor. Unlike Georgia, Purdue can hold a lead in the tournament. I picked Xavier on most of my sheets, but I wouldn't bet the game. Purdue has a valid chance of winning outright.

2:10pm... Duke/WVU tip off.

2:18pm... Paulus starting to heat up. He drilled a three from waaaaaaaaaaaay downtown.

2:29pm... WV slacking a bit. The scored the first four points and struggled since then. Four turnovers already. Duke playing with confidence and shooting 4-5 from the floor.

2:34pm... Playing an SNG on PokerStars. I won two races (A-K vs. Q-Q and 8-8 vs. A-Q). I'm chipleader with five to go.

2:37pm... Duke up 5 with 10 minutes to go.

2:38pm... A-A holds up. Shocker. I missed a draw with Qs-9s against Ac-Jc and slipped to third.

2:39pm... Sloppy game. WV turns it over and Duke gives it right back. Both teams with 7 turnovers a piece.

2:48pm... Hilton Sisters hold up against 3-3. I'm chipelader with 4 to go.

2:49pm... Duke by 7. Just when they try to pull away, WV scores to keep it within 5-7 points.

2:58pm... I won my SNG. When it was on the bubble, there was a three-way all in... K-K vs. Q-Q vs. 3-3. The flop had a three. The turn was a Queen. Set of Queens won the monsterpotten. I was heads up and only behind by a bit. I won in two hands. I doubled up with a coinflip on the first hand, and finished him off.

3:01pm... Duke up by five at halftime. Both teams with 8 turnovers. West Virginia has yet to connect from behind the arc, shooting 0-6. Duke chilled off from downtown. After hitting their first two treys, Duke missed their next seven attempts.

3:20pm... Saturday with Dr. Pauly is starting in one hour on PokerStars. $10 PLO. Password = taopoker.

3:27pm... Duke's Gerald Henderson is having a rough day. He tossed up an air ball and WV rushed down and drilled a three to crawl back within three points. Ugly shot = 6 point swing.

3:33pm... Alex Ruoff tied it up for WV with a trey. They have seized the momentum.

3:37pm... Alexander drilled another trey. They started 0-6 and are 3-3 in the second half. Alexander has 17 points and 6 rebounds.

3:39pm... WV up by 7 and trying to pull away from Duke with less than 12 minutes to play. Duke's Swiss Cheese defense has led to their downfall. They are on mega-tilt and Coach K needs to stop the bleeding quick. I can hear Dickie V screaming at the top of his lungs in ESPN's studios, "Coach K, get a Teeeeeeeeeee-oooooooooooooooooo, babe-eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!"

3:53pm... Duke is getting outplayed on all fronts. They went cold from the floor. Paulus has not been heard from since the first few minutes of the game. And what happened to Demarcus Nelson? He's been a ghost. The poor performances from Nelson and Paulus are killing Duke.

3:58pm... Britney Spears cameo? I'd definitely watch that show with Doogie Howser in it. Here's my favorite clip from Harold & Kumar...

Click thru to Tao of Poker to view the video via RSS...

4:00pm... Saturdays with Dr.Pauly in 20 minutes.

4:09pm... WV up by 11. "Duke in trouble," said the announcer. No shit, Sherlock. Duke has been in trouble since the second half started and they came out flat. They are on the verge of being picked off by Bob Huggins' squad.

4:20pm... Cards in the air for Saturdays with Dr. Pauly. I'm at my brother's table.

4:25pm... Lost over 2/3 of my stack already!

4:27pm... WV less than a minute away from upsetting Duke. "That's what I like to hear," mentioned Derek.

4:28pm... I doubled up when I rivered Mean G. I got it all in with 8-8-x-x. I had a flush draw and a gutshot against his K-K. The river was an 8 and I won with a set. Mean Gene's reaction? "Barf."

4:29pm... Beasley 2, Wisconsin 1.

4:32pm... West Virginia 73, Duke 67. Final. Favorites start 0-1 today. WV is the first team to advance to the Sweet 16. Duke goes home empty handed. All the Duke haters out there are dancing a jig and screaming a collective, "Fuck Duke!"

4:41pm... Wisconsin up by 4 with 10 minutes to go in the first half.

4:43pm... Beasley with 10 points in 11 minutes of play.

4:57pm... Yeah, it's hard to play in a PLO tournament and live blog and watch hoops and smoke all at the same time!

5:05pm... Wisconsin was up by 10 a few times, but Kansas State kept fighting back and are now within three. Beasley up to 15 points.

5:08pm... I doubled through my brother. I cracked his A-A-10-10 when I rivered a flush. "You're a donkey," said my brother. "The biggest donkey I know."

5:11pm... Xavier went cold to start. Down 9-0 before they finally scored four minutes into the game.

5:12pm... Final two tables left in Saturdays with Dr. Pauly. I'm 5th out of 18.

5:16pm... Wisconsin up by 6 at halftime. Beasley dropped 17 points and added 5 rebounds. KSU's other freshman sensation Bill Walker has 8 points.

5:37pm... Wisconsin on 8-0 run to start the second half. Kansas State looking like chumps.

5:47pm... I made the final table for Saturdays with Dr. Pauly.

5:51pm... Kansas State can't score! The refs have killed the flow of the game. I hate when that happens. Too many whistles and stoppages in play. Let them play!

5:52pm... Thanks Sven.

6:14pm... I tripled up in Saturdays with Dr. pauly. Bubble time. Six players left. I'm third in chips.

6:17pm.. Wisconsin up by 20+. Kansas State is soon to be toast.

6:23pm... Busted out in 5th place. Got in all in with a straight against another straight (with a flush redraw). The flush hit on the river and I was out. I'll write the recap later. Back to watching hoops!

6:30pm... Wisconsin 72, Kansas State 57. Final. The favorites are 1-1 for the day. I lost my first bet of the day. Not good.

6:32pm... Early evening games preview.
(4) Washington State -2.5 (5) Notre Dame
(3) Stanford -3 (6) Marquette
(1) Kansas -13.5 (8) UNLV
Washington State was tied with Winthrop at the half. They blew them out in the second half. I credit that to an ineffective Winthrop squad. I still think that they are overrated. Notre Dame plays much better defense than Winthrop and should do a better job containing Aron Baynes. It's gonna be a close game but Notre Dame will pull it out. I bet on the Fighting Irish.

Stanford and Marquette are both solid defensive teams. Maybe bet the under? I dunno how well Marquette will match up with the Lopez twins. They are too tough to handle. Marquette can shoot from everyone on the court, that's for sure. If they convert they can keep it close. If they go cold, Stanford could win by double digits. I picked Stanford on all my sheets. At -3 there could be some value there.

Kansas covered on Thursday, but made it close. I dunno if they can beat UNLV by more than ten. The Runnin Rebs were quick and overpowering in their win over Kent State. I picked Kansas on all of my sheets. I'm not betting the game, but I'd be inclined to bet UNLV only because they are getting 13.5.

6:36pm... Congrats to bettercheck4 for winning Saturdays with Dr. Pauly! Stay tuned for the recap and write up.

7:01pm... That Purdue/Xavier matchup ended up being an exciting game. Lead changed back and forth during the few minutes I watched the game. I remember when Sean Miller used to play for Pitt... back in the day... with Charles Smith.

