Monday, June 30, 2008

The Chemical Warfare Chronicles

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

I returned home shortly after 6am. I noticed that there were more ants than I had ever seen. I went out back to the pool to smoke. Schecky woke up for an early flight to San Diego. He suggested we get some raid.

That's when I did a closer inspection. The ants had only come out at night and disappeared by morning. Well that was not the case. hey were out in force. While I worked a 16+ day at the Rio, the ants launched a Tet-offensive. There were ants in places I had never seen ants before. They managed to infiltrate into the house as far as the kitchen. Single file from a nest underneath the front door floorboards along the foyer and front room and along the hallway and then a sharp right turn into the kitchen. It was like they were on a specific highway mapped out to the entire nest.

The other day I set traps. At first I thought they worked but they failed. When I saw the waves and waves of ants I told Nicky, "It's time for chemical warfare."

She didn't want to drive to the store. By then it was 7am. She had an exhausting day at work. But I was wasted on painkillers and could not drive. I told her to inspect the front lines herself. She took one look and said, "Let's go."

After ten minutes of stumbling around Smith's, we found something. Powerful. Hornet and wasp nest killing spray. I used that in the past on nests and the fucking thing works. We paid for it and returned to the house. I told Nicky to go to sleep while I waged war downstairs. Luckily JenLeo and Schecky were away while I launched my counter-attack.

In one spray, a heavy stream of chemical unleashed from the black can. The air filled with chemicals and where hundreds of ants marched, they were all dead. Drowned in a thick puddle of chemicals that could kill a herd of cattle.

Inside of three minutes, it was over. The dead ants looked like that charred highway in the first Gulf War when the US military lit of the retreating Iraqi army from Kuwait.

I won this round, but I expect one last gasp from the enemy. I might not sleep.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Derek Wins

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

My brother won my weekly tournament at PokerStars. Derek took first place in Saturdays with Dr. Pauly.


Saturday, June 28, 2008

Losing the Ant War

By Paul
Las Vegas, NV

Last week I noticed an ant on my desk in Scheckytown. At first I blamed the drugs. Sometimes I see things that are not there or I feel things crawling on my skin that are not there.

Paranoid junkie am I.

That went on for a few days. More so late nights. I'd be at the wood desk from 3am to 6am on any given night. That's when I started seeing multiple ants. One would scurry across the desk. Then another.

One night I must have been super wasted because I stopped everything I was doing, grabbed my mini-flashlight and investigated.

How did the ants get on the desk? They each crawled up the legs.

But where did they come from? I noticed a trail of ants along the floorboard. Most of them were coming in one direction. I followed them all the way to the front door. There must be a nest underneath the floorboard in the door way.

I did a very un-Buddhist thing and squished a few dozen or so. I left the dead ant bodies in front of the opening in the floor as a reminder to other ants who dare leave their abode and venture into my territory.

When I'd get up in the late mornings to go to work, the ants were never around. They only came out at night.

A week passed and the ants continued to return. The next day I went to the store and bought ant traps. Ants are supposed to go in, eat the bait, take it back to the nest and everyone will die.

Well, I put out four. Two by the legs of the desk (in order to catch them on their ascent) and one near the front door.

I observed the ants behavior. None of them went inside. They crawled over them or simply went around them. Hmmmm..... not too effective. But that's what I get for $3.98.

Three days later, I noticed that the ants wobbled a bit and that the overall size in ants were a bit smaller. Did it work and all the big ones were killed off? Did the bait get the ants drunk?

I must say that the traps did not work. It's time to engage in chemical warfare.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Procedure II: More Existentialist Conversations with Strippers

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

"I'm addicted to pain," slurred the stripper as she slowly turned her arm to expose her left wrist. Through the faint light I could see several marks. She pulled my hand towards her wrist and I felt the roughness of her scars.

"It took me almost ten years, but I finally figured out that I'm addicted to pain. I love misery. I can't be happy unless I'm hurting."

Never swing at the first pitch.

That was one of the few words of advice my father gave me. However, when we walked into the Rhino a little after 2pm, MeanGene, BadBlood and myself were swarmed with strippers as we enacted part two of the Procedure. It was a routine invented and perfected by BadBlood back in G-Vegas.

Booze + Strippers + Poker = The Procedure

I had only done it once before with BadBlood and Grubby last December. The magic worked for us. We all played a tournament at the Venetian. Grubby made the final table and I bubbled off the final table when Grubby busted me.

Lucky for me, my girlfriend is totally cool with me frequenting strip clubs. It was even her birthday and I got a pass. She even gave me $225... which I quickly blew on overpriced watered down cocktails and the cover charge.

One moment we sauntered through the front door of the Rhino and the next moment we had a girl each on our arm. I headed to the bar to get a better look. The bar at the Rhino has the best lighting in the joint. If there's one place to inspect the goods, that's it.

She was drunk when she grabbed me and led me to the bar. I bought a round while she hung on my hip. I could smell the booze on her breath. Great, how the hell did I attract the drunk stripper? Karma? Lack of karma? Or simply bad luck?

I originally had a choice. Stripper A or Stripper B. Since I politely turned down the first stripper, I went with Stripper B. Looking back, I should have swung at the first pitch.

"I've only been taking Proazac for three days," she screamed over an AC/DC song.

On the third day of Prozac? That pretty much summed up my visit to the afternoon shift. The stripper was drunk, sedated on happy pills, sloppy, and slurring her speech like Albert Finney at happy hour.

Her name was Dylan.

"Like the singer?" I asked.

"No, like the 90210 character," she said.


"Yes. Oh my God, I'm on the South Beach diet," she blurted out.

She could never stay on the same topic for more than ninety seconds before the conversation had more multiple plot twists than a M. Night Shyamalan flick, except she didn't see dead people.

Dylan was also OCD, ADD, and definitely suicidal. She had model looks with the mental stability of Courtney Love.

"People think I'm really fucked up," she said.

"Why? Did you kill your husband, fake the suicide note, and then squeeze his band members out of millions of dollars in royalties?"


"Nevermind. So where you from?"

"Oklahoma. Oh my God, the last time I went home, I had not been there in seven or eight years, I saw some old friends from high school and you know what they were doing?"

"Cooking up a fresh batch of crank?"

"Almost. They were huffing propane. Driving around in a car, smoking cigarettes, and huffing propane."

"Did you join them?"

"Hell no."

The first fifteen minutes of our encounter were interesting and fascinating. Some strippers reveal very little and ask lots of questions and let you talk. Others will tell you all of their problems. Dylan unloaded on me. As I said, the first few minutes were great as I soaked up her life story and hung on every word. Part of the fun of hanging out with strippers is trying to dig deep and figure out what made them tick. What tragic event in their life led them down the path towards the pole? With Dylan, I didn't get to play the game. She was so drunk that she spilled the beans and then some.

Former gymnast. Majored in English at some college in Denton, TX. Got knocked up at 20 and dropped out of school. Had a botched back-alley abortion and can't have kids. Her step-father murdered her mother and knocked up her half-sister. She was a real life Jerry Springer episode gyrating on my lap and spilling Grey Goose all over my Ecco shoes.

She kept telling me that she was a gymnast. It was like when a former high-school athlete can not stop living in the glory days and they tell you the same old stories about how they hit the winning shot to win the league championship. The drunk stripper had her mind frozen on the happiest time of her life... senior year in high school.

"Since I was such an awesome gymnast, I could do all these cool tricks on the pole," she bragged. "But I like to drink, so I don't do them. Om my God, the last time I tried to get super fancy and show off to my friend Becky, I was so fuckin' wasted that I slipped and fell flat on my face. I chipped a tooth and I got seven stitches in my chin."

