Friday, June 29, 2007


I have completed the hardest part about my summer assignment. The next three weeks will be a breeze. However, I most concerned about my ailing body. The physical toll of the gig is starting to catch up. After an 18 hour day on Thursday and having to be back at work the next day is brutal on my body. I can feel it today more so than any day in the previous four weeks.

I have a deadline too for a magazine and I dunno how I'm going to find time to write it. Oh yeah, I'll skip sleep to get it done. Like I usually do. Then there's that Truckin' thing that I have to write a story for, then find time to edit. Oh yeah, no sleep for me in the next two weeks.

Work is easing up but my other respnsibilities have been back logged. This is the time of year when I go crazy because I don't have enough hours in the day to get shit done that needs to get done.

These are the days when I wish I could slack off and have others carry my workload. No such luck.

Thinking of places... not called Las Vegas.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Think of London...

Think of London. Small city. Dark. Dark in the day time...

I'm going to London in less than nine weeks. Of course I'm still stuck in Las Vegas for another three weeks for work before I get a week to relax and enjoy myself. But my thoughts are on other places that are not Las Vegas. Yeah, I've reached that point that comes around every summer where I'm counting down the days before I get to leave.

At least my Widespread Panic tickets arrived in the mail. They play Vegas on July 3rd. I can't wait. I asked for the day off so I can see them with Nicky.

Work has been tough, stressful, annoying, and overwhelming at times. The long hours are a fucking grind. I've been averaging less than three hours of sleep in the last week and that's finally catching up to me.

Since we rarely have enough time to eat, we end up at the same two or three places... every fuckin' day. My choices for dinner are bar food at the Tilted Kilt or shitty food at the Poker Kitchen. If we have enough time in the mornings, we eat at casino cafes. Very little variety.

I made Nicky get up early today so we can go somewhere different. Man, do I miss NYC. Shit, I even miss Hollyweird. I never thought I'd say that.

"How would you like to live in Barcelona for two months?" was a question that was posed to me.

"I'd love to... but I'd rather live in Amsterdam," I said.

Who knows. Maybe I can pull something off like that this fall. It's thoughts like that which get me through these brutal days when all I want to do is quit my job, move to Paris, develop a speed addicition, and write three novels in a month.

Think of Amsterdam. Small city...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Go Read...

G-Rob posted some trip reports over at my Phish blog of his misadventures at Bonnaroo. Good stuff.

And, a sincere welcome back to both The Joker and Wendy. After a multi-year hiatus, they are back to blogging over at Bathtub Gin. I started reading them years and years ago (before I met and became good friends with The Joker). They were in Texas at the time and now, theya re both living in Colorado. I hope they keep it up since Bathtub Gin was one of my all-time favorite blogs.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Last Bradoween

Gracie posted a hilarious video of an event that took place two years ago. Check it out...

Click here to view the video via RSS or Bloglines

Monday, June 25, 2007

119/2778 = $4,740

I finished in 119th place out of 2,778 players and won $4,470 in prize money at the WSOP. I had a tough table on Day 2 that included several pros. I was eliminated by Erica Schoenberg, who happens to be a friend that loves reading Tao of Poker. At least I got a hug after she knocked me out.

Erica playing in my event

Thanks for all the phone calls, emails, and text messages. And thanks to a few friends (and readers) who came out to watch me play on Day 2. I'm a little bummed that I didn't make the final table but outlasting almost 2,660 other players is a quite a feat.

The worst part about busting out? Having to go to work an hour afterwards. Ouch.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Making the Money in the WSOP

Photo courtesy of Flipchip

I made the money and advanced to Day 2 of Event #38 $1,500 NL Hold'em at the WSOP. It is a thee day event. If I can make it to Day 3, I'll have a shot at winning $673K. I doubt that will happen, but I won at least $3,600. Possibly more depending on how well I play today.

Click here to follow my progress on Day 2 of Event #38.

You can read a recap of Day 1 over at Tao of Poker in a post called... WSOP Day 23: Live Poker Is Rigged, Tilting CK Hua, and How I Cashed in Event #38.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Day Off = Play Day

I have a rare day off, which means that this is the only opportunity for me to play in the World Series of Poker. I'm playing in a $1,500 No Limit Hold'em tournament with about 2,500 other players. The total prize pool is expected to be over 3.5 million.



In the past, I have played in two different events and bused out early in both. Since this is a three-day event, my goal is to survive Day 1 and advance to Day 2 which would mean I'd make the prize money and get another day off so I could play. I'm a long shot to do that, but that's my goal.

The cool thing about working for, is that my progress will be tracked by my peers. And I found out that Nicky's assignment is my tournament which means I should get a lot of press if I last more than a few hours.

Click here to read live updates and follow my progress in Event #38.

Click here to view updated chip counts of Event #38.

Tournament begins at noon local time or 3pm for all you New Yorkers.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Fantasy Sports Live

I'm a part of another new start up company. This one is called Fantasy Sports Live. It's a fantasy sports website that I own a piece of.

My buddy Blinders came up with the idea and business plan for Fanstasy Sports Live. He brought Joe Speaker and myself in on his brainchild. I'm happy to be part of the team. We launched the site the other day.


Fantasy Sports Live is perfect for lazy gamblers who don't want to have a fantasy team over an entire season. You can get your fix in one day. It's sort of like an SNG version of fantasy sports where you join a league, draft a team, and can play for as little as $1. And everything is over in a day!

Here's how Blinders explains the site:
I bring to you a website that compresses the Fantasy Sports experience to just a few action packed hours, offers you the ability to profit long-term from your sports knowledge, and eliminates all of the hassles of standard fantasy sports offerings like season long commitments, fees for adjusting your rooster, waiver wires, free agents, trades...