7:17pm... The Purdue/Xavier game is taking forever to finish up. Purdue is hanging in there. They need a miracle to win, but they still have an out or two left.

7:30pm... Xavier 85, Purdue 78. Final. Finally! The end of that game dragged on for twenty minutes. CBS milked their advertisers over the last half hour. Ah, the favorites are 2-1 today. Five games remaining. Three are underway. Wazzu is beating Nore Dame by 12. Guess who I bet on? The losers, that's who. Kansas and UNLV are even, while Marquette surprised Stanford and is up 8.

7:35pm... Halftime for two games. Stanford is down 6 to Marquette. Notre Dame is losing by 13 to Wazzu.

7:54pm... Notre Dame needs to shoot better in the second half if I even have a remote chance of winning my bet.

8:14pm... Stanford coach got tossed from the game and his team responded. Stanford up by 4 with 12 minutes to go.

8:27pm... Wazzu ran off ten straight. Notre Dame's wondering where the hell their luck is. No pot of gold at the rainbow for the Irish, as a second round exit looms on the horizon.

8:39pm... Just hit run for $105 on a 8/6 limit table on Full Tilt. I flopped a set of nines and cracked Aces.

8:49pm... Down by 1 with 8.8 seconds left. It's up to one of the twins... and the hippie twin bricked his first free throw. Derek screamed, "Yes!" He picked Marquette to knock off Stanford.

8:52pm... Hippie twin saved his ass and nailed the second free throw. Marquette couldn't convert on the game headed into overtime.

8:53pm... Washington 61, Notre Dame 41. Final. Favorites are 3-1. I slipped to 0-2 for the day. I'm also stuck $20 playing PLO.

9:08pm... Stanford 82, Marquette 81. Final OT. Favorites are 3-2. Stanford won a thriller and squeaked into the Sweet 16.

9:13pm... Kansas up 19 with three minutes to go. Kansas grinds out their wins. They eventually wear down their opponents. They're up by a few points early on and then pull away in the second half. For a while, I didn't think they would cover against UNLV. At this point the just might...

9:22pm... Kansas 75, UNLV 56. Final. Favorites are 4-2. Kansas cruised into the Sweet 16.

9:25pm... Pitt and Michigan State tipped off. I have Pitt and need them to win to get me unstuck for the day!

9:36pm... I lost my $35 shortstack at my PLO table. It was the battle of the blinds with Bayne. I had Q-Q-x-x and he had A-A-x-x.

9:40pm... UCLA game tipped off. Both late games are under way.

9:52pm... Pitt/MSU is tied and UCLA is up four.

10:10pm... Pitt down by 2 at the half. UCLA only up by five. I've been researching tomorrow's games. Several tough matchups. I like Texas tomorrow for sure...

10:19pm... They must be hootin' & hollerin' in College Station right now after A&M took the lead against #1 seed UCLA. The hicks versus the hip hop hipsters.

10:34pm... UCLA down by 3 at the half. They better get their shit together otherwise they will be the first #1 to get the boot.

10:36pm... The "dude" beer commercial has reached my shit list... Annoying Commercials. I die a small death every time it comes on. The TIAA Cref commercials baffle me. What is it they do again?

10:51pm... MSU went on a run and pulled ahead by ten. Pitt counterattacked and pulled within 2. A little more than 10 minutes left in the game.

10:58pm... Sobering reality for UCLA.... you're on the verge of being bounced by A&M. Get your shit together!

11:00pm... It's not pretty basketball in the MSU/Pitt game, but it's been gripping back and forth action. Pitt finally took the lead, but MSU stormed right back and lead by three with 7:28 to play.

11:03pm... Don't forget about Fantasy Sports Live... we got NASCAR running right now along with NBA and NHL. The MLB season is right around the corner!

11:04pm... A&M now up by 6. Where's the Rooster talking smack about his Bruins now??

11:25pm... MSU in the Sweet 16? Pitt sleeps with the fishes.

11:26pm... Who would have thunkt hat UCLA would be down 1 with five minutes to go?

11:28pm... Michigan St. 65, Pitt 54. Final. The favorites are 4-3 today. I slipped to 0-3. I'm stuck for the day and wiped out all of the profits from Round 1. Time to shake it off and come back strong tomorrow with three really good bets.

11:37pm... UCLA/A&M game is gonna come down to the last possession.

11:38pm... Collison came through with two clutch layups. He powered his way to the hole the last two times down court. His last bicket gave UCLA the lead with nine seconds left.

11:40pm.... UCLA 53, Texas A&M 49. Final. Talk about getting lucky at the right time. UCLA advanced to the Sweet 16. Barely. The favorites went 4-4.

11:41pm... That's it. I'm done. Three straight days of partying and basketball... and I'm spent.

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

Friday, March 21, 2008

March Madness Friday Live Blog

By Pauly
New York City

Yesterday was tons of fun. First day of March Madness is always one of my most favorite days of the year, where I get to actively engage in sloth-like activities and watch college basketball for 12 straight hours.

It had been a long time since I live blogged anything, and I couldn't recall the last time I live blogged an event on Tao of Poker. I was rusty and forgot about how intense it used to be! Based on my traffic numbers, people were tuning in from the office and when they got home. Thanks for following along. I will continue to live blog Friday's March Madness games here on Tao of Poker.

In the Tao of Poker March Madness Pool, I went 13 for 16. Beer and Snausages (B. Fowler) is in first place with 160 points after going 16 for 16 and finishing up with a perfect Thursday. He was the only perfect sheet out of 131 entries. Eight people went 15-1. Best of luck today.

In betting, I ended up 3-2 after a slow start. I turned a slight profit on a day where there were so many blowouts, it was hard not to make money. Yet, there I was struggling to break even. Bottom line... I'm up and cannot complain. Hopefully, I'll make better picks today.

Here are today's games...
3.21 Friday

12:15pm (2) Tennessee -19 (15) American University
12:25pm (10) Davidson -1 (7) Gonzaga
12:30pm (10) Saint Mary's -1 (7) Miami (FL)
12:30pm (5) Drake -4 (12) Western Kentucky

2:45pm (7) Butler -4.5 (10) South Alabama
2:55pm (2) Georgetown -16 (15) UMBC
3:00pm (2) Texas -15.5 (15) Austin Peay
3:00pm (4) Connecticut -11.5 (13) San Diego

7:10pm (1) North Carolina -24.5 (16) Mount St. Mary's
7:10pm (6) Oklahoma -1 (11) Saint Joseph's
7:20pm (4) Vanderbilt -6.5 (13) Siena
7:25pm (8) Mississippi State -2.5 (9) Oregon

9:40pm (8) Indiana -2 (9) Arkansas
9:40pm (3) Louisville -13.5 (14) Boise State
9:50pm (5) Clemson -6 (12) Villanova
9:55pm (1) Memphis -25 (16) Texas-Arlington

All times ET and spreads listed as of 9:35am ET
* * * * * Live Updates * * * * *

10:54am... I haven't decided on what games that I like. I might bet one in each grouping so I have at least one bet going at all times.

11:10am... Early game previews.
(2) Tennessee -19 (15) American University
(10) Davidson -1 (7) Gonzaga
(10) Saint Mary's -1 (7) Miami (FL)
(5) Drake -4 (12) Western Kentucky
I really don't like to bet any of these games, but I'm going to go with Davidson for a small bet because I'm an action junkie.

