Thursday, December 30, 2004

Those poker lightbulb moments are so damn cool, no matter how simplistic. A married couple, good friends of ours, are way into hold em, and play every week with their extended family. The wife, in particular, has some serious love of the game but was frustrated because she had been losing. So I bought her two poker books for Christmas.

She just called me, bubbling over with excitement, because she destroyed the game last evening. My favorite quote from her, "I completely understand position now!"

From acorns, mighty oaks grow.

So what have I been up to? Party Poker, of course. But even better, I have been hunting down local games. I am loathe to blog about this, for obvious reasons, but what the hell. One of these games is located in a dicey business district, in a closed down storefront. The game is run by an old acquaintance whose name ends in a vowel....take from that what you wish.

Anyway, said game is full of hardcore gambling types. Pool hustlers, gin sharpies, sports betting junkies. The table has fellas named Rocco, Junior and my personal favorite, "BamBam". And these guys love to gamble. They live for it.

The place itself is pretty cool. They have four tables, good dealers, a giant widescreen flat TV, and a commercial fridge stocked with plenty of beverages and food. I'm tempted to put a futon in the back and move in.

The stakes aren't high (although one guy last night got stuck about $700) but it's turned into a nice little side-gig for me. Sadly, after winning in four straight sessions here, my action was drying up a little. I rectified that last night by playing two hands in the dark, sadly losing both, cost me about $100. But adjusting my image made it well worth the investment. Hopefully, this game will provide some entertaining stories for this here blog in the future.

The mainstream press is finally reporting on the attack on WSOP champion, Greg Raymer. Apparently an arrest was made....a fellow poker player. Nice. Anyway, here's a link to the AP news article: Greg Raymer Fights Off Attackers.

I'm really hung over. No energy for a real post, so in lieu of that, I pondered about the best RGP posts of 2004. And thought some more...RGP is pretty worthless.

But then I remembered the four part series entitled Fetish and Losing in Las Vegas, from last spring. And so, i am reposting this silly yet entertaining tale in it's entirety here. Part Two actually has poker content.....Enjoy.


Fetish and Losing in Las Vegas - 01


If you're a guy, we don't need a disclaimer. For you ladies, be advised there's lots of dirty stuff in here, and our disclaimer is that every single guy on the planet, except perhaps Lee H. Jones (a prince among swine, he is), thinks exactly the same way we do -- they just hide it better. Now you know.


So I scored a trip to Vegas for some fluff training class. Spaulding schedules a vacation to accompany me. Then and there, whatever small value the class might have offered was compromised. So it goes. Neither of us have ever been to 'Sin City,' and Spaulding is positively glowing at the vice potential. "We can see strippers here, anytime," I rein him back in, "I'm going to play cards the whole time."

"I said vice, not strippers," he clarifies.

religious aside to generate entertaining hate-mail

I guess I'm what you'd call a deist. I think if you examine the current science, it strongly supports the Big Bang theory. At least that's what that freak in the wheelchair says. Several billions years ago, the evidence suggests, there was indeed a 'day with no yesterday.' The entire universe, simple at first but with the ultimate potential to produce complex entities, such as multi-angle porn DVDs, sprang into being from nothingness. Even if you're a confirmed atheist, ponder that concept a little while, over a nice fatty or two, and I guarantee you’ll say "Whoa. That's heavy." Then you'll order some Chinese. No matter. What I'm saying is that I believe there is some higher power, but I have a hard time with all the man-made rules and regulations of organized religion, the ban on Onanism being as good an example as any. My point is that I'm not the most religious person you'll ever meet. As such, I have no moral qualms about prostitution. Indeed, it strikes me as highly practical. Don't try to tell me you never thought, "I'd gladly pay $200 for an hour with my wife's sister, and it's not like it's hard work for her..." I would never indulge in it though, only because I'm a big pussy. I'm paranoid about catching some disease still unknown to science, such as the Tijuanan Penis Leprosy. Those VD medicine commercials on TV don’t help either. They've got to be the best abstinence advertisements of all time. They show some red hot model, a total stunner, who explains with a pearly smile that by using Valtrex, she's only a genital wart sporting, highly infectious, pus-seeping skank for a few weeks out of the year. Then they remind you that 'there is no cure' but, hey!, you can control it Real Nice. So, call me a fagula if you must, but I'll be taking a pass on the hookers. Unless I'm really really drunk. Spaulding, however, is of the James Tiberius Kirk school of thought: if it's a carbon-based life form with an orifice, it will do. Think I'm exaggerating? We were watching "Walking With Cavemen" (featuring partial nudity) on Discovery, and he's telling me which Homo Habilis's have the best boobs, and which ones he would canoodle (answer: all of them, one way or another). Really.

end of religious aside to generate entertaining hate-mail

Monday, 1:30pm

[Cue music, "Roll on Down the Highway" Bachman-Turner Overdrive.]