Just choose your stakes, draft a team of starters from the contest's games, and test your sports knowledge against others from around the country. We run the contests like sit and goes. They form up real-time, and close when the maximum entries are registered. Players then have until the start time to complete their draft. Once the contest starts, you can see the fantasy players on the teams you are against and a leaderboard shows the real-time contest standings. Also, by law all of our cash prizes are guaranteed. If we don't get the maximum entries it is like an overlay for those that are entered.

What I did was rewrite the rules of fantasy sports. I hope you enjoy the results.
For more information head over to the website... Fantasy Sports Live. And if you want a sign up bonus, use bonus code: Pauly.

And yes, the art guys who designed the site, also created a personal av for me.

It looks great except for my skin tone. It makes me look like someone who spends too much time in a tanning salon. I'm not a fake baker!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Brandon Picks Off A Bluff

My buddy Conrad sent me a link tot his great You Tube video featuring Brandon Schaefer. He picks off a French guy trying to bluff him in Monte Carlo at the EPT Championships.

Click here to view the video via RSS feeds or Bloglines

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Charles Star Video

Charles Star aka Ugarte sent me a new video. He's a stand up comedian and this excerpt is from a show that he did at Mo Pitkin's back in 2006.

Click here to view Charles Star circa March 2006

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Been listening to a ton of Medeski Martin & Wood with John Scofield. It's perfect writing music either late at night or early in the morning.

Been logging crazy hours. They are not as long as they were in the past, but they are an intensive 12-15 hour periods. I got slammed at work on Monday and for a while, it was the worst day I've experienced at the WSOP due to technical issues and side drama from a few co-workers. At least I got to leave before Midnight. That's rare.

Having friends working at other media outlets is good at times but sucks most of the time since I'm mega-busy and rarely have time to fuck around. I'm trying to pace myself and avoiding staying out late drinking and gambling since I want to make it to the end of this gig in one piece.

I spotted an old lady smoking a cigarette while taking puffs off an oxygen mask. She sat at a slot machine and I'm shocked security guards didn't toss her out for a potential fire risk. She could have blown up and taken out several other degenerate zombie gamblers in the process.

Been eating a lot of omeletes. That's my foodstuff of choice. We've been hitting up casino cafes before work... either at the Orleans, Palm, or at the Rio. I get the same thing...bacon & cheese omelete with wheat toast.

My dinners are usually pints of Stella and chicken fingers from Tilted Kilt. I've been eating a lot of fruit salads as well and avoiding red meat.

I did eat a one pound cheeseburger the other night at a place near Blue Diamond called The Outside Inn with Nicky, JW, Friedman, and Spaceman. Amazing burger. I had not eaten red meat in a while so that was yummy and cheap too.

Nicky had a few 11:30am-11pm shifts while I get the 1:30pm to unknown shifts. I've been dropping her off and going home to write before driving back to work. At night she drives home. If it is before 1am she comes back to pick me up otherwise I cab it back home to Del Bocca Vista.

I spotted two cop cars staking out an adjacent building. I had no idea what sort of criminal activity was going on there. Immigrant smuggling ring? Marijuana grow house? Crystal meth lab? Wife beater? You never know in Las Vegas.

I get Saturday off so I can play. That seems so far away.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Four Years Ago Today: Phish, Jay-Z, and Brooklyn

Three years ago today on June 18, 2003, Phish played a show at Keyspan Park in Coney Island, Brooklyn that featured a cameo from Jay-Z. Here's a video of 99 Problems and Big Pimpin'. Enjoy!

Click here to view the Phish & Jay-Z video via Bloglines or an RSS reader

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Lost Paradise

Editor's Note: This originally appeared on Tao of Poker a couple of days ago.

"Bags of money," I said to Nicky as I pointed up at the glowing Nevada sky. "All of those planes are flying in bags and bags of money."

As we drove back from Blue Diamond to the Del Bocca Vista, 13 planes lined up on approach to McCarran airport.

"St. Louis, New York City, San Francisco, Dallas, Denver, Phoenix, Minneapolis, Portland, Toronto, London, and Miami," I mumbled aloud as I counted each one.

Each plane bubbled over with exuberance as thoughts of wads of dollars danced around the heads of the newest batch of cherry gamblers that carried with them legendary dreams of big scores under the flashing lights during four day alcho-narco binges that would make John Belushi's worst bender look like a circle of girl scouts roasting marshmallows over a warm fire. Those epic orgies are fueled by gallons of Red Bull, fistfuls of Adderal, enough cheap blow to choke a giraffe, constant casino oxygen and the ecstatic possibility of becoming the biggest and baddest ass muthafuckin' baller that you know with the next hand of blackjack, at the next toss of the dice, at the next turn of the roulette wheel, as the next card that spikes on the river, and as that next Keno number illuminates so too does that spark which ignites your soul as it jumps right out of your intestines and knocks back eight consecutive glasses of Champagne while you sit next to a big time pimp with bling the size of bowling balls and a stable of girls matching the elasticity of Romanian gymnasts. They habitually carried around a bottle of KY, a nasty case of the clap, along with a scornful attitudes that accompanied $2,000 a night working girls at the Hooker Bar at the Rio. Those disease-infested tramps drenched in poorly cloned perfume to hide the smell of cock on their breaths, hope to lure in the sexually depraved internet pros who have not seen daylight let alone the inside of a vagina since 2004 as they shuffle past the geriatric zombies glued to the Wheel of Fortune slot machines as their orange eyeballs radiate sloth, greed, wrath, pride, gluttony, lust, and pride and suck the life out of anyone who walks within five feet radius of their tortured karmas.