The early games feature the best matchup of the day in #10 Davidson versus #7 Gonzaga. Too bad that they have to play each other. They both had the potential to make the Sweet 16. Davidson has the better away record and a better free throw shooting team. I'm worried about their lack of depth. Stephen Curry (son of NBAer Dell Curry) is a sophomore and Davidson's best player. The 6'2" shooting guard is one of the premiere scorers in the nation averaging over 25 points. If Curry can get hot then Davidson should win.

At first glance, Miami and St. Mary's looks like one of those close games. I picked Miami on all of my sheets because St. Mary's is overrated. They don't have much of a bench and if Todd Golden is having a bad day from downtown, they're doomed. Simply put, Miami played a tougher schedule including Top ranked UNC once, Duke twice, and Clemson twice. They even won at Mississippi State. St. Mary's has 25 wins but mostly against unranked teams and a fluffy schedule. They lost at home to Kent State who got whooped yesterday by UNLV. The more I think about it, I'm going to bet Miami small.

American University doesn't have a chance against Tennessee. It's not a question of if they will lose, just how much? The experts in Vegas think Tennessee is almost a 20 point favorite. With the exception of Duke, all of the top seeds covered their large margins. If Tenn's pressure defense can rattle American and create turnovers, they can get out to a big lead early and lock it up.

Drake and Western Kentucky. I have no idea about either team, but I don't think WKY will be the #12 Cinderella this year. By the numbers, Drake plays better defense and shoots better free throws. They are on a roll and won their three conference tournament games by a combined total of 80 points.

12:11pm... Today's bets.
Davidson -1
Miami +1
South Alabama +4.5
Mississippi State -2.5
Clemson -6
12:15pm... Tip off in the Tenn/American game. Tenn scored off the opening tip.

12:24pm... Bill Raferty and Verne Lundquist are doing the Tenn/American game. They are my favorite announcing duo for CBS. Raferty is old school. He probably still drinks on the job, sipping his Irish coffee. I dig those guys way more than Jim "CompanyMan" Nantz and Billy "Fudge" Packer.

12:25pm... Good times. Bad times. CBS aired the Davidson/Gonzaga game. That's the good news. The bad news? Having to sit through Billy Fudge Packer's commentary. Thank god for mute buttons. I'm listening to Ornette Coleman on my iTunes instead.

12:27pm... Zags out to an early 7-2 lead. American is giving Tenn troubles early on.

12:39pm... Davidson finally tied it up at 15. Miami trails St. Mary's early. It's not even 12:40pm and I'm sweating two close bets.

12:48pm... Zags started to pull away with an 8 point lead. Davidson looks... flat and blah. Drake and Tenn are up by a bit. Miami and St. Mary's are tied at 9-9. I'm watching that game online.

12:59pm... Commercials prey on your weaknesses in order to sell you products that you don't need to survive, but end up buying to look cool or to see like a normal person since that's what everyone else is doing. The last commercial was for a credit card company. Sign up today and buy stuff you don't need. Then we'll rape you in finance charges. Corporate thugs. Even the mob has some semblance of humanity. Juice starts at 10%, even with the shylocks.

1:01pm... Gonzaga/Davidson game is back and forth. Davidson trails by six but finally got something going.

1:06pm... Racial profiling at March Madness. Whenever I see a short white guy step on the court, I immediately think, "Ah, he's the three point threat or the coach's son."

1:11pm... I got a text from StB that read... "Watching bball with lesbians is interesting."

1:25pm... Upset for WKY? #12 Western Kentucky made a run in the first half and jumped out to a nine point lead over the #5 seed. Can they pull off the upset?

1:31pm... Back from halftime and Davidson only trails by two. My buddy Jerry from Miami sent me a text, "Canes looking like shit." Miami is only down by five and should play better in the second half.

1:47pm... Gonzaga attempted to pull away, but Davidson hung in there tough, still down by five. I need help with about 11 minutes to go.

1:56pm... Miami went on a 15-3 run to start the second half. The Canes erased the first half deficit and lead by seven.

2:03pm... Still have the TV on mute. Can't stand the Fudgepacker/Nantz verbal diarrhea. I'm drowning in assholes. Switched up the music to Phish and a bootleg from Prague on 7.5.98. As soon as I put on Ghost, Davidson pulled even and tied the game at 62 with 9:41 to play.

2:16pm... 73-72. Davidson up by 1 with four minutes left. Most exciting game of the tournament so far.

2:22pm... Afternoon games preview.
(7) Butler -4.5 (10) South Alabama
(2) Georgetown -16 (15) UMBC
(2) Texas -15.5 (15) Austin Peay
(4) Connecticut -11.5 (13) San Diego
S. Alabama is one of the most underrated teams in the country. I really think they they should be the #7 seed in this matchup. Getting +4.5 is a gift. That is one of my big bets of the day. S. Alabama beat Western Kentucky twice and is led by senior guard Demetric Bennett (20 ppg, 41.1 FG3%), who might be the best player in the country you never heard of.

Some think that Georgetown is a Final Four team. If that's true, then they should rout UMBC by 20 points. Easy victory for the Hoyas.

Texas gave me trouble this year. It seemed that whenever I bet them to cover, they failed to do so. They'd win the game, but miss the spread by a couple of points. I'm not betting them today, but I'm keeping a close eye to see if they can beat Austin Peay by 16 or more. D.J. Augustin and big man Connor Atchley will be handful for Austin Peay's defense.

I picked San Diego to upset UCONN in one of my sheets. I picked UCONN in the rest. UCONN should win the game by more than ten points, if 7-3 center Hasheem Thabee can be a defensive threat.

2:24pm... Tennessee 70, American 57. Final. The favorite did not cover. 0-1 to start the day.

2:25pm... Stephen Curry is putting on a clinic with a 37 point performance, and 27 in the second half. He just put Davidson up by three with 58 seconds.

2:36pm... Davidson 82, Gonzaga 76. Final. Favorites are 1-1. Impressive performance from Stephen Curry. His NBA stock rose with every bucket he drained in the second half. He finished with 40 points including 30 in the second half. Phish ended up being the perfect rally music for Davidson. I started the day 1-0 in bets.

2:37pm... #12 seed Western Kentucky looked like they were going to upset #5 Drake, but Drake went on a 19-9 run to pull within five pints with three minutes left.

2:44pm... Miami 69, St. Mary's 61. Final. Favorites slipped to 1-2. My buddy Jerry from Miami was pumped. I won my bet and improved to 2-0 to start the day.

2:45pm... Sickness. Drake forced an overtime after a 29-15 run to close out the second half. First OT game of this year's March Madness.

2:48pm... The Joker was skiing in Colorado. He sent me a Text-a-Shot, "with the spring break tourists watching the tournament. This is a text-a-colorado-microbrew with the joker."

2:57pm... Drake's coach's name is Keno Davis. No shit.

3:03pm... Josh Young from Drake hit two big three's to keep them in the game, although Tyrone Brazelton dropped 33 for WKY. It's tied at 98 with five seconds left in OT.

3:07pm... Miracle ending. With five seconds left and down by 1, Tyrone Brazelton appeared as though he was going to go coast to coast and take the last shot. Instead, he drew the defense and dished off to Ty Rogers. He drained a trey as time expired. Western Kentucky won and pulled off the upset in OT.

