Sunday, July 31, 2005

Recent Writing Music...
1. Medeski, Martin, & Wood
2. Sound Tribe Sector Nine
3. John Coltrane
4. The Grateful Dead
5. John Butler Trio
Book Review: No-Limit Life by Charlie Shoten

I first met Charlie Shoten at Sam's Town casino in Las Vegas last December, at a breakfast "meet and greet" before the first WPBT live tournament.

Charlie was scheduled to speak about his upcoming book No-Limit Life. He offered insight into his Ten Commitments along with suggestions on how to eliminate Thought Terrorists (TT) out of your life.

Since that day, I had been waiting for his book to come out. I'm an avid reader and was eager to read about Charlie's thoughts on life and how it specifically applies to your poker game.

During the last two months while living in Las Vegas, I've had the opportunity to engage in several inspiring conversations with Charlie Shoten. I'd catch him in the hallways at the Rio during the World Series of Poker or I'd stop by his booth at the Poker Expo.

Most recently, I've been running into him at the Bellagio where you can often find him playing in their daily tournaments. We chatted about many different things. He gave me tips on improving my tournament game. We discussed his book and the intricacies of getting it published. And most importantly we spoke about personal freedom, a subject that intrigues me the most as a writer.

To read the complete review, visit my poker blog.

You should read it if only for the picture of yours truly that appears on Page 191. Flip Chip took most of the photographs that appear in Charlie's book.

If you would like to order a copy of No-Limit Life, simply download and mail in the order form. (PDF Document)

NOTE: If you're having difficulty downloading the above order please download the latest copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Charlie autographs his book for James Woods

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Truckin - July 2005, Vol. 4, Issue 7

I posted the latest edition of Truckin, my literary blogzine. It's kinda late, but finally out. Take a peek because you won't be disappointed.
1. Otis Has Left the Building by Tenzin McGrupp
Everything was going well until some slick L.A. hipster doofus in a $500 blazer joined the table. I knew right away he was bad news. On his roll I lost almost all of my winnings. His negative karma attached itself to our group. Even Jesus succumbed to the dark veil of the hipster's bad luck... More

2. Langston by BG
Still, there's always that little feeling of dread that hangs over my head. Every day I'm here I try to work hard and work smart, but all I want is to be left alone. I just assume that someday someone is going to notice what I'm doing and point me out as a fraud. My own personal Sword of Damocles I guess....More

3. Observation Deck by Joe Speaker
Her freckled nose is too small, too delicate, and is overwhelmed by her other features. A regular scent of cocoa butter trails behind her when she takes her seat... More

4. Stripping the Night Away on My Last $100 by Grubby
She had a unique talent that I hadn't experienced before, where I could swear she had some sort of silent vibrator in her mouth. And she put it to good use. I had another dance to confirm... More

5. London-Khartoum (Sudan, Part 1) by Sigge Amdal
I reminded myself that I'm a stuck-up Norwegian and that we are the most anti-social culture in the world, giving us some room to misunderstand friendliness, so I closed my eyes to consummate my relationship with the topless Arab dancers instead... More
I ask that if you like these stories, then please tell your friends about your favorite stories. It takes a few seconds to pass along the URL. We all appreciate your support. Feel free to shoot me an e-mail if you know anyone who is interested in being added to the mailing list.

Friday, July 29, 2005

More Senor in Las Vegas Day 2

It's 4:57am. I'm drunk again and blogging.

Senor has a suite at the Luxor. He bribed the girl at the front desk with a big tip and got a free upgrade. I woke up late, slightly hungover and met Senor at the MGM. He already dropped $120 playing Caribbean Stud. He was playing NL in the poker room when I finally arrived. I sat down at a $4/8 table and won about $120. Senor was up $90 at the NL tables when we left. We ate at the Rainforest Cafe nearby. It's spooky in there, but the kids seem to love it. I would have loved to seen what that was like on ahead full of mushrooms. We popped into he sports book to check on a few scores. Senor had money on the Tampa Bay/Kansas City game. Don't ask me why.

Senor wanted to play in a NL tourney so we walked over to the Aladdin during a rare thunderstorm. I called Grubby and he drove over to play. Despite being late, he was added to the alternate list and got in. BJ from Cardplayer was at the Bellagio and he came over to play as well. We had a last longer bet, which Grubby ended up winning. He came in 9th and unfortunately bubbled out. Senor was the first of us busted within the first hour. BJ was out before the break and I managed to get to 22nd place. 65 players in all bought in for $60 and the top 8 places paid. At least Grubby won the last longer bet. You get $2000 in chips and within the first orbit I had $3K. I was eventually blinded out. I had pocket aces with a short stack but wasn't paid off. I was busted when my 7-7 ran into A-J and he rivered a Jack on me.

We headed over to Spearmint Rhino to see the lovely ladies take off their clothes and try to seduce us into foolishly blowing our poker bankrolls in the VIP room. Never go into the VIP. It's a black hole for your money. It's like taking "insurance" in Black Jack. It's a sucker's bet.

By the way, I still have the "stripper scent" all over my clothes. Ah, that's a tantalizing aroma. I've been trying to win enough money at the poker tables to cover my strip club expenses. I only dropped $160 in lap dances tonight. That's 8 "big bets" for all you strip club geeks out there. I got three from Ally. Two from Nicole. One from Heavenly. And I was tag teamed by two lesbians who kissed each other while they took turns grinding on top of me. Yeah it was just another Thursday night in Las Vegas.

Senor fell in love with a feisty stripper named Naya. He was also unimpressed with a half-Chinese and half-Japanese girl (who was oddly enough Canadian) named Keiko. She was nimble and I thought she was fine. Senor wasn't into her as much as I thought he'd be. She lived in Vancouver and we began the first of many conversations about marijuana that I'd have with various strippers. She told me that her sisters grows her own in British Columbia.

Ally commented on my Grateful Dead hat. She was skilled and would rub her butt into my chest. She wore a short plaid skirt and had the Catholic school girl look that always gets me excited. She smelled like peaches.

Nicole was my amour du jour. I called her the triple threat. She had personality. She had a sick body and smelled like the beach. And she gave a stellar lap dance which included some serious grinding. Her skin was smooth and soft to the touch. Both of her nipples were pierced and her ass was so tight that you you could bounce nickels off of it. She hung out with me for a long time and I eventually had to get a couple of dances from her. She definitely makes my Top 25 Strippers of All Time list.

The lesbian teams always get me. I'm such a sucker for threesomes. I guess I've built up such an erotic tolerance for naked women that I actually need two at a time to get off.

By the way, there's nothing more wretching than the emotional rollercoatser I endure when I have to turn down an ugly stripper who wandered by and tried to get me to buy a lap dance. I used to feel sorry for them. Back during our college days, Senor would throw sympathy dollars at the homely strippers.

After the visit to Spearmint Rhino, we headed to Excalibur to shoot craps. Senor doubled up his buy in. He bet the field during my roll. I hit 12 on consecutive throws and he ended up winning enough to cover his lap dance tab for the night. I barely dented mine. I won about $40. My craps winnings didn't even cover the bar tab.

It's technically Friday, which means more hijinks shall ensue. Expect some Pai Gow poker stories along with another adventure to a strip club. Maybe I'll start a series of Las Vegas books and include a stripper volume where I'll compile all my Existentialist Conversations with Strippers. Maybe I'll call it: The Tao of Lap Dances?

Thursday, July 28, 2005


It's 5:30am and I'm drunker than Albert Finney on a two day bender. Been pounding cocktails at the Luxor since Senor arrived in Las Vegas 5 hours ago. Grubby and I were playing poker at Mandalay Bay for several hours while awaiting Senor's arrival. He doubled up at his NL table with the Hilton Sisters while I got kicked in the junk repeatedly on my $4/8 table (with a half kill to $6/12). At least Joanne kicked ass last night in her multi on Party Poker. She took 8th out of 2000. Way to go Joanne!! She even called us for a dial-a-shot at 3am!

Sorry for the short post. Not much to say aside from that Senor flew all the way out from Rhode Island to party it up for a few days. He wants to raise hell, play Pai Gow poker, and hit up strip clubs with Grubby and myself.

Feel free to read my final table recap of the Ultimate Poker Challenge $10K main event at the Plaza.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Kicked in the Junk by the Hiltons and Kiss My Grits
"My debauchery I undertook solitarily, by night, covertly, fearfully, filthily, with a shame that would not abandon me... I was then already bearing the underground in my soul." - Dostoevsky
I was in the middle of a strange dream, but I didn't know it at the time. It seemed like a normal Friday night. I was attending a cocktail party with everyone's favorite malcontent elevator button heiress at the Yale Club in NYC. I just finished a quick discussion with Daniel Negreanu before I began a conversation with John Edwards. That's when I heard my cellphone ring. I pulled it out of my pocket and answered it, yet it still kept ringing. I closed then opened it again. And the fucker still continued to ring. That's when something triggered that told me, "You're in a middle of a dream, dipshit."

