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Friday, July 15, 2005

Hooker have feelings too 

I need to be there for this. Maybe the PokerProf needs someone to live blog this event.


According to Billboard.biz, Gene Simmons (KISS), Dave Navarro (JANE'S ADDICTION) and Jerry Cantrell (ALICE IN CHAINS) will take part in the second annual Vegas Rock Star Poker Tournament and Sweepstakes, set to take place Aug. 25-27 at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas.

The three artists will play in the tournament alongside 24 contest winners, who will earn their spot through radio promotions in New York, Chicago, Houston, Phoenix, Los Angeles and San Francisco, by entering their name at vegasrockstarpoker.com or by winning contests through event sponsors Albertson's and Michelob Amber Bock. Footage from the event is expected to be featured in Simmons' fall A&E special "Family Jewels".

Michael McGaw, managing director of CCEP, tells Billboard.biz that he hopes the tournament will become an annual event.

Prior to the tournament, winners will get a poker tutorial by expert Phil Gordon and a private meet and greet with the musicians. An after-party will be held at the Real World Suite at the Palms.
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This will be a true stream of conscious post. No spell check, No grammar check. I have to get my ass to Atlantic City in a couple of hours. You get 10 good minutes of my time. Enjoy

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Pauly and Otis keep mentioning this place called the Hooker Bar where they tend to hang out during the dinner breaks. From the name you would imply that quite a few hookers would call the bar home. Since the All American Bar is out of the question, and with my tiny beer buzz wearing off, I grab directions from Otis and take off for some real booze.

On the way we run into Grubby who's picking up as much free swag as possible. When I mention my destination, I can see a little gleam in his eyes. Free booze, hookers, and hardcore -EV games! Bingo. I wasn't in my seat longer than 5 minutes before he moves into the seat next to me.

Fast-forward a couple of hours. We've managed to knock back a half dozen free drinks (double Southern Comfort for myself, many different kinds for the Grubster) and tread water playing video poker. Pauly and Otis show up during the dinner break and we escalate the drinking for a while. Dial-a-shots all around. Derek, BadBlood, G-Rob, Iggy, and Halverson just to name a few. At one point during my conversation with the vertically challenged blogfather, I looked around and realized I was the sucker at the bar. I was standing with 3 of the original bloggers that I read and talking to another. Grubby, Pauly, Otis, and Iggy. It was the Mount Rushmore of Poker Bloggers (Iggy's line, not mine).

While I was on the phone with Iggy, music starting blaring and I was introduced to beverage-tainers for the first time. Apparently the entire cocktail staff is required to have some sort of talent in dancing or singing. Every 30 minutes or so another pops up on stage in front of the slots and does her thing. Here's a pic of me doing a dial-a-shot with Iggy while the beverage-tainer shakes it.

We were limited in the amount of drinking time with Pauly and Otis so we made quick work of it. 5 minute rounds with Otis pumping through his max credit video poker addiction. I take the blame for his first losing session during his entire stay. Very impressive run. I manage to dump a few more beers into the guys before they head off for WSoP mayhem. My one last comment to Pauly as the left, "Where's the hookers?!"

Nothing but tourists and video poker junkies at the bar. "Give it time", I was told, "They'll be here." Patience, sobriety, and cash were quickly coming to an end. We made the decision to check out the Poker Hangar one last time for the night. Maybe the 5 mile walk would do us good.
We ran into StudioGlyphic and his girlie sweating table 124. Pauly's table from the media tourney and in a tiny corner of the room. Chris Ferguson and Paul Darden were battling it out with the internet posse when we witness 'Jesus' put a 2 outter suck out on some chump. The railbirds went crazy and I managed to get a chuckle out of him when I yelled over (alot drunker AND louder than I expected) "Nobody puts Jesus in a corner". He laughed and yelled back, "that's right, nobody puts baby in a corner."

All fun and games but the booze and blinky lights were calling us back to the bar. Besides that, we needed to see if the first hooker, Erie, was waiting for us. Somewhere in my haze I managed to convince her that I had a vintage Porsche 930 shrink wrapped in my garage at home and I refused to take it out because I was a danger to myself and the public. She bought it and apparently so did Grubby.

On the way to the poker room, Grubby said "Dude, I didn't know you owned a Porsche." Me, "The closest I ever came to owning a Porsche 930 was a 1978 baby blue VW Rabbit my parents dumped on me when I turned 16."