3:08pm... Western Kentucky 101, Drake 99. Final. The favorites slipped to 1-3 for the day. It's been a day for the dogs, so far. If you picked Western Kentucky to upset Drake in your office pool, then you are looking like a fuckin' genius right now.

3:15pm... Three of the afternoon games have tipped off. CBS aired the Georgetown/AP game. I have to watch the S. Alabama game online. Man, I wish I was in Vegas. I'll have to wait a few days...

3:32pm... Georgetown struggled with UMBC in the first ten minutes. They finally figured out how to play them and are back on top.

3:33pm... Posted a few bits to Coventry (my music blog) today. Take a peek.

3:35pm... Back and forth action in the S. Alabama/Butler game. Butler up by 1. Both teams trading baskets back and forth. A.J. Graves already has 10 points for Butler including 2-6 from three point range.

3:37pm... Texas is up by 17 in the first half. That smells like an impending blowout, like watching a pimp beating down a $20 crack whore.

3:42pm... The UCONN game tipped off forty minutes later than scheduled because of the Drake/Western KY overtime game. CBS aired that in the NYC region. I have to watch the S. Alabama game online.

3:46pm... Butler opened up a 12 point lead. They're knocking down their threes, shooting 7-15 from behind the arc. S. Alabama is only 2-6 from downtown.

3:53pm... Butler up by 17 at the half. S. Alabama looked awful and got outplayed in the last few minutes of the first half. Demetric Bennett? Where the hell was he? He posted a goose egg for S. Alabama, shooting 0-2 in 16 minutes of play. Pete Campbell is single handedly destroying S. Alabama. He drilled a trey as time expired and dropped 20 points in the first half.

4:11pm... Halftime for Texas and Georgetown. They both lead by double digits. UCONN is struggling with San Diego. They trail by 2 with six minutes to go.

4:20pm... Smoke Break. Dial-a-Bong with Change100.

4:34pm... G'town up by 18. Texas up by 22. Butler up by 20. Three blow outs. The coaches are emptying their benches. Guess which ones I didn't bet? All of them. What was I smoking when I researched S. Alabama? Money to be made. Free money all around and I couldn't get any of it. So pathetic, like a narc who couldn't get laid in a whore house.

4:36pm... San Diego Cinderella? They went into halftime with a five point lead over #4 ranked UCONN. The Huskies are having nightmares about Gyno Pomare. I'm not making that name up. GyPo went 7-9 from the floor and scored 16 points. If UCONN can't stop GyPo in the second half, they are fuckin' toast and ruined a lot of people's brackets.

4:55pm... UCONN came out of the locker room flat. They can't stop GyPo. San Diego up by eight.

5:03pm... The S. Alabama bet blew monkey chunks. Texas and G'Town have victories locked up with less then four minutes to play. It all comes down to if they will cover.

5:11pm... Georgetown 66. UMBS 47. Final. Favorites are 2-3. Patrick Ewing, Jr. scored ten points.

5:12pm... Butler 81, S. Alabama 61. Final. Favorites are 3-3. I go 2-1 for the day and lost my big bet of the day.

5:13pm... Texas 74, Austin Peay 54. Final. Favorites are 4-3. Texas crushed AP even with a crappy six point game from Augustin.

5:49pm... Crazy ending. San Diego could not finish off UCONN. They forced an overtime. The second OT of the day.

5:54pm... Senor called me. He was at Foxwoods with his wife. He was watching the game there.

5:55pm... San Diego took a four point lead with 2:30 to go in OT. Sadly they lost GyPo. Gyno Pomare just fouled out. He scored 22 points.

5:58pm... With GyPo on the bench, UCONN finally took the lead. Up by one with under a forty seconds to go in OT.

6:08pm... Four lead changes in the last 44 seconds. Unreal. San Diego drilled a trey with a second to go to take the lead. They hold off #4 seed UCONN for the upset.

6:09pm... San Diego 70. UCONN 69. Final OT. The favorites are 4-4 for the day. #12 Western Kentucky and now #13 San Diego both advance in stunning OT victories and square off on Sunday in the second round.

6:10pm... Evening games preview.
(1) North Carolina -24.5 (16) Mount St. Mary's
(6) Oklahoma -1 (11) Saint Joseph's
(4) Vanderbilt -6.5 (13) Siena
(8) Mississippi State -2.5 (9) Oregon
The featured game is the #1 team in the country North Carolina. Lots of expectations from Roy Williams' squad. UNC was picked to win in a high percentage of office pools. They need to get the first game under their belt if they expect to win the championship. The formula is simple... get a big lead, then rest the starters.

Oklahoma played a tougher schedule. They have a well balanced attack led by Blake Griffin. It's a close game to call. I picked Oklahoma on most of my sheets. Unless it gets close, that might be the game that gets the least attention all night.

Lots of college hoops pundits picked Siena to upset Vanderbilt. I really don't see why. Siena plays in the MAAC against schools like Manhattan College. They even lost to lowly Manhattan College. So they beat Stanford, but that was in November before Turkey Day. Standford went cold that day and missed 19 treys and 45 shots total. Talk about a bad day. Vandy played Tennessee twice and beat them once. They are one of the top 10 teams in the nation shooting threes. Expect Shan Foster to light it up against Siena's suspect perimeter defense.

Mississippi State is one of the most overrated teams in the country. I look at the -2.5 line as a gift. Then again, at this point, I'm 0-3 betting on my "underrated teams." I guess I overrated my underrated teams and the ended up playing as expected. Perhaps I should re-think that label I thrust up Mississippi State? Ah, the bet is in anyway. I took Mississippi State. They are one of the best defensive teams in the country. They are in the top 5 teams in defending the three ponter. Oregon is one of the better shooting teams in the tournament. Interesting match up. If Maarty Leunen has a big game for Oregon, they have a shot at advancing.

6:12pm... Dinner Break. See you in an hour. Waiting for my brother to come home from work so we can order a pizza.

7:04pm... JW sent me a text, "just took down a dime betting S. Diego on the money line." Nice score, bro.

7:11pm... Tyler Hansbrough throws one down to start the game. He got UNC off to a 7-0 lead.

7:27pm... All four games are underway. I took third in an SNG on PokerStars. I'm now playing PLO cash game on Full Tilt. I won a pot with Ks-10s-7h-6s. I flopped two pair and a gutshot in a three-way pot. I turned a straight and was heads up. I won the pot on the river when my opponent folded.

7:33pm... Bad Beat of the Week. PLO. Action folded to me on the button. With Ac-As-Ks-Kh, I raised the pot. The big blind called. The flop was Kc-Qh-7s. Checked to me. I bet the pot with me top set and the big blind called. The turn was the 7c and I boated up. Checked to me. I bet 1/2 the pot and the big blind min-check-raised. I potted and my opponent was all in with Qs-Js-7h-5s and a smaller boat. The river was the 7d. One outered. Riverstars. Fuck me.

7:35pm... Two hands later I felted a guy with Kc-Kh-5s-5c. I turned a set of Kings and rivered Quads.

7:42pm... UNC up by 12 and led by Tyler Hansbrough's 11 points. Oklahoma, Oregon, and Siena were all ahead.

8:04pm... Halftime of UNC. Hansbrough has 17 points already.

8:08pm.. Halftime lead for Siena. Didn't think they could do it. Glad I didn't bet against them. Oklahoma is up 12 at halftime.

