Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Main Event Day 5 on ESPN - ElkY and Happy

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Last week on ESPN, we were treated to the Phil Ivey Show. This week, the living legend was under-emphasized as he battled it out on Day 5 at one of the outer tables and away from the scrutiny of the hole cameras on the two TV tables.

The featured TV table this week included a Frenchman, a Dutchie, a Buddhist-Irishman, and a Phishead. Sounds like the start to an uncouth ethnic joke. Nope, just ElkY, Andy Black, Rolf Slotbloom, and Happy Shulman.

Fireworks on the first hand of the episode? You betcha. A-K versus A-J sooted all-in preflop. In one corner... an amateur-poker player full-time train conductor shilling for UB. In the other... a wise-cracking nicotine-addicted Buddhist monk shilling for Full Tilt.

"On the scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your hand?" asked Black who hoped that train conductor would slip an inkling of information about his hand.

Not getting the info he fished for, Black made the crying call with the inferior hand. He could not suck out and he doubled up a short stack. A couple of hands later, the train conductor found himself in a cooler hand with his pocket Kings against ElkY's Aces. Casey Jones was about to hit the road until a fortuitous Kc fell on the turn. He torpedoed ElkY's Aces and secured a nice chunk of the French wunderkind's stack.

"Merde!" muttered ElkY under his breath.

Right now, I could hear my colleagues in the French media hurling politically slanted insults, vaginal-laced obscenities, and empty wine bottles at Norm & Lon for their gross mispronunciation of ElkY's real name.

While ElkY shook off the horrendous beat, Happy took control of the action. He limped with deuces and won a pot against two Frenchies who limped behind. In his couch interview, Happy named dropped (Danny Boy and Ivey) and that made him look like a conceited douche. Alas, he's just speaking the truth. When you're entrenched in a bubble like the poker industry, it's inevitable that you befriend a pro or two along the way. It's a weird life working in the circus, and sometimes you can only relate to the other clowns, performers, animals, and side-show freaks. Anyway, Happy has privileged access to several of the top minds in poker and he was not shy about revealing that enviable fact. Just last week, word made the rounds that Happy hired Phil Hellmuth as a coach for the November Nine. I can't wait to tackle the subject of that dynamic duo in a future post.

Happy and ElkY butted heads. Happy opened with K-Q. ElkY smooth called with pocket Queens and two others also called. The flop was A-J-x and everyone checked around, including Happy who flopped a gutshot. He fired out on the turn when a blank fell. ElkY reluctantly folded his Queens and everyone else got gun shy and ran for cover. Happy dragged the pot with a flimsy King-high. I'm surprised that ElkY folded. Shocked actually. Among European pros, the French are notoriously known as calling stations.

ElkY folded the "best hand" a second time as the stack dwindled. His downshift into low gear might have cost him an opportunity to gain ground on day 5 instead of reversing directions. ElkY finally struck gold against one of the chip leaders, Tyler Patterson, when Tyler's pocket tens could not beat his Aces. ElkY doubled up and sprung back to life.

Photo courtesy of Flipchip

Happy continued to shred the TV table and build a stack. He slowplayed a set against Andy Black and the Irishman fell for the trap. I wonder if Buddha told him that Happy was bluffing with A-K and that's why he called.

"Another spectacular blow up," bemoaned Black as he left the final table. When in doubt, blame a defenseless deity.

Twenty-something online pro Lucky Chewey made a cameo on the secondary TV table featuring Prahlad Friedman and Vitaly Lunkin (two-time bracelet winner and 40K Champion). The young and fearless Lucky Chewey found himself in a hand with the Lunkin, the cold-blooded Russian. Lucky Chewey held 10h-5h and re-raised Lunkin who headed into the tank with A-8.

"This is when all the online kids get called and they suck out," said Change100.

Lunkin flipped a coin to determine his decision. The coin landed on its side so there was no direct result. He folded anyway and flashed an Ace hoping that Lucky Chewey would show what he was three-betting with.

"You're too good to show," said Lucky Chewey who tossed his suited crap into the muck.

Lunkin (aka The Russian Ted Forrest) avoided elimination when he won a race with A-Q against a guy chomping down on a toothpick's pocket nines. Later on the two would fight a second time. Lunkin's pocket Aces were outflopped by toothpick schlub (two pair with 5-2 off). Lunkin held the Aces of hearts on an all heart board and called knowing that he was behind and desperately praying to catch one of his outs. Nope. Toothpick's two-pair brutally snapped off Lunkin's Aces and the Russian was crippled.

* * * * *

Donkey Bomber: Just one hand? And a brief mentioning of snagging the chiplead? Let's hope that DonkeyBomber and his rabid railbird Angry Julie get some face time next week.

Bribe of the Day: Antonio Esfiandari offered to wash a dealer's car in exchange for a favorable board. That's an insult to the dealer. How about buying him a car for an improbable four flush with A-K vs A-K? In his couch interview Antonio spoke glowing things about his Life Coach. Under the proper tutelage, Antonio curtailed his bad boys to elevate his poker game and to avoid paying off his BFF, The Unabomber, in prop bets for straying from his new-found discipline.

The Coolest Kid in School: PokerRoad's founder Joe Sebok took advantage of two crazy Asians who were overplaying their hands. He doubled up with suited Big Slick versus Q-7 sooted. He thought he was toasted when his opponent turned the seven, but Seebs rivered a King to avoid elimination. He sniffed out a bluff and another hand to bust an opponent with J-J. During Sebok's couch interview, he honest spoke about how that the business side of poker negatively affected his play on the felt.

Quote of the Month: During the Nuts segment, Erick Lindgren commented that he'd give up sex for a month in exchange for a Main Event championship. The Tao of Poker's favorite Brazilian spicy dish, Maridu, shrugged off his insufficient sacrifice, "That's like a normal month for most humans," deadpanned Maridu.

Blitz Brothers: Let's just get down to it. One of the Blitz brother is an ex-pat living in exile in St. Kitts after he denounced his citizenship because he likes guns and smokes pot, something our shadow government frowns upon. This guy must be a regular listener to the Alex Jones show.

The Life of Ivey: Two opponents showed their hands after he folded to all in bets. It appeared Phil Ivey was behind on both hands, but when you run that good, your opponents willingly give you free information without paying for it. One guy at Ivey's table was rocking a Swine Flu mask. I don't blame the verminophobiac. Las Vegas is a cesspool and the Amazon Room is riddled with filth, diseases, and pestilence. Scary thought? That's just what's on the poker chips. I should start a new shtick, Last Five Pros Who Didn't Wash Their Hands After They Pissed.

The Previous Champions: The legendary Owl, Bobby Baldwin, ended his run at the Main Event when his pocket Jacks were outflopped by Benjo's buddy Julian Brecard. Julien's set of tens held up and the Owl was nevermore... Dan Harrington, neck brace and all, shared some pearls of wisdom during his couch interview. He pushed November Niner Eric Buchman off a hand, but couldn't get an Aussie to fold Queens on a board with three overs and lost most of his stack. Harrington eventually busted out when he whiffed on a flush draw against a former French-Canuck hockey player... Peter Eastgate doubled up with Kings against a flush draw and overpair. He faded both to double up, and he advanced to the next day... Joe Hachem? Not much to report.

Celebrity Death Watch: Actors Justin Henry and Lou Diamond Philips were donating their chips early on. Henry managed to outflop Big Slick with Mrs. Slick after suggesting that A-Q is the one hand that people bust with the most. For me, I think it's A-K. I definitely go out of a lot of events with an unimproved Big Slick. He busted in 235th place but out of the eye of ESPN cameras. LDP lived for one more day.

Kara Scott on Day 3 of the Main Event
Photo courtesy of Flipchip

The Unfortunate Demise of Kara Scott: EPT hostess Kara Scott had her pocket Aces sunk by A-K. Short-stacked, she shoved with Ac-2c and got run down by 5-3 sooted. Life is so unfuckin' unfair. She's a sweetheart and eye candy to boot. I shed a tear as she headed for the rail.

Media Wandering Around in the Background: Every time you see a British writer (Snoopy, Howard, and Bartley), they're hard at work. Snoopy (a member of the Tao of Poker All Stars) was on the scene during Waxman's bust out to one of the Blitz brothers.... Howard from PokerStars frantically scribbled down the hand when German pro Ben Kang doubled through Dennis Phillips... Bartley from PokerStars lingered in the back during Antonio's brother's bustout... Amanda from PokerPages stood behind LDP when he spewed some trips... MeanGene walked past Dennis Phillips after he won a hand... Amanda Leatherman & Joe Stapleton were in a b-roll shot during Sebok's couch interview.

* * * * *

Click here for Flipchip's WSOP Main Event photos.