The planes land every few minutes and drop off walking ATMs with distracted minds that are flooded with fleeting thoughts of sordid guilty pleasures, multiple trips to strip clubs pissing away two or three paychecks on artifical-breasted life size blow up dolls named Amber, Cinnamon, Raven, Summer, Mercedes, Angel, Crystal, Sierra, Lavender, and Sable who grind their asses into beerguts for $20 every three minutes as deafening hip hop blasts on the speakers while you get served over-priced and water-downed drinks.

The planes drop off weekend warriors hoping to get a hummer from their wife after an expensive dinner followed up by a show at the latest Cirque de Soleil... Ka, Love, Zumanity, Mystere, O, or listening to outdated comics like Louie Anderson or Carrot Top who were funny in 1989 and now play semi-packed rooms from tourists from flyover states who wish they were getting lapdances at the Rhino instead of hearing recycled jokes from hacks who make fun of unruly Vegas cab drivers that clutch their steering wheel and secretly wish they could mow down a herd of pedestrians stumbling across the Strip amidst the sparkling and glimmering lights that magically reflect a kaleidoscope of colors onto the sizzling payment and for a brief moment your Aunt Edna from Des Moines looks like she's walking on glistening gems, but those bright lights blind the populous and hide the opposite end of the Las Vegas spectrum where the vampires and tweakers lurk in the shadows of dimly lit alleyways and parking lots and carjack conventioneers from Houston and steal their wallets jammed packed with $100 bills as the flustered victims try to explain to the trigger happy cops that a pimply faced guy with no teeth shanked him with a dull steak knife before he sped off with the overpriced rental car which the junkie will sell to a chop shop in North Las Vegas for enough crystal meth to get him through the end of the week when he'll have to beat the shit out of a retiree in Henderson and steal her Caddy and month supply of Ensure as that vicious cycle of addictions continues every second of everyday in the city of sinners where the ten commandments are brazenly broken and frowned upon as the lunatics run rampant down the Strip, fucking anything that moves like Vikings pillaging towns, as the guilt-ridden sinners hide from the sneers from God and become the lost souls that perfect little pious Mormons children pray for every night as hundreds and thousands of citizens with good reputations, solid marriages, an impeccable criminal records become shattered casualties in a cloudy weekend of execs debauchery and Dionysian decadence while locking themselves into a suite at the Stratosphere and shooting pharmaceutical cocaine into the veins in their feet with a 21-year old stripper from Boise that moved to Vegas to become a blackjack dealer that ended up on the pole who ordered $500 in room service while clogging up the toilet with a nasty case of diarrhea.

IRAs, college savings, housing payments, credit card advances... they all get fleeced to support the lowest forms of habitual self-inflicted terror of endless craps out, dealer's Blackjack, no sightings of Mr. Cashman, too many cold decks at Pai Gow, or too many bad beats by sunburnt donkeys with wrap-around sunglasses that are secretly Celine Dion fans who fly in thrice a year to pay homage to the greatest French Canadian singer in the entire world, as sprinting valets dodge speeding cabs and drunk drivers and pothead limo drivers shuttling drunken frat boys from Scores and to massage parlors where they can get a rub and a tug before hitting the Midnight tourney at Binion's where it sometimes smells like a nursing home and a Tobacco farm while the faint aroma of stale urine wafts it's way in from Freemont Street where corruption and corporate scumbags ruined what used to be the jewel of gambling Mecca, and now Downtown Las Vegas reminds me of an old French whore who has done one too many tricks and fucks not for the money but because she needs a good rodgering to remind herself that she is still alive and the last thirty-five years were not a distant dream or a fading memory, because once upon a time, Las Vegas used to be a small jewel in the Nevada desert where high rollers drove through town in convertibles and now you can't drive anywhere near downtown in an open-aired vehicle without worrying about the hoodlums sieging your car like an angry mob of cockroaches swarming on the kitchen floor of my old apartment in the Redneck Riviera.

All you can eat buffets is on everyone's To Do list while they stuff their faces with lukewarm fried chicken and ignore the simple fact that millions of others in our world are dying of starvation with flies crash landing on their swollen protruding bellies as the vultures of death circle around ready to tear apart the thin layer of muscle and skin that wrap around our fellow humans and with every extra plate of pasta or every scoop of ice cream we step closer and closer towards Hell's front door where hustlers named Zed hang out and try to steal every single dollar out of your pocket and rob you of every ounce of dignity in your brainwashed body because you firmly believe that anything that happens in Vegas stays in Vegas but those credit card bills don't stay in Vegas and come to your mailbox, just like how that itchy case of the crabs you picked up from the cocktail waitress at the Nascar Cafe in the Sahara follows you back home to Philly where you have to explain to your six-month pregnant wife why you have to shave your pubic hair and apply ointment to your hair-less balls three times a day because you got drank too much tequila and knocked boots with a Las Vegas cocktail server who stole your cellphone, two credit cards, and all of your black Bellagio chips as she quickly donked off your money at the Money Wheel and sold the numbers to your American Express card to an Al-Qaeda operative scouting out the best possible method to blow up the Hoover Dam to a million pieces while he lives high off the hog, ignoring all of Allah's special rules regarding women and pork and he forgot about 72 virgins because even deep cover Al-Qaeda cells can't ignoring all those hot chippies standing in line waiting to get into Tao, instead of planting IED on highways outside of Baghdad and trying to blow limbs off of 19 year old kids who wish they were back home playing online poker and trying to win satellite on PokerStars and snagging a WSOP bracelet in a 3,000 person event playing donkey poker and winning forty-seven coinflips in a row which means more money to buy more lapdances and until they are so broke that hey have to sneak onto the Monorail to get back to their hotel, if management hasn't thrown them out yet and rented their room a couple of German honeymooners named Karl and Freda.