I woke up and saw that my cellphone was ringing just a few feet from my head. It was a good friend of mine calling from a different time zone. She (name witheld by her request) apologized for waking me up. It was 2pm in the afternoon and I should have been up hours before working on various projects. Still half asleep, I enjoyed her euphonious voice and that always puts me in a better mood. Of course we spoke for a long time and afterwards I fell back asleep, only to wake up at 4:20pm. I missed almost all of my Monday. Yeah, I'm still recovering from the long hours at the WSOP.

Jacks Are Good

When I finally fired up the laptop, I decided to play a little online poker with Joanne. She signed up for a MTT on Party Poker and I decided to join her. We haven't played together in months it seems. Party Poker capped out the MTT with 2000 players. I had been running well playing No Limit tournaments. Last week, I made the money and came in 13th during a Full Tilt MTT. On Saturday, I took 3rd at Sam's Town. And on Monday I grinded my way to a 137th place out of 2000. I made the money, but it was nothing to sneeze at. In a random surreal moment, Wil called me about halfway to chat about Barge.

The big story of the tournament was gleefully seeing J-J hold up for me three times in huge situations. I doubled up early on against A-K. I also tripled up when I made a great read on two players who pushed all in with an ace on the flop. The had nothing... K-Q and 9-9. Joanne lost a pot early but hung on. She doubled up when she had to, but just missed the money by a few places when her A-Q lost to J-10.

Quick thanks to my brother who sweated us all of the way. He wondered what I was doing playing at the Pot Limit Omaha tables over the weekend. That was the only time I played on Party Poker this month. Man, I miss the fishy waters at Party Poker and I'm gonna play a few hours of PLO every week now as part of my online poker diet.

Bring Your "Cup" to Las Vegas

The sun went down and it was time for me to stop playing online poker and head over to the Strip to play live poker. I decided to step up to the $10/$20 tables at the Mirage per the advice of Grubby. And I was swiftly greeted with a callow kick in the junk. Hell, make that three of them. My balls became a community punching bag. It all started when I almost lost $150 on the first hand I played... the infamous Hilton Sisters.

Yes, it was ugly. My testicles are swollen and I have been scarred for life. Inside of 2 hours, I had Q-Q cracked three times. I know that I want donkeys cold calling my preflop raises with junk. But it was not fun losing to A-3 on the river, J-10 on the turn, and J-9 on the river.

So much for me moving up in limits to play against better players, eh?

Seat 6: One guy to my right looked like Kris Kristopherson and his face looked resembled an old catcher's mitt. He had been smoking Marlboro Reds since he was three years old and he got up every fifteen minutes to smoke. He protected his cards horribly when he peeked at them. I could not help but notice his hand several times. I took the moral high road and when I saw him on the rail enjoying a smoke break, I told him that he should fix that problem. He thanked me by offering me a smoke. He caught two pair against me with J-10o and cracked my Hiltons. I should have peeked at his hand.

Seat 8: The guy to my left was the "Mumbling Russian." He smelled like cat piss and he never once stacked up his chips. Our end of the table was a mess. He would never say raise and instead he'd mumble the number he wanted to bet. "Forty," he'd say but even the dealer and all of the other players couldn't hear him. Every time a new dealer came to the table, they refused to accept his gibberish as a raise. He'd snap and an ugly incident ensued with the guy cursing out the dealer for having bad hearing. He also saw every flop. I kept asking myself, "How a guy who looks like he bought his wardrobe off the rack at Salvation Army can afford to play in a $10/$20 game at the Mirage?" He cracked my Hiltons with A-3 and called my bet on the flop with bottom pair. He rivered an ace.

Seat 9: There was a crazy Asian guy sitting next to the Mumbling Russian. He hated the Russian and straddled his blind every time. The crazy Asian was seeing flops with any two sooted cards. He even dropped the Hammer! He raised on the button and got two callers. The flop: 7-3-2. He bet out and everyone folded. He showed the Hammer! But he didn't know that's what we called it. He cracked my Hiltons with J-9 after I flopped a set and he caught two runners for a straight.

I dunno how I managed to survive the Mirage only down $170. I lost at least $400 maybe more by my pocket Queens getting cracked three times. I guess I must have won some decent sized pots to cushion those beats. With 2-2 I flopped a set and with Qd-10d I hit a flush on the turn. I also flopped trips with 5d-4d from the big blind and rivered a full house to beat a guy in a Jets hat who also flopped trips with K-4o.

Anyway, I shuffled out of the poker room with three large kicks in the junk. Those are the type of bad beats reserved for online poker, not at the Mirage casino. I guess my good un at the tables is finally over. On the way home, my cabbie looked like the actress who played Vera the waitress from Mel's Diner on Alice. I always wondered if Vera was a dyke and she had a huge crush on Alice?

Monday, July 25, 2005

Lazy Sunday

I woke up late and missed Wil Wheaton play a heads up match against Noah "Exclusive" Boeken on Poker Stars. It seems that Wil won! Good job. CJ has a good write up of the game including some idiotic banter in the chat window.

When I finally got my ass in gear, I walked over to the Strip. Late night Saturday it rained and when I awoke, some showers still lingered. It was the coolest it had been in months it seemed and I took advantage of the opportunity to get some well needed exercise. I headed over to Mandalay Bay's sports book because I wanted to watch the Yankees-Angles game. Also on was the Red sox-white Sox match up. former Yankee Jose Contrares took the mound for the White Sox, who eventually hung on to beat Boston. The Yankees got a decent start from Mike Mussina, who gave up only one run - a lead off walk in the first inning that came around to score after a stolen base, a fielder's choice, then a ground out. Jarod Washburn was pitching a one hitter until Hideki Matsui took him deep for a two run blast. The Yanks held on to win.

During the second half of the game, I played some NL while I watched baseball. the last time I played at Mandala Bay was several months ago with Senor and Grubby minutes after I fell in love with a stripper named Jessina from Sin.

I didn't play too many hands during my session and my pocket aces held up to a guy who called two huge bets of mine with 10-8o. He flopped a 10 and rivered an 8 for two pair. Luckily there were two 2's on the board and my "aces up" won me the pot. I walked away up a few bucks... enough to pay for my laundry, both Sunday meals, a movie, cab fare, and drinks.

Grubby and I had the dinner special at Ellis Island. He got the prime rib and I chose the chicken parm. Afterwards, we headed for the IMAX theatre at Palms to see Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I dug it, especially because I was pretty wasted for the first 30 minutes of the flick.

We headed over to Hard Rock to gawk at the hotties. Then, I eventually met up with my friend Julie at the venetian. She's in town from NYC for a few days on business. I knocked back a few cocktails at the bar near the sports book with her while I lost $2 playing video poker.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Sam's Town Saturday: Pauly & Flipchip at the Final Table

Flipchip and I played in the Saturday NL tournament at Sam's Town. Guess what? We both made the final table and cashed. I took 3rd place ($600) while Flipchip came in 2nd place ($830). First place paid $1620 and top 5 places paid out. Flipchip even said that we'd both make the final table. Pretty cool, huh? The only other time I played at Sam's Town was for the first ever live WPBT event... the Holiday Classic last December. I made the final table but bubbled out, despite being the chipleader. This time, I made sure that I was going to cash.

To rea the full recap, visit my poker blog.

To celebrate, we picked up the Poker Prof and headed over to Carnegie Deli at the Mirage for a late night victory meal. Flipchip picked up the tab. I didn't get to see Dick Gatewood, the poker room manager of Sam's Town. He wasn't working. Sadly, his wife is experiencing some health issues so please send them your best wishes and thoughts.

Since Monday, I've been on a roll after a couple of positive sessions at the Bellagio and making the money at Sam's Town. Flipchip reminded me that I made the final table and technically cashed in my last tournament... the WSOP Media/Charity event where I took 6th, cracked Shannon Elizabeth's pocket aces, and won $250 for Charlie Tuttle's foundation. Looks like I'm on a mini-rush. I'm definitely going to play somewhere Sunday faternoon, perhaps the Bellagio or the Mirage.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Writing, Bonus Whoring, and Video Poker

Despite the brutal heat, I woke up early on Friday and headed over to Wild Wild West for their $1.49 breakfast special. I ordered the French Toast with bacon. Add an iced tea and hashbrowns, and the entire bill was $4.77. I wandered back to the Redneck Riviera and wrote the entire afternoon. I have three new freelance assignments to work on and I took on another personal creative project (that hopefully I can share with you soon). Since I moved to Las Vegas, I hadn't had chunks of time to write for myself. Since the WSOP and the Bellagio event are both complete, I have unfettered writing time. That soothes the soul.

I also played a little online poker yesterday. I had a tough session on Full Tilt. I also took advantage of the reload bonus on Poker Stars. Yeah, I'm back to bonus whoring. If you don't know, Poker Stars is offering a 20% reload bonus up to $120. You need to deposit $600 to get the max bonus. You have until July 28th at 11:59 pm ET to take advantage of the Poker Stars reload bonus. To clear it, you need to earn 5 FPP's for each $1 in bonus money. The best part.... the Poker Stars Bonus never expires and you can work it off while clearing other bonuses.

I had a victory dinner with the Poker Prof, Flipchip, and a family friend at Palm. That's one of my favorite places to eat in Las Vegas. I've been to the original Palm on Second Avenue in New York City. I ordered the filet mignon and ordered it "medium" this time. I also feasted on a heaping dish of mashed potatoes. We all split a huge size of chocolate cake for dessert.