I work the morning then go pick up Spaulding, stopping first for some jerky and a Mead memo table for note taking. Spaulding's coming from lunch at TGIF's, and already smells like a hot-wing littered pine forest.
We make the short drive, passing about Spaulding's flask of Bombay Sapphire the way the Harlem Globetrotters pass a basketball, because it's totally uncool to arrive at an airport stone sober (you should probably write that down). We check our bags and hike over to security, where the line is quite small. There are two ways to clear security: pass the metal detector or get searched manually. Spaulding notices a hot-babe security guard over on the manual search side, and he spots a sign that says if you have a pacemaker, you shouldn't go through the metal detector, they'll pat you down instead. Just as I'm reading a second sign that says, in so many words, "Don’t fuck around, because we take everything seriously, and if you try to be cute we'll call in the FBI and you'll be standing tall before the man," I hear frigging idiot tell the guy, "I have a pacemaker."

"Into the chute sir," says Rambo. I already know what's going to happen. They'll wand him, discover the lie about the pacemaker, and 30 minutes later we'll be sitting in an interrogation room at the local FBI
office while some jackbooted ATF guys swipe all the 'Barely Legals' out of Spaulding's luggage. God knows I don't need that again. Anyway, the hottie is already busy with someone else, and Spaulding has to get
searched by, I believe, Fred Sanford. Ha. Luckily, we clear security with no problems.

We plant our asses at a small bar/cafe and order up a couple 22 ounce lagers. The guy on my right orders another Michelob Ultra, and whines for a clean glass, because the last one wouldn't hold a head. Spaulding
laughs inappropriately loud and calls him "The Wine Steward." TWS glances at us disapprovingly, and returns to his USA Today. We're watching the USA channel, some movie about cheerleader auditions. Spaulding, now slurping bourbon, is talking to the TV, as some of the more morally bankrupt girls audition by climbing on the table and striking some hot short-shorts poses on all fours (wish I caught the title, looks like a good rental). "JFC! Look at the tail on that one! It's like vulcanized rubber!" Suddenly, he announces that they've watered down his Wild Turkey – it tastes weak. Then we notice the bottle; it's 80 proof, not the usual 101, if you can imagine such temerity. He carries on about the unfucking
believability of serving 80 proof Turkey. "It's just not right," he laments, shaking his head. On TV, one of the snotty, established cheerleaders (the blondie, of course) on the selection committee blackballs the brunette good-girl gymnast, denying her a spot on the squad. "That cunt!" remarks twelve-step, loud enough that patrons at the tables are now looking at us. TWS has had enough and leaves without
finishing his Ultra. "Well," I say, "We've never been kicked out of an airport."

"That's a bet," says Spaulding, without looking away from the TV.

We board the regional jet for the hop to Pittsburgh. The flight isn't full, and I'm happy that the seat next to me is open, so I can sprawl out a bit, but of course boozehound spots it and moves over by me. Talk turns
to fetishes. Considering my circle of friends, I thought I was aware of every sick deviation known to man. I wasn't. Spaulding not only knows them all, but apparently has them all. Over two mini-bottles of Tanqueray
(and tonic) each, he fills me in on 'CFNM,' some specialized form of male exhibitionism, to which there are dedicated web sites.

Spaulding: "Dude, it's so hot."
Me: "It's naked guys, and the women are fully dressed?"
Spaulding: "Yeah, but the women are, like, innocent until they go wild."
Me: "So it's like flashing?"
Spaulding: "No, the women want to be there. They're at a strip show"
Me: "So they're dressed – the women?"
Spaulding: "Yeah, that's the point."
Me: "So, as you're ipsating your way through the web site, you're looking
at what is, in fact, a male strip show?"
Spaulding: "Yeah."
Me: "Doesn’t that strike you as kind of...Siegfriedesque?"
Spaulding: "No! Dude, you don't get it. It's like you fantasize that
you're the guy."
Me: "And you need pictures of naked men to do that?"
Spaulding: "You obviously don't get it."
Me: "Obviously."

I invite you to send an email to elgattogrande@hotmail.com and tell Spaulding he's a closet homo. Be aware his average email turnaround-time is 3 to 48 months.