She lifted up her chin and let me feel those scars.

"Did you get off on the pain?"

"Yeah. I love the sight of my own blood."

"Do you have a livejournal page?"

"What's that? I'm on Myspace. Oh my God, did you Saturday Night Live this week? I love that show."

I looked over and BadBlood had a tall exotic Nordic woman sat on his lap. To my right was a happy MeanGene. On his lap sat a dominatrix-looking chick who could have been an extra from the freaky S&M inspired party scene at Zion from the last Matrix flick. All she was missing were a few firearms.

"Oh, but she definitely had some guns," mentioned MeanGene.

At the time, he had the top four buttons of his shirt undone. She slipped one hand inside and did some sort of scratching motion. That's when I noticed Stripper A had joined us. She said she was from Italy and looked like Kate Hudson. I did my best to bring her into my conversation. At some point I plotted the switcheroo. I desperately wanted to ditch the drunk and go for the quiet European one. Every time I tried to shift the conversation, the drunk girl interrupted. I kept making eye contact with Stripper A but she didn't get it and left. I had a second chance at her and blew it again. The result? More depressing and soused ramblings from Stripper B... the happy-pill popping, drunk, former gymnast who had a sister with a daughter/sister. Wait a sec, wasn't that the plot from Chinatown?

I asked to go into the VIP room because I thought it would shut her up. Nope. Didn't work. She still kept yammering and would stop in the middle of a dance to yap about something totally annoying. That was a sick bad beat.

"I used to love Xanax," she said. "When I first took it, I would be sleepy and pass out. Then after a while I took so much that all I felt was..."

"You felt normal?"

"Yeah, how did you know? You sound like you have a lot experience with pills. What do you do again?"

"I'm a psychiatrist."

Forty minutes in, she had not asked me my name nor what I did. I was a little bummed out. We already made up cover stories before we went to the Rhino. BadBlood stuck with his usual cover... hot air balloon pilot. My cover? A psychiatrist from San Diego named Geno Papageorgio.

MeanGene was a last minute addition to the team. He had never done the Procedure before. He didn't even know he was going to a strip club. He made an impulsive decision at the last moment. He didn't even have a cover story planned and scrambled to come up with one during the taxi ride to the club. He decided to make it simple and told the truth... that he was a freelance writer who traveled the world. That made all chicks wet.

The VIP room with the drunk stripper was such a letdown. Nothing is more disappointing in life than getting a horrible lap dance. I couldn't wait to leave because she wouldn't stop talking. She kept bombarding me with her life's bad beat stories. It was totally depressing and I almost wanted to put on the new Coldplay album then kill myself.

As we left the VIP room, Dylan had the balls to ask for a tip.

"Why would I tip? You did a shitty job. You are lucky I didn't ask for my money back. I should have ditched you the moment we met, but I felt sorry for you."

For the first time since she latched herself onto me, she was dead silent. Freedom at last.

I left the VIP room and noticed that MeanGene and BadBlood were still inside. Day 2 of the 50K HORSE event was about to start and I needed to get MeanGene back to the Rio. BadBlood eventually finished up and joined me outside. I had to tip the bouncer to boot MeanGene out of the VIP room. The massive looking guy who could have been a linebacker for the Oakland Raiders trudged over to the corner and told MeanGene that it was time to leave.

MeanGene and his girl were holding hands as they left the room.

"Heya Doc, can I'm a little short. Can I borrow a few bucks?"

"Sure thing," I said and turned to his stripper. "How much does he owe you? $40? $60?"

"$300," she said.

What the fuck? Geno, you sex-pot. I turned to him and mouthed, "300?"

MeanGene smirked and shrugged his shoulders as I peeled off three Benjamins and handed it to the latex-ladened stripper.

"Oh and don't forget a tip," she said.

I handed her a $20 bill and she gave MeanGene a kiss on the cheek. She turned around and disappeared into the darkness of the Rhino.

We were nearly blinded by the blazing sun when we left the Rhino. As soon as my vision cleared up, I noticed that MeanGene's hair was messy. He had random scratch marks all over his neck and tons of lipstick smudges all over his cheek.

"At least I got her number," he said as a devious grin illuminated his face.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Happy Birthday....Nicky

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

Well, today is Nicky's birthday. It's 12:37am right now in Vegas as I write this from the press box. We'll both be here until past 3am. Nicky has to work tomorrow so we celebrated the other night.

Anyway, happy birthday, sweetie!

And congrats to Showcase for booking the Bud Light commercial.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

When the Otis Comes to Town

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

Otis arrived yesterday. He'll only be here for 3 weeks instead of seven which means only a half of him will die this summer. Otis is like me in the regard that we both get our asses kicked by working in Las Vegas over the last four summers. It takes us many months to recover and when we're finally back to normal it's time to head back to Vegas.

Anyway, here's here and that lifts my spirits. Several other friends have arrived recently which is always good. I actually have time to hang out.

I went to the doctor yesterday. Sketchy scene. I'll write that up in a Truckin' story some day.

I also drove for the first time since the accident. It was more stressful than I made it out to be. I definitely was driving super slow, like the 85 year old version of myself. All of that will subside soon.

Nicky's birthday is soon. She had yesterday off so we headed out to a nice dinner at Ruth Chris with Schecky and JenLeo. We met a few friends afterwards for drinks. The Gold Coast had $2 Heineken's and afterwards we did some $1 bowling. Fun times, except that I didn't drink since I was designated driver. I don't think I've ever bowled sober.

I caught the Germany/Turkey soccer match. I sipped a pint of Stella and watched the game at McFadden's. Plenty of tech issues with the feed. I had bet on Germany to win it all and I wasn't thrilled with the 1-1 score at halftime. But, the Germans prevailed and advanced to the finals.

I woke up early to write then Schecky and I headed to Blueberry Hill for breakfast. I went to work early and cranked out a couple of crappy columns before I prepped for the big tournament. $50,000 to buy into today's event. That's more than the average American makes in a year and 150+ pros will be putting that into play.

Today in the pres box I'm sitting in between Otis and Maridu. She's a writer/poker player/blogger from Brazil and totally crazy in a good way. Fun times.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Late Night Musings and Baseball & Football Bit

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

2:17am. Still writing. I have a doctor's appointment in the morning. Time to see the pusherman and we'll see how much money he tries to squeeze out of me.

I went almost 24 hours without pharmies. I went through serious withdrawal.

George Carlin died on Sunday in LA. Here's one of my favorite bits of Carlin comparing baseball and football...

Monday, June 23, 2008

Watson 368

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

2:11am. Sunday night evaporated and turned into Monday morning. I'm the only person left in the press box. I'm waiting for Nicky to finish up her assignment so we can go back to Scheckytown. Ever since I wrecked the rental car, she has been my designated driver which I definitely need since I've been hopped on painkillers since Friday evening.

Part of me doesn't want to get a new rental car. I'm a little skiddish to get behind the wheel, which is not out of the ordinary for someone who just got into an accident. I also want to wait a couple of days and let the pain subside. I really don't want to drive while jacked up. I noticed that the pharmies so a weird thing - which is that after the initial onslaught of warm fuzzies, I start to sober up but get hit with mini-waves of fuckedupness. That means I can't predict when I'll get loopy. That's definitely no condition to drive in.

I had been very good about curtailing my drinking this summer mainly because I knew I had to drive 20-25 minutes each way everyday. Over the last three summers, I found myself binge drinking on dinner breaks and get shitfaced as soon as my shift ended. This year has been different. I sort of feel better healthwise by drinking less.