I went back home and wrote some more before Grubette called! She was at the Wynn and was stalking Daniel Negreanu who was playing Three Card Poker with a couple of cute Asian girls. I told them that I'd meet up at MGM. I called a cab and of course it never showed. After 30 minutes, I called back and they said I had to wait twenty more minutes. Calling for a Las Vegas cab is a pain in the ass. They are unreliable and that's one of my least favorite things about this town. I never have a problem if I'm at a taxi stand at a casino, but even the line at the airport is a bitch and a half.

Anyway, since the heat subsided a bit and it was only 99 degrees instead of 113, I chose to walk to the Strip. I bought a bottle of water and headed towards the bright lights. It's 20 minutes door to door from the Redneck Riviera over the freeway to the Excalibur and another 10 minutes to navigate the pedestrian bridges from Excalibur to NY, NY to the MGM. I made it in 30 minutes and wasn't sweating as much as I anticipated. I found Grubette, Grubby, and their friends at the food court. Since Grubette was tired after a stellar meal at Nathan's, she crashed and that left Grubby and I mulling around a decision. It was 2am and we stood in the middle of a row of slot machines. We've had this discussion many times before... poker or strip clubs? And after a lengthy debate, we'd usually end up at a strip club. However, Grubette promised that we'd go on Saturday so we decided against it. The wait for a seat in the poker room was too long so we headed to the Centrifuge bar next door.

I played a little video poker and made a huge run. After getting cold-decked, I was down to my last $0.25 and built it up to $3 before I hit quad 10s on a "max bet." I ran it back up to $15 and cashed out. I was only down $5 and got several free drinks. The Centrifuge is a circular bar and every half hour the scantly clad waitresses and the female bartenders dressed in tigth black pants, get up on the bar and dance. We told one of the bartenders that we were locals and she befriended us right away. She even gave me a drink after "Last Call" while her and Grubby chatted about traffic issues. She was from Argentina and I'd love to eat whipped cream off of her stomach.

****** ******

You should be reading... Jeremy's Love and Casino War and BG's Random Thoughts and Thoroughbred Selections.

Friday, July 22, 2005

On the Road....

Three weeks from today I'll be in Colorado visiting the Joker and Boulder and seeing Trey at Red Rocks

Three and a half weeks from today, I'll be leaving Las Vegas and going back home to NYC.

Four weeks from today, I'll be in G-Vegas, South Carolina attending Brad-o-Ween 5.

54 days from now, I'll be in Barcelona, Spain covering an event on the European Poker Tour (EPT).

61 from today, I'll be in Atlantic City covering the Borgata Open on the World Poker Tour (WPT).

64 days from today, I'll be at the Boathouse outside of Philly for Al Cant Hang's annual Boathouse Bash.

And if I can pull it off.... 67 days from today, I'll be heading off to Aruba to cover another event on the WPT.

105 days from today, I'll be in Amsterdam covering another poker tournament on the EPT.

115 days from today, I'll be living with Senor, Ang, and Jodd while covering the WPT Foxwoods event.
Bellagio Bad Beats, Profitable Pai Gow, Meeting Grubette, and the Avril LaVigne's Cocktail

Despite the ridiculous heat wave, I did my best to stay cool and stay indoors. You know it's hot when Las Vegas locals are commenting (er, bitching) on the heat. It's frightening to still see tourists walking around outside during mid day. We've survived ten straight days of 110+ degree tempatures. At some point, it's been so blistering hot that you gotta think the pot-bellied inbred kids at the Redneck Riviera are eventaully going to boil to death in the E. coli infested pool.

My Thursday started off with an early morning writing session, followed by a quick trip to Wendy's next door. I'm addicted to the chicken strips and Wendy's special spicy Southwest chipolte sauce. I've been asking for two, so I can dip my fries in there. Flipchip and I headed over to the Bellagio to covering the last bit of the Challenge Cup. That was done in 30 minutes and I farted around for another 30 talking to runner-up Quinn Do. I chatted with Steve Hall for a bit and sat down at my $8/16 table. I've never played that limit at the Bellagio before and was intrigued to see what type of players I'd find.
My $8/16 table:
Seat 1: Foxwoods player
Seat 2: Hockey player's girlfriend
Seat 3: Angry Dragon Lady
Seat 4: Your Hero
Seat 5: Drunk Guy 1
Seat 6: Hockey Player from Colorado
Seat 7: Drunk Guy 2
Seat 8: Grandma
Seat 9: Tourist 1
Seat 10: Tourist 2
I was seated to a middle-aged Asian women with a jade Buddha around her neck. She was in a pissy mood before I even sat down. She would rapidly toss her cards back at the dealer and slam her chips down in frustration when she had to muck. She also had a furball caught in her throat because she kept gagging. By the constant heavy noise, I thought she was going to cough up a loogey the size of a kitten and have it splash all over my chips.

The two drunk guys were friends and they flew in from Minnesota. They were knocking back "Redheaded Sluts" and by the end of the session, one guy was obliterated, he couldn't even stack up his chips. I asked them if they knew Professional Poker Player Chris Halverson. They glared back at me with an angry stare, like if I was caught gash lashing their girlfriend.

The Grandma in seat 8 was from the South and she'd see anything to the river. She called me down several times after flopping bottom pair and beating me when she paired up her other card. I have to give her some credit because everytme one of the drunk guys bet, she'd raise them. She was bullying them around.

The hockey player was stiffer than dry wall. He wasn't worthy mentioning aside from the fact he had a hot girlfriend who sat at my end of the table. She had gi-normous breasts and I was tempted to try to toss a blue $1 Bellagio chip into her cleavage. She tipped the dealer very well and said that she too worked for tips. I'm guessing that her specialty was lap dances.

The guy from Foxwoods was a Boston resident with a "wick-id" accent. He'd leave the table for twenty minutes at a time and return with a $1000 chip. He must have won at least four or five grand playing blackjack during his session at my table. He also bled away almost $2K while I sat there and he even mentioned that his blackjack wins were not even close to covering his poker losses. When you play A-3o in a four way capped pot preflop, those things are gonna happen.

So you wanna hear about a couple of bad beats? How about flopping a set with the Hilton Sisters and losing to a runner-runner flush? Ah, or both times my pocket aces were cracked by river flushes! I'm shocked that I walked away only down $2 after losing a ton of chips in those three pots. I won two monster pots when I got lucky on the river myself. I caught full house twice after betting into a flopped flush to the hockey player and another flush that hit on the turn by Grandma. I caught a runner-runner boat too with the Hiltons and that's what made the difference.

After five plus hours at the table, I was content with how I played in the $8/$16 game. It was really fishy and the two drunk guys gave it an interesting dynamic. I was pumped to walk away only down $2. If you count all the dealer tokes, I was up a few dollars. After playing for three straight days at the Bellagio, I must say I kinda dug it, especially getting to see everyone's favorite Bellagio dealer, Linda every time.

Before I went back to the Redneck Riviera, I stopped off at Wild Wild West to eat their $9.99 dinner special. Grubby, the Gourmand of Poker Bloggers, suggested I try it out. You get a drink, soup or salad, an entree, and chocolate cake or apple pie for $9.99. It's a great deal. I chose the Chicken Parmesan with the salad. I was full, so I ordered the cake to go. The service was horrible, but that's par for the course at WWW. I went home to write and realized that a rerun of The OC was on. I never watch TV and I dunno why I turned it on.

Grubby called to tell me that his sister, the lovely Grubette, was in town for the weekend with her LA posse. I quickly finished up some of my work and headed over to the MGM. I arrived early and wandered over to the poker room looking to sit at the juicy $6/$12 tables. I sat in that game with Otis a few weeks ago. I had been itching to play there but was bummed out when they said the highest limi they spread that instance was $4/$8 or $2/5 NL. I told them to start an interest list and signed up for $4/8, $2/5 NL and $1/2 NL.

There was an open spot for $1/2 NL and I grabbed it. I played with a few locals (including two dealers from other casinos). I won one big pot early and then I bluffed off some of my chips on a steal with 5c-6c against one of the locals whom I've played with before at both the MGM and Excalibur. I hit nothing at all on the flop, but had position in a five way pot. I bet the pot on the flop and got one caller. By the turn I caught a flush draw and and open ended straight draw. He check raised me and I had to call. He moved all in "in the dark" and I missed both draws so I folded. It was only a $50 hit to my stack. Grubby came by right after that hand and said his sister, Grubette, was playing Pai Gow with her friends.

Grubette is a funny writer. Here's her most recent post on Grubby's blog:
The other caller hesitated, took off his glasses and stared at me. I stared back at him, saying, "I have a flush."

He said, "I know you do but how big?"

3s stood up out of his chair and started berating the dealer for allowing us to talk about our hand. I turned to 3s and said, "I have a flush" you asshole.

Flush guy folded and I said to 3s, "I had it on the turn" you asshole and turned up my nut flush.

3s threw his clubless hole cards up (one was an Ace) and started ranting, "You'll let me call the $8 but not him??!"