Then he moves on to 'shrimping,' which is the practice of toe sucking. I have a serious anti-foot fetish. Unfortunately, my mind leaps back to the time I saw Spaulding barefoot at hunting camp. He's not a stickler for hygiene, and his toenails are long enough that he could use them to hang upsidedown, bat-like, from the ceiling. The thought of someone putting his foot in their mouth genuinely sickens me. I can also still remember the hideous stench of his hunting boots. The mental image makes me literally gag, hard, on a swig of GnT, and go into a coughing fit.

The soccer mom across from us was subtly, yet noticeably, taking this all in. She must have thought we were a couple of real perverts. If she only knew.

Mercifully, the captain announces we're making our final approach. Pittsburgh bars will be much better, Spaulding assures me, because Pennsylvanians know how to drink. As if he's been suffering thus far.

The Moose Is Loose

There is, of course, nothing spectacular about Moosehead beer. But when we were youths, it was the most exotic, and therefore the best, brand we could get our hands on. So, being traditionalists, we while away the hour in Pittsburgh with some Moose and wings at TGIFs. We watch the muscular Venus Williams trounce some skinny white girl on the telly. "She's got big boobies," Spaulding observes. Few things escape his keen powers of observation. I have a nasty flashback when I notice a bottle of IROC beer
in the display rack. I had expected that, due to its debilitating side effects, the US Bureau of Health would have sealed their brewery in the Yucca mountains by now. Guess not. During a post-wing cocktail (more
Sapphire), some guy next to us is yelling into a cell phone. Spaulding asks him to hold it down, which he politely does. A minute later, cell phone guy correctly points out that Spaulding is louder than he was being.

"What's your excuse?" asks cell phone.

"Pbbbbbbt...I'm fucking drunk," replies Spaulding, as if it were the dumbest question ever asked. Which it may have been.

We board the 757 for Vegas. Spaulding is boisterous with the stew. He tells her she looks like Venus Williams. She does not. The flight is full, but the person next to me is a no-show. Frigging unlucky
coincidence, because guess who takes the seat? Before we even leave the gate he's yelling "cocktails!" Remember that news item, about the guy who *took a dump* on a beverage cart? I start to wonder. You won't believe this, but as we wait to depart, the stew comes down the aisle asking for a "Phil McCrackin?" I shit you not. Phil never shows. Maybe he was supposed to be my neighbor. I accuse Spaulding of having something to do with the 'Phil McCrackin' episode, but he maintains his innocence. Hmmmm. Shortly, we depart the slag-strewn acreage that is Pittsburgh.

As we rise up above the white, cottony cloud layer, I'm struck by the sheer beauty of it all. I figure I can see 50 miles out, and it's an unbroken sea of white. It looks like an arctic landscape, with towering
summits of pure white rising up like mountains out of the vastness. Again, I'm not overly religious, but it's hard to take in the view and not see the hand of a divine watchmaker. Spaulding belches, burning my eyes,
and again asks about cocktails, thus spoiling the moment.

We're an hour out before we can purchase dinner and cocktails. I get two Tanquerays. Spaulding orders four. I figured they won't give him that many, but they do. He owes $20 for the booze, but gives the cute stew $40 as a tip. Again, I don't know that they're supposed to take tips, but she does. Not all that long later, the stew is rewinding the cart. Spaulding orders two more GnTs "for later." This time, I'm SURE they won't give it to him. They do. Spaulding launches into his sermon about the power of toking. I've heard the same damn story about the guys who built his fence 50 times (he alleges that a $70 tip saved him $800). I tune him out, and let his prattle flow around my head. A bit later, the stew (to whom he
has tipped 30 or 40 bucks) comps him some headsets for the movie. He gives me a Farrah Fawcett sized grin, to drive his point home. Wonderful.

Mentally, I note how much more sedate the plane becomes about 20 minutes after beverage service. Except for Spaulding. Then, thankfully, the GnT confines me to a dark and dreamless nap about 90 minutes out.

I awake sometime later to tremendous snoring on my right. As we wing westward at 500 miles per hour, we reduce our usual motion relative to sidereal time. The 'unusually' long sunset is spectacular. When true
darkness is upon us, I'm stunned by the blackness of the view – only tiny patches of light every here and there. On the East coast, you’re never above an unpopulated, unshoppingmalled area. We must be over the Rockies.

Finally we see it. Las Vegas, as Holden wrote, does resemble a convention of ocean liners in the middle of a vast, endless sea of night. Full of poker aspirations, I wonder if I'll make a big score, or if I'm just
another jewel in Cooke's 'diamond tiara in the sky.'

To be continued.....


Fetish and Losing in Las Vegas - 02

I distinctly remember when the first of our group turned 16 and we got our
hands on a car and went to our first adult bookstore ever. Spaulding was
so excited we had to make him run a lap around the building to calm down.
Our arrival in Vegas was similar.