I have been listening to a lot of Neil Young over the last couple of days. There's something about his voice that triggers random emotions inside of me. The rest of the time, I have been listening to My Morning Jacket's performance at Bonnaroo including a couple of James Brown covers.

On Friday, JenLeo, Schecky, Nicky and I ate at OHOP. We've been going a lot and the waitstaff is hit or miss. The good ones rock and the shitty ones are horrible. We got one slow chick on Friday. She forgot Schecky's eggs and that tilted Jen Leo. I had finished my entire short-stack of chocolate chip pancakes before Schecky got his eggs and hasbrowns. I was starving and super baked and had the munchies so I wolfed it down. But, yeah, it sucked that we got the shitty waitress.

We went back on Sunday and got a cool waitress. Nicky said she admired that the young girl was hustling for tips at OHOP instead of working the pole. I didn't think she was good-looking enough to be a stripper but she was friendly and fast. She sort of grumbled when she saw two families sit down at adjacent tables in her section. Either she knew them from previous visits or knew the type of customers that she'd have to serve. I glanced over and figured she'd end up getting stiffed. I gave her an $8 tip on a $30 meal.

On Saturday afternoon, I went to CineVegas the local indie film festival. They had a special one-time showing of a documentary on Hunter S. Thompson called Gonzo. I went with JenLeo, Michalski, and Benjo. The flick was about two hours long and covered the life of Hunter from his first book about the Hell's Angels up to his suicide in 2005. Plenty of great scenes. Too many to mention. It's a must see for sure.

I was super wasted for the flick and popped an extra painkiller before it started in honor of Hunter. The first 90 minutes was awesome until a woman behind us ruined the last half hour. She was wasted and talking loudly and acting like a five year old. JenLeo had to shush her. I would have screamed at her if I wasn't so faded.

I forgot how Vicodin makes me itchy in random places. Like my forearms and stomach.

I fucked around for the first couple of hours on Sunday and watched soccer. I have been betting heavily on the European Championships. I was in the middle of a solid streak until I lost two in a row. Spain's victory over Italy got me unstuck for the weekend. I'll win the most money if Germany wins. I'll win a small amount if Spain wins it all. Obviously, I'm rooting for the Germans.

I have been in Las Vegas for 26 days before I had to use the cash machine. Seriously. I'm shocked that I went that long, but it's because I had been using my NBA and soccer winnings as spending money. Lucky me. I was under budget before the accident. I'm pretty sure I have to fork over $500 for the deductible plus the citation that I go. Yeah, Las Vegas Metro slapped me with a ticket for "following too closely" which totally blows. I have to go to court the day I'm supposed to leave Vegas and go to Denver.

Anyway, it's now 2:25am. Nicky is still working and I'm gonna stop this post and get back to writing about poker.

24 more days until I get my life back.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

Lay-zee? Sounds like Jay-Z's cousin who just got out of the joint.

Even on my days off, I'm always working on something. There's always a site to update, a blog post to write, a freelance article to work on, or something creative to tackle. It's truly hard to unplug.

Someone asked me what were my three keys to success. Here they are...
1. Work hard.
2. Write well.
3. Don't piss people off.
#3 is specifically targeted to those folks who sign your check or will potentially sign your checks in the future. That's the hardest part of any business... playing ball... or playing hardball in some cases. The bottom line is that I got to where I am because of those three traits. You can get away with only doing two out of the three, but if you have just one... you are doomed.

That's why I see a lot of people fail because they just don't get it. I know a slew of people who have marginal talent, but are hard workers and very likable. That's why they are where they are today. Sure, if you work hard and have tons of talent, you might be able to get away with being an asshole.

However, if you are a lazy dick who can't write (or insert any other job function)... then you will obviously not get very far.

I wish I could be lazy. Right now. Give up and quit. Stay here in Scheckytown and smoke up a ton and lounge out by the pool and watch sports all day and fuck around and play poker instead of going to work.

But I'm not like that. I have a job to do. It's an assignment. And my assignment is to cover the WSOP and write up the best possible stories that I can find. That's been my mission statement since Day 1 this year. Some days I exceed my expectations. Most of the time I fall short and on my face.

In writing, it's about what have you done for me lately, and not what you did in the past. It seems like everyday, the pressure is on and I'm trying to top the previous day of work.

Yeah, I could take a day or two off, but I'll wait to all of this is over in mid-July.

For now, it's time to suck it up... lather myself in BenGay, pop a few painkillers, and head down to the Rio for work.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

In Case You Don't Read Tao of Poker...

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

I really tried to step it up a notch the last week on Tao of Poker. It was probably one of the best overall weeks of writing that I have accomplished in a very long time.

The Junkie post was tons of fun to write.

Here's a sample...

Day 18: Never Trust a Junkie... Action. The rush. The buzz. The sustained high. Doesn't matter the medium. Craps. Poker. Slots. Blackjack. Baccarat. Dog races. NBA games. Video poker. It's the anticipation of the outcome that gets everyone fired up. The moment of truth when life sizzles through your bloodstream and you're jacked up on so much adrenaline it takes you days and weeks and months to come down from the cosmos. The anticipation... the crest of the gambler's high... where nothing else matters as the entire world pauses during that millisecond before your fate is determined.

Day 19: Looking Through a Glass Onion... My inner action junkie is the size of Gary Coleman and wrapped up deep and deep inside buried behind so many layers of complicated phobias, addictions, and other unresolved mental health issues. It takes years and decades to peel off all of the excess layers before we get to the source. But if our souls were glass onions and you could peek through all the layers, we'd see the true essence of existence... and that's to constantly challenge and prove to yourself that you're truly alive. And gambling is one of those opportunities when ordinary activities take on a role of vital significance by simply wagering on the outcome.

Day 20: Scandi Ghosts, Degenadario, and the Tao of Deutschland
... I first met Dario Minieri at the 2006 WSOP, when I covered the Main Event for PokerStars. I recall saying something to Otis that some kid (who looks like he's 15, doesn't even shave, and may or may not be a girl) had a shitload of chips. Cardplayer had the official media coverage that year and listed him as Dario Roma. Almost, but not quite. He was Dario Minieri and hailed from Rome, Italy. I asked him his name and he said in a very dramatic and flamboyant voice, "I am Dario! Me English not so good."

Day 21: Donkeys, Pigeons, Possums, and Kangaroos... She could have 'big timed' it and blew off security by entering through the back door like Jen Tilly, Howard Lederer, and Phil Ivey have done many times before. Not for Kathy. She wanted to be treated like any of two thousand other players in the event. She also brown bagged her lunch instead of paying for overpriced kangaroo meat that they pass off as food in the Poker Kitchen. When you lather it in hot sauce and dip it in Ranch dressing it tastes just like chicken.

Day 22: Layne Flack Six Pack and the Luckiest Man... Anyone can get up on a soapbox and judge get on someone for being a drunk or a druggie. Unless you've been there you really don't know how much easier it is to give in to temptation than to make a stand and wrestle with those intoxicating demons. Everyone has a weakness. Puggy Pearson told Flipchip that "Every man has a leak." And if you are a vulnerable person living in a city like Las Vegas, it's only a matter of time before you self-destruct. Implode. Lose your mud. Dive into the abyss.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Lucky Me

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

I am the luckiest guy in Las Vegas today.

At 3:02pm, I got into an accident on Rainbow and DI when a fire truck sped through intersection. I'm OK and walked away from the accident and refused medical attention.