You can read my end of day report for Day 5 of the Main Event... Day 46: Rapido and The Rise of the DonkeyBomber

And here are previous recaps...
Main Event Day 4 on ESPN - Bubbles and the World Series of Ivey
Main Event Day 3 on ESPN - Aussies, Ivey, and No Shake for Hellmuth
Main Event Day 2B on ESPN - A Kinder and Quieter Hellmuth and the Always Aloof Ivey Time
Main Event Day 2A on ESPN - The Fossilman and Costanza Show
See you next week.

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

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Liz Lieu Tuesdays: London Calling

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Perfect timing for an installment of Liz Lieu Tuesdays. Liz is one of 92 players remaining in the WSOP-Europe £10,000 buy-in Main Event Championship at the Empire Casino in London. This year's Main Event has 334 runners with the top 36 places paid.

Liz at the featured TV table on Monday (via @LizLieu)

Liz began Day 2 with 65K in chips and when the day ended, she was among the leaders with 181K. She doubled up late in on Monday evening with pocket Aces. There are several notables remaining in the Main Event including two previous champions, Annette15 and John Juanda. Also still alive? November Niners James Ankenhead & Antoine Saout, WCOOP Main Event winner Yevgeniy 'Jovial Gent' Timoshenko, Doyle Brunson, Amnon Filippi, Arnaud Mattern, Hendon Mob's Joe Beevers, 2009 WSOP-E bracelet winner Jani Vilmunen, My Main Man Freddy Deeb, Daniel Negreanu, Devilfish, Antonio Esfandiari, Brandon Adams, Andrew "LuckyChewy" Lichtenberger, and Andre Akkari.

Liz on the APT

Best of luck today, Liz!

I'll be following along with her updates (and pics of her stack) on Twitter. You can follow Liz here. You can follow me here.

* * * * *

Update at 9:00pm ET...

Good news. Liz made the money and is among the final 36 players. Action was suspended until Wednesday at noon local London Time. Princeton alum Matt Hawrilenko is the current chipleader. Liz sit around 24th or 25th in chips overall.

Also still alive? November Niners Antione Saout and James Ankenhead and Manchester United's Teddy Sheringham.

Notables still in the hunt for a bracelet? Doyle Brunson, Daniel Negreanu, Arnaud Mattern, Devilfish, Steve Z, and Happy's Shulman's father, Barry.

Photo courtesy of WSOP

Best of luck on Wednesday!

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

Monday, September 28, 2009

Letters to Pauly: The Amazing Race, Vol. 1

By Trisha Lynn
New York City

Editor's Note: Allow me to welcome Trisha Lynn as a special guest scribe to Tao of Poker. She joins the mix as our reality TV correspondent and guru.

Dear Pauly,

I've never seen a single episode of The Amazing Race before, so I'm going to be coming into this pretty blind because the Wikipedia entry sure as hell wasn't very useful in explaining what we'll be watching Maria Ho, Tiffany Michelle, and the rest of these folks put themselves through over the next few months--or less, depending on whether or not they're going to make it all the way through. However, I'm going to do my very best to help you figure out exactly what you missed when you were doing something more worthwhile than sitting on your couch on Sunday night.

The promo for the show right before Andy Rooney's segment on 60 Minutes started off with someone already breaking out the "We're not here to make friends" quote, and I swear my eyeballs hurt from rolling them so hard. When the show itself starts, Maria and Tiffany are the third out of the chute and their clip has them in an empty poker room executing some chip tricks and being shipped a whole bunch of chips. I am so glad that of the intros, theirs is the least annoying, cloying, self-satisfying, or heart-warming.

Tiffany Michelle and her Asian good luck charm, Maria Ho

Maria and Tiffany are among the last to reach the heavy backpacks to pick up the clue, but the first to get the puzzle right, which means their car is the first that's headed to LAX to board a plane for Tokyo, Japan. Tiffany says, "I brought my Asian lucky charm!" and I don't know if she means Maria or an actual piece of jewelry.

At LAX, the teams converse and our girls reveal that they're running a bluff on the rest of the teams by saying that they work for an organization that helps homeless people because they think that if they reveal that they're professional poker players and make a lot of money doing it, no one will want to help them. Pretty smart move, I think. Another cute moment is when they're in taxis heading to Tokyo Tower when they see the "two hot guys" in another taxi and we see them flirting and making faces at them through their car window. Of course, this is the moment where the brothers reveal in an interview that they're gay and are running their own bluff on the girls. Well played, GayBros.

At Tokyo Tower, they find themselves in a studio playing a game called "Sushi Roulette" where the aim is to spin a roulette wheel and eat whatever is in front of you. However, when you get a huge chunk of wasabi wrapped in seaweed, you have only two minutes to eat the whole thing before you can get your clue to the next section. Poor Maria is the one who has to take the wasabi bomb, and the expression on her face is like death.

"She loves wasabi!" exclaims Tiffany. Maria looks like she wants to hurl or kill her, especially when she doesn't finish it in the time limit... which means that she's going to have to eat another one... on the very next spin of the wheel.

"I can't do another one, Tiffany," she subtitles. However, like a true winner with one second to go, Maria shows how well she choked it down and they head off to lead a group of tourists (whom I cannot help but feel were drawn from Central Casting) through the Shibuya Scramble to a Shinto shrine.

The girls do a smart thing and dip into a hotel to get a map from a concierge, and end up sharing it with the GayBros. And then they do something foolish and lose two people from their tour group in the Scramble. That's the first time you hear Tiffany's claws come out when she snarks to Maria, "Can we not lose any more people?"--even if it was her job to keep the group together and Maria's to lead.

They are the last to arrive at the checkpoint, surrounded by all the other tourists and teams, and it is announced that by arriving last, they incur a 2-hour penalty and will have to perform a task that no one else in the race has to perform somewhere along the way. Luckily, this first round is a non-elimination round and the girls are passed on to the next destination: Vietnam. In interview, they break out a poker term and call this pass their "1-outer" to continue in the race.

Rather than spend some of their seed money on an Internet cafe to book a flight to their next destination, they decide to head straight to the airport, where on the way Tiffany says to Maria in the car, "I may be the brawn, but you're definitely the brains... and the boobs." Maria's expression at that is priceless.

I am rather sad that their bluff gets called so early when Tiffany gets recognized at the airport, and I have to wonder if that was deliberately done by the producers to even things out. The two Harlem Globetrotters' reaction is to say that it's "Game on" now, and I am officially scared for them. The GayBros get in on the act as well when they share a taxicab in Ho Chi Minh City and my heart breaks a little more. Hanging out on a river boat dock, the girls interview that their job is to observe people and gather information about them, and they say that Justin and Zev (who has Asperger's) are their least favorite team, and they can't picture the "meathead" Lance as being the lawyer he says he is. Um, whoops?

The speed bump is revealed to be a race to a local food stand where they have to get the ingredients for a bowl of pho and serve it to the dockmaster on the Mekong River. As they bounce back towards the dock, Maria carries the tray while Tiffany searches for the dockmaster... wait, didn't Tiffany say she was the brawn? The next task is to get mud from the river to fertilize fruit trees on a farm upstream and as they're slipping around in the thick deep muck, Maria Tiffany says, "Girls in mud is so sexy."

A bunch of laughing Vietnamese men agree. The girls move up to sixth place when other teams can't manage to herd ducks over a bridge and back into a pen--yes, ducks in a pen; I am not making this shit up--but wind up in seventh when the Blonde Duo end up beating them to the dock. They are going on to the next round.

Next time on The Amazing Race: Asperger Boy drops a plaster giraffe and the meathead rips up electronics. Aren't you riveted already?

Trisha Lynn

Trisha Lynn is a writer from New York City. She's also a contributor to Movie

* * * * *

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

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday Link Dump: Vegas Locals Robbed, Snurf Bust, RIP Bob Stupak, Twitter, and Iron Man

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

And here we go again, a Sunday afternoon link dump. It's a refreshing read at halftime during the afternoon football games, or if you're catching up in your office on Monday morning, then this is the perfect way to kill ten minutes and thousands of brain cells.
A Legend Bids Adieu. I got the word last week that Bob Stupak was on his last legs, and he passed away on Friday. Stupak was one of the bridges between the new Vegas and the old Vegas. He once bet $1 million on the Super Bowl... and won. He ran for elected office several time (last time in 2006 for Lt. Governor)... and never won. Every time I see the Stratosphere, I'll think about Bob Stupak. (LA Times)

Huge snurf ring busted up in Las Vegas. Good to see the cops put away these criminals hawking snurf via the web. Oh well. Stems from inbreeding, I tell you. The Southwest is filled with so many inbred jackals and most of them live in Las Vegas. (Las Vegas Sun)

France Poised to Deliver Jackpot for U.K. Gambling Companies Oh the Bits are licking their fingertips awaiting to invade France. The Frecnhies are about to surrender and open their borders to foreign online gambling operators. (Bloomberg)

Twitter raises $100 million in funding. Were you surprised that several big dogs on Wall Street helped acquire twice as much in funding as Twitter original sought? Some of those investors include... T. Rowe Price, Spark Capital, Benchmark Capital, and Morgan Stanley. Hey, at least they didn't get gobbled up by Google. (Wall Street Journal)

Locals robbed. I'm glad that Mrs. Flipchip is safe. She was robbed twice in two different locals casinos. Sign o' the economic times. (

Matt Savage hosted a tournament at Commerce last week called Iron Man specializing in no breaks and no deals. The tournament didn't stop until the final hand. In all? 19+ hour tournament. I wondered if players would try to gain an edge at the tables with street drugs and prescription pharmaceuticals? In addition to the sordid cast of usual degens, the Iron Man would naturally attract cokeheads who could stay up for days on end. The downside to playing Iron Man on Peruvian Pink is that you'd have to constantly miss hands because you're running to the bathroom every fifteen minutes for a bump, then another, and another. Naturally, the tournament could attract discreet pill poppers who fuel their three-day long poker binges on Adderall and other pharmaceutical cocktails. Anyway, here's my weekly Sunday column aptly titled... Iron Man. (Poker News)
And that concludes the Sunday link dump.