We land at McCarron and hustle to baggage claim. It was the fastest
Spaulding has moved since trying to catch the girl in the beer cart. We
wait about 15 minutes for our bags, which seems like an eternity. I use
the time to brief Spaulding on the poker scene, while he pours 20 bucks
down a slot machine hitting zero winners. "We've got to be careful," I
tell him, "This is Las Vegas, graveyard of hometown champions. And you're
not a hometown champion. You're not a home game champion. Now that I
think about it, you're the worst player I've ever seen or even heard
"Yeah, yeah," he says.

As for my poker plan, I had set aside $2K for this trip which, of course,
got sucked down by an unanticipated car problem. I mentally set a loss
limit of $1K for myself. So my plan is to start small, hopefully win, and
work my way up. God knows what kind of random walk Spaulding will be
taking, but that’s his problem.

We grab our bags ,walk out the door, and hop on a shuttle. On the way,
the driver gives his big, happy spiel. He shares plenty of gambling and
dining advice, noting that he has "probably saved us hundreds of dollars
already," not that we should feel obligated to show our appreciation or
anything. Yes, this town runs on tips and he's priming the pump. I'm
pleased that he mentions poker as the gambler's best bet. Steer those
tourists to our table baby. Oh, yeah, we're tourists too. He says he can
answer any question about Las Vegas, any question at all, don't be shy,
ask away. So I ask him where poker tournaments can be found. He gives me
a two minute, perky answer that contains no useful information whatsoever.
We each tip him a buck or two, and he's happy.

At the Flamingo, Spaulding wanders around while I wait in line to check
in. The wait isn't too bad. Once off the elevator, we walk an amazing
distance (I later paced it off at 280 yards) and enter the room. It's
reasonably sized, decently clean, but (cue "Theme from Jaws") features a
single king sized bed. It dawns on me that I booked the room before
Spaulding decided to tag along, and never gave it a second thought. This
will NOT do. Before I can call for a switch, Spaulding explains that
he'll be up all night and will simply sleep when I'm at class. Hmmmm. I
finally agree, on the condition that I always get the clean sheets, but I
still don't really like it. We unpack by dumping our suitcases. It takes
all of a minute. Spaulding starts assembling a fairly elaborate bar on
the desk. "Where'd you get all the booze?" I ask.
"Giftshop," he says.

I make sure the TV gets Discovery and ESPN (it does) while Spaulding
fetches some ice. We linger long enough for Spaulding to mix up a couple,
uh, somethings, in the water glasses provided by the hotel. I think it
was gin with a drop of Snapple, over rocks. No matter. We toast our
arrival, then head down to the host casino, where we've agreed we'll play
tonight. We'll explore tomorrow.

Tuesday, 12:30am (Eastern), The Las Vegas Flamingo

We quickly find the card room, or rather card area (it is not enclosed),
at the Flamingo. It consists of about 7 tables spreading 2-4 and 4-8 HE,
and 1-5 stud. We get on all the lists and get seated separately, but at
adjacent tables, within 15 minutes. I draw a 4-8 seat and buy in for
$200. Spaulding draws 2-4 but stays on the 4-8 list. I make a mental
note that my class starts at 8:00am, which is 11:00am East Coast time, so
I can play until 4 or 5 Eastern and still be fresh for class. Half the
room is drinking Corona, so we order the same when the waitress arrives.
Actually, Spaulding orders a Corona and JD on ice. Showtime.

As I fold away on the first orbit, wary of locals and determined to play
tight, a hand develops where two guys go 11 bets on the river. Obvious
split pot as there's a possible straight out. But wait, guy #1 doesn't
have the nuts. Neither does guy #2! It was two pair against a better two
pair. Wow. It quickly becomes apparent that the whole table is a bunch
of tourists, with several first time players. My lips curls into a
greedy, Grinchly grin. Oh yeah, this is a good game.

I think the rake is lower here than in AC. There's a separate jackpot
drop, so it's kind of hard to tell with all the quarters being shuffled
around. Also, you get beer in an actual bottle, instead of Old Milwaukee
in a plastic cup that's not even topped off. The waitresses actually
thank you for a dollar tip, and for two bucks they'll make it sound
sincere, and they take good care of you. To Spaulding's delight, you can
smoke at the table. Vegas, we conclude, kicks the shit out of Atlantic

Sometime later, Spaulding joins me, making the game that much better. He
rebuys for $200 on top of what little he has left from 2-4. We keep
ordering Corona, noting that the waitress makes the run to the very nearby
bar every 12 minutes or so. Neither of us has let a run go by without
needing another drink, so far. I'm ahead about 50 bucks, but that's
nothing in this game. The variance here is pretty heavy. I won't inflict
bad-beat stories on you, but they were plentiful, which is to be expected
at a table like this.