The absurd is the norm. Take my apartment in the Del Bocca Vista for example. Upstairs an Asian family of ten live in a two bed room apartment while a stripper and part-time call girl lives downstairs and drives a convertible with a vanity plate. While I'm not worried about a crystal meth lab exploding don the street, I am worried that Bush's Anti-Immigration thugs will tear gas my flat and purposely kick down my door and drag me out of the apartment with plastic ties tearing into my wrists cutting off the circulation to my fingers because they think I'm running an immigrant smuggling ring. I'm always one to look for a solid investment but human trafficking ain't my bag... yet.

Sometimes I wish that I didn't have to live in Las Vegas and the WSOP was held in a cooler place like New York City or in the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington State or in the Casino Holland in Amsterdam where I could hit up the local hash bar on my dinner breaks and cover more Pot-Limit Omaha events instead of trying to figure out who the next unknown will be to win a bracelet. That's the allure of the WSOP these days... to win a bracelet and brag to your friends and family that you won more WSOP bracelets than Erick Lindgren or Phil Gordon or Patrik Antonius or Gus Hansen or Marcel Luske or Gavin Smith or The Grinder or Andy Bloch or The Unabomber or Isabelle Mercier. None of them have won a bracelet and everyday Jeffrey Pollack is handing out one, two, or three bracelets. They cost as little as $1,500 if you can survive "a field of 3,000 monkeys" as Minneapolis Jim Meehan referred to the massive fields during some of the smaller buy-in NL events. Everyday Phil Gordon cringes because in his mind another donkeyfish picked up something he's had his eyes on for almost a decade.

Why do some of us live and why do some of us die? Why do some of us leave Las Vegas a winner why others of us leave utterly hungover, dehydrated, and completely broke? That's an existentialist question that I have been trying to seek out the answer ever since I first arrived in Las Vegas back during the Clinton administration in 1995 when Action Dan Harrington won the WSOP along with a paltry $1 million after he dominated what was essentially a 28 table SNG with 273 total players and a final table that featured Barbara Enright, the only chick to make it to a main event final. Also at that final table was Capt. Tom's Penis. Yes, it's true. In 1995, Brandi Hawbaker was just 12 years old and little did she know that some guy who'd make the final table of the WSOP would someday put his penis in her back.

All flights eventually land in Las Vegas to drop off more wretches who foolishly think they can tame the lost paradise. I'm one of them.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Last 5 Hilarious Google Referrals...
1. Emilio Estevez uncircumcised
2. Change100 child actor
3. Elisha Cuthbert cup size
4. Grapefruit booze breakfast cocaine bottles Hunter Thompson
5. Afgoo marijuana

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Lazy Lazy

I have today off. My second day off in 14 days. I don't expect another one until June 23rd when I'll play in a WSOP event. And after that I might not get another day off until July 3 or July 4.

I got off early last night. My assignment was completed by 9pm and luckily Nicky had an early night as well. We took Benjo to dinner. He wanted pasta and we settled on Bautista's right behind the former Barbary Coast, now called Bill's Gambling Saloon.

Bautista's is cheap food with menus on the wall. They give you free red and white wine with your meal along with garlic bread, salad, and coffee at the end. I went there once before with Derek, Spaceman, Bobby Bracelet, and Mrs. Spaceman and had not been back since.

I finally watched The Sopranos final episode and caught an Entourage episode as well. Nicky downloaded both from the intertubes. I dug both and want to watch the Sopranos one more time before I pontificate about it.

Here are some things I posted on Tao of Poker in the last few days:

A dealer named Claudia walked over to media row on the floor of the Amazon Ballroom. "Maybe this will help you sleep with all those loud lawn mowers," she said and handed me a small vial. I asked her if it contained drugs. She told me they were earplugs. She read about my problems sleeping at my apartment in Del Bocca Vista and was kind enough to seek me out and give me the earplugs. Thanks again Claudia!

I ate a fruit salad for a third straight day in a row and skipped booze on my dinner break for a second day in a row. I've been having some health issues and I have to think about the bigger picture. Alas, I'm jonesin for a beer and real food.

Over the last three days, I ate at least one meal by myself. I prefer the alone time since I'm never alone aside from when I'm on the shitter. The last thing I want to do on a break is talk or think about poker. The only way to retreat is to hide out by myself in an eatery where no one will find me. I'm an extremely social person, but I crave my alone time. And I desperately need a few moments everyday where the focus is not on poker. My sanity by Day 12 is being tested on all accounts.

Jonno loves steak and eggs. I guess it's not common in Australia. Anyway, he's been ordering room service with a faux-American accent so they understand his order correctly. The funny thing is that his American accent sounds like a stoner kid from The Valley.

"Fuckin' Americans!" said Felipe as he got into work on Sunday. He told me a crazy story about a guy trying to sell him a bike for $40. I told him it was probably stolen.

Otis is always good for a hilarious quote like this one, "The maid who cleans my room must think I'm a chronic masturbator." Otis has been using one bottle of hand lotion per day due to his dry and flaky hands.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Truckin' - June 2007, Vol. 6, Issue 6

The new issue of Truckin' has been published. Guess what? It's the birthday issue. Truckin' is now five years old!

I'm blown away to think that this little corner of the internet has been around for five years! We've come a long way since my original vision of sharing travel stories with friends. Since then we've published over fifty writers from all over the world. There were moments when I wanted to quit, but thanks to the encouragement of some special people, I kept it going. And now, we get to celebrate Truckin's 5th birthday. Thanks to everyone involved in the last five years and especially the last twelve months. Super thanks goes out to Maudie for the site re-design and to Jessica for her thankless work as assitant editor.

