Saturday, December 18, 2004

I just want to offer a hoist of the Guinness to Otis on his leap forward. To get paid to blog is a dream for all of us, and we'll all be living vicariously through you.

Damnit, Otis! See?! All that praise I was heaping on you at the bar WAS 100% ACCURATE! :)

I hope everyone is keeping up with the fine Trip Reports from the debauchery last weekend. Was it really only a week ago?

Anyway, I just wanted to check in and say I planned on writing the mother-of-all-uber poker posts tonight, but I'm gonna go play on Party Poker, instead. Maybe a blogger table will break out later, if we're lucky.

I may start the massive post tomorrow, but I may not complete it until Monday as I have some freelance work due. Actually, I was toying with the idea of breaking up my next uber-post into a dozen unique posts, but after many beers now I'm liking the challenge of writing my longest post ever, in tribute to our gathering last weekend.

I really need to borrow one of Pauly's interns.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

CJ - Up For Poker - Part 2 now up
Otis is home Otis has posted!
Pauly - Part Two Trip report is up!
Maudie - Part 2 and 3 now up!
Bad Blood New Day Two Report up!
Bill Rini
FTrain - Final notes up
Poker Genius - Part Two up
Poker Prof and FlipChipPro Inside scoop on running the tourney and meet & greet
Snail Trax - Daddy
Bob New Day One Report Up!
Grubby is back
AlCANHang Part 2 is up!
Derek Made it home!

Eventually I made my way to the shuttle and off to the airport. I grabbed a warmed over hot-dog from the Taco Whatever stand at the terminal. I was starved. I snoozed a bit until boarding time, overhearing this:

"Didja win anything?" "Naw" "Naw? How much dija lose?" "About a farm's worth."

I smiled quietly to myself. I didn't lose. I doubled up at the Excalibur and hit the jackpot with about 30 new friends.


Poker is such a solitary and competitive hobby, it's amazing how well we all came together.

Only two regrets from this weekend. Not being able to spend enough time with everyone that I wanted to, and the fact that my dwarf screwed up, showing up tardy for the poker tourney, blowing my prank. The former being much more significant.

A heartfelt thanks to everyone I met and hung out with. I relate to Grubby's remark that it truly felt like a reunion, like a group of old friends coming together to celebrate a common bond. I kept thinking throughout the weekend how fortunate I was to be a part of it.

I wish I could insert a snarky remark here, but I can't. This weekend was actually special to me.... as dippy as that sounds. This here humble poker blog has been a bigger part of my life than I'd care to admit over the last 15 months, and this past weekend was a culmination of sorts. I mean, I know it's only a stupid blog but let's face it, after nearly 400,000 words, eventually leading to my leaving my corporate job for the wacky world of playing poker professionally, it's taken on a life of it's own. Not to mention the entire poker blogging scene exploding out of control from our nascent beginnings.

Aww, now I'm getting nostalgic. Just ignore the above and move on....I'll be getting back to genuine, tangential, Guinness-fueled uber-posts soon enough. But for the sake of posterity, I need to bang this out.

Some folks didn't believe I really rented a dwarf. Au contraire, but I did. And if only dwarves could drive cars, he woulda been on time on Saturday, damnit.
He cost me $200 but I received a 50% discount since he was late. Thanks to Hank for taking care of this for me, while I was passed out. I think only Hank and Felicia saw him, though. His name was Antonio and he works in the Evening of Magic show at the MGM Grand. Show business bastard.

Geezus, fragments of the trip are slowly coming back to me. But best of all, I come away knowing that I made so many new friends. All the hard work on this blog finally paid off in something tangible, something worthwhile.

So please forgive this awful writeup - bear in mind that I was loaded for pretty much 72 straight hours and obviously didn't take any notes due to lack of motor skills. And I've been loathe to write anything yet, so here goes the drivel off the top of my head.