We drink and play, play and drink, and have a good old time. The staff is
very friendly. They rotate duties, so the guy dealing to you now ('Earl')
might be the brush later on in the evening. The waitresses as we've
mentioned are friendly and efficient, if not much to look at. We tip them
well. Spaulding is throwing off chips, as usual, although with the high
variance when he draws out on someone it is usually for a big pot.

Oddly, although the action is great, the preflop play is usually tame.
Everyone wants to see the flop, but a preflop raise sometimes clears them
out – even though they'll go wild betting once they've made something
(anything). I learn this the hard way when I raise with kings and it gets
folded around to me. I adjust and creep in with big hands, and save the
raises for stuff like KJo, trying to shut some people out.

For the most part, you just have to show down the best hand to win, but I
get in a few neat plays, like this one: Late position guy raises on what
might be a steal. I have AKo in the SB and just call. I just read
Hellmuth's book, and I think he calls for a three-bet here, but since I
have to act first I elect to just call. Flop comes 3 little cards and I
check. Opener bets. I put him on overcards, so I raise, planning to bet
the turn and hopefully just pick it up there. He calls. Turn is a king.
I hesitate and check, hoping it hit him. He bets, and I decide to check
raise him again. He calls after a few seconds, which makes me think the
king missed him and he has an ace high. River is an ace. I immediately
check hard, like I didn't want to see that card. He bets. I get my third
check raise in. He calls and I win a good pot for heads up. Johnny
fucking Chan.

That reminds me of an error I spotted in 'Rounders.' When that leggy,
thin, brunette beauty comes to Mike's apartment and throws herself at him,
he takes a pass. I'm sorry, but that makes 'Plan 9 From Outer Space' look

We grab some quick, mediocre food and a cigar pretty late and get back to
the game, and chain drinking Coronas. A little later, Spauldings says,
for the 27th time since arriving, "I have to go see a man about a horse."
This is his stock phrase for 'take a whiz.' Yeah, I don't get it either.
He departs. I get involved in a few hands, and eventually realize he's
been gone for at least 30 minutes. No matter, I play on. When it seems
like it's been about an hour, and they're ready to pick up his checks, I
pick up and go to find him. I check the nearby bars, nothing. I check
Pai Gow, nothing. I wander the casino floor. Nothing. Maybe he hit the
wall and had to go pass out. Not likely, but I'll check. I do notice I'm
walking kind of funny though. Could those twenty beers on top of all that
vodka and gin be affecting me? Nah, probably jet lag or something. I
check the gift shop on my way to the room, he's not there either. I
overhear someone ask the girl what time it is. 4:00am. Should I hit the
sack or play another hour? I make the 280 yard trek from the elevator to
the room, involuntarily bumping into the wall twice. Whoa.

I card into the room and stumble in. That's when I see something I wish I
hadn't. Unattractive people in a primal scene. Oh, the humanity. The
grotesque facial contortions of a whiskey-dicked loser straining to knock
one out. There really ought to be a sensor on the bed that kills the
lights when the load exceeds 400 pounds. I shudder involuntarily, and

Having no choice, I stagger back to the cardroom to play some more. I'll
give him another hour, then go sleep on the couch. I've already vowed
NEVER to sleep in that bed, which I now envision as a little toxic waste
dump with 'lil crabs scurrying everywhere. I order another Corona in an
effort to kill the brain cells storing the image of Spaulding and that
skeevey hooker slamming the ham, and settle into some 1-5 stud. This game
is even better. Almost all first time players. Three nice, chubby,
middle aged women in town together are in the game, drinking it up. They
play every hand. My EV at this game might be as high as $20-$25 an hour
if I was playing well, but I'm a little off my discipline from all the
hooch. I'm having fun though! The ladies are pleasant and we're joking
around and just enjoying the game. Nice people. I start copying their
drink orders, and have a White Russian, then a Long Island Iced Tea, then
something else. Eventually, someone mentions it is 6:20. Wow, I
definitely have to get some sleep. Once again I stagger upstairs.

The lights are off, except for ESPN on the TV. There's a big lump in the
bed. Could be either or both of them. At this point, I don't care. I
leave a wake-up call for, lets see, make it 7:15 local time. The digital
clock in my room says 6:37. Convert that to local time and I can sleep
almost 4 hours, not too bad. I collapse on the coach with the phone right
next to my head, because I'm afraid otherwise I won't hear it.