And thanks to all the writer's who wrote for free. Thanks for sharing your bloodwork.

1. Donuts with Baby & Winky by Paul McGuire
Baby sat on the edge of the coffee table and poured out an ashtray that overflowed with butts. She picked out three or four and lit one up. She took three drags and put it out before she lit up another used one. Then another... More

2. Three Men Leaving by Brad "Otis" Willis
he cash register hummed underneath the buzz of the overhead fluorescents. Together, the noises almost masked the sounds of the crickets. Their little love song sang through the open door and it was getting on Little Liza's nerves... More

3. Desperados by Joe Speaker
The start time was pragmatic. We didn't want to be traversing the Mexican desert in mid-day, especially in our unreliable cars. This way, we'd arrive shortly after dawn, being treated to a spectacular sunrise the last hundred miles or so. There are always trade-offs, though, and our schedule dictated we'd drive through the border town of Mexicali in the dead of night... More

4. Five Dollars for the Colonel by Dr. Tim Lavalli
Across the alley are these two trailers, the back one is Annie's and she'll give you head for twenty bucks, only the Colonel don't like her doing that, so you give him $5 and he goes to get his bottle of muscatel but he doesn't like the folks at Abe's Liquor so he goes down the street to the Chinaman's and then you go to see Annie while he is getting his wine... More

5. Leaving the City by Sigge S. Amdal
All of this mud, all of this poison pumping from my pitch black heart, through my veins and out the razor sharp tip of the pen is nothing but unclean blood for you to leech on. As I see the city disappear, minute-by-minute, I become much more a man... More

6. Rose by Doog
Rose's heart pounded with anticipation, a strange mix of exhilaration and fear of the unknown coursing through her veins. Keeper opened the door and stepped through into the world outside... More

7. Las Vegas Car Battery by Dingo
I suppose because of my accent I seem to attract a weird and wide selection of sheilas and broads. I am quite okay looking, or so people tell me, so picking up sheilas has never been a problem. Mine all just seem to be total whack jobs... More
I ask that if you like these stories, then please do me and the rest of the writers a huge favor: Tell your friends about your favorite stories. It takes a few seconds to pass along Truckin'. I certainly appreciate your support. Feel free to shoot me an e-mail if you know anyone who is interested in being added to the mailing list.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


A couple of friends of mine cashed in recent WSOP events.

German pro Katja Thater made a final table of the Ladies event. Brandon Schaefer and Shirley Rosario just cashed in the same tournament.

If you are a poker pro, cashing in an event is important because most pros play 20-30 tournaments at the WSOP and with buy-in fees, travel fees, and accomodations, they are in the hole anywhere from 50K to 100K.

Nicky played in the Ladies event on Sunday and busted out before the dinner break. I have not played in any WSOP events this year, and hope to get into a tournament at the end of the month. I requested the day off and should be able to play unless I'm super exhausted and need to sleep in or I'm so swamped with work that I need to write.

I got off early last night (and by early I mean just before Midnight). I still logged close to an 11 hour day. I wish I could say that I went to bed early. I wrote and answered emails. I'm still behind with over 300 unread emails. I dunno if I'll ever catch up.

I have not seen the last episode of The Sopranos but from what everyone has been telling me they either loved it or hated it. Nicky downloaded the episode and we haven't had the chance to watch it. Perhaps tonight if we get off early (and by early I mean before 2 or 3am).

I'm totally sick of the food at the Rio. I've been trying to eat on the healthy side and avoid red meat. I've been eating fruit salads at least once a day. I'm avoiding coffee and Red Bull. Usually, my first meal of the day is some sort of omelete or scrambled eggs with wheat toast and hash browns. I had been eating bar food at the Tilted Kilt (either chicken sandwiches or chicken tenders with spicy ranch sauce) along with a few pints every night.

We have no food at home in the fridge aside from salsa and some chips which must be stale by now. I thought about going grocery shopping, but I don't have the time to cook and to clean up.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Heavy Things

The weight nearly crushes me. The lack of breathing room almost suffocates me. The possibilites of failure mortify me. And the pressure to get the job done here in Las Vegas charges at me at full force like a pregnant elephant.

I finished the toughest day of work so far at the WSOP. Not only was it a grueling 14 hour day, but the wifi conenction went out at work. I was using the wifi at the Rio for the past ten days but also have an aircard. I was able to get online with zero problems with the aircard while the rest of my colleagues struggled to connect. Since we were working for PokerNews as the official media provider of the World Series of Poker, we were totally fucked with three simultaneous tournaments to cover -- instantly for the world to follow. Since I was the only one who could function, there was an hour stretch where I had to cover three events at once. Talk about being slammed and overwhelmed especially since I was hungover like hell. I had no choice but to gut out the pain and get the job done.

Once the internet got back on track, everyone scrambled to catch up and I focused on my assignment. It was a tough one because of the multi-tasking involved with that event. I didn't have as many assistants as I had in the past yet I felt we stepped up our effort when it counted the most despite our lack of resources.

Over the past few days I have started to feel the pressure to perform... extremely well. The pressure never bothers me when I'm at work, but I feel it on my breaks and when I wake up in the morning and it often keeps me from falling asleep. Most of that pressure is internalized while some of it is legitimate. The Big Kahuna is in town, otherwise known as the guy Schecky and I refer to as The G. He's the guy who signs the paychecks and he invested a shitload of money in me over seven weeks. Plus he partnered up with several companies and corporations who will be super pissed if I don't get the job done. With him looking over my shoulder along with a bunch of suits, it's a tad nerve racking. The G said nice words to say about our progress yet I still keep pushing myself to work harder and harder and longer hours and writing to my peak ability in pursuit of a level of excellence that I had never achieved before.