Erie, the hooker with the puzzled look when I asked if she was from Pennsylvania, was nowhere to be found and I still wasn't spotting any new arrivals. We grabbed two spots at the bar (and I grabbed a pic of another beverage-tainer) and started dumping $20 bills for free drinks. Grubby also discovered a worse game for the wallet. Instead of video poker, he's now latched onto video keno. d'oh

And doesn't that cock knocker start hitting numbers? He hit for two big payouts and let me know about it every time I hit a boat or flush. Finally the video poker started loosening up. I hit quads twice, Grubby hit quads (a rare posted pic of the real Grub), then I nailed a straight flush and party time was on.

I obviously started concentrating more on the booze and poker then my surroundings. After one round of drinks, I looked around and realized the clientele had changed. I had to blink a couple of times to make sure I was just seeing things. Mr. and Mrs. Midwestern Tourist were gone. Replaced by a veritable buffet of flesh. It was at least a 5 to 1 hooker to guy ratio.

Sensory overload kicked in. The sounds and lights from the nearby slots, constantly checking the status of my drink, Carlos the bottle juggling bartender who definitely did not bring his A-game that night (I swear Grubby was ordering effed up drinks just to watch this guy drop bottles all over the place), and half nekkid woman looking for someone to rent them by the hour. I just ordered a redbull and went back to video poker.

Grubby finally nudged me and started, "Is that...."

"Yep", as I cut him off.

"...and over there?"

"Yep"

We were surrounded.

Grubby had moved over a seat and we were joined by one of the better looking girls.

I'll get this right out of the way first. Every. Single. One. was horrid. 80's style Jersey girl hair. Pouches where the tight abs shoud be. Dresses that made the girls look like overstuffed sausages.

Leilani was her name. We spent some time talking with her. More Grubby because she found out he was local. When I mentioned that I was getting on a plane in 9 hours (it was 2am at this point), she leaned over and whispered that I should call her if I needed help 'staying up' for the night. Subtle. She slid her business card over and she must have seen the shocked look on my face. "Call the cell phone number, not the business number", she clarified, "I'm a mortgage broker during the day."

What the?

I was too stunned and too drunk to make any appropriate comment as she walked away. A mortgage broker / hooker? Really?

We couldn't get away from them. It was a swarm of locusts. Two girls pulled up to the bar to my right. I noticed the one had a very big "Michael Strahan" gap in her front teeth. I can't believe I didn't blurt something out and say anything stupid in my drunken haze. Yet.

I started to make conversation with her friend who had her back to me. She turned around and had the exact same front tooth gab. "God damn!" out of my mouth was all it took for them to pick up their things and move along.

I had no idea it was possible to insult a hooker. Who knew?

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Thursday, July 14, 2005

Shuffle up and deal 

Leave it to my favorite site for all things EPL to give me a couple of chuckles today. First they have a link to their T-Shirt sales site with a dedication.... Salute Our Cheese-Eating, Surrender Monkey Friends

Happy Bastile Day!

And then John Nicholson has another article. Apparently the weather is balmy in the gool ol' UK.
Because we spend half the year in gloom and darkness and the other half dodging rain and gale-force winds, we don't adapt well to life lived in light, let alone in the sunsheeayyne.

Glance out of the window now and you will see fat women squeezed into tops three sizes too small, giant rolls of pink flesh oozing out of their waistbands like 14 stone of bubblegum melting out of its wrapper. You will see middle-aged men wearing 1963's finest shorts with grey socks and old leather sandals like some kind of 1930's vicar.
But enough of that. How about some more Vegas stories?

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Wil, Al the Hippy Idiot, and Sherry from Let's Poker


The last thing I remembered was sitting on the couch in Pauly's suite at the Redneck Riviera. Pauly gave me the nickle tour when we arrived at 3am and I made sure to stick to the lighted areas of the complex. No sense making myself a target. Grubby stopped by for a visit where he had a fine rant about a specific poker book which shall remain nameless and watched the same Sports Center for the 12th time. Next thing I know, I'm waking up on the couch and everyone is gone. I must be getting old. As soon as I hit the 24hour awake mark, I faded fast.

Of course, last Thursday was a bad day for the world. Pauly was jarred awake by a phone call from back home telling him to turn on the TV. After watching the same canned loop several times and hearing the mouth pieces say the same thing over and over, Pauly just shook his head to went to his room to prepare for the long day. As a New Yorker and a frequent subway rider, I wondered how Pauly would handle this. Naturally he handled it like a NYC veteran. He went about his job even though the events of the day were never far from his mind.