I don't even know where to begin. See, the poker playing didn't interest me nearly as much as the people I wanted to meet. But I was in a conundrum .... I flew in Friday evening knowing full well that many bloggers would be playing at the Excalibur that night. Saturday morning was when my dwarf would arrive for the tourney. Was it possible to keep a low-profile AND pull off the dwarf stunt?

Long story short: no. But not to say I didn't have a little fun, anyway. I had done such a fine job of giving zero inkling that I was coming (thanks to Hank, AL and Felicia for not spilling the beans) that I grabbed ahold of the opportunity to surprise a few of my blogging heroes.

I started drinking around 10pm and sat at a juicy NL table, quickly doubling through. I surreptitiously located Pauly, Maudie and BG, but decided to keep my mouth shut until Hank showed and I could have an alibi.

Hank shows up, walks around meeting bloggers and ends up at my table. After three or four beers an hour or so, I begin getting wracked with guilt over not introducing myself. I mean, it prolly WOULD have been high comedy to pull off the Dwarf as Iggy routine, but the trade-off of losing a full evening of poker blogger bonding goodness didn't seem worth it.

So, one by one, I sidled up to Pauly, Otis, BG, BadBlood, Maudie, and CJ, gushingly stating, "I'm a friend of Hank's from LA, and I just wanted to say I LOVE YOUR BLOG," while giving them (hopefully) a stalker-ish/weirdo type look. I allowed them to dangle for a little bit before finally outing myself, resulting in some shocked facial expressions that I will likely never forget. Plus I got some hugs. Woohooo!

And see, I'm just not a good enough writer to explain what this meant to me. After writing this monstrosity of a poker blog into the Ether, it was a bit frightening to finally meet my fellow bloggers. To the non-blogger, this may sound trite or worse, pathetic. But fuck that, I've put a ton of sweat equity into this humble blog and it meant a lot to me to finally meet everyone.

Um, anyway, things get real fuzzy here. I played poker for hours and hours and eventually retired to the bar with Daddy and Pauly and Derek and failed in an attempt to talk Maudie into hanging out all morning with us. Next time, Maudie! Great conversations followed and that's most likely what compelled me to head on out to Blackout Island.

Actually here's what REALLY happened, great convos notwithstanding:

At the exact moment that someone (me) was whining about AlCanHang & BadBlood being in bed and not drinking with us, BigMike from the AlCanHang posse sauntered in and took a seat next to Daddy and I at the bar.

Oh The Humanity.

Big Mike was like something out of an alcoholic horror film called, "It Drinks Soco."

And from now on, Al is forever dubbed AlCANHang in this here blog.

I was fairly cognizant here at 5AM. But BigMike got the party started, my friends, and everything is fuzzy for the next 6 hours. BigMike pounded double shots of SoCo like Homer Simpson eating donuts. I remember snippets of excellent conversations with Otis and BadBlood, both of whom make me wish I lived closer to South Carolina. I get to tell Otis in person how much I love his fucking writing. Also, I know I met Al and his gorgeous wife, MrsAlCanHang, only because someone emailed me a picture of her on my lap. It's awful to think after all this time, I finally met Al, but I was too blitzed to remember the circumstances, or the actual event itself. Gawddamn Blackout Island.

Somewhere in the early morning, I follow many, many people to the awaiting stretch limousine that is taking us to Sams Town. In my blissful, drunken state, I actually think we are headed to the Waffle House.

From what I was told later, the limo ride was very rowdy and fun. I probably shouldn't say anything beyond that. After all, "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas."

The next thing I remember is being in some tiny, dark, tomb-like bar and getting up to head to my room. After wandering around for awhile, unable to discover Tower II, I am devastated to learn that I am, in fact, at Sam's Town, and not the Excalibur. All hope was lost until Hank got me to the taxicab stand where I promptly passed out on the curb. Thank God for a Guardian Angel in the form of Phil, from the AlCanHang Gang, who woke me up and helped me get pointed back to the strip. God takes care of fools and drunks, most especially to those who are clearly both.