I'm a tad sore, but feeling super lucky that I walked away from the wreck without a scratch on me. I'm definitely the luckiest guy in Vegas today, by far.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Things I Loathe in Las Vegas

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

People make or break a situation. I always said that the worst of jobs could be tolerable as long as you had people with you who were entertaining and had a sense of humor. You can be in the most beautiful place in the world, yet it takes just one douchebag to ruin it for you. On the contrary, you can be in a shitty situation, but one person can definitely make the difference.

People. For me it's about the people around you who will determine the vibe of your situation. That's why it is always important to be around with positive emotions, positive energy, and positive intentions. Someone like me feeds off a situation. If everything around me is dark and miserable, I usually sink deep and things get ugly. That's why I always lose my shit in Las Vegas. It's a very ugly place and it transforms even the most sane and well adjusted person into a psychopath. You can only imagine what it does to people who are already fucked in the head.

I have been doing my best to avoid negative things and situations. That includes people. However, sometimes they are unavoidable, especially at a massive event like the World Series of Poker.

Here are a few character profiles of the people I have to deal with on a daily basis...

The Wanna-be Poker Pro: This guy is one of the most annoying in the room. Sure, you have to be confident to succeed in poker, but bragging about your exploits makes me cringe. I don't give a rats ass about who you crushed or how much you won. Showing me your wad won't impress me. What I do care about is how you sound like a fifteen-year old girl when you run into a little bad luck or won't take responsibility for your own actions. Yeah pal, even the top tiered players in the world make mistakes but for some reason, you think that you never make one and the everyone else in poker is inferior to your astute ability. You'll never make it in Las Vegas and especially in poker. I see dozens of douchebags like you who move to Las Vegas every week chasing the dream. They end up humping a shitty casino job because they are too embarrassed to go back home and do some honest work. So please leave me alone and let me do my job. And no, I won't give you any extra special coverage because the last thing I want to do is fluff up another asshole in poker. Just another vulture who wants to exploit me.

The Lazy Worker: There are a bunch of these running around the Rio. The faux journalists don't do any research and they leech off of the hard work of others. They are here to party first and work second. They stay up late, come in hung over, and then steal my shit or stuff my friends wrote. Hey, guess what? I party my ass off and sacrifice sleep to get my work done. That's what professionals do. Yeah, the scensters drive me nuts and are only here for superficial reasons.

One of them blatantly stole from Nicky a couple of weeks ago. Sometimes I feel sorry for the talentless hacks who have zero talent and have to shoot angles just to get paid. They are only in poker because they can't get jobs anywhere else. I should know, because I'm definitely one of those! But then again, I fuck with these retards too, sort of my way of seeking out revenge on the lazy oafs. They constantly ask me for info and then publish what I say (almost verbatim) and I don't get any source credit. Or they simply lift shit I write on Tao of Poker and try to pass it off as their own work. So when they ask me for info on a specific tournament or a bit of gossip, I give them false information. One person called me out on it the other day and I laughed. I told them if they did just three seconds of research themselves they would have known that my info was wrong. Next time give me attribution, punk. Just another vulture who wants to exploit me.

The Trasher: This guy loves to go around and trash the stellar work from my colleagues. He's really jealous and a hack and needs to put down others in order to feel better about himself because he knows he's a fraud. The same guy badmouths me behind my back. You don't think my friends tell me you said the things you said? Be a man and tell it to my face next time. Fuckin' tool. This is the same idiot who rips my friends and then asks for pimpage on the Tao. Just another vulture who wants to exploit me.

The Attention Whore: Did your mommy and daddy not hug you enough? Or we're you their little princess who got too much attention and needs validation every five seconds of the day? I'm sorry, but the pressbox is not a place for you and your friends to hang out and decide which poker pro is cuter, Erick Lindgren or Patrik Antonius. Please leave immediately. Some of us have real work to do.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

This morning was set aside to recharge. I woke up, wrote, then went for a hike in Red Rock Canyon. I touched the rocks and let go of some lesser important issues while I tackled more import ones. It was essential for me to be by myself and let my mind wander and race and reboot.

I love rolling down the windows, cranking a Dead bootleg, firing up a fatty up and just driving and soaking p the scenery. The landscape soothes me.

And I needed some soothing. Overall, the first 20 days have gone better than expected. It was only over the last 48 hours where I began to have some issues. Of course at the time, they were major in my eyes. Luckily I had some close friends who gave me sound advice and talked me off a few ledges. I'm not want to jump off a ledge, moreso stand up there and chuck sharp instruments at the knuckleheads and douchebags below.

And yes, nothing is worse that douchebag tilt. The mountains and the music and the reminder why I'm here all jolted me back. I'm refreshed, feeling chipper, and have clean clothes.

I'm waiting for the last ten minutes of the dryer to finish up and I will have clean underwear for the first time since my arrival three weeks ago. Clean clothes always put me in a positive mood. And in Las Vegas, if you are having a bad day, the demons attack your sense and you're pulled into a pit and pummeled by all the negativity surrounding Sin City.

Plus, if I'm in a good mood, everyone around me feeds off of that energy especially Nicky. She's had a few tough days so far at work, but part of the reason she's been in a good head space is because I'm fine and not flipping out or freaking out which I usually down every two weeks like clock work during the WSOP.

I'm due for a major freakout. I average three every WSOP. I have had zero so far. Although I hope that the minor flare up over the last two days might have been the big one. If so, then I have some smooth sailing ahead of me.

I feel as though I have a slight edge over everyone who has been in Las Vegas for three weeks. Many of them had the benefit of a day off or two. Even though I worked every day, my energy levels are as high as they have ever been over the last four years. The intensity level in my various writing (online and off line) reflect that. The editors of one magazine were impressed with what I have been churning out for them, while I have been approached by a potential new client after they read clips from various outlets. Now, if I can only et them to pay me in Euros....

I have four weeks left in Las Vegas. Time to step it up another notch.

I filled up my tank for $43. Gas was $4.17 at one place down the road. Most of the places I drive by everyday were around $4.21 and up to $4.38. I can get by on one fill up per week. If gas prices stay under $5 before July 4th, I'll go under budget for sure. When I figured out my potential WSOP expenses, I factored in gas at $5/gallon.

Anyway, dryer is almost done. Time to go and fetch clean clothes.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Phish in Japan Flashbacks

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

Poster in Tokyo subways

Over the past week, I wrote a series on Coventry where I recanted my adventures on Phish's tour through Japan in June of 2000. If you dig travel stories, you'll like it. This was one of the projects I worked on before I moved to Vegas. Tons of fun. Made me really miss Phish and my time in Japan.
6/16/2000 Osaka, Japan
6/15/2000 Osaka, Japan
6/14/2000 Fukuoka, Japan
6/13/2000 Nagoya, Japan
6/11/2000 Tokyo, Japan
6/10/2000 Tokyo, Japan
6/9/2000 Tokyo, Japan
New FSL Banners and So Long, Willie

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

Blinders sent me a couple of the new banners for Fantasy Sports Live.

Here's one...

If you want to sign up for an account, please use bonus code: Pauly.

* * * * *

By now you have read the news... Willie Randolph was fired at 12:15am PDT or at 3:15am NYC time.

Growing up my two favorite Yankees were Craig Nettles and Willie Randolph. I was super happy when Joe Torre added Willie to his staff during the Yanks run in the late 1990s. I was sort of hoping he would take the helm once Torre left. Alas, Willie was offered the Mets job and took it, while Torre told Steinberenner to fuck off and flew the coup for Hollyweird. The Yankees job went to Joe Giradi, who I'm still not too keen on. Maybe Joe will get the ax on a West Coast road trip and Willie will become the next Yankees manager?

Check out Buster Olney's piece Randolph victim of Mets' circus where he took Mets management behind the shed. Well deserved.