Ruthless Jack posted an excellent website dedicated to the London 52 who lost their lives that day. We're not afraid.

~

My first experience in the "Poker Hangar" was during the Blogger gathering and WSoP Event #2. 2,200 odd players and a good crowd of railbirds. That was nothing compared to what I was about to witness.

Pauly, as usual, was the first to arrive in media row for the day. We had breakfast and he settled in over 2 hours before the scheduled beginning of the main event. He had several articles to write for Fox Sports, Poker Player Newspapar, LasVegasVegas, and his own blog before the event even started.

My plans for the day were much simpler. Sit, walk, eat, drink, and take in the entire Main Event experience. At 10am the Rio staff broke up every cash game in the room to prepare for the onslaught (and ruining any chance for me to crush the squishy 10/20 O8 game). 1,800+ players, over 500 ESPN and media members, and a enough spectators to fill in every available spot in between. I snuck into the dealers room to listen in on the pep talk before they began their long day. They would have to deal to internet players unaccustomed to manually counting the size of pot and not being able to just slide a bar to set their raise amount. I had the idea that some of the internet players thought when they cursed out another player it would come out like "f**k you d**kwad".

Not long before the kickoff, I ran into Wil during my wandering in the wilderness. I quickly wished him luck and let him move along with his preparations for the biggest tournament of his life. A wink, nod, and "hi" from Shannon Elizabeth made this hippy smile also.

I parked my keister in the corner near table 124 and waited for the announcement. "Shuffle up and deal".

The 2006 World Series of Poker Main Event was underway.

zzzzzzzz

I don't know what all the railbirds were doing, but I was snoozing watching a festival of folding cards amongst the thousands of no-namers. That might be why I ended up smoking nearly two packs of cigarettes during the time at the Rio (or it might have been the booze later in the evening). I finally realized what the problem was. While sitting with Amy Calistri in the hallway, smoking again, she wrote up an blog entry that included the words....."And I'm lucky enough to be sharing a bench with AlCantHang, who is displaying a rare moment of sobriety." another crappy picture. I suck.

God damn it, it all the excitement I forgot something very important. I'd been in Vegas for 24 hours and had yet to catch even the faintest buzz. I made my excuses to Amy, tagged a media credential in the expo area, and took off for the All American Bar & Grill.

All American my ass.

An All American bar would not run out of the sweet nectar. When I ordered my burger and double shot, the "all american" bar did not have a single drop of Southern Comfort in the house. When I told this to later, those who know me couldn't believe I didn't just up and leave. But they do serve a tasty burger (medium rare with a friend egg and bacon. mmmmm). I downed my fair share of Shiners instead and made the trek back to the Pokerdome.

With a happy buzz and media credentials, I made my way over to media row to check on the good doctor. Otis (pictured on the left hard at work. Raymer in the 7s. Click for a bigger pic.) and Dan were chugging away with updates and chip counts amongst a sea of players.

I saddled up to Pauly at his front row seat to watch the madness as they tried to keep up with the action and deadlines. Some of the idiot commenters on Pauly's blog were starting to have an effect. The fact that Pauly didn't completely flip out or take down commenting all together was a testament to Pauly's professionalism. Can I get a chip count for table 148 seat 3 Joe Schmoe? Morons. Otis was trying to track down which of the 1,100+ PokerStars qualifiers were playing in the first flight and how they were doing. Dan? Well I think Dan was trying to find out where the next party was happening. Now that's my kind of poker blogger.

I watched as Greg Raymer was moved to the TV table with a mere $3,500 in chips. After making a move, he was sitting pretty with nearly $43,000 in chips by the time the dinner break arrived.

And you know what happens at the dinner break? Video poker, hookers, and beverage-tainers!


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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Wanna know how I feel right this moment? Gigglechick has the perfect animation.

Enjoy

I'm supposed to have a nice long post talking about poker and hookers and everything in between. The post is mostly done but needs some tweaking (that's my way of saying that it was written in an alcohol induced coma and makes no sense).

So why not head over to good ol' Grubby's for his take on our time with the ladies of the evening.

Later.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2005

He's finally gone..... 

Dan at Pokerati has the scoop. Jay Lovinger is done. We all know far more qualified writers/poker players who would have done a much better job.

Happy trails!

Just for the kick in the ass on the way out the door, according to Jay's last article, Mike Paulle at Card Player apparently had a go with him.

Afterward, as we were leaving, I tried to engage Paulle in a conversation about our respective narrative personae.