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

Saturday, September 26, 2009

2009 WCOOP Recap

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

The 2009 WCOOP was the most poker that I ever watched... without getting paid to do so. My girlfriend kept Vampire-like tweakerish hours over the last three weeks while she covered the WCOOP for PokerStars. Change100 wrote final table recaps for PokerStars Blog so I followed along as the action unfolded.

Online poker tournaments are tough to hold my attention. If I'm gonna watch others play on the virtual felt, then I prefer to sweat the nose bleed cash game tables. However, I had a fun time railing a few WCOOP events, especially the first ever Badugi event that was won by Los Angeles grinder Raymond Davis.

If you don't know who Ray Davis is, think of "Willie Mays Hayes" from Major League. Flashy. Cocky. Brash. That's Ray Davis, and he's usually clad in diamond earrings and a Gucci fedora. The last time I saw him? At the Rio on the last day of the WSOP as he stood in one of the secret hallways at the Rio hitting up Phil Ivey for cash. Less than a hour earlier, Ivey had advanced to the November Nine and he was already being hit up for a stake. I wonder if Ray Davis used any of his Ivey backing to play in WCOOP events?

Team PokerStars pro Barry Greenstein hosted the Badugi event. Our very relaxed and jovial host gave Davis a ton of shit in the chat. Davis and Greenstein were friends, so it was all good-natured ribbing but man, Greenstein cracked one-liners left and right at the expense of Davis.

"I have to root for you, Raymond," snarked Greenstein. "No one else owes me money."

Davis won the event and took down the first ever WCOOP Badugi bracelet. No word on how much money he paid back to Greenstein or Ivey.

2009 WCOOP winners included Terrance Chan, David Williams (I love his screen name "RugDoctor"), Germany's George "Scarf Boy" Danzer, and ElkY. Yeah the Frenchie won not one, but two bracelets. Event #43 $215 NL had a mammoth field of 9,220 runners, and ElkY made mince meat out of the final table en route to his second bracelet. He won his first one two days earlier in a rebuy event. The French kid runs good.

In addition to ElkY, two other players won multiple bracelets this series including Dan "djk123" Kelly and Ryan "g0lfa" D'Angelo. g0lfa was the first player this year to win two bracelets. He took down an 8-Game event and the half PLH/PLO event. Dan "djk123" Kelly finished in second place in 10K HORSE event last year, but he went all the way this year. When you're hot... you're hot. He had won a bracelet two weeks earlier on the first day of the WCOOP.

I watched the final four matches the $25,000 NL High Roller Heads Up event. The field was stacked with 32 of the top heads-up specialists in poker. The final four matches featured Jonathan "Iftarii" Jaffe, Sorel Mizzi, Olivier "Adonis12" Busquet, and Sifosis. In the final match, Iftarii defeated Sifosis. He collected $315,000 and the WCOOP bracelet.

The prize pool for the $5,200 Main Event swelled to over $10 million with 2,144 entrants. The event was spread out over two days. Dan "djk123" Kelly continued his run goodness. He started the final table as the chipleader and seemed destined to pick up his third WCOOP bracelet this year until he ran into Yevgeniy "Jovial Gent" Timoshenko. The Ukrainian-born and Seattle-raised pro schooled the final table with sheer aggression. djk123's attempt at winning bracelet #3 was thwarted when he couldn't fold 10-10 to Timoshenko's four-bet with K-K. He finished in fourth place, while Timoshenko went on to win the Main Event for a $1.7 million score. This has been a stellar year for Timoshenko. He won the WPT Championships at the Bellagio in April for $2.1 million.

djk123's sensational run earned him WCOOP Player of the Year honors and almost $1 million in cash. That's a sick score for a 20-year old college student.

Check out Change100's article on the Top 10 Moments from the WCOOP.

And here's a complete list of winners...
2009 WCOOP Champions:
Event #1 $215 NL Hold’em [6-max] - ChopSueyyy $234,421
Event #2 $215 Razz - djk123 $53,410
Event #3 $215 PLO [6-max] - MUSTAFABET $86,247
Event #4 $215 NL Single Draw 2-7 w/rebuys - 2FLY2TILT $42,000
Event #5 $109 8-Game [5-minute levels] - FireGoblin $23,230
Event #6 $109 NL Hold’em - vakAAttack $183,334
Event #7 $215 PL 5-Card Draw - CesarSPA $33,500
Event #8 $215 FL Hold’em - iacog4 $64,000
Event #9 $215 NL Hold’em - ternoplayer $303,876
Event #10 $10,300 NL Hold’em [High Roller] - Sumpas $611,455
Event #11 $530 NL Hold’em [2-day] - hustla16 $446,533
Event #12 $215 NL Hold'em [4-max] - lebordelaii $111,457
Event #13 $320 7-Card Stud - yhcaep $37,575
Event #14 $320 Mixed Hold'em [6-max] - dangdokodang $75,024
Event #15 $320 FL Badugi - raydavis77 $19,912
Event #16 $1,050 NL Hold’em - XTheDecanoX $249,280
Event #17 $530 NL Hold’em Triple Shootout [10-max] - iCeVeNoM $91,250
Event #18 $320 8-Game - g0lfa $50,250
Event #19 $320 PLO [6-max, 1R1A] - GeorgeDanzer $109,545
Event #20 $320 FL Triple Draw 2-7 - Timmy K $26,676
Event #21 $215 NL Hold’em w/rebuys - Soterdelf $174,594
Event #22 $530 FL Omaha Hi/Lo - Science $75,600
Event #23 $320 NL Hold'em [10-minute levels] - Str8$$$Homey $126,441
Event #24 $530 NL Hold’em [Heads-up Match Play] - MyRabbiFoo $140,000
Event #25 $320 HORSE - todch $70,400
Event #26 $215 NL Hold’em - lelijk22 $274,260
Event #27 $25,500 NL Hold’em [High Roller Match Play] - Iftarii $315,000
Event #28 $1,050 NL Hold’em [2-day] - Unsyatisfied $513,076
Event #29 $320 Mixed [PL Hold'em, PL Omaha] - g0lfa $69,245
Event #30 $320 NL Hold’em [2X Chance] - spencerman3 $131,819
Event #31 $320 PLO w/rebuys [6-max] - KRUTHE $119,000
Event #32 $530 7-Card Stud Hi/Lo - ShawnZJones $47,940
Event #33 $1,050 NL Hold’em - df1986 $207,142
Event #34 $215 NL Hold’em [big antes] - Koln4ever $114,610
Event #35 $320 PLO Hi/Lo - twenty305 $80,000
Event #36 $530 NL Hold’em w/rebuys [6-max] - Astrolux85 $210,000
Event #37 $2,100 PLO [6-max] - kiiski $172,140.00
Event #38 $530 NL Hold’em [1R1A] - ElkY $232,730.00
Event #39 $1,050 FL Hold’em [6-max] - Unassigned $83,030.00
Event #40 $215 NL Omaha Hi/Lo [10-minute levels] - PiMaster $42,263.65
Event #41 $530 PLO [Heads-up Match Play] - robert07 $52,600.00
Event #42 $2,100 8-Game - RugDoctor $107,800.00
Event #43 $215 NL Hold’em - ElkY $263,323.20
Event #44 $10,300 HORSE [High Roller] - djk123 $252,350.00
Event #45 $5,200 NL Hold’em Main Event [2-day] - Jovial Gent $1,715,200.00

Original content written and provided by Pauly from Tao of Poker at All rights reserved. RSS feeds are for non-commercial use only.
Derek Wins Week 2 of Sundays with Dr. Pauly

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

The second week of Sundays with Dr. Pauly over at Fantasy Sports Live had plenty of drama. I lost to JoeSpeaker by 0.1 points in our contest as he squeaked out the victory by the slimmest of margins.

My brother Derek (aka HermWarfare) put up the highest score last Sunday to win week 2.