I feel like I just closed my eyes when this Godawful ringing is
reverberating in my head. I open my eyes. I'm facedown on the couch,
fully dressed, drooling like a brain damaged Labrador Retriever. My
tongue tastes like a whorehouse rug. What the hell is that sound? Fuck,
it's the phone. I pick up, and it's my wakeup call. This can't be right.
I sit up. The clock says 7:15. It takes me about two minutes to figure
out I've been dealing with local time all night, and that we were playing
cards nine hours, not six. Meaning I've been asleep for about 35 minutes.
It's pretty Goddamn inconsiderate of Las Vegas people not to use East
Coast time, if you ask me.

Spaulding blinks awake. With a voice like gravel, he says "Dude, I found
a girl."
"I know, I came in the room."
"Really? I didn’t see you."
"I left right away."
"Where’d you find her?"
"She found me. I was passing the bar. She asked if I wanted to partake
in the local tradition."
"There have to be much better ones here."
"I know, but it was right there, you know?"
"Were you able to, uh, finish the job."
"I think so. (He looks in the garbage can) Yep. I think it cost me
extra though."
"You didn't touch the couch did you?"
"Good. Guess what, it's time for class."
"Wow. Ha. You going?"
"I guess."

I get in the shower, clasp my hands together, and place them at my
sternum. I lean against the wall with my hands and forehead against it,
close my eyes, and let hot water run over me for about 20 minutes, wisely
using the time to pray for death. Getting cleaned up helps, but not much.
I see Spaulding brought some Visine, that's good. When I get out of the
shower Spaulding is up and about and smoking a cigar. Incredible. I tell
him I feel like I just got hit by a truck. "Bah," he says, "that was
nothing. Tonight we get serious." He assures me we'll be back at it in
full drinking mode by noon. Somehow, inexplicably, I let him convince me
that the best idea is to choke down some hair of the dog. He swears it
will break the hangover and return me to a merely inebriated state, which
is surely better, and that's what he's going to do anyway. I don't even
answer, but he mixes up something for both of us. Roughly a double vodka
grapefruit, it's not like he measures or anything, and I just drink it in
zombie mode. He gives me a hit off the cigar. "The nicotine will perk
you right up." This is *extremely* unlike me. Must be the magic spell of
Las Vegas.

"Yo, did we win or lose?" he asks me. "I have no idea," I reply
truthfully, as I stagger out the door.

To be continued.....


Check out what the readers are saying about this series so far:

"I found it unreadable boring tripe. I can't believe what some
people find entertaining." – Josh L

"It's always nice to see true perverts...." – howardbeal1@yahoo.com

Fetish and Losing in Las Vegas – 03

[Cue music: Blinded by the Light, ELO]

So I show up for class, having slept less than an hour in the past
thirty-some, and having been drinking heavily for the last twenty-two
hours. I wonder if anyone will notice? I'm barely in the door, when the
instructor, a distinguished looking sixty-something-year-old says 'rough
night, huh?' I immediately concoct a story in my head about having the
flu and having just arrived on the red eye, but I just say "Yeah, first
time in Vegas and I'm here with Asmodius."

The instructor seems understanding, but he does mention right up front
that if you skip parts of class you won't get all of the credits (some
kind of continuing education credits that I neither want nor need) on your
diploma. Paranoia sets in that I'll be questioned for not getting all the
credits if I skip part of the class. I'm such a wuss. Sure, I can say I
was sick (which is quite true), but it's going to be pretty obvious what
sort of 'sickness' I had. Not wanting to kill future opportunities to
train in Vegas, I'm just going to have to suck it up and ride out the

The class itself is fairly worthless. I could definitely extract the same
value just by reading the materials as I'll get by attending the class,
and I don't say that lightly – I'm a pussy about skipping classes, and
have never done it. But I clearly could this time, if not for the stupid
credits. The class is almost all discussion and exercises, and my
classmates aren't exactly Tom Peters and Lee Iacocca. Most of them seem
to simply enjoy hearing themselves talk. And of course, there's the
mandatory woman who knows everything and has to comment on everything. By
10:00am we're doing a group exercise. I'm sitting with my group, just
trying to stay awake. One of my teammates is a really heavyset woman.
Perfectly nice, if something of a blabbermouth. We're sitting in a circle
and I'm next to her. At this point, I lean forward, elbows on knees, and
cradle my head in a downward position. I'm staring right at her feet.
Feet. In open shoes. Her feet are fat. The blubber bulges around the
straps on the shoes. It looks like if she took her shoes off, her feet
would expand to circular, hippo-like pads. Her toes are fat. She has
calves like canned hams. Her toenails are in disrepair. Shrimping. I
make a guttural noise and run to the head, where I go though the motions
of throwing up three times, but my stomach is empty so I just heave. "I
swear I won’t drink today," I say to the stall walls.