FYI... I have one MLB parlay today... the Yankees, White Sox, and Diamondbacks.

I also bet on Italy to beat France and Holland over Romania.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Tilting on a Monday Afternoon

By Pauly
Las Vegas. NV

I woke up early and read the draft of an article I had been working on. I started it on Friday and shelved it all weekend. I started it up again last night and hated that version. When I woke up, I opened up a blank word doc and started from scratch. 15 minutes later I had the version that I submitted. My best work flows right out of me. It's when I have to dig deep and force the words to come out that it ends up mush. Although it wasn't the best material I spewed out this summer, the 15-minute draft was substantially better than the original draft.

I watched the 18-hole playoff between Tiger and Rocco Mediate.Someone bet me before the event began that Tiger would win. I had the entire field and gave him Tiger at 3-1. I'm not shocked that Tiger won with a bum knee after all, he's Tiiger Woods, the Phil Ivey of golf.

I drove to work and when I got there, I was already on tilt when I discovered that I could not find my power cord and adapter to my laptop. What the fuck? I freaked out and sped home... which is about 25 minutes at that time of day. JenLeo was around keeping an eye on the cleaning ladies who arrived to work on the house. I searched my desk and could not find anything. I'm sure it will turn up in the freezer or something like that.

I drove back to the Rio for the second time. More traffic. Retarded drivers. I wasted two hours and had not written anything. I decided to head to an electronic store and buy a universal adapter. When I parked, I spotted two Las Vegas metro squad cars with flashing lights in front of the store. They were handcuffing two perps and tossing in the back of their car. Shoplifting? Bad checks? Stolen credit cards? Could be all three in Las Vegas.

I found what I needed except that when I tried it out on my laptop... it didn't work. Fuck me. More tilt. Lucky for me Nicky had a similar laptop and loaned me her plug. Schecky also said he has an extra back at Scheckytown. I ordered a new one, and with my luck, I'll find my old one in the most random place.

Fortunate for me, a couple of friends who read my blog saw that I was having issues and offered to help.

Anyway, back to the grind. I had a lengthy delay, and some serious tech headaches, and I'm finally ready to write.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Bare Friday and STP Saturday

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

After two plus weeks of work, I had my first slacker day at the WSOP. I sort of timed this out. I knew that Michalski was throwing a Thrillist party at Bare on Friday and that Schecky hooked me and Nicky up with tickets to Stone Temple Pilots on Saturday. It would be a welcomed festive weekend to end a brutal two-week cycle.

I still managed to put 12+ hours in at the Rio on Friday and Saturday combined. Of course that doesn't include time at home where I wrote.

The Bare party was above average. I was one of the first to arrive and as soon as I walked in, a trio of smoking hot model-types were lined up with trays. The party was sponsored by Skyy Vodka and Dos Equis, which meant that the model-types handed out beers and vidka cocktails. The event was also sponsored by Showtime. They handed out these miniature wrapped brownies with a "Weeds" logo on front. I carefully inspected them and popped two. To my utter disappointment, they were not pot brownies. Booooo!

They aired a preview of the first episode of the new season of Weeds. That was cool. I caught about half of it before a couple of friends (Jen & Aaron) arrived. I drank a bit more and then left just at the moment the party was hitting its peak. I'm good like that.

On Saturday, my lazy day started off playing online poker by the pool. I didn't do so hot. I headed to work for a couple of hours. FTrain went deep in the Razz event and I was sweating him for most of my time at work.

At 6pm, I met up with a bunch of folks for dinner; Schecky, Joe, Amanda, Kristy, and Nicky. We ate Mexican food at the Palms. We played credit card roulette. Kristy lost and she had to pay the tab.

"That God it's only Mexican food" she joked. "I usually lose for the big meals like Nobu."

Schecky used to manage Stone Temple Pilots in the 1990s so he had the hook up with tickets and a VIP pass. It was good enough to get backstage.

I kinda drank heavily and knocked back a bunch of Peronis. The show was better than average. Schecky saw them on Thursday night and mentioned that the crowd was really into the show that night and that according to the guys in the band... the felt that it was the best show of this tour.

The highlights were the ten minutes where they played Plush and Interstate Love Song back-to-back. Yeah, those were their two most-popular tunes and had the entire crowd at Pearl rocking.

The crowd was made up of folks my age and older. I guess we were all teenagers or in college when STP hit the scene in the early 1990s. The tickets in our section were priced at $80. I didn't have to pay a cent (thanks to Schecky) but man, that's a lot of dough for a band that's led by a wastoid.

Scott Weiland looked like a freak and acted like he was a golden god.

"He's in his Jim Morrison phase," explained Schecky.

He was wasted on something and would mutter random shit in between songs. They did an interesting medley of two Beatles songs when Scott started rambling on stuff about the Beatles and Led Zeppelin. The band started playing Ticket to Ride > Day Tripper before they stopped and jammed out a song about Courtney Love.

Weiland's voice is not as strong as it once was and the sound was mixed to drown that out at times. He's still a rock star with amazing stage presence. I would have loved to have seen them in 1994.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Two Weeks Down, Five to Go

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

Today is Day 15 of the WSOP. I worked for two-weeks straight logging on average 12 hours at the Rio Casino and another 5 writing at Sceckytown. 17 hour days are a blessing compared to the 20+ hour days last year.

I'm in very good spirits, but the real test will be at the end of the month. I usually go crazy about three weeks in and have another major freakout five weeks in. Stay tuned for any glimpses into my insanity.

However, having artistic freedom and the ability to make my own schedule has done wonders for my writing. Since I'm in a good head space creatively, the good vibes spill over into the rest of my life. Already two weeks in, I feel as though the overall quality of my work is far superior than the last three years. The scary thing is that I'm really at 40-45%. I'm pacing myself.

I have been able to take the time to have a normal meal with Nicky several times a week. Last year we'd have to rush our meals and woof everything down since we were always pressed for time. I have also been able to take three different trips out to Red Rock Canyon. The scenery is soothing and inspiring. I always seem to write better after a visit.

Anyway, I have been doing two different things everyday on Tao of Poker. I start the day with a Live Blog which is hourly updates of the ongoing events at the WSOP. At the end of the night, I go home and write up an end of day recap where I use the live blog as notes to reflect upon the happenings of the day. Those are my favorite pieces to write and I actually have an unlimited time to write those, unlike last year where I had a window of four of five hours to complete deadlines, write recaps for Tao of Poker, get some sleep, and eat before I returned to the grind the next day.

Here are my recaps from the first two weeks of the World Series of Poker:
Day 1: Welcome Back to the Zoo

Day 2: 4,000 Donkeys to the Rescue?

Day 3: Medic Cockblocks Bloch and Full Tilt Antonius

Day 4: Vultures and the First Mistake

Day 5: Stakes and Shakes

Day 6: Melting Eskimo's Igloo and Erick Lindgren Wins First Bracelet

Day 7: Introducing... Tao of Pokerati, Tao of Five, and Billy Shears

Day 8: Trio of Final Tables, Vinnie Vinh Returns, and the Ghost of Brandi Hawbaker

Day 9: The Rise of Vinnie Vinh and the First 2008 Ten Bracelet Winners

Day 10: The Archie Karas Comeback and Vinny Vinh's Final Table

Day 11: GLOW

Day 12: A Day in the Life of Phil Ivey

Day 13: Unlucky 13 and Mike Matusow Wins Bracelet

Day 14: Daniel Negreanu Wins 4th Bracelet, Phil Ivey Loses 200K Prop Bet, and Vanessa Selbst Beats Aussie Strip Club Owner for PLO Bracelet
That's it for now. Time to get back to work.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Losing Top Chef

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

I had a bet with Mean Gene over the final of Top Chef. He's totally in love with Stephanie so he picked her I went with Richard. He's a true artist and a food visionary. I probably wouldn't eat 90% of what he cooked, but I can appreciate his methods, his style, and his panache. But... that bacon flavored ice cream is something I'd loooooove to try.