Guess what? I'm first overall after a hot start. I was embarrassed last season and vowed to bring the pain. Let's see how long that can last.

Click here for Week 2 results and updated standings.

Click here for more details, rules, and payout information.

Best of luck in Week 3.

If you don't have a Fantasy Sports Live account, you can sign up for one here.

And don't forget to check out, a great supplement for your daily fantasy sports needs. It's helped me out immensely!

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

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Link Dump: Sebok/UB Reactions, Men Denies Cheating Allegations, and The Donk Brigade

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

The gang at The Poker Beat discussed Joe Sebok's new relationship with UB. Matt Savage also made a cameo on this week's episode. (Poker Road Radio)

Shamus eloquently pontificated about the Joe Sebok/UB issue in The Sebok Surprise. (Hard-Boiled Poker)

The masses react to the Sebok/UB deal. (2+2)

Speaking of cheating, during his final table interview at the WSOP-Europe with Marty Derbyshire, Men the Master vehemently denied persistent cheating allegations. Good old Men the Master tossed around Buddha's name and threatened to sue anyone for slander who wrote about it in a magazine. (Poker Listings)

The closest allegations of Men's cheating was mentioned in a post that I came across from was this story from Zee Justin. Read the May 2, 2009 entry. (

LeBron James plays on PokerStars in a hip-hop video with the kid from Degrassi. Where's the wheel chair? (Wicked Chops Poker)

Rampage Jackson calls it quits after a spat with UFC President. (MMA Junkie)

If you're a fan of Alfred, Lloyd Tenneson, then The Charge Of The Donk Brigade of a must read. (Melted Felt)

If you like to gamble on meaningless things like film industry awards, then Early Oscar Odds is a must read. (Salon)

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

Thursday, September 24, 2009

2009 Poker Hall of Fame Voting

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

I'm fortunate and deeply honored that I'm one of the thirty people (15 living members of the Hall of Fame and 15 member media panel) that get a vote for this year's Hall of Fame.

Here's the criteria...
-- Among finalists, who is most deserving to be elected this year
-- A player must have played poker against acknowledged top competition
-- Played for high stakes
-- Played consistently well, gaining the respect of peers
-- Stood the test of time
-- Or, for non-players, contributed to the overall growth and success of the game of poker, with indelible positive and lasting results.

Members of the Poker Hall of Fame:
1979: Nick 'The Greek' Dandolos; 'Wild Bill Hickok'; Edmond Hoyle; Felton 'Corky' McCorquodale; Johnny Moss; Red Winn; Sid Wyman
1980: T 'Blondie' Forbes
1981: Bill Boyd
1982: Tom Abdo
1983: Joe Bernstein
1984: Murph Harrold
1985: Red Hodges
1986: Henry Green
1987: Walter Clyde 'Puggy' Pearson
1988: Doyle Brunson; Jack 'Treetop' Strauss
1989: Fed 'Sarge' Ferris
1990: Benny Binion
1991: David 'Chip' Reese
1992: 'Amarillo Slim' Preston
1993: Jack Keller
1996: Julius Oral 'Little Man' Popwell
1997: Roger Moore
2001: Stu 'The Kid' Ungar
2002: Lyle Berman; Johnny Chan
2003: Bobby Baldwin
2004: Berry Johnston
2005: Crandall Addington; Jack Binion
2006: Billy Baxter; T.J. Cloutier
2007: Barbara Enright; Phil Hellmuth
2008: Henry Orenstein; Duane 'Dewey' Tomko
2009: ? ? ?

I can vote for no more than three nominees. I can also vote for none. My vote is due on October 2nd, so I have a solid week or so to think about this.

I'm wondering what the readers here think and want your feedback. I know who I shouldn't vote for, but who should I vote for and why?

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

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Recap: Main Event Day 4 on ESPN - Bubbles and the World Series of Ivey

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

ESPN billed this week's episode the "Quest for Cash" with the money bubble. They devoted an entire one hour episode to the bubble, just one of the benefits of this year's expanded coverage. They pulled off an excellent job painting the picture of the near misses and tremendous laydowns that usually happen as the bubble looms. Examples included one guy in utter agony as he folded Kings to a re-raise. Shit, even Phil Ivey eased off the gas and passed with A-Q on the bubble when an opponent three-bet him with K-J.

Check out the Tao of Poker live blog for Day 4.

Former champion Joe Hachem took a seat with defending champ Peter Eastgate at the secondary TV table. The two got into it early when Hachem defended his big blind with 8-6 off-crap. The gritty Aussie wasn't going to let the youngest world champion push him around.

"I'm the fuckin' world champ too, mate. Stop raising my blinds. You think you can get away with that shit? I got chunks of Scandis in my stool."

"Hey, I thought we were friends, Joe? Even though Scandis seem cold and calculated, we have feelings too, ya know? Unlike the negative perceptions in the media... we don't all wear ugly hoodies, try to bang strippers, and play shitty cards like Gus. That's Gus Hansen, by the way. I have him on speed dial. You know what number? 6-9."

"Gus? He's a horny fucker. He'd hump a kangaroo if he was drunk enough."

Hachem flopped a gutshot and flush draw. Against a hyper-aggressive Scandi opponent you're usually way ahead in that situation. Eastgate held A-10 and flopped top pair. The defending champ was cautious and Hachem chased him down on the river to win the pot.

Phil Ivey held court at the TV featured table. If you wondered how Phil Ivey built his stack? This episode gave you a little insight. His opponents were sending pot and pot Ivey's way. They were all convinced that he was bluffing or making a move on their sorry asses. Yet, he had them every time. That's because he's Phil Ivey.

Early on, Ivey induced a donk to ship his stack over after Ivey flopped rivered quads. Maybe it's the fanboy effect. Let's face it, Ivey is a God among men. Prometheus gave fire to the mortals, while the Poker Gods gave us Phil Ivey. Guys at his table were subconsciously donating chips towards Ivey's march towards the November Nine. After busting out, guys ran up to Ivey to shake his hand while unsuccessfully trying to contain their erections.

Not everyone was so thrilled to end their Main Event at the hands of Ivey. After author Andy Bellin got out flopped by Ivey, he muttered, "I never should have dropped out of grad school.'

Actor Lou Diamond Philips doubled up JC Tran in what he eloquently described as "spreading love around the globe." He also does a wicked Scotty Nguyen imitation as he mugged for the cameras.

On the other side of the room, former actor Justin Henry made his run towards the money. He's played in events in the past and always asked the media to under-emphasize him in the coverage. Most people are whore for attention, but Henry just wanted to play poker. This time around, ESPN convinced him to sit down for a couch interview. It reminded me more like a bit with Jim Lipton from Inside the Actors Studio as Henry revealed the obscure, yet interesting fact that he once kicked Dustin Hoffman in the balls while filming Kramer vs. Kramer.

You can't air a WSOP episode on ESPN without an appearance from everyone's favorite that they love to hate -- Phil Hellmuth. Of course, the suits at ESPN could not have scripted a better scene... Hellmuth holding A-A with a short stack in a multi-way pot and on the verge of elimination. One of his opponents shoved with an up and down straight draw. The other? Flopped top two with J-10. An incensed Hellmuth ripped into the kid because he knew his fate before the dealer even dropped the turn and river cards. Hellmuth lost the hand. The kid with J-10 lost as well. The third guy made his straight and Hellmuth headed to the rail after getting his Aces snapped off.

Hellmuth showed up to the Main Event dressed as Julius Caesar. If you don't know your history or literature... Caesar was stabbed to death by his friends. And Phil Hellmuth? Busted from the Main Event with Aces.

As Marc Anthony proclaimed at the end of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar...
His life was gentle, and the elements
So mix'd in him that Nature might stand up
And say to all the world 'This was a man!'

* * * * *

Douchebag of Day: After a suck/re-suck against Kevin Saul, Brian Shapiro went off on Saul in a tirade. TD Jack Effel gave Brian Shapiro a one hand penalty for insulting Kevin Saul's haircut. By the way, you really have to act like a total tool to prevent Hellmuth from winning this distinction. Kudos.

The Life of Ivey: You know that you made it in life when people bring you food. His biggest fans in the world were sitting in the front row with a sandwich and apple for Ivey to keep up his energy under the bright lights of the TV table.

Norm's Pop Culture Reference: Thumbs up for... "Princess Bride" and Screech from Saved By the Bell.

Media Wandering Around: One of my favorite British writers, Stephen Bartley was on the scene recording JC Tran's double up against Lou Diamond Phillips... Poker News Dutch guy (I forgot his name!?) wandered over when the Z-list reality TV show dude sucked out against one of the Blitz brothers.... Paul from Bluff hung on the rail when one guy doubled up on the bubble... Tao of Poker All Star, Snoopy from the UK, stood right behind Kia Hamadani when he was all in for his last chip and busted out on the bubble.... Chris B. (one of the photographers from Poker News) and Ilya G. (editor of Poker news Russia) snapped photos during Hellmuth's elimination hand... Earlier in the episode, Howard from PokerStars (another favorite scribe of mine from the UK) stood behind Hellmuth when his opponent won a hand with trip Jacks.