[Cue music: Hold the Line, Toto]

I go to the room on a break. Spaulding whips up his patented hangover
cure for me: A big glass of half spring water, half orange juice, with a
half teaspoon of salt, and three Motrins. "And this really helps?" I ask.
"Hey," he replies, "who's the drunk here, you or me?"
"OK. But I'm telling you now, I'm not drinking today."
"You just did," he says, "There was some Absolut Mandrin in there. It
helps ease you out of it gradually." My sense of taste was so dull I

didn't even detect the booze.

Somehow, it does help. Mandrin and Motrin, it's like Spaulding's Special
Sauce. After getting some food in me at lunch, I start to rebound. I
stop in the room again before returning to class, because we have some
extra time. Spaulding is there, watching trash TV and enjoying a cocktail
before he goes for food. He makes me one. "OK, just one. After this I'm
only drinking beer. Swear to God."

Tonight I want to hit the Bellagio. I understand that's where the pros
usually go. I brought a digital camera. I'd love to get a nice shot of
me with a pro or two for over my bar. Imagine the intimidation factor at
the home game when I point to the wall and say "Yep, there's me and Texas
Dolly at the Bellagio. He's the one on the right." Also I would tell
Doyle how I check raised a guy three times in one hand last night. Surely
he would be impressed and probably want to hang out with me.

During the afternoon, I conclude my classmates are incapable of internal
thought. Every fool idea that fires across their neurons comes spilling
out of their mouths. They talk, for 30 minutes, about the importance of
customer service. "You have to please the customer." "No, in these
competitive times you have to DELIGHT the customer." "I would be willing
to give the customer a vigorous handjob with the complimentary lotion from
my hotel room, if that would exceed his expectations." OK, I made up that
last one. I glance at the water pitcher. If only my head was a little
smaller, I would drown myself in it. That's probably why they make them
so narrow. You know, liability and whatnot. So I tune out my insipid
classmates and prepare the following list of Stuttering-John style
questions in case we see any poker personalities at Bellagio. I know that
Spaulding will ask them on a dare, or just to make me laugh.

Ferguson: How's it going Buddha?

Cloutier: Don’t you owe me a hundred bucks?

Hellmuth: Do you know Chris Moneymaker? Now there’s a player.

Negreanu: Ever get aroused by Beach Volleyball on the Playstation?

Phillips: Can I have your autograph mister McConaughey?

Duke: Do you know what shrimping is?

Lederer: Quick, what's the square root of 4,761?

Chan: Mike McDermot was bluffing. How do you like them apples?

Ivey: Didn't you steal my car?

Harman: If you bought a blowdryer you could be hot.

Bloch: Didn't we go to community college together?

Gordon: Does Friedman ever let you polish his WSOP bracelet?

Brunson: If you were stranded on a desert island with Matusow and
Hellmuth, would you kill first?

Affleck: Who has a bigger ass, J Lo or Silent Bob?

Caro: I'm a mad genius too. How about that?

Malmuth: If you smiled, would your face shatter into a million pieces?

Sklansky: I hear you went to Penn State, but couldn't graduate. Tough

Dutch Boyd: Caveat emptor, am I right? Booyah! (offer high five)

Glazer: Remember me from the San Francisco hot tubs?

Lee Jones: I'll give you 10 bucks to say the f word.

Hiatt: You're so hot I'd make soup with a pair of your used panties.
That turns you on, doesn't it?

McManus: I read your book. The only words I didn't have to look up were
'tits' and 'the.'

I know, most of them aren't that good. Remember, I'd been more or less
drinking for 28 hours straight.

At 3pm we start the last exercise. It's written and individual, and won't
be discussed. The instructor says we can leave and do it in our rooms if
we want. He gives me a wink. "God bless you," I say. I go to the room.
We have a gin and tonic, easy on the tonic. "Last one for today."
"Sure." We crash for a nap. I take the couch.

By 8 we're up and chowing down some room service hot wings (generous
portions, but not very good). I retrieve the fanny pack I had been
wearing yesterday. It's heavier than I expected. I open it up, and count
about $450 in Flamingo chips. I must not have cashed out. Unless I
rebought, which I don't think I did, I guess I won $250 last night.
Somehow. I know I saw lots of flops and lots of fourth streets in stud.
I think the only skill I had which was not alcohol impaired was the
ability to give it up on the flop/4th. I guess that was good enough
against all those first timers. Nearly 24 hours after checking in, we
leave the property for the first time. Destination: Bellagio.