So my guy lost. He admitted that he choked on the final episode. MeanGene's girl won and it was a historic moment because a chick never won Top Chef before. The first three were all guys.

I forgot about Kilroy's. It's a burger joint a few blocks from Scheckytown. Friedman first took me there when he lived in the area a couple of summers ago. They are known for their burgers and rightly so. I wrote an article for Las Vegas Vegas a little time back called Top 5 Burgers in Las Vegas. Kilroy's made the list.

Nicky and I both went with the Chipolte Bacon Cheeseburger. Yummo. Kilroy's is a total dive and they give you a min-pitcher of your beverage so they don't have to hustle giving you refills. Smart move. Due to the tomatoes birdflu/ebola scare, the burgers were sans tomatoes.

Yesterday was a new record on Tao of Poker... most visitors in 2008 and most trafficked day since the 2006 Main Event. My posted titled A Day in the Life of Phil Ivey was generously linked up on two major Wall Street blogs... and Wall Street Fighter. Sweet score.

I forgot that I'm going to see Stone Temple Pilots on Saturday. They are playing a two-night show at the Pearl. I have never seen them perform live before. I wonder what they'll be like? Hear lots of rumors that the band ain't doing so hot. Wonder of Scott Wieland will have a meltdown on stage during the middle of Plush?

I'm 6-1 betting on soccer and have yet to play a hand of live poker. The Lakers game is on tonight. I'm tempted to bet them, but I think they'll win but not cover. It's gonna be close.

I finished two deadlines for the week. With Truckin' out of the way, I have a couple of weeks of breathing room... until the start of July when it's crunch time. That's when we'll really see if I can handle the pressure. So far so good...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Unlucky 13?

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

Today is Day 13 of the World Series of Poker. I've been at the Rio for the thirteenth straight day. My longest stint was close to 18 hours and the shortest was a shade under six hours. But even on the short days, I'm spending several hours at home writing.

The pool at Scheckytown broke. Sort of. The pump went out of whack. The pool guy stopped by yesterday to fix that and a few other minor issues. We now have the waterfall back. That's a very soothing sound to hear in the background when I'm writing late at nights.

The weather has been weird. In previous years, Las Vegas is hot and it gets hotter. During my first summer in Las Vegas, a record was set for most 110+ temperature days in a row and a record for most 100+ days in a row.

So far in 2008, we've had rain a couple of times and plenty of crazy wind storms. There were actually a few chilly days (under 85 degrees). Hey, I'm not complaining. I like it that way. Nothing is worse than having to climb into your car first thing in the morning after it's been roasting in the scorching Nevada sun for several hours. You can't leave anything in the car or it will cook. That includes pens, bottles of water, iPods, and definitely bags of herb.

Last night for dinner, I went to Red Rock Casino with Nicky. We ate at the Grand Cafe. I got an appetizer and dessert; chocolate mousse and a side order onion rings. It was a weird combo.

Nicky got a quesadilla... and they served it without salsa. When she asked for some, the waitress told her that they were not serving anything with tomatoes. Supposedly there's a Salmonella outbreak in 17 states due to bad tomatoes, so all of the casinos in Vegas freaked out and pulled them from their eateries... even though they primarily use California grown tomatoes which was not on the watch list.

I stayed up late finishing off a magazine article. When I was done, I played online poker. Out of 1148 players, I finished in the top 50 which got me a seat to a tournament on Saturday which will be giving away three seats the WSOP main event. Of course, I got lucky but played well. I dunno if I can continue that on Saturday. Time will tell.

I have not played a live hand of poker since the WSOP began. I played online a couple of times, but I really don't have a desire to gamble. My only jones has been sports betting. I'm 5-1 betting on the European Championships. Portugal won today. Weeeee.

Nick has her fourth day off so far at the WSOP. She had one all of last year. We're both better rested than last year. Hard to imagine that we were slaving away for those insane hours.

I bumped into a guy who is an avid reader of Tao of Poker. We regularly play online poker together. He has won Saturdays with Dr. Pauly a couple of months ago. We met for the first time in person yesterday. I had no idea, but he was an actor from Hollyweird named Tom McGowan. He's most known for playing the station manager on Fraser. Good guy. Too bad he didn't go deep in yesterday's tournament.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tuesday Quickies

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

I sort of tweaked my back yesterday. Nothing too serious. I fell out of my chair at home. I read something on the intertubes, laughed so hard, and slipped.

Last year by the time, I thought I had The Gout. Turned out that it was just The Otis Rash instead. Thus far? No sightings of the rash.

Nicky and I ate at OHOP twice in the last three days. The first waitress we got on Saturday had her shit together. She was jacked up on happy pills and speed and tons of coffee. Yesterday, our waitress was slow as shit. I had to get my own set up from the table near by. It took several minutes for her to take our order while people seated after us in different sections, got their orders and food up before us. I usually tip well... 20-25%. So I tipped her 14.5%.

American Express offered me a Plum Card. If I pay my bill within 10 days, I get a 2% discount. Hmmmmmmmmmmm.....

I discovered that I write better at home (late nights by the pool, early morning at the desk) than in the press box at the Rio Casino. Too many distractions. Even if I put on headphones, I get a tap on my shoulder every five minutes with someone needing something...

Last night, Michalski and I taped our latest segment of Tao of Pokerati at the Hooker Bar.

I have not played a single hand of live poker since the WSOP began.

I am 4-0 betting on soccer... in the European Championships. I have Germany going all the way. Their odds keep dropping but I locked them in at 3-1.

I might bet the Lakers in Game 3... depending on the spread. At -9, that's tough. Anything higher and I gotta take the Celtics.

Nicky has been busting her ass. Poor girl got some of her work poached. Another media rep who is a total hack and shitty writer cut and paste Nicky's work and passed it off as their own. Ouch. Happens to me all the time, but it definitely put her in a dour mood. I totally lost respect for the cut&paster.

Tao of Poker almost got linked up on Fark yesterday. Man, I was mentioned in their comments section - yet that still sent a slew of traffic my way. Today, my big link is from a Danish poker forum. The Danes have been stopping by the Tao in waves today.

I started a new series on Coventry where I recap Phish's tour in Japan in 2000.

The Joker returned from Wakrusa festival where he shot this NSFW video...

Man, I love hippie chicks.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Tao of Pokerati Podcast

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

One of the new features I'm doing this year is a half-baked podcast with Michalski called the Tao of Pokerati, where two of your favorite bloggers give you a snazzy WSOP update in about three minutes.

We have two new installments... Episode 3: Milwaukee’s Best Vinny and Episode 4: Late-Night Piladies.

To listen to more of our hijinks, here's the Tao of Pokerati archives...
Episode 1: Game On!
Episode 2: Dirty Sklanchez
Episode 2.5: Poker Couture (with special guest Benjo)
Episode 3: Milwaukee’s Best Vinny
Episode 4: Late-Night Piladies
FYI... You can right-click and Save As to download the MP3s to your hard drive.