8:19pm... Successful Dial-a-Freshie with Daddy. He said he might take Arkansas +2 against his homestate Hooisers. He called it "emotional and financial hedge betting."

8:27pm... Halftime. Miss St. down by 10. And that's the team I bet on. Yikes.

8:49pm... UNC wiping the floor with MSM. Up by 40. Even the scrubs at the end of Carolina's bench are racking up points.

8:51pm... Miss St. hanging in there. Only down by 6.

9:06pm... Thanks Sven.

9:07pm... After trailing the entire game, Miss St. took the lead. Charles Rhodes is lighting up Oregon for 30 points (10-12 from the field and 10-12 from the FT line). 7:42 left in the game. Let's see if Miss St. can finish off the Ducks.

9:12pm... North Carolina 113, MSM 74. Final. Favorites are 5-4. I had put in a parlay where I bet ever #1 seed. So fat, three of them covered. I need Memphis to cover tonight to hit the parlay.

9:17pm... Oklahoma 72, St. Joe's 64. Final. Favorites are 6-4.

9:27pm... Siena 83, Vanderbilt 62. Final. Favorites are 6-5 today. Another #13 seed advances and another #4 seed gets dumped.

9:33pm.... Late games preview.
(8) Indiana -2 (9) Arkansas
(3) Louisville -13.5 (14) Boise State
(5) Clemson -6 (12) Villanova
(1) Memphis -25 (16) Texas-Arlington
Indiana is a tainted team after Kelvin Sampson's shenanigens. They dropped three out of the last four. Arkansas looked like a top notch team when they picked off Tennessee. They looked like absolute shit when they got thumped by a sizzling hot Georgia team in the SEC championship. Indiana is outsized. They'll have to contain Arkansas' seven-footer Steven Hill.

Those tot eaters from Boise State likes to shoot from downtown. Louisville has a pretty solid defense. If they can hold Boise State in check, they'll definitely cover. I just wonder which Louisville team will show up! Will it be the team that lost two straight or the team that beat Georgetown? Pitino will have his kids ready. Expect a rout.

Clemson won several big games. They had to play UNC and Duke a combined five times. OK, so they lost 4 times against the elite ACC teams. I bet Clemson hoping to end the day 4-1.

Memphis? Another favorite pick to win it all. Can they cover the spread? UT-Arlington has a player named Rog'er Guignard. I love players with hip names.

9:40pm... Miss. St 76, Oregon 69. Final. Favorite improve to 7-5 today. I improved to 3-1 in my bets. Big come from behind win for me. Miss St. will most likely face Memphis in the next round.

9:55pm... Daddy said that our brief phone call inspired him to write a post on Snailtrax. "A love story even," explained Daddy. Check out Leg Carvings.

10:02pm... Three of the late games tipped off. Louisville jumped out to an early lead.

10:11pm... I paced myself better today. Yesterday, I got too wasted, too early and expended too much energy. Last night at this time, I was spent and needed a nap. Tonight, I'm feeling much better and ready to party hard for the last two hours of March Madness tonight.

10:14pm... Clemson is making me look like a genius. They're up 8 with 13 minutes to go in the first half.

10:19pm... The NY Times reviewed the latest poker movie called The Grand.

10:20pm... What's the deal with the hippie guy on Arkansas?

10:31om... Busted out in 6th in an SNG.

10:32pm... Successful Dial-a-Shot with everyone's favorite Huge Junked Norwegian.

10:43pm... Two games at halftime... Louisville up by 13 and Arkansas up by 7. Nothing too exciting going on with those games. Clemson opened up a 14 point lead over Villanova. Memphis is up double digits.

10:48pm... Clemson up 12 at halftime. Just 10 more minutes away from clinching another bet.

10:59pm... Memphis up 14 at the half. They need to come out strong and but the game out of reach.

11:14pm... CBS finally aired the Clemson/Villanova game. Clemson's double digit first half lead was shrunk to three.

11:24pm... Rollie sighting in the sixth row. Ah, the former Nova coach is a throw back to the hay day of the Big East in the mid-1980s.

11:33pm... 4 point play? You shitting me?

11:44pm... Louisville 79, Boise State 61. Final. Favorites are 8-5.

11:46pm... Nova took a three point lead from Clemson. They are shooting out of their tits... 77% in the second half. Eight minutes to go.

11:50pm... Arkansas 86, Indiana 72. Final. Favorites are 9-5.

11:56pm... Nova running away with the game. Clemson hasn't scored a bucket in over six minutes. They went cold. Colder than cold. Like icicles on your balls cold. They will have to shoo their load just to tie the game. I can only hope for an overtime, then a shot at covering in OT.

12:14am... Clemson in trouble.

12:23am... Memphis 87, UT-Arlington 63. Final. Memphis doesn't cover by a point. Favorites are 9-6. That was the fourth leg of a four-team parlay that I needed to hit. It missed. Bullshit.

12:28pm... Villanova 75, Clemson 69. Final. Favorites finish up 9-7 for the day. They were 12-4 yesterday for a total of 21-11 for Round 1. I lost my bet and slipped to 3-2 for the day. I'm 6-4 since March Madness started.

12:31pm... That's it. See ya tomorrow around 2pm ET.

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

Thursday, March 20, 2008

March Madness Thursday Live Blog

By Pauly
New York City

We are less than three hours away from tip off. I barely slept last night because I have been waiting for today for a very long time. March Madness is one of my favorite times of the year. It means that I get to do nothing for four straight days as I devour non-stop hoops and engage in degenerate gambling.

It's also the time of year when that chick in your office who knows absolutely nothing about sports ends up winning a couple of hundred in your office pool because she picked seven out of the Final 8 teams and called several insane upsets like Mississippi State knocking off Memphis.

I only thought that I'd get 50 entries for the Tao of Poker March Madness Pool. Man, was I wrong. It was at 124 the last time I checked. Good luck everyone.

Here are today's games...
Thursday 3.20

12:20pm Xavier - 8.5 Georgia
12:25pm Kansas -21.5 Portland St.
12:30pm Michigan St -7.5 Temple

2:30pm Marquette -6 Kentucky
2:50pm Purdue -2.5 Baylor
2:55pm Kent St. -1.5 UNLV
3:00pm Pittsburgh -8.5 Oral Roberts

5:00pm Stanford -14.5 Cornell

7:10pm Duke -20 Belmont
7:10pm USC -3 Kansas St.
7:20pm Washington St. -9.5 Winthrop
7:25pm Texas A&M -1.5 Brigham Young

9:40pm Wisconsin -11.5 Cal St. Fullerton
9:40pm West Virginia -2 Arizona
9:50pm Notre Dame -6.5 George Mason
9:55pm UCLA -32 Mississippi Valley State

Point spreads as of 9:45am ET
I expect to be in front of my laptop from noon until past Midnight with the game on in the background.

* * * * * Live Blogging Updates * * * * *

11:43am... Professional Keno Player Neil Fontenot called me to say that he's going to take down both of my pools. He said he likes CS-Fullerton to upset Wisconsin today. "Those cheese-eating crackers at Wisconsin can't handle my main man Josh Akognon!" I'm not on the same page as PKPNF. Wisconsin is 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games.

11:55am... I'm sitting on my brothers couch ready for a 12+ hour session of college basketball. I'm watching two TVs, one has CBS and the other ESPN.