"I want to vomit on the floor," moaned Hellmuth after he lost the pot.

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

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Joe Sebok Signs With Ultimate Bet; Caped Crusader Looks to Bring Law and Order to Online Poker

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Joe Sebok at the 2006 WSOP

A couple of weeks ago Joe Sebok visited Costa Rica. My local sources in San Jose (I know a guy at the airport) told me that Boy Wonder was close to signing a deal with Ultimate Bet. I kinda hoped that rumor wasn't true considering that Joe is one of the nicest guys in poker and he didn't want to his name and media company, Poker Road, to be associated with a site that was the main crime scene for one the biggest cheating scandals in poker.

Turns out that Joe Sebok/UB union rumor is a reality. Read Joe's announcement about signing with UB as a sponsored player and as a media consultant...
I honestly feel comfortable working with the UB leadership as it stands today, and I believe resolutely that there is a commitment to security and integrity within the organization. I will still work vigilantly to make sure that all of the facts continue to come out regarding the past scandal as well, so I don't see my position there as simply moving forward. I also have some retroactive work as well. The bottom line is that the situations that had us all so upset with UltimateBet happened in the past and I believe are no longer going on in the present. With myself on board, we will work to ensure that they also have no chance of occurring in the future.
Joe also clearly states his agenda in an interview with Poker News...
I wanted to get three things accomplished: get the cheating account handles out in the open, open up the access for players to get all their hand histories, and get the actual physical names of the cheaters, besides Russ Hamilton, out in the open. We succeeded in getting two-thirds of that list done and that was enough for me to come on board and continue to work for #3 on that list.
I admire Joe's noble pursuit -- getting on the inside of the cabal to expose those ruthless individuals who were responsible for robbing players out of millions of dollars.

It's sad that the two biggest pros associated with the site, Annie Duke and Phil Hellmuth, were not giving us those types of assurances and putting themselves out on a limb in order to get those names out in the public.

I congratulated Joe via Twitter and said, "Please get us those names." He sent me back a reply...
"already on it, my friend. believe me when i say this..."
Will Joe Sebok get to the bottom of this? I hope. But one thing is for sure -- I believe that he's going to try to do everything in his power to achieve his goals.

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

Monday, September 21, 2009

Farewell to the Shrink

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

One of my friends has said good-bye. Please read this juicy post first... Exit Interview from the World of Poker.

I first met Tim Lavailli, aka The Poker Shrink, at the 2006 WSOP. I had read his articles and reports for a few months. Amy Calistri (then the editor of Poker Pages) had hired him as a staff reporter. During one of my initial conversation with the Poker Shrink he recommended a book called... The Devil's Picnic: Travels Through the Underworld of Food and Drink. We had been close ever since.

I had the opportunity to work with the Shrink when John Caldwell hired us to help launch Poker News' new tournament reporting site in early 2007. We both headed down to Australia to cover the Aussie Millions. If you have worked for Poker News as a reporter or simply followed along with their WSOP coverage, then a lot of what you see today (both good and bad) was spawned from trial and error experiments (on the initial release of out-dated software created by Lithuanians who never played poker) that Caldwell, Shrink, Jonno Pittock, and I performed during the 2007 Aussie Millions. So you have us to blame for any grievances.

The Shrink didn't last too long as the helm of TR at Poker News. I wish he elaborated more on the real story aside from "creative differences" but maybe some disputes are best kept behind closed doors.

Although the Shrink and I never worked together again at Poker News, there were plenty of chances to collaborate. He submitted a couple of entertaining stories for Truckin' and I got to glimpse into the non-poker mind of the Shrink. You should check out... Five Dollars for the Colonel and Three Strikes and You're In.

At the 2008 WSOP, the Shrink made a cameo on a Tao of Pokerati episode where he spoke about Adderall and Mike Matusow. It was one of my favorite pieces of reporting from 2008. You can listen to that episode here... Madderall.

At the 2009 WSOP, I took off 20 days to follow Phish and conduct research for a new literary project. During that time, I hired some friends to help me out with content on Tao of Poker. The Shrink stepped up and delivered with Ladies of the Night: WSOP Version and World Series of Penny. He more than earned his spot on the Tao of Poker All Stars.

The most significant contribution that the Poker Shrink made to the poker world was his stellar work with Amy Calistri in unearthing the "extra chips" scandal at the 2006 WSOP. They stepped up and wrote a real piece of journalism instead of the usual fluff pieces. Kudos to them. You can find links to those articles here.

Of course, the Shrink was also a part of the writing team who penned Mike Matusow's autobiography Check-Raising the Devil. After there horrible experiences with their publisher, their situation inspired me to seek self-publishing options for my future manuscripts.

The weeks leading up to the WSOP are exciting because we show up to Las Vegas and bump into people that we only see exclusively on the tournament trail or solely at the WSOP. After our initial greetings, the next question that inevitable comes up, "So, who you working for?"

The answer often contains the name to a different organization. Ah, the revolving door of poker media. Same reporters, different people signing the paychecks. Sometimes my colleagues are moving up the chain, sometimes, they're clutching at straws hoping to hold onto one more year in the poker world.

Sadly, the days following the WSOP are filled with swirling rumors about our futures. More musical chairs. More cutbacks. A handful of my peers who were "freelance" might have gotten lucky and landed full time jobs for the rest of the year based upon their performances from the summer. Others were given the boot based on their anemic performances during the summer due to too much booze, too much degening away their paychecks in the pits, too busy worrying about playing poker to focus on the task at hand.

Every once in a while, you hear an idle threat about a colleague leaving the poker world. Most of it is hot air and mere frustration because frankly, outside of Las Vegas, many of us are virtually unemployable. That's why we ended up in poker media in the first place -- me especially. Some people disappear for a bit, only to show up somewhere down the road working for some obscure Scandi site.

I was shocked two summers ago when Amy Calistri informed us that for the first time in a decade, she was not going to be in Las Vegas for the WSOP. She took a job in the financial sector and never looked back. Amy was part of an elite unit of poker scribes who had the ability to work outside of the gambling universe. She still hung around long enough to help co-pen the Mike Matusow autobiography, but that was part of a deal that she and the Poker Shrink has signed many many many many months before that got delayed by suits, lawyers, agents, and publishers.

At the 2009 WSOP, Oliver Tse mentioned to us many times that this would be his last WSOP as a poker agent. He said his goodbyes to the poker media a few years earlier and finally hung up his hat after a foray into the rigorous and cuthroat world of poker agents. I knew that Oliver's departure was imminent but never saw the Shrink's exit coming.

When the 2009 WSOP ended, I did not expect that would be the last time we would see the Poker Shrink. I knew that he was in the middle of a re-organization of his life... aren't we all? If you know the Shrink, you know that every few years he shakes things up and take a stab at a different profession. I figured that he was in the process of a "life shuffle" and I didn't really take his hints too seriously. After all, he just had a book come out, he was working on a screenplay, and his head shrinking services were still in high demand.

If there's one thing I learned about working in the poker industry -- there's a significant amount of individuals in poker who are completely fucked in the head.

The media room is riddled with debt, severe brain damage, Swine Flu, STDs, alcohol poisoning, and post-traumatic stress syndrome. The Shrink's presence on the circuit was detrimental for the physical well being of my peers, but then again, he was tragically overwhelmed by psychologically-tormented reporters, players, and tournament staff. The Shrink's daunting task mirrored a medic on the beaches of Normandy a during the D-Day invasion in 1944. Under heavy fire, the Shrink had a little bit of gauze and a couple of syringes of morphine to try to heal an entire beachfront of GIs mangled and torn to shreds from Nazi gunners. He did what he could to stop the bleeding and I always asked him to hook me up with more morphine.

When the Shrink stopped by the press box at the 2009 WSOP, he was a doctor making morning rounds in a hospital, checking out charts, and chatting with patients. Sometimes we'd talk for ninety seconds. Sometimes we'd chat for ninety minutes. Most of the time I was trying to flush a Pink Floyd song soaking in my brain... "There's someone in my head, but it's not me" ...and the Shrink was often able to give me a kick in the right direction.

For that assistance, he will be dearly missed. Thanks for all the guidance, sir.

I got a chance to get to know the man behind the Poker Shrink, and I'm a better person for that. The Shrink is nowhere near the twilight of his existence, but he knows all too dearly how precious life can be and he didn't want to donk off another half of a decade in a transforming industry with a murky future. He's moving on and I wish him the best of luck.

By the way, did you leave any extra prescription pads lying around before your departure?