I repeated, "I had it on the turn" shit-for-brains calling with a pair of Aces and no clubs with four clubs on the board.

I nearly threw his $8 back at him. But decided to take more of his money. Except he got up, for the 10th time and went to the bathroom. He kept missing his blinds and annoying the crap out of the players and dealers, so I asked for a table change. I've discovered that it's good to table change when you're winning because eventually the table does get cold. I don't mind playing with dicks like that though.. the more hot they are, the more poorly they play.
I cashed out and headed over to the tables. We resisted the temptation to throw some dice and made a beeline for the Pai Gow area. I finally met Grubette! Al Cant Hang had so many nice things to say about her and he was right. I eventually sat down next to her at a $25 Pai Gow table. The first dealer's name was Amy and she cold decked everyone. She even caught quads, but had to split them and still won anyway. When she was pushed by a dealer from Hong Kong named Tiffany, the table went on a rush. I won enough money to cover the day's poker losses and pay for cab fare. I caught some great hands including a few straights and flushes. Everyone at the table was friends with Grubette, so it was a fun table for sure. As soon as Amy returned from her break, I cashed out.

I knocked back a SoCo while I chatted with Grubette. She's a regular reader of my poker blog and I teased her that she needs to do more guests posts on her brother's blog. She was trying to get me to play in the 11am NL tournament at the MGM, but I'd have to get up by 9:30am to register. That ain't happening.

Alas, it was cool to meet the infamous Grubette. And for the record, I didn't hit on her. After all, Grubby was standing next to me the entire time! But Grubette is fuckin' awesome. She downed several Coors Lights, chain smoked, and gambled the entire time we hung out. Plus she biusted on Grubby for drinking Strawberry Daiquiris and "Avril LaVinge" type drinks with whipped cream. I'm still trying to figure what that meant, but it's still funny.

****** ******

You should be reading... Chris Halverson and Dan's Pokerati.

P.S. Feel better soon Felicia!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Spiderman Sighting at the Bellagio!

I went back to the Bellagio, home of the aromatic flowers in the Conservatory and the gawking tourists snapping photos of the dancing fountains out front. The Bellagio is notorious for it's late night hookers and the scrumcious eye candy that wanders through. On a hot summer day like today, the combination of braless ladies and air conditioning means plenty of perky nipple watching.

I had to cover the Bellagio Challenge Cup, a small poker tournament with 97 players. I got to hang out with some folks I wored with during the WSOP, including BJ from Card Player. I suspected that he was only there because his boss made the final table! I also ran into SHerry and Steve.

Good news... Flipchip got the OK to take photos. The suits busted his balls the day before and made him fax in his request.

I ate lunch at the snack bar near the poker room. I ordered the chili and it was better than the Rio's version, but not as spicy as I wanted it to be. I'm sure The Fat Guy could whip up a batch of kick ass Tejas Chili. Some of the best chili I ever had was made in Texas.

The Skinny on The Cup:I also watched Tobey Maguire show a little emotion when he cracked a rare smile. He tripled up with a small stack against Scotty Nguyen's pocket tens and Mimi Tran.

Eventually Tobey was busted when his pocket aces were cracked by Fuat Can's pocket tens. He caught a runner-runner straight to send Tobey home in 8th place. He played well against some of the top names in poker. Tobey was wearing his usual get up... a plain white t-shirt and a plain olive green hat.

I have to go back on Thursday to cover the final two players, but it will be a short day. I hope that I'll get to play some more poker at the Bellagio! Stay tuned.

Bouncin Round the Room: During one of the breaks, I spotted Scotty Nguyen taking pictures with tourists. I have never seen him once turn down an autograph or picture request. I must say that he treats cordial fans with the utmost respect. Scotty always wears some serious "bling" and his most recent item is a huge gold chain with a Ultimate Bet logo. Hilario

I was bored out of my wits so I played some more $4/8 with tourists. I saw Linda playing $15/$30 and wanted to jump into those waters but the cool thing about the low limit is that I can wander off for several minutes at a time, drink cocktails, watch the baseball game, and not have to worry about focusing on the game. I ended the day up $40 when my pocket aces held up in a 6 way pot! One chick was tilting so hard she ran through five hundred inside of an hour.

There was a token Liz Lieu sighting after she stopped by to cheer on her friend Quinn Do. Sherry took a pic of Liz with Steve. Lucky guy, eh?

I also never saw Flipchip so excited after he ran over to tell me that was recognized by a fan of his photography. I've been getting noticed for several weeks and I'm used to it by now, but Flipchip is not as recognizable as me because there aren't any pics of him on the web. Anyway, he was snapping photos of the final table when some guy on the rail asked him who he worked for. Flipchip told him and the guy asked, "Are you Flipchip?" Apparently, he's been reading my poker blog and been checking out Flipchip's 2005 WSOP photo gallery.

It's official... Flipchip is now a local celebrity!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

A Good Bellagio Day

I spent most of the first part of Tuesday writing. The rest of it was at the Bellagio where I covered a poker tournamnet. Tobey Maguire was playing along with several top pros. I like working in the Bellagio much more so that at the Rio Casino or downtown at Binion's Horseshoe.
5 Random Reasons Why I Dig Woking at the Bellagio...
1. The Sports Book is steps away from the Poker Room. I walk over twenty feet and watch some of the Yankees game.
2. The eye candy is yummy. Hotter chicks populate the Belllagio.
3. The bar is also steps away from the Poker Room.
4. Food comps for media types.
5. Being able to also see plenty of high stakes players "at work" in other cash games.
I took a more laid back approach to working yesterday. I actually played a cash game while covering the tournament. I would get up in between hands and check on the progress since BJ was hard at work covering it for Card Player. Anyway, in my cash game I caught some amazing cards within the first 15 minutes and won a few big pots. I was up $250 in the first hour and walked away soon after.

I went home to write some more and ended up playing an online tournament. My good run at the tables continued after I came in 13th out of 124 players. In an odd coincidence, Heather from Poker Wire was also in the tournament and was seated at my tables on two different times!
Getting Ink: Gonzo Poker Bloggers

Mark Glase wrote a great piece on poker bloggers including yours truly. Take a peek at Gonzo poker bloggers bring World Series to life in real time. He wrote it for the Online Journalism Review. Yeah a lot of us got some ink including Iggy, the Poker Prof, Otis, and myself who were all interviewed.

They gave me a ton of free publicity. Here's a bit:
Meanwhile, at the 2005 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, which wrapped up last week, the blogging star was Dr. Pauly, a struggling screenwriter and novelist who became a poker fanatic. He started writing about his poker proclivities on his regular blog, The Tao of Pauly, until it angered his friends who were tired of reading about poker. Thus, the Tao of Poker blog was born, where he gained enough fame to start freelancing for and Poker Player Newspaper. He's also done commentary for the Lord Admiral Card Club weekly podcast.

The Tao of Poker is now his perfect writing notebook, written as a stream of consciousness about everything he experiences -- from Subway workers he hits on to poker stars he urinates next to.

"The best part of the World Series of Poker was that I was doing a lot of live blogging," he told me. "It was a notebook for all my other articles I wrote. The blog entries were an invaluable source of notes for me. So whatever I wrote in my blog, I could fix it up for short stories, for novel ideas. It's been a good tool, and it gets me out there every day. [Editors] can stop by my blog and see writing samples." ...More
Of course he had to bring up the hippie chick at Subway that I met at dinner break at Binion's. I have her number and I'm going to do the cool guy thing and wait five days to call her.

Anyway, for a good laugh, scroll down to read my "Profile" that they compiled.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Otis Has Left the Building

(Editor's Note: You should read Otis' version... Leaving Las Vegas.)

It was the last night in Las Vegas for Otis. He changed his flight 1.5 days earlier so he could return home to G-Vegas, South Carolina and see Mrs. Otis, Lil' Otis, and Scrappy the Wonder Pooch after one month of utter insanity and being force fed the Rio's overpriced and overcooked cheeseburgers. I don't blame Otis for bailing early. I'd like to get the fuck out of Las Vegas as soon as possible, but I'm stuck here in the 120 degree heat until mid-August.

When Otis called and said that he had an early morning flight and wanted to get obliterated drunk, I knew we were on a mission from that moment on. I happily met Otis at the lounge/bar in the middle of the Mirage. Just 13 hours earlier, Australian Joe Hachem won the main event and $7.5 million. Indeed, it was time to celebrate the completion of the WSOP.

Starting about five years ago, the Mirage used to be my favorite casino and one of my Top 10 Favorite Places of All Time. It's like my old home away from home. It's the place where I hit my first ever quads in the poker room. The Mirage seemed like a fitting place to get all kinds of shitfaced for Otis' last night.

The entertainment that particular evening was a jazz band fronted by a nubile singer with a sultry voice. Joining us were Grubby, and two L.A. guys... Mike and Jesus. I started off with SoCo on the rocks. It's been my drink of choice since I landed in Las Vegas 46 days earlier. After drinking Red Stripes and Coronas at dinner break with Otis at the Hooker Bar in the Rio for a month straight, I packed on 15 pounds which all hopelessly settled in my gut. In homage of the SoCo Master, I called Al Cant Hang for a Dial-a-Shot. He was holding court in Atlantic City. I caught his lovely wife Eva Can Hang on the phone as she was navigating her way through the Borgata's slot machines. We chatted for a few moments and hoisted our drinks for the absent rock star.