"Jay, how long have you been in this business?" he asked.

"About 40 years," I answered, assuming, wrongly, that he was talking about the journalism business.

"No, I mean poker."

"A little more than a year. Why?"

"Well," he said, "I've been in it all my life, so I don't need you to explain it to me."

And so, as my yearlong odyssey through the weird and wonderful world of poker dribbled to a close, I was put in my place -- on the outside, looking in.

I can't make believe I was shocked, because I've received a lot of criticism from the long-standing institutions of poker -- news sites, chat rooms, bloggers -- for everything from my lack of poker knowledge to my lack of writing ability to my choice of subject matter to my ignorance of pop culture to the photo that accompanies my column. And not to be a hypocrite, I've profited from the bad blood, particularly insofar as it has informed some of my more contentious Toxic Mailbags. And who can really blame them? Why should I be the guy to receive the dream assignment of all time -- getting paid good money to play poker -- instead of all these player/writers who have spent their entire grown-up lives obsessed with the game?

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WPBT "Charlie" Tournament 

From the BoyGenius:

WPBT "Charlie" Tournament

When? 6PM EST Sunday July 17th

Where? PokerStars I don't have a PokerStars affiliate. Go track down one from a real bloggers.

How Much? $20 - every penny goes to charity

What Do I Get When I Win? The comfort of knowing you're doing something good for someone else

No, Really... No. Really.

All proceeds to go to wherever Charlie Tuttle's family wants them. Come on out and play!

The tournament is open to bloggers and readers.

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I couldn't resist giving this blog to BG as a reward. Don't strain yourself reading the entire post. Be creative. Leave her some good comments.

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Still waiting on that picture from Anna......

Cheers.

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Pauly and the Magic Fish Hooks 

Before I put up the Day 1 of last weeks Vegas trip, I need to show everyone this site. I ask, I receive, I have absolutely no comment.

Enjoy Nikki.

~

After letting the cab driver rip me off on the trip between the airport and Rio, I started the mile long trek from casino to the convention pavilion with my trusty backpack, a full pack of smokes, and that weird feeling that came from a combination of the oxygen pumped into the room and the disorientation of being in Vegas 11 hours after making the command decision. I hadn't even bothered finding a place to stay for the 48 hours. At worst the Plaza still had rooms on the cheap. At best, I might be able to schmooze a place on Pauly's couch and experience his Redneck Riviera.

The first people I found were the two Joe's working the Poker Player booth at the World Series of Poker Life Expo. After the quick tour, I made my way to the media area directly off the main ESPN TV table in the "Poker Hangar". The first mission was accomplished when I managed to get the drop on Otis who was busy typing up another post. The second time in 6 months that I managed to completely surprise him by showing up out of the blue.

After a quick recap of my retarded exploits, he tells me that Pauly has already bailed on Phil Gordon's birthday party (how's that, April twins? If I were there I would have done something special for ya) and is hanging in the PokerStars room. He was standing there with none other than the famous poker player/blogger/author/actor Wil Wheaton. I have to put the poker player first since he was there for the WSoP. I felt bad because I couldn't pay complete attention to the entire conversation with Pauly, Otis, and Wil. Standing right behind them was Isabelle was wearing these pants again. If I had a single ounce of liquor in my body I would have gone for the much hyped double kiss. I even mentioned it to Otis. But, of course, I wussed out. My Super Al cape was still sitting behind an unopened bottle of Southern Comfort somewhere in the building.

Super Wuss.

The Poker Hangar was pretty empty for once. I believe the only things happening were the deuce to seven lowball final, Super Sat's, and cash games. We walked around for a while getting introduced to various members of the poker media. I only met a small percentage considering they gave out over 500 media credentials. We talked for a bit and checked out Wil's table for the next day and off he went for some much needed rest before the big day on Thursday.

I started to get that craving. I was pretty hungry but I'd also gone some 12 odd hours without a drink. And I was in Vegas. I left the guys to get back to work since they were constantly slacking off and I went in search of my nectar.

I came across a place called the All American Bar & Grill in the main casino. I thought I'd read positive things from Otis so I gave it a 'shot'. I downed my very first Shiner in honor of Scott da Fat Guy along with a big fatty burger that was undercooked just right. The service blew donkey's ass and I almost missed the start of the media/celebrity event.

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Warning: the majority of the pics below suck. My little digital camera definitely does not play well without the flash.