In sports terms, I feel like a player who signed a huge-ass contract and now it's time to step up to the plate and jack 50 home runs. I've had jobs were I experienced pressure but that was on a different scale. The worst thing that could happen would be that I would lose my job. Alas, right now I have my career on the line, along with the careers of several other important people in my life. My biggest fear is that I have no one behind me to back me up if I made a mistake. Therefore, my work has to be flawless. Talk about pressure. Over the last week it's been clear that the rest of several co-workers have been deferring to me to pick up the slack, or if there's an important assignment to get done by the higher ups, that falls into my lap.

The last couple of years, I've had nothing to lose. Right now, I'm putting everything on the line with this tremendous assignment. I have 37 more days to go and I don't see a let up in the workload nor the pressure that swirls around me like a flock of vultures ready to pick apart at my carcass.

I usually don't think in terms of absolutes. However, in this instance I'm either going to be a bust... or step up and get an amazing job done while ignoring the pressure, the physical pain, mental anguish, and overall retardeness of the people I have to deal with on a daily basis (which includes staff, tourists, players, and other jackoffs that I have no choice but to interact with.)

Now I know how Mo Rivera feels standing on the mound in the 9th inning with a one run lead and runners on base and no outs. Either he does what he's supposed to do and the Yankees win, or he fails and the Yankees lose and he has the entire city pissed off at him and all the haters gloating over his demoralizing effort.

Oh well, it could be worse. I could be a soldier serving in Iraq. Now talk about pressure...

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Las Vegas Pic Dump

I took these over the last couple of days:

Mrs. Spaceman wins the blogger tournament

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Last 5 Hilarious Google Referrals...
1. Hare Krishnas walking thru downtown chicago
2. Moist housewives
3. Cute girls pleasuring each other by shitting. Watch them enjoy each others waste
4. Bonnaroo pictures of Shakedown Street nude girls
5. Man fucks dog with wife videotaping it

Friday, June 08, 2007

92 and 18,000

2:52am. I'm at the Rio casino. Been here since 11:30am or roughly 15 hours. I've worked 90 hours in the lst 7 days without a day off. I should pass 100 hours in 8 days sometime tomorrow. I'm a wee bit tired.

I cranked out 18,000 words in the last week over at the Tao of Poker.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Busy Slacker

Man, I've been swamped with work the past few days that I finally have a chance to write on Tao of Pauly. So much for my twenty minutes a day. I couldn't even find that time. I've been working until 4 or 6 in the morning then I crash for a few hours. I get up to write and finish up more writing assignments before I have to drive into work. Sucks not having time to do simple things like check email or return phone calls.

My buddy Bad Blood is in town and I got to have a beer with him at dinner break. That was nice. If I get Saturday off, we're going to strip clubs together.


I missed The Sopranos but Nicky downloaded it. We've been too busy to watch it. We only spend a few hours in the apartment and most of the time at the Rio casino. Several friends of mine are here covering the event and I get to spend a few minutes here and there bullshitting and having them get me off work tilt or vice versa.

Otis finally arrived and we have a food prop bet. I bet him $20 that he will eat a slice of pizza in the awful poker kitchen by the end of the WSOP in mid-July. He's trying to hold out but I don't think he can do it.

I covered one poker tournamnet that last three days. It was a smaller event that featured the world's best pros. I was lucky because you rarely see that many quality players in events these days due to the huge popularity of poker.

I kicked ass at work today with my assignment after a stressful Tuesday. I also did something for the suits at Harrah's that they were extrenelt grateful for. I happened to write a small blurb on a poker player earlier in the day and he went on to win the tournament (and $850K in cash). They had no background information on him and one suit grabbed me and practically begged for information. I told him what I knew and they ended up using that info when they taped a winner's interview for ESPN. It felt weird but cool that the biggest suits in the building turned to my poker acumen. I came through in the clutch.

I've been posting every day on Tao of Poker. On Wednesday, I wrote about my boss who flipped out over an incident at the WSOP where other media outlets were stealing our content and passing it off as their own.

Here's something that appeared on my poker blog:

"You're from Texas, do you know where I can get a gun?" I asked Michelle Lewis.

I said the same thing to Michalski. Last year, we were going to test shoot guns at a local gun store. We had a side trip planned during the WSOP that never materialized. Michalski gets plenty of half-baked ideas and I turned to the Texans to figure out how to arm myself.

For a 24-hour period, I was concerned about an all-out gang war between Tony G and The Shulman's at Cardplayer that would spill over onto the floor of the Rio. I wanted to be prepared and considered packing some heat, or strapping as the kids would call it today. Since I technically work for Tony G, I'm a target. I didn't want to get clipped in the parking lot during a drive-by shooting between the Shulman's personal security detail and Tony G's thugs or find myself getting shanked in the bathroom trying to piss next to Toto Leonidas during one of the breaks.

Poker is big business. However, there are essential elements of the billion dollar global business that have been spawned from the underground and in the dark and seedy shadows on Las Vegas. Fortunate 500 companies don't get gangbangers to take out their competition, that's what their legal teams are for... hired hitmen. However in poker, there's that old school element of "Let's meet in the parking lot and settle this like men."

Tony G wrote a post on his blog called Cardplayer Family Stealing from Me. Here's what Tony G said:
I have never tried to hide who I am. I am from the street. I have made many mistakes in my life, but I have always felt that I treated all people fairly and with respect. You may see me on TV giving someone the business, and feel it's unfair, but to me it's all part of the game. I think if you ask people if they think I am a fair person in business and in life most would say yes.