11:58am... The first games include a potential blowout when #1 seed Kansas takes on Portland St. I picked Michigan State over Temple on all of my sheets. They should win, but by how much? There could be an upset with Xavier vs. Georgia. Coming into the tournament, Georgia is one of the hottest teams despite being only one game above .500. Xavier should win the game, but hopefully the Georgia team that won the SEC conference championship will show up. They have won five out of their last six including two overtime affairs. On my sheets, I split Xavier/Georgia. I'm betting Georgia +8.5.

12:03pm... Here who I bet on today...
Thursday's Bets:
Georgia +8.5
Marquette -5.5
Winthrop +9.5
Notre Dame -6.5
12:11pm... CBS is already hyping up their prime time coverage of the USC/Kansas State game featuring two of the best players in the country OJ Mayo (USC) and Michael Beasley (KSU). Beasley has the potential to lead his team deep into the tournament sort of like how Danny Manning carried Kansas, John Wallace carried Syracuse, or how David Robinson carried Navy. I sincerely hope that I get to see a lot of that game instead of coverage of the Duke/Belmont blow out. Knowing how incompetent CBS's coverage has been in the past, we'll only see a few minutes of the USC/KSU game.

Kansas State's Michael Beasley

Bottom line... that will be one of the best games in the opening rounds. USC is the better team, but you don't know how much of a factor Beasley is going to be. Can he drop 40+? Will he get in foul trouble? Because of all of those unknowns, I'm not touching that game. I also split the teams on both of my sheets.

12:21pm... Cards are in the air. Oooopps. Sorry, tip off in the Xavier/Georgia game.

12:23pm... Xavier jumped out to a 5-0 lead scoring off their first two possessions. Two minutes into March Madness and I'm already doomed. At least CBS is airing one of the games I wagered on.

12:31pm... Tipoff in the Michigan State and Temple game. CBS switched to coverage of that game. I'm already on CBS-tilt, especially since Georgia fought back after a jittery first few minutes of play. They lead Xavier 11-10. I'm going to try to watch the game online.

12:38pm... Georgia/Xavier tied at 11. I'm watching the game on CBS's website on something called March Madness on demand. Too many fcukin' commercials.

12:41pm... With 10 minutes to go in the first half, Georgia extended their lead to 5.

12:43pm... Kansas is coasting with a double digit lead. Michigan State leads by 2.

12:46pm... Georgia frosh Jeremy Price is 4 for 4 from the field with 8 points. That's what he averages off the bench this year. He's one of the reasons why Georgia is up by 6.

12:49pm... It's official. 131 participants in the Tao of Poker March Madness Pool. That is insane. Good luck to everyone!

12:57pm... So I'm watching the Georgia game online and the other on TV. The MSU/Temple game is boring basketball. Slow. Sluggish. Kinda ugly. They do have better looking cheerleaders than Temple.

1:04pm... Georgia up by 7 with about a minute to go in the first half. Unreal. Let's hope the can keep up the pace.

1:10pm... Georgia up by 9 at halftime. They went on an 8-0 run to close out the half and take a 37-28 lead over Xavier. I would have been happy if they were only down by a bucket or too. A nine point lead plus the spread is a nice cushion to have going into the second half. Xavier is a good 3pt shooting team, so Georgia will have to work hard on the perimeter if they want to prevent them from unleashing a run.

1:13pm... Michigan St. is up by 10 with two minutes to go. Kansas is up by 23 at halftime. That entire second half should be garbage time.

1:20pm... I'm so happy that the MSU/Temple game is the halftime so I don't have to watch that atrocity anymore. MSU is up by 9 and they should have been up by more considering how badly Temple played in the first half. Since all three games are at halftime, I get spoon-fed highlights from the in-studio team of dweebs in bad suits.

1:30pm... Georgia/Xavier game back on CBS... for now. Xavier trailed at the half only four times all season. Georgia scored on their first possession in the second half to open up to a 11 point lead.

1:37pm... Back on CBS-tilt. They are airing MSU/Temple. I wanna shoot myself. I loaded up CBS on Demand and I'm in that totally retarded waiting line.

1:47pm.. Off tilt. CBS is airing the game I have money on. Xavier is crawling back and only trails by six. The score is 46-40 with 12:30 to play. In the other games, Kansas leads by 21 and MSU is up by 16.

1:50pm... CBS flashed a stat that the last time a #14 seed beat a #3 seed was when Northwestern State knocked off Iowa in 206. Both of today's teams are inaccurately seeded. Georgia should have been a 10 or 11, while Xavier has been overrated all season. They are a 4 or 5 seed at best.

1:53pm... Xavier cut the lead and only trails by 4 with 11:44pm. There's an "officials timeout" while the zebras figure out how much time should be on the shot clock. The result? CBS takes the opportunity to milk their advertisers. They air a Chevy commercial. All of a sudden, I have an urge to listen to country music and drive a pick up truck.

1:58pm... Failed Dial-a-Shot! AlCantHang texted me ten minutes ago for a DAS. I called back. He answered but the bartender was no where to be found! ACH said he'd call back ASAP for a DAS.

2:01pm... Georgia back up by 7. The Bulldogs ended a 4:40 scoring drought with a three pointer.

2:04pm... 52-49. Xavier tied it up at 49, then they hit a big three to take the lead and erase an 11 point deficit. Less than eight minutes to go.

2:07pm... Successful Dial-a-Shot with AlCantHang. "Next one will be at 4:20," he said.

2:11pm... Interesting stat. Xavier had 14 FT attempts. Georgia has just 2. Usually that smells like the refs are calling cheap fouls on Georgia and letting Xavier get away with a lot of rough play.

2:13pm... With less than five minutes to play, Xavier has a firm grasp on the momentum. The stepped it up on defense. Xavier converted a traditional three point play to open up an 8 point lead. The spread is in jeopardy. Here's when I start pacing frantically for the rest of the game...

2:17pm... With 3:13 left to play, Xavier leads by 5. Commercial time. Based on the apperances of the actors in the McDonalds commercial, the suits at McD's are targeting black people and potheads.

2:20pm... Kansas won the first game of March Madness and advanced to the second round. They routed Portland State 85-61. They also covered the spread. Favorites are 1-0. Michigan State is up 16 with under four minutes to play. They are more than covering.

2:22pm... Xavier leads Georgia by 5 with 2:56 to go. Here's where the final three minutes of play will take forty-eight minutes of real time with fouls, free throws, time outs, commercials, and other unnecessary bullshit.

2:24pm... Two minutes to go and Georgia trails by four.

2:28pm... Moving lines. Marquette opened at a 4.5 favorite over Kentucky. The current line is at -6. The line moved 1.5 in the last 48 hours. The public likes Marquette because Kentucky's Patrick Patterson is out. I had locked in the bet at -5.5. I'm glad that I checked, because I thought I had Marquette -6.

2:30pm... Under a minute to play. Xavier up by seven. Here's where I hope that Georgia doesn't get trigger happy and launch unnecessary three pointers. The result is a long rebound by their opponent followed by a foul. That just adds more points to the deficit. It's always best to try to get a cheap layup. I need points. Any points.

2:34pm... As I feared. Georgia got lazy and launched threes. They missed and Xavier padded the score. So frustrating. Georgia dominated the game for the first 25 minutes. They hung in there for 35 minutes, before their Cinderella story came to an ugly ending.