After getting cold-decked from the video poker machine, Otis and I agreed that the video poker at the Hooker Bar in the Rio had much looser slots than the Mirage. Otis hit quads like forty times at the Rio and in my only attempt, I hit quad Jacks... fuck, I flopped it too. No such luck at the Mirage. At least I got two free drinks out of it. Mike wandered over and suggested we go throw some dice. And off we went...

We found a near empty craps table and the order on the rail was Jesus, Mike, Grubby, Otis, and myself in the far corner. We started out slow and I kept my betting simple; Pass Line and behind the Pass Line bets. We all rolled once and I didn't hit any points. The second time around, new blood joined the table after some of the Poker Stars crew, including Otis' lovely assistant Mad, jumped into the mix. James, a gregarious Englishman who I worked in the trenches with for the past month, was on the far end. We almost knew everyone at the table and that's when we started to make a run.

Mike, Jesus, and James went on a rush. They were so hot that Grubby and Otis passed their rolls. We picked up point after point and that's when I began throwing the chips around and making come bets. My stack tripled up inside of a few minutes and I gawked at a nice collection of green $25 chips that I quickly accumulated. After Jesus hit three points in a row, the table chatter grew louder and louder. I kept yelling out in my most obnoxious Vegas tourist voice, "Thank you Jesus!"

That's the cool thing about shooting craps in Las Vegas, belligerent behavior is encouraged. The louder the table, the more likely the casino will win more money. Because in the end, the House always wins.

I should have walked away when I was up. How many losers in Vegas had that on their minds last Saturday? I hung in there and deviated from my simple betting strategy. Greed seeped into my brain. Everything was going well until some slick L.A. hipster doofus in a $500 blazer joined the table. I knew right away he was bad news. On his roll I lost almost all of my winnings. His negative karma attached itself to our group. Even Jesus succumbed to the dark veil of the hipster's bad luck. We all looked at each other and walked away. I considered jumping that assclown and stealing his expensive jacket as fair compensation for being the table "Cooler."

We retreated to the Sports Book Bar. A huge group encircled Otis, including his Poker Stars crew and April, Eric, and the Poker Prof stopped by. We had a spontaneous "Farewell Otis" party going on.

Over the last few weeks, during the slow hours in media row, we'd make different prop bets. We became action junkies and usually wagered on "last longer bets" on whoever sat at the final table we were covering for that day. It seemed natural that we'd gamble on almost anything. When ESPN aired some sort of dog obstacle course race... I turned to Otis and nodded. He knew what was up. Otis picked one dog. I got the other and it was time to recklessly gamble on canine obstacle races. The dogs names were Quick and Splendor and my pooch closed the gap after a slow start. Like drunken idiots we cursed at the TV monitor, cheering on (an obviously taped event) dogs racing through the course.

"Come on Quick!" Otis screamed his Ozark Mountain drawl.

"Get yer ass in gear Splendor!" I yelled.

The gambling gods were on my side. My dog won the first race and Otis tossed me cash. A fat tourist chomping on a cigar at an adjacent table waddled over, "Are you guys betting on those dogs?"

"Fuck yeah," I responded. "$100 a pop. You want in, tough guy?"

He sheepishly declined.

"Pussy bastard," I mumbled to myself as Otis and I made our picks for the next pooch race and the waitress brought us another round of drinks.

****** ******

Coming soon... the long-awaited second part to last Saturday night's festivities including the latest installment of Existentialist Conversations with Strippers.
Back to Work: Bellagio Challenge Cup Day 1

Well I had a quick two day break before I headed back to work covering tournaments for Las Vegas and Poker Blog and Poker Player Newspaper. Flip Chip, the Poker Prof and I headed over to the Bellagio for the first day of the Bellagio Challenge Cup. It's a four day event with a $10,000 buy in. Only 95 players signed up but there were plenty of top names flinging chips around in the infamous Bellagio poker room.

Levels in the Bellagio Challenge Cup are 90 minutes long and every player gets $10K in chips. I spotted Mimi Tran, Allen Cunningham, Melissa Hayden, John Juanda, John Phan, Scotty Nguyen, T.J. Cloutier, Tobey Maguire, Scott Bigler, John D'Agostino, Phil Ivey, Hassan Habib, Bob Stupak, Cyndy Violette, Erik Seidel, Scott Fischman, Jean Gaspard, Jeff Shulman, and that old guy who Celine Dion is married to.

At the end of Day 1, 41 players remain in the field. I spoke to Scotty Nguyen. He told me he had $120K in chips and thinks he's about 3rd place. Tobey Maguire has $42,150 and made it to day two. Notable bustouts include John Juanda and Capt. Tom Franklin. On our way out, we spotted Phil Ivey shooting craps with John D'Agostino. He was up about $300K.

The coolest thing about covering tournaments at the Bellagio is the food comps. Unlike the cheap bastards at the Rio/Harrah's junta, the powers to be treat members of the media very well at the Bellagio. When the action was complete, quickly got three food comps and headed over to Noodles for some excellent Asian cuisine. The Poker Prof and I shared the jellyfish and cucumbers salad as an appetizer. The jellyfish made me queasy, but I had to try it once. The cucumbers were spicy. I ordered the Sesame Chicken and my portion was larger than expected. For desert I snagged the green tea ice cream, which was made from scratch on site. The Poker Prof ordered the mango pudding and it looked good.

By the way... here are some photos from the event that Flip Chip took.

Monday, July 18, 2005

My First Free Weekend in Vegas And a Productive Monday

After six tedious weeks of non-stop coverage of the World Series of Poker, I was happy to have some time to myself. I slept most of Saturday (after crashing at 10am) and got up to tape a interview for the Lord Admiral Card Club poker podcast. Afterwards, I met Otis, Grubby, Mike, and Jesus for a drink at the Mirage for Otis' last night in Vegas. We were joined by April, the Poker Prof, Mad and a slew of others including a few Brits who worked with Otis. I drank heavily at the bar and even dropped a few bucks shooting craps. After building up a nice stack of $5 and $25 chips thanks to kick ass rolls from Mike, Jesus, and James.... some hipster doofus came along and killed the vibe for the table. I dropped a ton of cash on his rolls. Fucktard. We all should have kicked him in the junk on principal.

Late night, Otis left for the airport and Grubby and I headed to a strip club. It was a spur of the moment kind of thing that happens when your shit faced at 4am. We were going to play poker and as drunk as I was I knew I'd be pissing away a few hundred out of my bankroll, so we decided on a strip club. We headed over to Crazy Horse II... and stay tuned for that write up... in a new installment of Existentialist Conversations with Strippers. I'll post that sometime soon. Sorry to tease ya...

I was hungover all of Sunday and exhausted too. I had to get up to play in a charity poker tournament for Charlie Tuttle and we raised almost $2900! Awesome. There are some good folks in the blogging community and a lot of readers who pitched in for a worthy cause. We all did a good deed... in Charlie's Name. I know we can do more too. After the tournamnet, I forced myself to complete two freelance pieces.

Grubby and I headed for dinner at a Chinese place off the strip. I ordered the Kung Pow chicken and he got chicken with curry sauce and a few egg rolls. He wasn't impressed with the place, but the food was good. The front of the store space in a tiny strip mall was shared by an old, dingy, poorly lit lounge, poplulated by fat slobs with serious B.O. issues, who were sucking down $1 bottles of Bud while pissing away their cash on video slots. It's the type of place where a lot of people must have been stabbed and/or beat up in their day... and that was done by the bartender if you complained about your drink order. In the back of the joint was the Chinese restaurant, which was better lit than the front, smelled better, and had a more appealing decor with dozens of imitation Ming vases along the walls.

After dinner, we grabbed dessert at Sonic. I got a choclate shake and Grubby opted for the starwberry smoothie. I think that I prefer In & Out shakes better. I was too tired to play poker so we hit up a late night showing of Star Wars 3 at the movie theatre in the Orleans Casino. It is a digital theatre and everything sounded amazing. The plot for Star Wars 3 is thin and there's plenty of bad acting. The fight scenes/space battles were kick ass and Darth Vader got fucked up big time at the end. Grubby fell asleep at one point. I'm fixing to see Batman next, only to catch a glimpse of Katie Holmes.

Today I slept in late, ate Wendy's for lunch, caught up on some writing, and did another phone interview. I hope to publish a link to that soon. I spent the remainder of the afternoon securing my flight home to NYC in mid-August via Jet Blue. I also swicthed my flight from Las Vegas to Denver so I can see Trey Anastasio Band at Red Rocks with the Joker. I'm pumped to spend time in Boulder with his crew. In addition, Derek and I booked a flight for G-Vegas, South Carolina to hang out with Otis and the rest of the G-Vegas crew for a wild weekend.