Away from poker, I have a successful business. I own a majority of the shares in PokerNews Limited. This company owns many websites, the biggest of which is We are having our best year ever and right now we should be enjoying the finest moment of our life as a company. We are at the WSOP and are supposed to have an agreement with Bluff to be the exclusive provider of updates and chip counts. But unfortunately over the last few days, we have been pirated and simply stolen from by many of our competitors - including Cardplayer. Cardplayer is hiding behind a legal fence that they were standing on top of just this time last year - kicking anyone who dared try to climb it in the teeth.

We put the chip counts up on PokerNews, and one minute later they are up on Cardplayer has no one counting chips at the WSOP, and they know that counting chips is against the rules for them since we beat them to the rights for coverage this year. But they have the counts up on their site, stolen straight from the counts we are doing live in the room at the Rio. We have paid a lot of money for these rights and a lot of money to the 40 people we have hired to cover the series.

I am from the street and when you steal from me, you are playing with fire. This is no different than taking money out of my pocket when it was all I had, which wasn't that long ago. I'll bet the Shulmans never thought they would be stealing from me two years ago when they were on top and PokerNews had three employees and was just getting by. I urge the Shulmans to think about what they are doing to me now. They should think about how people feel when they are robbed.

I urge the Shulmans & all of the CardPlayer family to stop this unethical activity, right now, and all will be forgiven. I'm sure they feel bad about how things have gone for them over the past year, but that doesn't make this ok. They have fallen from their high horse, and there must be a lot of anger for them to do something like this. They must know others will not respect them and they must just not care.

This probably will have to go to lawyers for the final outcome. No one is talking about this now, but I tell the world the truth on this blog.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Monday Already?

The weekend flew by quick. I forgot what day it was yesterday. I called my brother a bunch of times and couldn't reach him. That's when I recalled that he went up to Maine for the weekend.

Last night was tough. I was up until 6am and at the casino until past 5am. The day was the toughest I experienced so far. Lots of bullshit to deal with but I gutted through it.

The Yankees won which was a bonus. The game was on ESPN via a huge plasma screen right behind me but due to the heavy volume of work (and catch up work) I saw three pitches in total. I caught the highlights in the Tilted Kilt Pub during my dinner break at 9pm. And for dinner? Two pints of Stella and a loaf of garlic bread.

The routine has been getting up around 10 to write. Nicky and I are on slightly different schedules which poses some problems with one car. I usually have to start a little later than her so either I go in with her or I drop her off and go back to the Del Bocca Vista to write which is about a ten minute drive with traffic.

By the way, the biggest pothead poker pro that I now, Shaniac, also lives at the Del Bocca Vista this summer.

We've been trying to avoid the Rio to eat lunch or breakfast. We opted for two other casinos closer by (the cafe at Palms or at the Orleans). I'm burning out n Texas Toasters at Sonic. I can only handle that twice a week.

By first meal is some sort of bacon and egg combo with wheat toast. I build my own sandwiches and stock up on fuel for the day. I subject myself to the horrible food in the "poker kitchen" once a day around 6 or so. I drink on my dinner breaks.

A couple of celebrities have been spotted at the WSOP including Shannon Elizabeth, James Woods, and Jeremy Sisto... the guy who played Elton in Clueless.

Here are some random notes I posted over at the Tao of Poker:

We told Filipe (our photographer from Portugal) that he should say, "No habla anglais," when people from other rival outlets asked him questions. I started saying that when tourists were asking me stupid questions.

Saturday night at the Rio which meant that the hookers were out in full force. One short old guy had a buxom fake-blonde on one arm and a slim black girl on the other arm. He strolled through the Amazon room showing off. Too bad everyone breathing knew that they were pros. Instead of hanging out at the Hooker bar, a few ladies of the night were proactive and trickled down into the convention center. Hey, the poker pros flock to Vegas during the WSOP because of all the dead money flying onto town. Same goes for the working girls. They know that everyday more marks are flying into town and showing up at the Rio. Who can they fleece or roll today?

Phil Hellmuth and Doyle Brunson were in the VIP lounge during one of the breaks. They made a prop bet to see if Hellmuth could sink three putts in a row on their faux putting green. Hellmuth nailed all three and Brunson forked over $18,000.

I missed the mad rush at the Tilted Kilt according to Kari and the other kilts. I drank a couple of pints of Stella and ate chicken fingers with spicy ranch dipping sauce. I had been craving that for months. Kari told me about the one new girl they hired. The guys in the kitchen think she's a man. The waitress wanted to prove them wrong and asked Kari to take a picture of her vagina to prove the guys wrong. Where was Flipchip when you needed him? I offered up my services. Alas, I did not get to snap any pictures of Tilted Kilt waitresses' cookies. If I was able to pull that feat off, that would have put Otis on mega tilt for the rest of the decade.

On Saturday, there was a Dan Michalski sighting in the Rio. I have not confirmed if that is true or just a ghost of Michalski past. The figure had a similar bald spot but he was not wearing a pink polo. I don't think it was him. We have a theory among the veteran media that Michalski will be outsourcing the WSOP content on Pokerati by using illegal immigrant day workers to write his blogs. I can totally picture Michalski pulling up to the parking lot at Home Depot and asking, "Puede usted contar virutas? Usted desea trabajar en la serie de mundo de poker?"

(Side note: Michalski insists that the first thing I ever said to him when we met for the first time was... "Yo Dan, do you have any weed?")

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Homer Tokes Weed Video

Remember when Phish was on The Simpsons and Homer smoked medical weed? Check out the video courtesy of YouTube. Phish appears around 7:30 into the video.