I'm digging the three-minute segments. It's perfect for everyone who has Adult ADD and everyone else with short attention spans. We'd like to make them longer, but we really don't have the time to devote more than a couple of minutes every day. Shit, Michalski is only at the Rio for a few hours a day and he often disappears for several days at a time.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Ivey Likes the Lakers and So Do I

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

On Sunday morning, I met Benjo at Red Rock and we went on a hike in Red Rock Canyon. I took him down to the actual Red Rocks. I like touching the rocks because I always write better afterwards. When I got home, I discovered that the house was empty. I stayed at home to write in peace and quiet. I cranked out a few thousand words in a couple of hours and eventually made my way to the Rio.

Ten days into work and I finally realized that I write better at home. There are too many distractions at the Rio. Too many people I know. Too many people interrupting the flow of me writing. Too many people needing attention. I prefer late nights after 2am because the press box thins down and I can get work done.

I decided that it's useless for me to come in before 2pm. The place is too crowded at noon for the start of those events. Over the next week, I'm going to write more at home in the mornings - which means trying to go to sleep before 6am.

Anyway, I went to Red Rock twice this week. It's an amazing place which I never get bored of. I bought a yearly season pass for $20. Park fees usually cost $5 so if I go four times it is already worth it.

At one point, there were five cars for the five people living in Scheckytown. We can't park in the garage or in the driveway since we're always coming and going at odd hours. We have to park at the end of the cul de sac which is like 20 feet from the house. No big deal. Well, I left this morning before a cop came through and ticketed everyone's car. Nicky was wicked pissed that she had to pay $75 for her parking fine.

I watched the Yankees a couple of times this week. I love Giambi's stash. He's hit some big homeruns over the last few days. The Yanks still suck and are barely above .500.

Phil Ivey is regarded as one of the best poker players of all time. They call him the Tiger Woods of Poker because he looks like Tiger Woods and he dominates the game. He's a huge gambler... sports betting, baccarat, craps, prop bets, and prop bets on golf. Ivey has a $2 million bet that the the Lakers will win the NBA Championship. Holly shit... and I thought a couple of hundred to bet on a game was a lot.

I bet the Lakers for game 2. They game is about to start...

I also bet Germany to win the European Championships (soccer). I also bet a few opening round games. I won my first bet when Portugal won.

Nicky had Saturday off so we got to have breakfast together. Before she fell asleep the night before, the last thing she said was "pancakes." So when we both woke up, we had a sudden urge to eat pancakes! We headed to the Original House of Pancakes (OHOP) where I crushed a half-stack of chocolate chip pancakes, a plate of crispy bacon, and an order of German hash browns with melted cheddar cheese. Oh and I drank enough Iced Tea that I was pissing all day long.

Falstaff bought us dinner on Saturday night. Nicky and I went with Falstaff and CK to Ferraro's, which is one of my favorite Italian joints in Las Vegas. I went with the gnocchi, which was made from scratch. It melted in my mouth.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Random Red Rock Photos

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

Friedman and I went for a drive to Red Rock Canyon on Wednesday morning before I went to work. I took a few pics. Here's a sample. You can click on each photo to see a detailed and enlarged view.

You can always view more Red Rock photos. I have a gallery of 41 different photos from Red Rock.

Friday, June 06, 2008


By Pauly
Las Vegas. NV

I slept for over six hours last night.

I know. I know. That happens only once a month if I'm lucky. After a 100+ work week of work in Las Vegas, I was pretty damn tired. I also popped a Xannie which helped keep me asleep. I could have slept more. Nicky woke me up which never happens. She said that it was 1:20pm. I thought she was lying. I would have bought 11:20, but man, I was shocked when I checked my phone and it indeed said it was 1:20pm.

I can only do that once every two weeks, maybe once every ten days. I'm afraid that I'll become too reliant upon Xannies to sleep and then I'll have to pop a fistful just to take a nap.

I wish I could get six hours of sleep every night. I ave been getting about three or so this past week, which is definitely more than last year. However, my commute is an extra 40+ minutes per day so a portion of my extra sleep gets wasted in the commute.

My eating habits are awful. I eat at odd times. Sometimes my first meal doesn't come until later afternoon. I'm eating dinner at 10pm even as late as Midnight. I ate crappy Pizza Hut pan pizzas three times. They cost $6.50 and aren't as filling as a regular NYC slice. The way things work - food is consumed when I can and I'll eat what is available. The lettuce in some of the salads look bunk and it's hard enough for me eat healthy looking greens let along yellow versions.

I have been crashing around 6am. That's been my cutoff. I always try to crash before then (with last night as the only exception). There were a couple of day when I crashed early but I was up by 6am. Regardless, I'm usually the only one roaming around Scheckytown at that hour.

I finally watched the recent episode of Top Chef. They went down to Puerto Rico. I have been to San Juan in almost fifteen years. Wow, so Richard cooked up ribs with malt liquor and dazzled the judges. I'm a little bummed that Antonia lost to the dyke... who Mean Gene described as a cockroach who won't die. It's down to the final three and I'm still hooked on the show.

Anyway, I have been writing a ton of content on Tao of Poker, in addition to LasVegasVegas and a couple of articles at Poker News.

You can always follow me on Twitter.

Nicky has been posting about her Las Vegas experiences over at Pot Committed.

Stay tuned for links to a new project called Tao of Pokerati....

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Truckin' - June 2008, Vol. 7, Issue 6

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

I just published the birthday issue of Truckin! Yes, Truckin' turned six today!

1. Ikeaphobia by Paul McGuire
I kept imagining Swedish people in Sweden coming home from their Swedish jobs and sitting down on their Swedish couches and eating Swedish meals cooked in Swedish pans and served on Swedish plates... More

2. The Crucification of Kaminsky by Betty Underground
The diet pills made her skinny. Made her feel excepted in the land of the beautiful. The speed getting her through the days. Coke came at night, when she needed to escape her own mind. Her past... More

3. One Night Out, Part I by Sigge S. Amdal
I noticed that I wasn't alone in the alley, and I looked up quick enough to see a prostitute coughing up a recognizable white substance. She looked up and for a brief time our eyes met. Only one window apart earlier, but out here we were both equally being sick. It was a strange moment of solidarity... More

4. The Reason Why... by May B. Yesno
The place had a less than classy name, The Roamin Gardens, to say little of the fact the only garden about it were two fake, potted palm trees at the front door. A typical sleazy pick-up joint. One in which you feel like everything you touch you can pick-up most anything... More

5. Drafting Richard Petty by Drizz
Imagine starting every day with these heavy chains pinning you to Davy Jones' Locker, and having zero motivation to try to swim to the surface because those depths didn't provide any sunlight to reach... More

6. FLASHBACK - Fukuoka, Phishy City by Tenzin McGrupp
The workers are tiny Japanese girls who wear the most adorable white and red uniforms and lovely white gloves cover their tiny hands. They greet you with big smiles and sing a nice happy song to you as the customers pay... More
Tell your friends about your favorite stories. The writer's write for free and appreciate the support. Thanks again for wasting your time with Truckin'.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Bebjo Bablefish - Vol. 2

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

As I said before, my French is awful. I rely upon Babelfish to translate long documents for me.

Benjo wrote something about me yesterday...
Pauly m’a demandé si je voulais venir avec lui au strip-club…. A trois heures de l’après-midi ! J’ai poliment décliné son invitation, le laissant seul aller inspecter la rotation de l’après-midi au fameux Spearmint Rhino, qui apparemment serait de meilleure facture que dans les autres établissements moins prestigieux de Vegas. A son retour, il n’avais pas l’air convaincu de la véracité de cette information.

And here's the translation...
Pauly asked to me whether I wanted to come with him to the strip-club…. At three o'clock in the afternoon! I politely declined his invitation, letting it only outward journey inspect the rotation of the afternoon in famous Spearmint Rhino, which apparently would be of better invoice that in the other less prestigious establishments of Vegas. On its return, it did not have the air convinced of the veracity of this information.