Tonight, I'm heading over to the Bellagio for some work covering a tournament there. I'm also having my victory dinner with Poker Prof and Flipchip after six weeks of a job well done. More details to follow.
Radio Free Pauly

I taped my interview with Sean & Brent on Saturday afternoon a couple hours after the WSOP ended for the Lord Admiral Card Club Radio Show and Podcast. If you don't know by now, it's the best podcast dedicated to poker in the universe. Over the last few months, I've become a huge cult figure in Canada thanks to Cinci Sean & Brent Stacks. I'm happy to be a part of their amazing show.

Sean and Brent are working hard every week to get their podcast done (for free) so stop by and show your support.

You can download the MP3 of this week's show... Episode of 35: Here. (Right Click and Save As)
You can download the MP3 of last week's show... Episode 34: Here. (Right Click and Save As)
You can download the MP3 of two weeks ago show... Episode 33: Here. (Right click and Save As)

We discuss the main event of the WSOP and a retrospective of my six weeks in Las Vegas.

If you want to catch up and listen to previous episodes, please visit their archives over at Brainscat. Stop by their site and download the extra nuggets that Sean posts during the middle of the week. Thanks again to Sean and Stacks for having me on.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Charlie Tuttle Memorial Tournament

We got 144 players including Wil Wheaton. Great news is that the bloggers raised over $2880 in memory of Charlie Tuttle. Awesome! Thanks to everyone who played and pimped this event on their blogs. Thanks again to Iggy and BG for their organizational skills.

Finally congrats to "sarahbellum" who beat out Mr. Decker to win the first Charlie Tuttle Memorial Tournament. Great job.

I was knocked out early in 138th place when I moved all in with 10-10. I ran into TarOrpheus's pocket Kings and that was it. I finished up a freelance article while I sweated my brother's table.

I wasn't very social this time around and I apologize if I couldn't chat with all of you. I was wicked hungover ater a night of heavy drinking with Otis and a late night run to a strip club with Grubby. Stay tuned for that write up.

Congrats again to sarahbellum and everyone who helped raise this money.

Friday, July 15, 2005

News of the Weird

Blind man accused of having sex wih guide dog is weird on so many levels.

Seattle man dies while having sex with a horse is another bot that makes me feel all warm and fzzy inside.

Only in Oklahoma.... Drunk woman arrested for giving birth. I dunno what's worse... the fact she was drunk or was drinking Beast Lite?

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Day 6 World Series of Poker Main Event

Well I finally made it to Binions despite another rowdy night at the Redneck Riviera. There was a big bust last night and Las Vegas Metro police swarmed the area. They took down a drug ring a couple of buildings down. These ragged drug dealers guys are more sophisticated than you think. There are two lookouts, a point man, the muscle, and the contact. The first lookout stands out front in the driveway with the point man who runs up to your car asking you how much "rock" or "tweek" you are looking to score. The second lookout is perched up on the third floor balcony of the bulding across the way. And the contact is the guy who gives you the drugs. He's the guy who hands over the rock. The muscle answers the door and pounds the shit out of you if you make one false move. I heard that the lookouts ran away while the muscle got shot and the contact and pointman were taken away in handcuffs.

Anyway, the laundry room was buzzing about the bust last night. One old lady was bragging that she was interviewed by the local TV station. All I could think was, "Who's getting hauled away next?"

Moving on...

You can read my recap of yesterday's action on Fox Sports. They gave me the headline: Lurking Shark.

I put money on Phil Ivey at 300-1 before this event started that was several weeks ago. I'm obviously rooting for him. The big story is Greg Raymer. If he can make another final table, he'll prove to everyone that last year's win was not a fluke. He's impressed me so far. He made one final table already this year and he's looking for his second. Of course everyone's attention will be on Mike Matusow. Will he maintian his chip lead? Will we witness the "Mike Matusow Meltdown?" As it gets closer and closer to the final table, the bigger the implosion will be... if it happens. Can Tiffiany Williamsen continue her Cinderella story and become only the second female to make it to a final table? Will Andy Black make Ireland proud or can one of the other 27 players remaining survive today's meat grinder and make it to the final table in hopes of trying to snag $7.5M. Can Phil Ivey a regular in the "Big Game" win his first big one?

Go visit my poker blog to find out!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Raymi = Yummy

Thanks to BG se nt me this post Interview with Raymi. Nice, very nice. I haven't been able to read her blog in weeks!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

More Vegas Stuff

Last night I told the cabbie to take me to home. He flat out said, "I used to live there. You gettin' along with the hookers and drug dealers?"

I swear, the Redneck Riviera has a well-known reputation around town for being the place to get a $20 crack whore and a $20 baggie of rock. If it weren't for the strippers, I would have moved out a long time ago. But then I'd have no material. Who wants to live in the Rio anyway? Jay Greenspan has been here since Day 1 and he hasn't seen sunlight in weeks.

A couple of hippie kids (or spun out wookies as my buddy the Joker would say) moved in to the adjacent complex. There are at least five of them in a mini-school bus. I assume they are heading out East to catch the Trey Anastasio Band tour. There are two white guys with dreadlocks longer than Bob Marley ever had. There are three girls and two of them have hairier armpits than me. I hit on the clean shaven one.

Of course, they have a puppy. What is a neo-hippie clique without a puppy? The girls have weird names like Astral, Rainbow, and Jupiter. They walk around in a half-daze. I wonder what the fuck they are doing in Las Vegas?

Moving on...

The only time I spend outside is when I'm standing around sweating my balls off waiting for a cab. I walk for one minute from the drop off to the front of the convention center. Then it's a three minute walk down a dimly lit large corridor with doors to other convention rooms all over the place. Right now there are more pre-teens in town for a dance competition. It's nerve racking to see so many underage girls dressed up like strippers and the Hilton Sisters. I shuffle by numb to all of them.

I rush by all the tourists who are trying to buy t-shirts or get pictures of their favorite overrated poker pros. I glance at the hotties that the various poker companies hired. Imperial and Let's Poker hired college girls and they have that fresh girl-nextdoor look that I like. They wear tank tops and short jean shirts or skirts. Bluff hired models and actress wannabes who wear tight shirts and spread out all over the poker room and hallways. They are near perfect, but dumb as shit. Absolute hired strippers and porn stars. They have fake boobs the size of beach balls and I swear I must have seen half of them dance at Cheetah. When I walk past the, I have this strange feeling I've seen them in a dozen or so adult films. I like the hot Swedish girls that sell the poker chips. If I only spoke Swedish...

Monday, July 11, 2005

Hanging with Wil

Go stop by Wil's blog and read some of his latest entries. I was mentioned in one called doubled up inside. Here's a bit:
I hung up the phone and made my way to the bathroom. For the first time since I got there, I didn't feel the need to shove my way past the throngs of tourists meandering through the too-narrow walkways.

After a quick piss, I called Doctor Pauly, and told him the news.

"Oh man, I'm sorry." He said.

"Thanks," I said. "Where are you?"

"I'm paying too much for a chicken sandwich," he said.

I laughed, because I knew that meant he could only be in one place.

"I'll be right there," I said. Ninety seconds later, I was.

I hardly know Pauly at all, but I like him. We have poker, writing, blogging and getting busted out early in common, so he was the best friend I had in the room. It closed a circle to see him after I busted, because he was the last person to wish me well before the tournament began.... More
Some Vegas Stuff

I woke up yesterday to the sounds of things breaking. My wake up call this morning was a "domestic dispute" and it involved a meth-addicted couple up on the third floor of my unit at the Redneck Riviera. It looked like a scene from a bad romance movie. The skinny guy with bad tattoos was standing outside while his girlfriend threw all his stuff off the balcony and shouted obscenities. The last remains of a VCR were scattered on the walkway while he dodged the heavier items. Dozens of articles of clothing were spread out while several onlooker gawked until Las Vegas metro police showed up. I expected to see a COPS camera crew jump out of a production van.

Just another Sunday morning. Don't any of these people go to church?

I had a weird ride with a cabbie this morning. He looked like Stu Ungar and his name was similar to a friend of mine. Very freaky. If you don't know, the first novel I wrote was about a Brooklyn taxi driver. One of my favorite stories so far at this year's WSOP was my buddy Jeremey running into the chick from Taxi Cab Confessions. He was more geeked out about that then playing with Johnny Chan.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Radio Free Pauly

I taped my interview with Sean on Friday night, live from the floor of the Rio, for the Lord Admiral Card Club Radio Show and Podcast. If you don't know by now, it's the best podcast dedicated to poker in the universe. Over the last few months, I've become a huge cult figure in Canada. I'm happy to be a part of their amazing show.

Sean and Brent are working hard every week to get their podcast done (for free) so stop by and show your support. They taoe dthis show outdoors.

You can download the MP3 of this week's show... Episode 34: Here. (Right Click and Save As)
You can download the MP3 of this week's show... Episode 33: Here. (Right click and Save As)

We discuss the fifth week of WSOP action including several sound bytes that I picked up at the Full Tilt party including a hilarious interview with Daniel Negreanu and a great one with Wil Wheaton.