Bedtime: Noon.
Alcohol consumed: Silly

I wake up around 6pm, call Hank, and confirm that my prop bet came through with Felicia winning the bloggers tourney. Easy money.

I shower and head straight for the bar. Only one thing is gonna cure what ails me: booze and lots of it. After praying with Saint Hair of the Dog for a bit, I snack on some olives for breakfast before finally hitting the card room and sitting with Pauly and Derek. Had a damn good time hanging with these two, not only here, but all weekend. Pauly's blog doesn't do him justice, believe me, you've got to hang with The Good Doctor to get a full sense of his huge, gregarious personality. You can't make a guy like Pauly up. And I actually spent a good deal of time bs'ing with his bro, Derek, who is about as affable a guy as you could ever meet, always smiling, quick with a joke, even after I crack his cowboys with an ugly river beat. Good times. Hank eventually sits. Grubby comes over and sweats us. Geez, what more could I ask for? Grubby assumes my stack when I scoot off to the john and bar and scoops a nice pot for me. God bless you, Grubbs.

I had an excellent time sitting with the UpForPoker crew later in the evening. Otis, TV personality GRob, Marty, and even Otis's brother were all battling it out. This was way too outstanding for me. Watching Otis play around with his posse was a joy. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that I hit a straight flush versus Otis's bro and won a hat, which I gave to him as a peace offering for any obnoxiousness I displayed at the table.

Somewhere in this wonderful evening, Pauly brings me a few donuts, which I immediately auction off to the highest bidders at the poker table. This nets me a few extra chips. Oh yeah, sometime this evening I finally meet Ftrain. Wish I had more time to chat with him.

I soon hear that Grubby, MrsAlCanHang and Hank are playing craps. Err, wait. Maybe it was blackjack first? It doesn't matter, because in either case, my nickname: The Cooler, was reinforced. I iced the BJ game and then craps, right after MrsAlCanHang rolled for about twenty minutes (netting one old guy at the other end of the table a $250 score on just one single roll).

I'm glossing over lots of jocular and germane side-stories here simply because I just realized how long I've been rambling.

Mitigating point: Nary a hand history.

Grubby, MrsAlCanHang, Hank and I head off for some well-deserved food. This was actually one of the highlights of my trip - we just sat and bullshitted for several hours. Thanks MrsAl and Grubbs and Hank - I enjoyed this a ton.

Geezus, now I'm blogging my meals.

Anyway, Hank and Grubby bid adieu and head off. It's likely around 9-10AM at this point. MrsAl and I tram it over to Mandalay Bay where MrAl and Co. are holding court in the sportsbook. Football time!

And what a crew was hanging out...Al and his posse, Pauly, CJ, BadBlood, Otis, BG, GRob, Daddy, Derek, BG's bro, Rob, Phil and I forget who else, my apologies. We settle in and start to enjoy the House of Al. Hank put it best, AL IS a walking party. Al and Co. had money on the Chargers and whenever anything good happened for San Diego he started leading these soccer style "Super Chargers" cheers that kept growing and getting louder & louder as others joined in from around the sports book. Truly Hilarious. An elderly feller right in front of us started standing up and directing the boys like a choral director every time a cheer began. I finally had a chance to chat with BoyGenius and his brother, Bob, two bloggers that have always struck a chord with me. BG knows his damn football, but you already knew that. We get mocked for our Matt Schobel conversation. I also had a damn good time chatting with GRob, a kindred Big Blue fan and cool guy.

Anyway, only Otis and BadBlood kept the honor of the poker bloggers intact by playing in the poker room right next to where we were. I kept looking wistfully in their direction but I was in football gambool mode. I was embarassed that Pauly and Derek had bet on the Bengals with me, but thankfully, an exciting ending led to a $100 win.

San Diego Super Chargers,
San Diego Chargers!
San Diego Super Chargers,
San Diego Chargers!

At some point during football, Eva AKA MrsCanHang decided to head to bed after over 30 straight hours of partying. She was too damn cool - I really had a blast hanging with her. She truly is a Warrior Princess.