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

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday Link Dump: November Nine Profiles, Death Bonds, and Pai Gow Cheaters

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Congrats to Travis for his Stud skills at the Borgata. (On a Fold Draw)

Terrance Chan is an online limit hold'em God. He took down two LHE SCOOP events in the same day a few months back, and I watched him come from behind to win a LHE WCOOP event on Friday night. Congrats on your impressive accomplishment! (Terrance "Not Johnny" Chan)

Julius Goat is back with two more November Nine profiles.... Happy Shulman and Antoine Saout. (The_Goat_Speaks)

Death Bonds: Wall Street's Shocking New Plan to Reap Billions off Dying Americans. Holy shit, why didn't I think about this concept? I'd be a wealthy man living on a houseboat in Amsterdam by now if I cooked up that scheme. (AlterNet)

This is several months old, but I just want to point out that point shaving is an ugly by product of sports gambling... unless you're on the right side of the fix. (ESPN)

There's a Pai Gow cheating scandal brewing up at Mohegan Sun Casino. Apparently, one of the dealers fixed a hand for a customer in their tiles and dice game. The eye in the sky caught them. Sweet Jesus. Otis and I need to find a desperate dealer to rig a few hands for us. (Norwich Bulletin)

A guy known as Pai Gow John was busted after running a simple cheating ring at mini-baccarat that took in over $7 million over the last five years. They bribed dealers in 25 different casinos to help Pai Gow John's crew win with a false shuffle. (San Diego Union-Tribune)

Lastly, check out my weekly column at Poker News. This week's topic touches on the psychology of winning.... You Play to win the Game. (Poker News)

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

Saturday, September 19, 2009

BigPirate Wins Week 1 of Sundays with Dr. Pauly

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Sundays with Dr. Pauly returned last week to Fantasy Sports Live. Just when I thought that I had an awesome week with 168 points, BigPirate edged me out. He took first place in our contest and secured the overall lead after the first week of play.

Click here for Week 1 results and updated standings.

Click here for more details, rules, and payout information.

I had a shitty season last year because I was out of the country (London, Amsterdam, Budapest, and Mexico) for a significant part of the football season. I did not get to watch too many games and was out of the loop. My results reflected that. I'm glad that I started off this season with a strong performance.

Best of luck in Week 2.

If you don't have a Fantasy Sports Live account, you can sign up for one here.

And don't forget to check out, a great supplement for your daily fanstasy sports needs.

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

Friday, September 18, 2009

Inside Deal with Daniel Negreanu

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Danny Boy made an appearance on the latest episode of ESPN's Inside Deal...

And of course, this is my favorite Negreanu video of all time...

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

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thursday Link Dump: Subterranean Homesick Blues, Online Poker's Future & Obstacles, and Swinging Isabelle

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Here are a few items of note...

Nolan Dalla is one of my favorite people in the poker industry. When he says something, I listen. And when he writes something, I always read his words. He recently outlined the culprits in DC who have been cock-blocking the legalization of online poker. And it's not exactly those self-righteous bible thumpers on the Religious Right, rather someone who you would never think would be against us.... Legal Online Poker's Biggest Obstacle: Nanny Democrats. (Poker News Daily)

Since we're on the topic of the future of online poker, this piece from an old buddy of mine, Bill Rini, is worth a read... Is Online Poker Really Doing Well? (Bill's Poker Blog)

Thanks to Otis, who tipped me off to Subterranean home of Las Vegas's losers, an article about scores of homeless people who have found alternative places to live during the lean times in America's gambling Mecca. I hope they don't get eaten by the CHUDs. (

For all of you Isabelle Mercier fans (ahem, Mean Gene), she recently announced that she's parting ways with PokerStars. There were rumors over the last year or so that her sponsorship was in jeopardy, so when she left on her own account and declined a contract renewal, a lot of eyebrows were raised (mine included) and wondered if that's just the cover story and in reality she was fired. As it turns out, Isabelle is now the pitch woman for BetClick (or BetClic). Originally an online casino and sports book founded in France, BetClick moved operations to the UK. They opened up an online poker room and the lovely Isabelle will be their pitchwoman. I took a peek at BetClick and noticed that you can wager on Team Handball. Wow, I'm gonna sign up as an affiliate and rake in millions getting inbred retards in America to wager ungoldy sums of money on obscure Scandi sports. (PokerListings)

One of my favorite pics of Isabelle from Flipchip circa 2005 WSOP

If you play poker in Las Vegas or were curious about the skinny involving bad beat jackpots and other live poker room promotions, then you should read Jackpots, Freerolls, & Promos--Nuts, Bolts, & Comments. (All Vegas Poker)

Good luck to Travis. He's the chipleader in a Stud event the Borgata Poker Open. Final table is on Thursday. (Borgata Poker Blog)

One of my hobbies and favorite creative outlets is taking photos. I have several galleries on Flickr that chronicled my travels and hijinks over the years. If you really dig through the archives, you might even find a photo or two of the elusive Change100. Anyway, I checked my stats the other day and was surprised to learn about my the five most popular photos. Three of them involved marijuana, one included bestiality, and the fifth? Chocolate chip pancakes. Click here to read more about the Top 5 Pauly Pics in a post titled Marijuana, Horse Sex, and Chocolate Chip Pancakes. (Tao of Pauly & Flickr).

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

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Recap: Main Event Day 3 on ESPN - Aussies, Ivey, and No Shake for Hellmuth

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Over the course of Day 3 of the 2009 WSOP Main Event, I became fascinated with Chau Giang. At one point, the high stakes cash game pro was deep into a massage from one of the handful of smoking hot masseuses. How deep? She was rubbing Chau's armpits.

When he wasn't paying women to fondle him, Chau frequently left his table for smoke breaks even though the tournament clock was running. Both Chau and Andy Black were jonesin' hard and couldn't wait for the scheduled break to feed their nicotine addiction. They rushed out side doors and secret passages in the Rio's convention center that only smokers, tokers, and veteran reporters knew about.

Before the pit massage...
(Photo by Vin Narayanan)

For the first time at the Main Event, the entire field consolidated for Day 3. After four flights on Day 1 and two flights on Day 2, only 2,044 players remained with an unknown named Amir Lehavot as the chipleader. The most familiar face on the leader board? Phil Ivey, who began the day 17th overall in chips.

On Day 3 for the Tao of Poker, I kept tabs on DonkeyBomber, the Big Randy, Liz Lieu, Shaniac, Loiue Cohen, and Pinky (who was my only player in the Main Event that I had a piece of). Early on, two French players, Ludovic Lacay and Elky, jumped out to the head of the pack, while Jason Alexander and Phil Ivey were the center of attention. Throngs of media flocked to their tables and shitfaced rabid fans jostled for position on the rail to catch a glimpse and cell phone pic of either Ivey or "George Costanza."

The first ESPN episode for Day 3 began with French singer/actor Patrick Bruel showing off his bracelet from the late 1990s. His fellow Frenchman, Elky, emerged as one of the back stories with the two main story lines focusing on Phil Ivey and the featured TV table that included a pair of Aussies... Joe Hachem and Jeff Lisandro.

Lisandro went for a look that Vogue categorized as 'Goomba Chic.' He sported a black and white striped shirt and black fedora. If you spotted him in an Atlantic City poker room, you'd assume he was a captain for one of the mob families.

Everyone's favorite broke-pro, Bobby Bellande of Survivor fame, walked onto the TV stage and mugged for face time while he wandered over to say hello to Jeff Lisandro, who occasionally backed Bellande into events depending upon his mood. A few minutes later on one of the outer tables, Bellande shoved all in with Ad-10d against Ah-Kh. He flopped a flush draw, but his opponent paired his King. Bellande miraculously rivered a flush yet revealed an aghast expression.

"This does not happen to me," he mentioned.

Although Bellande doubled up, he didn't last too much longer. At the 2008 Main Event, I was hopped up on painkillers and stood in the crowd around the featured TV table when Bellande took one helluva a bad beat.

Back at the featured TV table, Lisandro got involved in two tough hands against a hyper-aggressive Scandi in a hoodie (HASH). Lisandro flopped top pair when he was check-raised on the turn by HASH, who held nothing but a gutshot, yet won the pot when Lisandro reluctantly folded. Denmark 1, Australia 0

The two butted heads in the second episode with similar results. HASH opened with 8-4 sooted. Joe Hachem raised with Queens. Lisandro smooth called with Kings and the HASH called. The flop was A-6-4 and the crazy HASH fired out at the pot. Hachem folded and Lisandro made what he thought was a big laydown, with thoughts of "Why didn't I shove pre-flop with Kings?" on his mind. Denmark 2, Australia 0.

After Ville Wahlbeck busted out, Lisandro secured the Player of the Year award and Commissioner Pollack stopped by to congratulate him for that epic feat.

Lisandro was eventually moved off the featured TV table and met his fate in the killing fields. John Myung took him out when Myung flopped a flush and that's all she wrote. Lisandro ended his remarkable run at the 2009 WSOP with three bracelets (all in Stud variants) and a Player of the Year victory. Not too shabby.