2:35pm... Michigan State 72, Temple 61. Yeah, a #12 seed lost to a #5 seed. I wonder how many fools picked that one for their pools? Favorites are now 2-0.

2:37pm... Georgia loses by 12. You can flush that ugly bitch of a bet down the toilet. Favorites are now 3-0. I'm 0-1 for the day.Awesome. Nothing is worse than chasing a loss right off the bat.

2:39pm... Kentucky is up 10-6 over Marquette with 15 minutes to go in the first half. I haven't seen one second of the game because CBS is doing their shady coverage where they end a game, run a bunch of commercials, cut to the studio, then go to more commercials before they finally give you live coverage. Then you get like 10 seconds of play before there's a timeout, which means... more commercials.

2:49pm... I got sidetracked the last few minutes reading Change100's recent post about American Idol. I don't watch the show. I have been in the same room when Change100 and her struggling actor roommate, Showcase, religiously watch it. They go nuts. However, they sang Beatles songs the last two weeks, so I was remotely interested since I'm a Beatles fan. Change100 has a great recap called American Idol Wednesdays: The Beatles Redux.

2:51pm... Marquette rallies back and lead Kentucky by 6.

2:53pm... Jay Bilas is announcing the Kentucky/Marquette game. He's a good studio analyst suit, but awful on the floor. It's like eating cold toast.

3:20pm... Sorry for the lack of updates. Just had a phone conversation with the Rooster. He's a cagey mofo.

3:22pm... Four games at once. Hard to keep up. CBS is airing Pitt/Oral Roberts. Pitt has been struggling with Oral Roberts and is only up by two. Marquette up by 3. Purdue up by 5. UNLV is up by double digits.

3:35pm... At halftime, UNLV has a 21 point lead over Kent State. They're looking like the Runnin' Rebs of the early 1990s. Pitt is trying to pull away from Oral. They widened the gap and lead by 13.

3:37pm... Purdue's lead over Baylor is in double digits. The Marquette/Kentucky game is at halftime. Marquette leads by four. I need them to play a strong second half in order to get unstuck for the day.

3:42pm... Second half of the UK/Marquette game under way.

3:47pm... Marquette only up by one. Pitt increased their lead to over 20 with less than two minutes to play in the first half.

4:01pm... Took a short walk outside. Went to the bodega. Came back and discovered that Purdue was leading 46-27 at the half. Marquette is up 7 with under 12 minutes to play. The UNLV game is still a blow out. The Rebs lead by 25.

4:05pm... March Madness Memories: Flashback to 2002. When I worked on Wall Street, there was a March Madness office pool on my floor. First prize was $3,500 in one and $5,000 in the other. One of the secretaries hit the $3,500 one. That was perhaps 1/10th of her yearly take home salary. Of course, the biggest swinging dick of a trader on the floor won the big prize. He blew it all on hookers since he was a total assclown who had to pay women to fuck him.

4:10pm... It's not pretty basketball, but Marquette is holding onto a five point lead with under 8 minutes to go.

4:13pm... Kent State scored just 10 points in the first half. They have scored 20 in the first nine minutes of the second half.

4:20pm... Smoke break.

Click through to Tao of Poker to view the video via RSS...

4:21pm... Successful Dial-a-Shot with AlCantHang.

4:25pm... Of course every game is a fuckin' blow out, except the Marquette/UK game I decided to bet on. UNLV and Pitt have 20+ point leads and Purdue is up by 17.

4:26pm... Marquette up by 6. Thank god for missed free throws by Kentucky. Less than three minutes to go and looks like I'll be sweating the rest of that game, agonizing over every rebound and missed free throw.

4:35pm... Fuck me. Where's the Kentucky team that lost by 40 points? All of a sudden they look like a Final Four team. Unreal. Marquette by three. Spread is 5.5. I'm in trouble with 36 seconds to go.

4:37pm... Winning March Madness games and winning bets all comes down to last minute free throw shooting. Nothing is sweeter than hearing that "Swish!" sound when your guy is on the line looking to pad the lead. Marquette up by 5.

4:38pm... Kentucky drilled a trey to cut the lead to 2 with twenty seconds left.

4:41pm... On consecutive possessions, UK turned over the ball and then missed a big three. Marquette managed to pad the lead when they hit four clutch free throws with less than 10 seconds remaining.

4:43pm... Marquette 74, Kentucky 66. Final. I got unstuck for the day and improved to 1-1. The favorites are 4-0 so far today.

4:49pm... CBS is airing the Pitt/Oral Roberts game. Pitt is up by 21 with 4:20 to play.

4:59pm... The remaining games were a blow out, so I decided to play poker. I fired up FT and played limit. I won a big pot with 5-5 against A-K. He flopped a King but I rivered a runner-runner straight to win the pot.

5:01pm... UNLV 71, Kent State 58. Final. UNLV was a 1.5 point dog in that game. The favorites are 4-1.

5:04pm... Successful Dial-a-Shot with Mean Gene.

5:08pm... One of my favorite films, Magnolia, is on one of the cable stations. 90210 is playing over on the soap opera network.

5:10pm... Pitt 82, Oral Roberts 63. Final. Favorites are 5-1. Pitt dominated that game, led by Levance Fields who dropped 23 points.

5:11pm... Purdue 90, Baylor 79. Final. Favorites are 6-1. Once again that was another game I considered betting but didn't.

5:14pm... Welcome back, Dr. Chako!

5:15pm... Stanford/Cornell game is underway. Here's how much of a junkie I am. I knew that the Stanford game would be the only on on, so I almost bet that game just to have some sort of action going. I decided against it and played more poker instead.

5:29pm... Stanford is only up by five with 10 minutes left to the half.

5:30pm... Watching Magnolia on the TV and the game online. It's raining frogs on Magnolia Blvd. and all over the Valley.

Click thru to Tao of Poker to view the video via RSS...

5:45pm... My brother called from the office. He's leaving work and taking the subway home to watch the games.

5:52pm... Maybe I should have made that bet on Stanford? They're up by 15 with 1:45 left. Actually, make that up by 17.

6:01pm... Stanford up by 21 at the half. Another blowout. Yet another blowout that I didn't bet on. Nothing is more demoralizing than going on tilt because of bets that you didn't make.

6:17pm... Stanford came out of the locker room fired up and increased their lead to 27.

6:28pm... 33 point blow out. I'm ripping bingers and watching Rachel Ray and 30-Minute Meals instead. She's making some sort of pesto concoction.

6:35pm... Successful Dial-a-Shot with StB. He admitted they he can drive drunk in the snow very well. I guess that's what people do in Milwaukee. Drink and drive in the snow. He wanted me to broker a bet between himself and Professional Keno Player Neil Fontenot who slandered his beloved Badgers referring to them as "cheese eating crackers."

6:50pm... The 7pm ET games are approaching. Here they are:
Duke -20 Belmont
USC -3 Kansas St.
Washington St. -9.5 Winthrop
Texas A&M -1.5 Brigham Young
I have only one bet... Winthrop. I just think that Wazzu is overrated and will win, but by not that much. On my sheets, I flipped a few of the games. I picked Kansas St. as one of my first round upsets for one sheet. I did the same with Withrop. And with an 8 and 9 seed, it's always a coinflip. That's why I hate betting on them.