The media/celebrity event turned out to be little more than a crapshoot using cards instead of dice. Obviously no one was caring since there was no buy-in and all money went to the player's favorite charity. The media well out numbered the celebrities in attendance. The notable celebs were Shannon Elizabeth, Brad Garrett, Dick VanPatten, Penn Gillette (douche), and James Woods (bag).

Walking around the room before the tourney (I can't use Bouncing around room because the good doctor put the copyright smack down on it), I found Sherry from Let's Poker seated next to Penn Gillette and Dan from Pokerati paired with James Woods in the exact same positions. Goddamn if I didn't snap off one crappy picture of Shannon Elizabeth and then the camera went tit's up for good. And I am certainly a pathetic excuse of a blogger. But a fine drunk.

I'll leave the James Woods stories to Dan and let Sherry explain (if she choses) the kind of douche bag Penn Gillette was to her. The main story was the incredible roll the good doctor was on.

Pauly started off at a table with Joe and Otis. There were other's there I didn't know, they didn't know me, and I wasn't caring. Pauly was picking up small pots here and there before he caught his first monster.

I was standing behind Otis in the 10s. He hadn't been catching anything (other than a couple limpers and blinds when he pushed with the Hammer) and was rapidly becoming shortstacked with the ridiculous blind structure. I see he has 33 and he pushed looking for someone with overcards and a race. Turns out that he was going to see some overcards. The one seat almost immediately moves all-in behind Otis and there's hope. Certainly looked like someone trying to isolate with two big overcards.

The good doctor himself moved all-in after looking at his cards. Now Otis pretty much knows he's sunk. Not only was he up against overcards, but up against JJ and Pauly's AA. In a miracle, the rockets hold up, Pauly has tripled up, and Otis is in the hallway while I smoke.

Actually, that's not quite accurate. Because on the very next hand, while Pauly is still stacking his chips, he has a raise in front of him, followed by an all-in reraise, and he again pushes all-in. The initial raiser spent a good 5 minutes pestering Pauly telling him that he can't possibly have AA in back-to-back hands. After finally calling, Mr. Big Slick raiser found out that it was possible.
For the second hand in a row, Pauly picked up rockets, they held up, and he practically tripled up. With that kind of ammunition, Pauly was a force. Not playing to make the money or survive. He started picking players off left and right and is moved to Shannon Elizabeth's table after his gets busted (pun very much intended).

We're down to 3 tables and Pauly is firing away from the 10s. Except for one hand where he showed remarkable restraint for a blogger in a freeroll with the attention of a hundred railbirds and media. He looked down and saw a red hammer. You could see the internal struggle as the man playing for a great cause battled with the poker blogger who wanted, NEEDED to drop the Hammer in front of the world.

Alas, the great cause won through and he reluctantly sled his cards into the muck.

Apparently the Poker Gods took notice. Shortly thereafter, the lovely Shannon (complete with her own personal sweaters), pushed all-in ahead of our hero. Again I can see his cards and he's found a couple of fish hooks and he moves all-in after her. Shannon was very happy when she saw that she was way ahead. Her AA versus Pauly and the Magic Fish Hooks. Pauly kept pointing to the spot where the river card was going to be....

"Come on dealer, right there. Give me a Jack!"

Flop was junk. Turn was junk. River? Bingo. (photo link from PokerNation)

Down goes Shannon and none to happy about the two-outter suckout courtesy of the good doctor. Pauly was able to talk with her later and make nice nice.

Go back and look at that picture of Pauly cracking Shannon's AA. See all those railbirds watching the action? 5 minutes after she walked away, there wasn't a single person standing there watching the action anymore. Dr. Pauly aka The Railbird Killa.

Before you know it, we're down to two tables of 9 and the good doctor is sitting pretty with the chip lead. The Poker Gods have apparently turned their attention elsewhere. The floor doesn't fall out from under Pauly but it did get awfully fridged around his seat. Amy from PokerPages bubbled out of the tournament just as she predicted and Pauly has made the money.

Everyone making the final table was guaranteed to make some money for their charity. Pauly was able to stick around for a while with his incredibly cold cards and finished a very impressive 6th.

I know Pauly would have preferred to be holding up the big fake cardboard check for 10G, but it was a great run in a tourney with a horrid structure and over 250 players. (oh yeah, it didn't hurt that he also pocketed $260 in cold hard cash for winning the blogger last longer bet).

Congrats to Pauly for making a great run and playing well.

~

Coming up tomorrow......

Quads, Straight Flushes, Hookers, and how I managed to be good and only nail two out of those three.

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