If you want to catch up and listen to previous episodes, please visit their archives over at Brainscat. Stop by their site and download the extra nuggets. Thanks again to Sean and Stacks for having me on.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

More Vegas Droppings

I didn't get much sleep again. The natives were a little rowdy at the Redneck Riviera. A decent portion of the people in my building unit are construction workers and they get paid on Friday. So Friday nights means two things: binge drinking and hookers.

The drunks were hootin' and hollerin' last night. Too much damn country music. Plus the ladies of the night were roving around the complex doing the infamous "hooker walk" which happens a lot when you have an irritated crotch.

I'm still a little sad that I've been working so damn much that I haven't been able to chat with my favorite stripper who lives upstairs. She said she wanted to go see Star Wars with me. Eat your heart out Geek! I've seen her kids playing around in the dumpster with the malnourished inbred pot-bellied kids who live in the building unit next door, but no strippers in sight.

I went for the Rio breakfast buffet this morning. I got a $10 off coupon for playing in the $1500 event a few weeks ago. My brother is a big buffet guy, but I'm not. I was so hungry that I decided that I would stuff myself. I made some cool things. I snagged a plate of hashbrowns and went over to the "Mexican food" section and topped it with salsa and melted cheese and wrapped it up in a pancake. I also made my own bacon, cheese, and sausage biscuits.

I bumped into a faithful reader of my blog from Staten Island, NY. His name was Petey Pizza. He looked like Big Pussy from The Sopranos. He owns three pizza places in Brooklyn and Staten Island. His son, Frankie Pizza, was knocked out yesterday by Carmel. Anyway, he said his friends run a new card room in Staten Island. When I told him it was a hike to get there (plus I don't want to take the damn ferry) he told me, "I'll send a car for you!"

Even mobbed up guys read my poker blog.

I also ran into another fan. His name is Lonnie Boeding from Kansas City. He won a seat last September. He's been looking for me for about a week. We finally ran into each other. Great guy. And I'll be keeping tabs on him as well as another fan I ran into yesterday named Eric Ellisen from Florida.
Fox Articles

Here are a few things that I wrote for Fox Sports, which were recently published:
Top WSOP questions that need answers
Players to Watch
Cursing Controversy

Friday, July 08, 2005

Live WSOP Blogging

I'm posting live updates of the WSOP on my poker blog. Check them out!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Press Conference and Media Tournament

I just sat through the WSOP press conference. They inducted two new hall of famers... Crandell Addington and Jack Binion. The Rio is a zoo. There are thousands of media folks here now. Ouch. I can write circles around all of them, so I'm not too worried. I'm more cocnerned about getting my shit stolen.

Al Cant Hang is here for a few days and I finally met Wil Wheaton. I showed him around the Rio.That was the first time we met.

Here is my latest article from Fox Sports called: Players to Watch.

Damn, I'm wicked hungover.

WSOP Celebrity/Media Tournament Recap

About 260 players came out for the WSOP Celebrity/Media tournament. Here are some of the celebs who participated: James Woods, Brad Garret, Dick Van Patten, Shannon Elizabeth, Penn, Oliver Hudson, and Oklahoma Johnny Hale. Nicole Ritche was sweating her boyfriend. Notable bloggers and media types: Lou Kreiger, Otis, the Poker Prof, Jen Leo, the Poker Pages crew (Amy, Dayrn, Sharla, and Steve), BJ, Jay Greenspan, NYC Poker Babe, The Irish Twins: Tom Murphy & Mike Lacey, Dan & Shane from Pokerati, and Sherry. I'm sure I'm missing a few and I'm sorry if I did.

Here's who was at my first table: Otis, Touramnet Director Gary Thompson, Vegas Sun writer Sal Deflipino, the Poker Prof, Sharla from Poker Pages, and some Chicago comedian. I forgot a few of the folks there. Dan from Pokerati had James Woods to his right. Sherry had Penn at her table. She knocked Penn out.

$1500 chips to start. Blinds are 15 minute levels and they go up fast. Early on in Level 1, I had the Hilton Sisters and limped UTG. There were two raises in front of me. I moved all in and they both folded. I flipped over the Hiltons.

In Level 2, I found AQs on the button. I bet $400 and the little blind called. That was the Chicago comedian that nobody knew about. Anyway, the flop was Jack high. He bet $100 and I moved all in. He called. I said, "I'm behind." and showed my AQs. He had 10h-3h. What? He missed the flop completely. I won with ace high and knocked him out. I also doubled up. Otis lost a big pot with Kd-Qd versus pocket tens. That crippled him.

5:49pm... Otis dropped the hammer.

In Level 3, Sal's AA were cracked by Gary's pocket sevens. Then I got one of the hands that put me on a run. Otis moved all in with a shortstack. He had 33. Gary moved all in with JJ. I moved all in wtih AA. I knocked out Otis. I crippled Gary. I had $6500.

On the very next hand, I found AA! 40,000+ to 1 shot that happens. Gary had to call with 77 and some photographer guy (I think his name was Kevin) called with AKs. I knocked them both out and I had $9300. By then I had a slew of railbirds.... Al Cant Hang, Glyphic, Otis, Shirley, and everyone I knew who got knocked out.

In Level 4, The Poker Prof was knocked out by Sharla. NYC Poker Babe was moved to my table. I doubled up Sharla. Mike Lucky Blind was moved to my table. He was eventually busted along with Sharla and NYC Poker Babe. I moved tables. I had T1400.

In the middle of Level 5, I got moved to David from ESPN's table. Also there were TK from Blonde Poker, Lou Krieger, and Mark from Poker Pages. Lou was seated to my left and we chatted about his trip to Alaska. Check out his kick ass dog sled pictures on his blog.

Anyway, in Level 6 and in LP I moved all in with Qs-10s. Mark called with 8-8. I had overcards and caught two spades on the flop. I rivered Mark and stacked up a mountain of chips while the railbirds cheered me on. TK raised on the button. I knew he was on a steal, especially with the accelerated blinds. He told me that he was going to fold pocket tens and flashed one ten. He then showed a 2. I flipped over As-6s. I had 27K in chips.

In Level 7, I was moved to Shannon Elizabeth's table. She had the most railbirds. I won a big hand with As-Js. I moved all in against Shannon's big blind. She thougth about it for a minute o two. And she stared me down! Yeah, I had the American Pie chick looking me up and down. She folded. At that point, I won the last longer bet. The pool was $260. Otis tossed it on the table. Score.

In Level 8, the blinds were $2K/$4K. Shannon Elizabeth moved all in. I found two black jacks and moved all in to isolate. No other callers and she flipped over pocket aces. Ouch. Everyone hooted and holelred from her entourage. I had Otis and Al and a few other bloggers cheering me on. After the flop came out, I pointed to the spot were the river card would fall. I continously pointed at it and said, "Put a Jack up right there." The turn was a blank. The river... was a Jack and the room exploded. Half the crowd was shocked and the rest were cheering for me. Shannon was wicked pissed that I rivered a two outer on her. I saw her later in the hallway and I apologized. I told her the story about Charlie and she took the bad beat a lot better after that. She told me to win it for Charlie. I had 60K in chips.

During the break, I met a guy named Jon from Wisconsin who read my blog as well. I signed my first autograph! He had Shannon Elizabeth's autograph and since I knocked her out, he wanted mine too.

I was moved to yet another table. There were 19 players left inlcuding Amy Calistri. I folded all my marginal hands. AMy bubled out and the final table was seated. I had $51K in chips and was in 3rd place. One guy at my table read my blog. Cool, huh? The blinds were $5K/$10K and the antes were $1K. Three players were busted and one guy had been running over the table. He moved all in and I made a stand with Ad-6d. He showed 8-8. I was behind and he caught a four flush. I was knocked out in 6th and won $250 for Charlie Tuttle's foundation. If I came in 1st, I would have won $10K.

So that's it. I made the final table at a WSOP and cashed. I was inspired by Charlie and all my railbirds including Glyph and Al Cant Hang. I think it's funny that the last longer bet was more than the actual prize money!

The main event of the WSOP starts tomorrow. Wil Wheaton plays on Day One. I can't wait. I've been working up to this moment for five weeks. Now, the real funn begins...

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Full Tilt Drunkeness

Daniel Negreanu, two Irish guys, and I were the last people to leave a trendy Las Vegas nightclub. It sounds like a punchline to a joke, but it's not. It's my life, man.

Suffice to say, I had a great time tonight. I'm doing a little drunk blogging because I wanted everyone to know that I'm not always haunted by the dark side of Las Vegas. After five weeks of hardcore writing and blogging, I finally had a blast tonight at the Full Tilt party held at Le Bete in the Wynn casino. I have only been to the Wynn once before with Derek, and I expected La Bete to be up on the roof. It was located downstairs in the basement at the base of a waterfall. I was impressed.

Michele, the lovely PR rep at Full Tilt invited me to the party weeks ago. I made sure I got the Poker Prof on the invite list. We headed over to La Bete around 9:45. He wanted to shmooze with the big wigs, for business purposes of course. I was there for one thing only: abuse the free booze offered by Full Tilt. In fact, the majority of my liquor consumption at the World Series of Poker has been funded by Full Tilt, either from the hospitality suite or at said party. I had no less than seven Southern Comforts on the rocks. All of them were doubles except the one I got that was at least four shots worth. Al Cant Hang would have been proud.