Click here to view Phish on The Simpsons video via Bloglines or RSS

Saturday, June 02, 2007

$50 French Fries

About twenty minutes before the WSOP began, I was already $50 in the hole after I lost a prop bet against Tiffany Michelle, who does video interviews for Poker News. The poker kitchen was moved inside and took up a massive area in a ballroom that used to be utilized as the hospitality suites for online poker sites. Outside the rooms were a few tables where people could sit and eat. A group of Scandis had gathered including pros Thor Hansen and Per Ummer. They had been eating sandwiches before they walked away. A large bucket of French fries sat untouched. I offered Tiffany $50 to eat the entire bucket. She picked it up and started chowing down.

Yes, that girl can eat. The fact that it was someone else's leftovers did not deter her. She crushed the bucket and Daddy would have been proud of her ability to knock back a couple of potatoes with only a small helping of ranch dressing on the side. Did I mention that they were cold and soggy? It didn't matter, she ate them all and I forked over $50.

Note to self... never make eating prop bets with Tiffany or Otis. The WSOP had not even started and I was in the hole prop betting. This is going to be a long summer.

The first day of work was long and exhausting. I was handed the wrong badge that would be the first of many screw ups during the my first day on the job. There were long lines at the Rio and the players hated the new playing cards that they used for the WSOP.

I sat next to Flipchip and Mean Gene in media row. That was fun. I had a team of five or so "interns" under me covering the opening tournament. Two years ago, I was covering the event by myself and now I have a team of college kids looking up to me.

Nicky and I woke up late on Friday and did not have enough time to get a proper breakfast. Instead we opted for bacon, egg, and cheese toaster sandwiches at Sonic. That hit the spot.

At some point during my 15 hour work day, I ate two really bad cheeseburgers from the poker kicthen. I also consumed a Snickers bar and a pint of Stella at the Tilted Kilt pub where I watched some of the Yankees win over the Red Sox.

Somewhere around Midnight I got that sick feeling in my stomach that I have to endure the grind for another 46 days. Although it was Midnight, I knew I had at least six more hours of work ahead of me. It's tough to write while you are falling asleep at your laptop. I decided to crash for a few hours and got up early to finish my work. Although I was still drained, my mind was operating on a more creative level after some slumber.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Tastes Like Silk

I was up early and in the writing zone when there was a knock on the door. I was in my boxers and wearing a PokerStars t-shirt when I looked through the peep hole and saw a woman wearing aqua-colored scrubs. I opened the door and said, "What's up?"

"Here's your parking pass," she said as she handed me a sticker with the letters BV on it.

She introduced herself as the owner of the apartment and I invited her to come in. Nicky was sitting on the couch and they spoke about the internet problems that we were having. Within a few hours, our biggest headache since arriving in Las Vegas was solved.

We headed down to the Strip to meet The Poker Prof, Flipchip, and Mrs. Flipchip for dinner. I picked Carnegie Deli since the Mirage is one of the few casinos we can get to without having to navigate the awful traffic on the Strip. Flipchip loves Carnegie so it was a goo pick. I went with a bacon cheeseburger and a knish.

My lunch

Flipchip's Pastrami

We talked a little about work and the upcoming WSOP. We joked how we haven't done as much prep as we did in recent years because the groundwork has already been laid down by us. By now, everyone in the poker industry knows that we cover the WSOP and that we own the two of the better sites on the web where you can get top notch WSOP coverage.

After lunch we headed back to the apartment to do some work when I got a call from Filipe. he flew in town the night before from Portugal. He was staying at an extended stay hotel and suites behind the Wynn's golf course. I promised him that I would take him to a camera store to pick up supplies. We first met in Monte Carlo and worked together covering the European Poker Tour Championship. He took photos while I wrote.

I drove across the Strip three times for Filipe. he was shocked to see all the traffic and the same time was totally in awe. He had been all over Europe covering tournaments but had never been to America before. His first stop was... Las Vegas.

We drove to a camera store near where I live and talked to the German lady who was surly at first but eventually warmed up when we said that we worked with Flipchip. Filipe picked up a new lens and a tri-pod and I drove him back across the Strip. I had to drive back over the third time to come home. Traffic blows donkey cock in Las Vegas and unfortunately, Nicky was at home writing and pulling tubes so I had to navigate the late afternoon Strip jam.

We headed over to Friedman's to see his new place and hang out for a bit. He had the Waking Life on in the background and JW and Spaceman were there at some point. After that, Nicky and I drove up to red Rock for dinner and poker. We ate dessert at the Grand Cafe and got a chocolate cream pie. Our waitress said, "It tastes like silk."

I thought it tasted like heaven.

After the pie, we wandered over to the poker room to play for a couple of hours. I lost a monster pot when my four of a kind (3s) lost to a higher four of a kind (5s). Mathematically speaking that rarely happens. If we had a better hand (like four 8s beating four 7s) then we would have won a bad beat jackpot worth six figures. Alas, I didn't qualify and lost a big hand.

I called out one guy for being an asshole at the table. I loathe dealer abuse. There's no need for that in poker when player berate the dealers for losing at poker. I also noticed he stiffed the dealer twice on hands he won when you usually tip $1 when you win a pot. He had been sitting next to me in Seat 2 and bitched and moaned after taking a couple of beats. There was one legit suckout while the other two times he played his hand so poorly that he should have been self-mutilating his own genitals after his atrocious play. He switched seats thinking that would change his luck. It didn't happen. Instead, he lost a big pot and busted out. When he saw that he lost, he intentionally threw his cards at the dealer.

"Hey, that was rude," I said in my tough-guy New Yorker voice. "You owe that lady an apology."

He didn't say anything to the dealer and muttered something about the suckout.

"Take the beat like a man. A real man would have not thrown his cards like a baby."

He slithered away from the table in silence and the dealer leaned over to me and whispered, "Thank you."

"So do you guys think he wasn't hugged enough as a child or has a two inch penis?"

After polling the table, we decided that he suffered from a case of minuscule genitals.