* * * * *

Quick question... do you know how much God loves the world? He gave us Phil Hellmuth.

What's a WSOP episode without a little Phil Hellmuth? The self-proclaimed "greatest living hold'em player" signed an autograph for a fan on the rail before he took his seat. He attempted to shake the hands of every player at his table, but there was one holdout-- a malcontent in a USC hat named Lauchlin McKinnon. Like many of Hellmuth's opponents, he had zero patience for his sophomoric antics.

"I don't respect you and I'll never shake your hand," said McKinnon.

A stunned Hellmuth did not know what to say except that no one had done that before. Later in the episode Hellmuth was involved in a hand with Q-J where he made straight. The King-high board was paired and he didn't have an accurate read on his Irish opponent who had shoved all in. Hellmuth deliberated while a wall of international media gathered around the table. As he originally assumed and vocalized his inner dialogue, Hellmuth was ahead of the Irishman and called. His opponent tabled an Ace-high bluff. Hellmuth nearly shit his pants with the correct call.

Hellmuth bluffed off some of his stack to Josh Arieh before young Russian Alex Kostritsyn snagged a pot from the almighty Poker Brat. Hellmuth whined and moaned like someone pissed in his Cheerios.

* * * * *

Elky's stack grew and grew over Day 3 and even took out Kent Senter. I swelled up a bit moments after Senter's exit interview as he made the walk of shame towards the hallway and hugged his wife. At the least, Kent fulfilled one of his dreams.

Ivey sat down at a new table was hit on by a cougar, before he was moved to Elky's table. At that time, the room was buzzing when word got out about the match up... Ivey versus the chipleader. Too bad the two sharks avoided each other and we did not get to see any fireworks. As Elky explained, "Ivey is probably the best player in the world. I respect his game very much. I was not going out of my way to get involved with Ivey. There were so many other weaker players left, so I went after them."

* * * * *

"You can't make a hero call with bottom pair when your opponent has pocket Aces"... Kenny Tran fired away at a flop with Qc-2c and a meager bottom pair against a guy in a Bulldog t-shirt (that's a hash bar chain in Amsterdam in case you were wondering) who was holding A-A. Tran's hand did not improve on the turn or river, and his opponent shoved on the river for the rest of his stack. Tran made the crying call hoping that his opponent was bluffing with Big Slick. Nope. A-A was good, which is odd because most of the time Q-2 sooooooted trumps pocket rockets.

* * * * *

Bad Beat(s) of the Day.... Devilfish took it in the gonads, not once, but twice. Kenny Tran spun a runner-runner Wheel against Devilfish, which immediately set the Brit off and he unleashed his usual string of expletives. Alas, the bad beat parade was not over for Devilfish. Prahlad Friedman raised with Queens and Devilfish called with K-J. The flop was K-J-x and Freidman made a bad call and called Devilfish's all-in bet even though he suspected that Devilfish held a King. He had way better-- top two pair. The turn was a blank but a Queen spiked on the river to give Friedman a set to win the pot. A frazzled Devilfish was eliminated.

* * * * *

Media wandering around in the background? The Executive Producer of the WSOP, Matt Maranz from 441 Productions, walked by in the background during a Lou Diamond Philips hand. If you're a fan of ESPN's coverage of the Main Event over the years, he's one of the reasons why it's been so successful... Everyone's favorite Swedish reporter, Lina from PokerStars, scribbled down notes during the hand where Hellmuth tanked with his straight... Matt from Poker News and Stephen from Bluff Australasia were close by during during Humberto Brenes' bustout... Australian reporter Duckworth lingered in the background of a Bobby Bellande hand... Caco from Portugal and Chops from Wicked Chops Poker fame watched one the Bilzerian brothers in a hand.... Nothing is worse that seeing a big name bust out. Katkin hovered over the table during Costanza's elimination hand. Moments after his run in the Main Event ended, a female fan on the rail asked Costanza to pose for a pic. He obliged but she called him George and quickly apologized. Some days, you just run bad.

* * * * *

Check out my recap of Day 3... Two Frenchies, One Cup.

Also, check out the live blog from Day 3 and read about some of the things that failed to make the broadcast.

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

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

In the trailer for The Informant, a new Matt Damon movie, one of the characters mentions seeing four suits huddling together, "That's not a business meeting, that's a crime scene."

Just turn on the boob tube and the hysterical talking heads in the mainstream media are hell bent on exposing the crooks on Wall Street and in board rooms across America. Meanwhile, the poker media is focused on online cheating scandals, bad TV shows, and re-writing press releases. While that went down we almost forgot about the shenanigans in your local card room, and I'm not talking about crimes against humanity such as a soused hipster sucking out with a two-outer.

Poker rooms have been crime scenes in the past. I heard stories about former poker room managers chopping up the bad beat jackpots at casinos in Tunica and New Orleans, but they were never dumb enough to get caught, or maybe they were smart enough to pay off the right guys. Mohegan Sun's poker room was shut down in September of 2003 because of a hookers and blow scandal. During Operation High Roller in November of 2007, the feds pinched a couple wiseguys from Philly/South Jersey running a bookmaking operation in Atlantic City out of the Borgata's poker room. Not to be outdone, the poker room at the Taj (most known for a cameo in Rounders) took center stage when two men began an altercation over an open seat. The spat escalated into a knife fight into the valet on Virginia Avenue, which is a hot zone for the infamous Atlantic City hookers.

Now, the poker room at the Planet Hollywood is the latest crime scene. Instead of drugs, prostitution, and/or bookmaking, this crime was good old fashioned embezzlement. Here's the twist-- the crooks involved were casino employees who were not stealing from the casino, rather, they were stealing from the players by falsifying high hand documents. They created fake names and pocketed the money, thinking that their paper trail could cover up their crime. What they didn't factor into their scheme were that the powers of video surveillance and someone who ratted them out.

The "Planet Ho 4" dropped the ball big time. They should have hired Danny Ocean as a consultant, but instead decided to screw over tourists and try to outwit the almighty security apparatus that very few of us get to see. The result? They ended up inducted into the Stupid Poker Hall of Fame.

There has been a lot of chatter about the guys getting caught over a small sum of money, which they did by authorities, but all signs suggest that they were running this scam for a while, so who knows how much money they siphoned off from the high hand pool. I hope they stole enough loot to cover their legal fees and to buy enough smokes in the jail to insure their assholes are a no-fly zone.

I'm not justifying corporate embezzlement, but on an average day, I'd rather see a bunch of ordinary guys stick it to the Man and rob a greedy inept corporation. We're in the middle of a cold war between the haves and the have nots, but fucking over innocent civilians is not within reason.

Why would anyone steal in the first place?
1. Money Woes. I read the news today, oh boy, and this country is going straight into the financial shitter. We're all going to be speaking Madarin within a decade if where not careful. Americans have been brainwashed since birth to be voracious consumers. We go ape shit when banks extend credit (in form of loans and credit cards) and burn through it like daddy's little girl on a shopping spree at the mall. The result? An entire populous spending way beyond their means. Toss in shrinking job numbers, rising health care costs, and then you have a recipe for a desperate situation. That's when people shed their moral rectitude.

2. Compulsive Gambling. It takes amazing self-control to live healthily in a gambling town. I wonder if any of the guys who got busted were poker players, or should I say, losing poker players who needed to steal in order to scrape together for a buy-in for the 11pm Caesar's tournament.

3. Feeding an Addiction. Perhaps gambling is not the root of all evil in Las Vegas. There's booze, blow, and meth which keep the city (and the locals) pumping and jumping at all hours. There's also the temptations of the sex industry. Strip clubs are a huge life leak. Plus, if you want to bang a decent looking hooker without track marks or open sores, then you're gonna have to fork over the big bucks.

4. Tourists Suck. If you ever worked a summer job in a vacation spot or worked within the tourism industry, you know about the resentment and bitterness that swells up after dealing with pretentious snobs on a holiday. Vegas is infested with packs of drunken hyenas overindulging in excesses. After a while, you just want to punch the next drunk that spills a drink on you. I can understand all of that tension boiling under the skin. "Why give the tourists money they don't deserve?"

5. Hatred for their Employer. Bosses can be assholes. Corporations are insensitive. Negative work environments foster vindictiveness among their employees. Let's face it, Planet Hollywood is a perfect example on how NOT to run a business and Strip casino. The parent company itself filed for bankruptcy twice. Event the Governator pulled out as an investor. The casino lost 12 million last quarter and despite dropping the price in rooms, they are still having a tough time attracting customers.

6. Shitty Employees. The majority of companies that fail are comprised of employees who have zero respect for their position and feel as though they have a sense of entitlement. What they claim as social injustices are simple excuses for them not to do their work. That disdain and malaise generates friction which sends people over the edge. It's one thing to steal a box of Post-Its. It's a whole other to steal a high hand jackpot.

7. Crime of Opportunity. The best poker players know how to recognize an edge and exploit that to their advantage. Maybe they saw a chance to buck the system without any repercussions and they took a shot?
So, what went wrong?