I didn't go there to meet poker pros. Been there. Done that. I was there to get shitfaced and hang out with the other members of the media that I befriended, including the only poker pro that I hung out with Shirley from Poker Babes. The Poker Prof had been busting his ass the last five weeks (and beyond) so he needed a night on the town. We let him out of his bunker in an undisclosed location in the Nevada desert near Area 51 so he could attend the gala event.

The night club was downstairs. I shaved and got all dressed up and fit into the category of L.A. Chic. We had to get the clearance from the "lady with the list" out front before we were let through the ropes. Three guys the size of NFL linemen carefully guarded the ropes. As soon as we got the go ahead, they let us right through. The stairwell led down into a square room with marble floors. We walked through two small hallways draped in red Italian silk. We finally entered the club and right in front was the dance floor a half a level below. To the right and left were bars. I was surprised to see that La Bete had some decent lighting and the music was manageable enough so you could talk without having to yell. Most clubs are poorly lit and and have the techno cranked up to the highest levels. The first thing I did was hit the bar. The open bar. My new friend.

I found Jay Greenspan at the bar. Where else do writers hang out? I grabbed drinks for me and the Poker Prof before I wandered down to the dance floor level where people were mingling. I saw that they had Full Tilt jerseys that the were going to auction off along with a poker table signed by all the pros. To the right was where the poker tournament was being held. I bummed into Foiled Coup (aka Steve Hall) and Heather from Poker Wire right away and BJ wandered by soon after. Then I found Shirley and Amy Calistri. Soon after John from Poker News and Jen Leo arrived, while Jen from Poker Wire happily showed off her brand new pink Manalo Bahlik's, which she paid for using some of her WSOP winnings after her cash in the Razz event. Eventually Sherry, Daryn, and Dan from Pokerati and his boys from Dallas filed in. All the ladies looked stunning and sensational in their swanky cocktail dresses. I made sure I individually complimented them on their choice of shoes. Note to guys: always tell the ladies that you like their shoes. Trust me on that one. Andy Bloch wore the coolest shirt by far.

I drank steadily and watched Shirley get pictures with Marcel Luske, Phil Laak, and Jen Tilly. Jen Leo told me about the outside portion of the club where you could see the waterfalls. I met one of the editors at Bluff Magazine and did some palm pressing and ass kissing. Jen Leo introduced me to Phil Gordon's PR people and I chatted with them for a few minutes and they made me promise that I'd go to Phil Gordon's birthday thingy at the Palms, which starts in 8 hours! I found NYC Poker Babe and also ran into those two hot girls who invited me to that film screening. I figured they wouldn't remember me but they came right over and busted me for not showing up. Yeah, I blew them off to write two freelance articles. They said that someone from a local Fox affiliate showed up to cover the event. They thanked me for having that done. I told them that it was the least I could do for not showing up. I lied. They bought my bluff.

Here were the pros I spotted: Nergreanu, Andy Bloch, Max Pescatori, Jesus, David Singer, Jen Harman, Howard Lederer, Phil Gordon, Clonie Gowen, Karina Jett, Paul Darden, Gavin Smith, Matt Matros, Marcel Luske, Phil Laak, Layne Flack, Erick Lindgren, Antonio Esfiandari, Josh Arieh, David Williams, and Russell Rosenbloom.

La Bete had some good food. The chocolate mousse was exquisite, which was served in an oversized martini glass. I also had macaroni & cheese & ham in a martini glass. And the best was the beef stew with mashed potatoes served in a martini glass. Kind weird, right? Shirley was great because she kept fetching me drinks at the bar.

I didn't see too many really wasted wasted, but I sure as hell did a bang up job there. Jen Harman was super tipsy and at one point she was held up by David Singer and Lindgren. I have a great Jen Harman story that I won't blog and I'll save for my Las Vegas book. Y'all have to wait a year to read all about it. It was just too hysterical.

We spent most of the party outside near the waterfall. I chatted with David Williams briefly for a few minutes and told me to head over to Pure afterwards for the second leg of the night's festivities. I finally bumped into the two Irish bloogers, Tom and Mike "Lucky Blind" from They were chain smoking and drinking heavily. My kind of guys. Great to finally meet them and we started to get rowdy. Mike ran inside and got Daniel Negreanu to join into the outdoor blogger festival.

We all took pictures like drunken idiots while Negreanu swigged on his Heineken and cracked jokes. Dan and I got some cool audio stuff from Negreanu. Yeah Cinci Sean is gonna love next week's golden nugget... a drunken interview with Negreanu at 1am. It started out serious and then trailed off into something hilarious. I won't spoil the surprise, but you'll have to stop by the Lord Admiral Card Club poker podcast next week to hear it. Priceless. Dan and I both had out our recorders. Poker Prof grabbed Phil Gordon and he ran outside for some more drunken photos and he began his own podcast. We all wished him a happy birthday.

The next thing I realized, it was 2am and the staff was kicking us out. I thought Las Vegas nightclubs were open until sun up? I guess Full Tilt only had the place for five hours. As we wandered out, I realized that the Poker Prof and I were the last ones to leave the party, along with the Poker Wire girls, Andy Bloch, Daniel Negreanu, Dan, and the two Irish guys.

Here are some random photos:

Sherry & Dan

Amy, Jen Leo, and Foiled Coup

The Poker Wire Gals

Poker Prof and his harem

Happy birthday Phil!

More photos to come after I get them fromt he rest of the crew. Just another night in Las Vegas. The media event starts tomorrow at 5pm. I'm seated at the same tale as the Poker Prof and Otis. Watch out for falling Hammers!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Party Time

What the fuck is "L.A. Chic" to be exact? That's the dress code for the Full Tilt party that will beheld at a club in the Wynn Casino called La Bete on Tuesday night. See, this is the major reason I choose not to live in La-La land. To me, L.A. Chic means... dress like hipsters. I don't do that. I loathe all things hipster. I'm afraid if I show up in a Hawaiian shirt, that I'll get turned away and miss my opportunity to get rocked on free booze. Alas, I throw together something at the last minute.

Yeah the parties are cropping up. On Friday it was Nolan's book signing. Tonight it's the Full Tilt bash. I also got an invite to another party. I bumped into two hot chicks. Once they saw my press credentials for "Fox Sports" they wanted to invite me to their party, which is an opening of some film about poker. It was being held at the Palms a few hours before the Full Tilt party. Free booze. Red carpet. More hipsters and leggy blondes with implants the size of globes. Since I have to work, I can't do both parties. But I will not pass up on the Full Tilt bash. I wonder if Hank is coming into town for that?

I also got an invite to Doyle Brunson's party on Friday. I heard that there's a celebrity that I adore who will be there. I won't say who she is, but I will do my best to get a picture with her. I wonder if I could get Texas Dolly to call Al Cant Hang for a Dial-a-Shot?

Monday, July 04, 2005

Radio Free Pauly and Other Articles

Here are some freelance articles of mine that have been published in the last week:
1. Phil Ivey Wakes Up to Win 6th Bracelet (Poker Player Newspaper)
2. Small Stakes Hold'em Book Review (Poker Magazine)
3. Dan Schmiech Beats Gabe Kaplan for First Bracelet (
4. Allen Cunninghan Becomes Million Dollar Man (Poker Player Newspaper)
5. Doyle Brunson Makes History (Fox Sports)
6. Canadian Annoucner Wins WSOP Bracelet (Poker Player Newspaper)
7. WSOP Crowns Oldest WSOP Bracelet Winner (
Moving on...

I taped my interview with Sean on Sunday morning for the Lord Admiral Card Club Radio Show and Podcast. If you don't know by now, it's the best podcast dedicated to poker in the universe. Over the last few months, I've become a huge cult figure in Canada. I'm happy to be a part of their amazing show.

Sean and Brent are working hard every week to get their podcast done (for free) so stop by and show your support.

You can download the MP3 of this week's show... Episode 33: Here. (Right click and Save As)
You can download the MP3 of last week's show... Episode 32: Here. (Right click and Save As)

We discuss the fourth week of WSOP action including Doyle Brunson and other cool poker stuff. The Poker Prof is interviewed. Plus my brother Derek had his blog, Poker in the Weeds, picked as "Blog of the Week" by Sean and Brent. Congrats Derek!

If you want to catch up and listen to previous episodes, please visit their archives over at Brainscat. Stop by their site and download the extra nuggets. Thanks again to Sean and Stacks for having me on.
Office Space

Media Row: Otis, Dan (standing up), Pauly, BJ, and Heather

OK, I complained a lot about some of the harsh hours and my living conditions, but let me tell you about the folks I get to long hours with... they are some of the nicest and most hilarious people I have met. When you are covering poker tournaments for 15 hours straight, you must develop a good sense of humor.

Lisa from Poker Wire and I got into a weird conversation and it eventually steered towards sex. At one point I asked Lisa what the strangest thing she thought about during sex. She quickly responded, "Thinking about clipping my cat's toenails." That had us cracking up for a good ten minutes. It's never a dull here in media row.

Amy Calistri is always making me laugh. She just walked over to me and said, "Guess which poker payer has the biggest cock?"