At some point many of us leave and head to Pauly's room to regroup before hitting the Excalibur for more poker. Daddy buys me a Guinness and I'm happy. We play and I get to sit with my man Derek who starts scooping pot after pot. I pull a nice lil bluff with The Hammer but start getting *very* sleepy. I cash out and talk briefly with Bob before slinking out of the room to crash.

7AM flight out of town. I very nearly changed my plane ticket to stay another day or two with the rest of the boys, but I remembered what a cabbie once told me, "Las Vegas is like fish. After three days, it begins to smell." So with regret, I stick to my original plan.

Suffice to say, I lost count of all the Hammers being played all weekend. I saw it shown down far more than aces, that's for damn sure. If you heard screams from a poker table and saw a poker blogger or two sitting there, you just knew what went down. It's clearly a black plague upon the poker scene and we have Grubby to thank.

Alrighty then, I'm done. Time to post this and move on. I have a massive amount of freaking poker content yet to blog, but I'll also keep you up to date on the latest and greatest Trip reports from the bloggers. To all of you who missed this historic get together, start saving your money. The next one is already looming.

I'll be back in full snark mode soon.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

"The thing that impressed me the most about the bloggers was their level of intelligence and friendliness."

My thoughts exactly.

Honestly, I don't even know where to begin. It's one of those experiences (at least for me) that is awfully difficult to remember articulate. So for my own edification, I'm going to start linking up the Trip Reports as they appear - check back as there are many more to come. Several have multiple entries so keep scrolling down.

In no particular order:

CJ - Up For Poker - Part 2 now up
Otis is home
Pauly - Part 1 Trip report is up!
Maudie - Part 2 and 3 now up!
Bad Blood New Day one Report up!
Bill Rini
FTrain - Final notes up
Poker Genius - Part Two up
Poker Prof and FlipChipPro Inside scoop on running the tourney and meet & greet
Snail Trax - Daddy
Grubby is back
AlCANHang Part 1 is up!
Derek Made it home!

Monday, December 13, 2004

I'm back.

Let it be said that Pauly knows how to throw one helluva party.
Pauly fucking rules.

Yes, I showed up to the inaugural Bloggers Vegas Bash. And had an utter blast, no matter how surreal the entire experience was. It's so damn cool to finally meet all of you whom I read every damn day.


Here's the abridged version of my Master Plan that sadly didn't materialize:
I initially wasn't able to attend, so I decided the next best thing to do was rent a dwarf to show up for the Bloggers tourney in my place.

Which I did.
The search for said Little Person in Vegas is an entirely separate tale, but I ultimately succeeded in locating a professional dwarf performer.

So I went out and had a custom Bonus Code IGGY tshirt (tshirt size = small) created for my dwarf. I sent him a Party Poker hat. I decided to provide him with a Guinness for one hand and a hammer in the other, and to have him bellow, "Oh the humanity," as he walked in the poker room to take his seat at the table.

In retrospect, it was probably a stupid idea, but I thought it might provide some chuckles among my fellow bloggers. So even after deciding at the last minute to go to Vegas to meet my peers, I continued to move forward with my plan.

Alas, it didn't work out. First of all, my dwarf was also a mental midget and showed up over 30 minutes late, rendering him worthless. Secondly, and more important, I was in full blown blackout mode before even arriving at Sams Town for the tourney, rendering me worthless.

Oh the humanity.

It woulda been funny to pull off, damnit.

I have far too many anecdotes to relate right now - I need to get some badly overdue sleep and decompress. I met so many damn cool people this weekend, it was amazing. A big thanks to the folks at Vegas Vegas Poker & Dick at Sams Town for organizing the tourney, even if I was too obliterated to play. And congrats to Felicia for winning the tourney; she _was_ my pick, after all.

Thanks to everyone who came out and thanks to Pauly for making it all happen.
Can't wait for the next one.

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Information on this site is intended for news and entertainment purposes only.

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