I heard one rumor that Planet Ho 4 were ratted out by a security guard who was previously on the take. The security guard stopped working at Planet Ho, so the gang ceased paying him off. The former guard grew agitated and dropped a dime on them. Isn't that how it always works?

Once the eye in the sky knew what to look out for, the thieves were fucked. It was a matter of time before a case was built up against them and they were busted.

The Planet Ho 4 are lucky that it's 2009 and not 1979. Thirty years ago, they'd be listed as missing persons with their bodies nowhere to be found. Back in the rough and tumble days when the mob ran Vegas, if you got caught stealing from a casino, you'd end up in a hole on the edge of Death valley sleeping with the scorpions.

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

Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday Morning Link Dump: Bad Accents, Eye Pus, and Twitter

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

"Meester son ov eh beeech!"

Yes, poor Teddy KGB was named one of the Top 15 Worst Movie Accents. Nothing tops Costner's accent in Robin Hood. It starts out British and drops out half way. But Teddy KGB? Hysterically bad in a good way. (Inside Movies)

Grubby posted about his pus-filled eye. Gross, but captivating story. I missed his prose and hopes that he posts more. (The Poker Grub)

More poker players on reality TV shows... Maria Ho and Tiffany Michelle teamed up for a reality game show. The dynamic duo will be one of the many teams competing on The Amazing Race. Check out their interview here. (CBS)

Here's a concept for a TV show... put Layne Flack in Thailand and Mike Matusow in Colombia and the two race to Las Vegas. The player who can smuggle into America the most illegal narcotics and hookers wins $2,000,000. The loser? Gets 10-12 years for intending to distribute and another six years for human trafficking and enslavement. I don't watch much network TV (it rots the brain), but I'm sure I'll find someone to watch the episodes and summarize them for me. Maybe one of my awesome readers will volunteer to write a weekly guest post about Maria and Tiffany's adventures on the Amazing Race?

Steve Rosenbloom recounts Michael Jordan's "con man" incident with Knicks' coach Jeff Vandy Gundy. (Rosen Blog)

AlCantHang is in Atlantic City and blogging the happenings of the Borgata Poker Open for the duration of their annual event. (Borgata Poker Blog)

JuliusGoat penned a sensational November Nine profile of Joe Cada. (The_Goat_Speaks)

And my second Sunday column from PokerNews has been published. The topic? Twitter. Take a peek at Worlds Collide: Poker and Twitter. (Poker News)

And don't forget, you can always follow me on Twitter.

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

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The UB Cheat Sheet

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

These were the superuser accounts that were used by Russ Hamilton and his crew of masked marauders, who fleeced millions from unsuspecting UB players from 2003 to 2007.

Thank God that I'm not on the list.

Also... best superuser name? FristSucks. I love irony.

Click here
to read the Kahnawake report implicating Russ Hamilton. Sadly, they only name Russ as the big fat scapegoat.

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

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Recap: Main Event Day 2B on ESPN - A Kinder and Quieter Hellmuth and the Always Aloof Ivey Time

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

For Day 2 of the Main Event, Phil Hellmuth and 'DanDruff' were seated underneath the bright lights of the featured TV table. DanDruff challenged Hellmuth's endorsement of UB, which was the scene of a nasty crime where a superuser fleeced DanDruff. Norm Chad muttered something about a cheating scandal but that was the only mentioning of the atrocities and online poker's biggest black eye.

Here's what I wrote in the live blog for Tao of Poker...
"Your company stole my money!" Todd Wittless chastised Phil Hellmuth at the featured TV table. Score one for the one of the NeverWin guys who had the cojones to stand up to UB's pitchman. I'm sure that exchange will not going to make the ESPN broadcast.
During the first hand of the episode, Hellmuth pressed a monster draw with 8c-7c. Hellmuth risked his entire stack on a juicy flop of 6c-5c-x. Ben Sprengers, a brash 20-something kid from Miami, had flopped two pair and wasn't going anywhere. The kid was on the verge of knocking out the legendary Poker Brat. However, the poker gods shined their love upon Hellmuth with an Ace of clubs on the turn to fill in his flush. Sprenger had a few outs, but Hellmuth faded the boat draw to win the hand. As he stacked up Sprenger's chips the self-proclaimed greatest hold'em player in the history of poker boasted, "I came to play today!"

Had he lost, Hellmuth would have torn the kid's head off and spewed about his paltry choice of starting hands. Alas, Hellmuth won the hand, much to the delight of ESPN's cameras. Hellmuth means viewers. Lots of them. Some people love him and the rest love to hate him.

Hellmuth shattered one opponent's dreams with 8-4 off suit. Hellmuth's opponent bluffed off his chips... while drawing dead. Maybe Hellmuth was right, the donks just hand their chips right over to him.

"Nice call preflop Phil," said Sprenger.

Hellmuth shifted gears like a drunk Scandi and accumulated a stack. He even picked up a pot with 9c-2c with a four-bet that sent two opponents running for cover.

But he can't use Sacndi moves on a Scandi. Only Gus Hansen can do that. Phil had Jack-shit suited in one hand with two Aces on the board of Ac-Ad-8d-6d. His Scandi opponent wearing a garish green hoodie (with matching flashing socks) held Qd-Qx. Phil even put his opponent on the hand after peeking into his soul, yet and the Scandi called anyway. The river was a blank and Hellmuth slammed on the breaks. Scandi checked the river and won the pot.

Hellmuth picked up a pair of Kings and even flopped a set on a King-high board, although he could not induce his opponent to call and only picked up a small pot. With the panache of a homosexual Spanish bull fighter, Hellmuth tabled his Kings.

"That's what you call top set!" he barked.

"What a dick," I screamed at the TV. Top set? Thank you, Captain Obvious.

* * * * *

Ah, the life of Phil Ivey. During his introduction, he was deep into a massage. The truth is that very had been up for while playing cash games in Bobby's Room at the Bellagio, which were hopping around the Main Event. Ivey had his superfans on the rail and he even busted a Scandi. Ivey 's opponent shoved with A-K against his pocket Kings. Usually in that situation (against a Scandi on the EPT), the Scandi always sucks out with an Ace on the river. However, it must have been Ivey's day. His Kings held and he sent the Scandi packing.

Everyone's favorite spicy Brazilian dish, Maridu, was seated at the the secondary feature table with Dennis Phillips and the Grinder. Phillips wore his trademark red St. Louis Cards hat, while the Grinder sported a hipster hat with a NY Yankees logo.

In a display of sheer discipline, The Grinder flopped trips and opened folded it on the river when Phillips flushed him out on the river.

Here's my Grinder story. It's 2005 and The Grinder and the WPT were huge at that time. I was at the Plaza in glorious downtown Las Vegas. Flipchip and I were covering The Ultimate Poker Challenge a couple of weeks after the WSOP ended. On one of the breaks, the Grinder shot dice with a few other pros. He was wearing a NY Yankees hat and jersey. I knew he was from Florida but didn't know he was a Yankees fan. I wandered over and complimented him on his choice of fandom. He looked embarrassed when he admitted he was only wearing the hat and jersey because it matched with the rest of his clothes.

Alas, The Grinder did not advance to Day 3 of the Main Event. He shoved with an OESFD and whiffed.

Phillips and Maridu were involved with two hands were she was up against his Aces... both times. On the second hand with Aces, Phillips value bet Maridu with a four flush on the board. Maridu rivered two pair but Phllips' rivered a flush draw with he Ace of spades. The two engaged in some witty banter as Maridu unleashed her inner dialogue, that is, if she was thinking in English and not Portuguese.

* * * * *

In the celebrity department...

Scotty Nguyen took a bad beat when his Aces got snapped off by K-10. Rivered again. He threatened to quit poker if he didn't win $4 million at this year's WSOP. Well, he didn't even come close. That's Scotty being Scotty.

LDP got an tiny bit of face time wearing his hipster hat splattered with a PokerStars logo. One of his tablemates asked him to sing La Vida Loco. "But Ritchie, you were my brother!"

Norm mentioned that LDP was one of the original celebrities that he associated with poker along with James Woods.

"Where is James Woods?" asked Norm. A valid question. I had not seen him on the circuit in some time. Probably because he's out banging 20 year old girls.

In his couch interview, L.A. Laker Jordan Famar admitted that he learned how to play just before the WSOP began. Literally, just before it started. I love poker.

I lalso ove the that there's anti-gambling commercials during broadcasts of the WSOP. It's like running anti-drug ads during Pineapple Express.

* * * * *

Media wandering around in the background? There's one dealer who sat at the TV table who's a dead ringer for John 'Schecky' Caldwell. It's eerie. Did anyone else see him? Lina, the lovely Swedish PokerStars blogger, was scribbling down notes when Peter Eastgate avoided elimination when the defending champion doubled up with A-9 after he snapped off Queens with a straight.

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