And yes, I checked out the afternoon shift at the Rhino. Such a let down!

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

Once a week, American Express emails me a statement. You have to pay this card in full every month. My recent bill said that I owed $3,856.49. I run up all those charges in one month.


Tuesday, June 03, 2008

In Swing...

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

By the fourth day of the WSOP, a routine has been established. I wake up much more refreshed than in previous years and I really can't wait to get to work. I have been focusing on people this year and spending time with new folks and old folks that I only get to see at the WSOP. The tournaments have become secondary to the people who are around these events.

I have been driving my rental car to the Rio. My best time is a shade over 15 minutes at 4am one night. During the day it takes anywhere from 20-30 minutes. I only had one tough day of traffic. I really thought that it was going to be worse.

I have a regular seat in the press box. I usually sit near Michalski. Late nights, Flipchip sits next to me which is cool because we haven't been able to sit side-bu-side for a very long time.

Most of the media is broken up into three areas; the media room, the press box, and on the floor. Nicky primarily works on the tournament floor usually at a table in a corner near the action. The press box looks out onto the tournament floor and I love that aspect. And then there's the media room which has three TVs and several other folks are in there like Owen and Spaceman.

Speaking of Spaceman, Derek wanted to see a pic of the mountain man. Here it is...


Jim James

I told ya, he's a dead ringer for Jim James of My Morning Jacket.

Anyway, my buddy Benjo is here and covering all the French players. He wrote some nice things about my poker blog on his site. My French is awful so I have to rely on babelfish to translate his work.

Benjo wrote this recently...
L’adresse incontournable de cet été pour suivre les WSOP sous toutes les coutures, ce sera bien sur (en plus de WickedChops) le génial Tao of Poker de mon estimé collègue, mentor et ami Pauly. Le globe-trotter New Yorkais, avec qui j’ai passé une bonne partie de la saison à bosser et prendre du bon temps d’Amsterdam à Los Angeles, a pris l’excellente décision de bosser pour lui-même en priorité lors de cette édition 2008, pour couvrir chaque journée sur son blog. A mon goût, Pauly avait été sous-utilisé par PokerNews en 2007, employé pour remplir des descriptions de mains sans saveur à longueur de tournoi. Heureusement pour nous tous, cette année, Pauly n’écrira qu’une chronique hebdomadaire pour le média exclusif des WSOP, et se concentrera sur le Tao, où il délivrera des mises à jour heure par heure, puis un post récapitulatif en fin de journée. Un peu comme ce que je vais faire sur Winamax et sur ce présent blog. Toute la journée, des infos en continu sur nos français, et le soir, mes impressions et opinions sur le grand cirque. Ca me semble être un bon plan. Et j’ai quelques autres projets et surprises en stock.
... and when we use Bablefish his post translates into this...
The address impossible to circumvent of this summer to follow the WSOP under all the seams, it will be of course (in addition to WickedChops) brilliant the Tao off Poker of my estimated colleague, mentor and friendly Pauly. The globe trotter New Yorker, with which I passed a good part of the season to work and take good time from Amsterdam to Los Angeles, made the excellent decision to work for itself in priority at the time of this edition 2008, to cover each day on his blog. With my taste, Pauly had been under-utilized in 2007, employed to fill of descriptions of hands without savour to length of tournament. Fortunately for us all, this year, Pauly will write only one weekly chronicle for the exclusive media of the WSOP, and will concentrate on the Tao, where it will deliver.
I went to Fatburger with Benjo. He had never been to that chain. I prefer In & Out to Fat Burger but it's still way better than the other fast food Buger chains.

I met Michalksi's aunt and uncle. Apparently, his Uncle Ray is a fan of Tao of Poker.

On Tuesday morning, I woke up and hung out with my roommates. Nicky didn't have to work, so four of us were chilling out while Kristy told us a few hilarious stories about life as a professional gambler. She was going to play in the noon tournament but opted to sit out at the pool instead. It was a perfect pool day and I really wanted to hang out instead of going to work. I compromised... and went to a stripclub in the afternoon before I headed to work. Nicky was totally cool with that. She had the day off and went to get her nails done with Jen Leo.

My buddy Brandon Schaefer is going deep in one tournament. He made the final two tables and is trying to advance to his first ever WSOP final table. He made two final tables on the European Poker Tour including a first and second place finish.

I'm watching Joba Chamberlin's first outing as a starting pitcher. Of course, the Blue Jays whooped the Yankees. It's 9-2 right now and I have to turn it off.

Monday, June 02, 2008


By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

I have logged 42 hours inside the Rio Casino since Friday morning. That also doesn't include at least two hours of writing that I had ahead of me for all three nights. Man... three days into the World Series of Poker and I already worked almost 50 hours.

And the weird thing? I'm not as fatigued as you would think. It's hard to explain. I'm putting in similar hours to last year but I don't have the pressure and mental fatigue like I was drowning in last summer. It's been a sheer pleasure at times. My decision to work for myself has already paid off dividends.

The traffic on Tao of Poker over the weekend was astounding. I set a record (for 2008) on Friday and then broke that record on Sunday. It's mid-way to Monday and we're close to breaking yesterday's record.

In the last couple of weeks, record traffic levels (for 2008) were set for Truckin', Tao of Poker, and Coventry. Amazing. I hope that I can keep it up.

In addition to Tao of Poker, I wrote a couple of posts for and Poker News. So far, so good.

I have been sleeping 3-4 hours a night which is about average. The commute blows. It's nothing too stressful but I don't like having to drive 20-25 minutes each way when I'd rather be using the time to write.

I ate a crappy cold Pizza Slut pan pizza for lunch. I dunno why I subject myself to that torture. I also ate a turkey sub for lunch for a third consecutive day. I'm trying for four tomorrow.

The Yanks lost again, but how about those Cubbies? First place on June 1st for the first time since 1908. I might start watching Cubs games instead.

I decided to sleep in last night and popped two Xannies. I slept for five straight hours, which is rare for me. I think I stayed in bed for almost seven hours total. For the first time in days, I was able to have lunch with Nicky. We went to Mimi's Cafe which is sort of a New Orleans themed diner. After lunch I drove to work and Nicky went back home. She has two days off in a row and will have to see the new Sex in the City movie without me. Thank God.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Last Saturday in May

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

Here's some of the random things that happened on Saturday...

I ate a Cliff Bar for breakfast on my way to work as I jammed out Ghost from Phish on my way to the Rio casino.

In the press box, I sat next to a "cougar" aka Michele Lewis.

Derek took third place in my tournament. I finished in 18th place.

I saw both poker announcers for ESPN. I have been around the WSOP for my fourth year, yet they don't even know my name and snub me every time I walk by.

Nicky almost got into a car accident on our way to In & Out Burger.

I ate cheeseburgers for dinner two days in a row. I also ate Capriatti's deli sandwiches for lunch two days in a row.

I have not had a single slice of bacon since the WSOP began.

I have only consumed three beers since the WSOP began.

I overheard two dealers talking in their smoking area... "Oh my God! I cant believe you fucked your girlfriends mother!"

My rental car was peppered with escort ads that were the size of business cards. One bragged that they will send the hottest babes direct to your hotel room! Wow...

I watched the Yankees win in extra inning against the Twinkies.

I saw some dude get hauled off by hotel security.

I spotted a hooker trying to pick up three frat boys in front on the craps tables.

The latest issue of Bluff magazine came out which featured my latest column which happened to get a lot of positive feedback.

By the way, here's the view from the press box...