The favorites won most of the games in the afternoon. They also blew out their opponents. Will that trend continue?

7:01pm... Bobby Knight doesn't have to wear a suit and tie for ESPN's Sportscenter. They let him get away with a sweater. Dicky V is try to steal his thunder. Lots of egos on that set.

7:02pm... I'm thinking about pulling the trigger and betting Texas AM.

7:08pm... Stanford 77, Cornell 53. Final. Favorites are 7-1.

7:09pm... Duke/Belmont tipoff. Impending blowout alert.

7:19pm... Daddy wrote in the comments, "At the bar now. Old guy next to me said "he'd suck my dick right off" if Belmont upsets Duke. So, I've got that going for me. Which is nice."

7:20pm... Change100 called for a Dial-a-Bong since it was 4:20pm on the Left Coast.

7:33pm... Belmont tied it up at 22. Wow. Looks like Daddy might get a hummer from that old guy.

7:34pm... Just finished a quick meal. We ordered from the diner. I got the pesto chicken and red peppers panini. I'm bummed out because CBS is airing the DUke/Belmont game. At least it's close. I have to watch the USC/KSU game online. KSU is up by six. Winthrop is up 2.

7:39pm... "Where the fuck is Belmont?" asked Derek. I usually have an answer. I was stumped. I looked it up...
Belmont University is a private, coeducational, liberal arts university located in Nashville, Tennessee. It is the largest Christian university in Tennessee and the second largest private university in the state. Noteworthy alumni include that Melinda Doolittle chick from American Idol
7:40pm... Watching KSU/USC online. KSU is up by seven with nine minutes to go.

7:51pm... With Beasley on the bench, KSU increased their lead to 10. Belmont is hanging tough with Duke. And Winthrop is staying close.

7:58pm... Beasley back in despite being in foul trouble. He went right to the hole and picked up a three point play. KSU back up by 10.

8:04pm... Duke up by 7 at halftime against the happy Christians. Winthrop and Washington State are tied. Texas A&M is up by 10 against BYU.

8:07pm... Derek grumbled... "We don't get any of the USC/Kansas State game. But we get to watch the end of the Texas AM/BYU game. Thanks a lot CBS. You fuckin' suck."

8:27pm... Beasley scored KSU's first points of the second half. He has 8 points and 4 rebounds. OJ Mayo has nine points. They are both around their averages (so far), but have not done anything too impressive. Beasley has been in foul trouble and Mayo has four turnovers.

8:33pm... Duke tried to pull away, but Belmont went on a 9-0 run to get within one. Winthrop is pitching shutout in the second half, as Wazzu is up seven.

8:41pm... Belmont takes the lead. Daddy is on the verge of getting sucked off by an old man.

8:51pm... Here's my setup. Derek is rockin' it with two TVs...

8:58pm... Winthrop not looking good. Belmont is making it a game. Those Belmont cheerleaders are not bad eye candy. I figured they were good girls who didn't smoke, drink, or have pre-martial sex. But maybe a few were rouge's liked to walk on the wild side and give out handjobs to strangers?

9:10pm... Belmont takes the lead with under two minutes to go. Coach K must be furious with his Duke crew. I'd rather watch the KSU/USC game, but at least the Duke game is exciting.

9:12pm... Washington State 71, Winthrop 40. Final. Favorite are 8-1. Miami Don was right. I slipped to 1-2 for the day.

9:13pm... KSU is coasting with a 14 point lead thanks to Beasley's 23 points and 11 rebounds.

9:15pm... Belmont blew it. Daddy's potential blow job seems futile.

9:20pm... Duke lucky, Belmont not. Final. Favorites are 8-2.

9:22pm... Texas A&M and BYU were coming down to crunch time. A&M up by 4 with four to go.

9:23pm... Kansas State 80, USC 67. Final. Favorites 8-3. First upset of March Madness, eh? Kudos to KSU for playing tough without Beasley for most of the first half. And when Beasley played, he stepped it up. Super frosh OJ Mayo dropped 20 and had five assists in a losing cause for USC.

9:33pm... Texas A&M 67, BYU 62. Final. Favorites went 8-4. I won that bet to get unstuck for the day. I'm 2-2.

9:38pm... So I'm 2-2 with a pending bet on Notre Dame. Of course, with my tainted luck the Fighting Irish will become history's goat as the sole #5 seed that went down to a #12. The late games are always a great chance for losing bettors to get unstuck for the day. Tonight's action includes a #1 seed UCLA who is a 4.5 touchdown favorite over MVS.
(3) Wisconsin -11.5 (14) Cal St. Fullerton
(7) West Virginia -2 (10) Arizona
(5) Notre Dame -6.5 (12) George Mason
(1) UCLA -32 (16) Mississippi Valley State
9:57pm... Cal State Fullerton out to an early lead. Well, how about that. All I care about is Notre Dame. They are up 13.

10:11pm... Update on my pools... I'm 9-3 for Tao of Poker pool and for Pauly's Pub I'm 10-2 and 9-3.

10:36pm... At Halftime, ND is up by 12 and Wisconsin is up by 2. UCLA is up by 25. Wow. Blowout.

10:59pm... I had to step outside and get some fresh air during halftime. After ten plus hours of partying, I felt sleepy. The short walk woke me up. I came back and realized there were two close games and two blowouts. I finally was betting on the good side of the blowout. Let's hope that Notre Dame can hold off George Mason in the second half.

11:11pm... Professional Keno Player Neil Fontenot called and explained more on why he was such a big backer of Cal State Fullerton. "My daughter is 17 and she said that she wanted to go to college next year, some place like UNLV. I thought that was great, as long as she didn't end up a striper like her crazy bitch of a mother. Her grades aren't good enough to get into some of the better California state schools, especially with her arrest record and all, but she has a shot at Cal State Fullerton. I wanted her to go to a school that had a good basketball program."

11:18pm... Wisconsin started to look like a #3 seed. They went on a run to take an 11 point lead. Notre Dame is coasting to a 16 point lead. West Virginia pulled out to a lead once the second half started. And UCLA game? Still a blowout. The question at this point is not if they will win, rather, if they will cover?

11:33pm... Notre Dame up by 16 with two minutes to go. My final bet of the day is looking good. Just hoping for a strong finish. UCLA is up by 30+ while Love leads the way with 20 points and 9 rebounds... with 10 minutes to go in the game.

11:38pm... Notre Dame 68, George Mason 50. Final. Favorites are now 9-4. #12 seeds are 0-2 versus #5 seeds. I improved to 3-2 for the day. Weeeeeeeeee! Unstuck.

11:50pm... Approaching midnight. Been live blogging for almost twelve hours. I forgot how hard and mentally draining this was. However, it was a blast for sure. Three more games to go. All of them are in the final stretch. They should all be over soon.

11:56pm... Wisconsin 71, Cal State Fullerton 56. Final. Favorites are 10-4.

11:57pm... West Virgina 75, Arizona 65. Final. Favorites are 11-4.

11:58pm... UCLA 70, MVS 29. That's no typo. It's a final. Favorites finished off the day 12-4.

12:01am... That's it for today. It was an exciting day because it was the first day. Lots of blow outs. The day was not without one big upset with Kansas State knocking off USC. The biggest story was the almost upset of Duke by Belmont. I'll be back tomorrow in about twelve hours for Friday's games.

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