[Cue music: China Grove, The Doobie Brothers]

We're about three steps out of the Flamingo when we notice people are
walking around with beers. What a great town. We go right back in and
get two beers each for the walk to Bellagio. Back outside, people in
safety vests are handing out all these little advertisements for in-room
dancers. I tell them not to touch me, but Spaulding starts collecting
them. Some of them have the good parts blurred, or covered with a little
star. Spaulding likes the uncensored ones better. In the short walk to
the Bellagio, he must get at least two dozen of the things, which he

We get to Bellagio. Oddly, for a high-end place, the first thing we see
are nickel slots. Probably ten people at work have told me I "must" see
the fountain show. So we find a little outdoor patio where people are
dining next to the pond. We wander out and watch the show, for 20
seconds. "Pretty neat," I say.
"Yeah," says Spaulding. "Let’s go."

We find the poker room. Very classy. Could use more TVs though. There
are two seats at a 4-8 table, so we take them. A chip runner brings us
each $200 in nice, new blue chips. We each give him 2 bucks. I don’t
think we had to post, which was cool. Immediately, we get the cocktail
waitress ('Mandy') locked in our tractor beam. She's pretty good looking.
Young, thin. The uniforms could be a little sluttier, but not bad.
Hooters-like shorts, little Reebok tennis shoes. Yeah, she's a little
hottie. Spaulding orders a double gin and tonic. My turn. "Fuck it,
double gin and tonic." Spaulding just smiles at me.

A good double GnT should taste like slightly carbonated gin. There's a
lot of tonic in Bellagio doubles. They were probably more like
one-and-a-quarters. Ultimately, this was probably all for the best.

This game is way tougher than the Flamingo games. Most people seem at
least competent. Spaulding is playing his usual loose game, and
constantly finding himself up against one or two opponents with much
better hands. I fold a lot. I was going to try to move up to a higher
limit, but the toughness of this game makes me rethink that plan. Better
to stay here and drink heavily, I decide. Perversely, had I been behind
for the trip I know I would have been much quicker to move up. I guess
that's the chasing instinct. Being ahead a few bucks, I was content to
protect my lead.

I raise in early position with AKo. Some guy three bets me from late
position and I call. Flop is undercards. I "bet to see where I'm at" as
recommended by Hellmuth. He raises and I call. I check and fold on the
turn. I might have been outplayed there, I'm not sure. I keep scanning
the high limit area for poker personalities (I brought my camera, and my
questions) but I don’t see any. Eventually I ask the dealer if any
'names' are in the house. He doesn't really know, but says Gus Hanson was
there yesterday. Spaulding three bets a pot from middle position and gets
two takers. At showdown, his third and fourth pair beat top pair, top
kicker. His opponent is rather nonplussed. Get used to it pal. Mandy is
a little slower than the Flamingo cycle, averaging a run every 17 minutes
or so (most people clock dealers, we clock cocktail waitresses). We stick
to 'double' GnTs, and again never miss a run. Spaulding hits on Mandy.
"Sorry sweetheart, I'm married," she lies.
"Do you think your husband would let me give him a blowjob just to get
some of your flavor?"
She leaves quickly.

We ask if they have tournaments. Seems satellites start tomorrow for the
upcoming big event (5 Star Classic?). I'd love to play some satellites,
but since we won't be here during the event it doesn't make much sense.
We stick with 4/8. Spaulding has to rebuy about an hour in, and is
getting beat up pretty good. About an hour later, we've each had many
doubles and are feeling pretty good. Discipline is starting to fade
though. I flop a set of tens on a single suited board. Decent action.
Turn is the fourth suited card and I stay in hoping the board pairs. The
river doesn't pair the board and I get stubborn and pay off a bettor and
an overcaller in an obvious fold situation.

A few hands later I three bet with jacks. Three of us see the A-K-x flop.
I fold when it comes to me as two bets, and one guy did in fact have AK.
I limp in with Axs and have to call a raise behind me. I flop a flush
draw, and hang in to make a small straight with my little card. It's
good, but some guy criticizes my play. "How about this," I say, "I'll let
you play your cards the way you want to, and you let me play mine." He
mumbles to his neighbor and glares at me. I should have brought the
Manbeast, who would have done the verbal equivalent of drenching the guy
in gasoline and dropping a match.

We take a break to go see a man about a horse, and take a quick tour of
the Bellagio. It's full of those upscale bars that we don't care for.
Cost you two hundred bucks to get plastered there, while hot chicks ignore
you. We agree to play a little longer and, if the tide doesn't turn,
we'll head out.

We return, but first I check the high stakes area again. I had hoped to
meet Paul Phillips, the only poker celebrity I've ever exchanged email
with. I really enjoy his writing. I figured he would be very gracious
about posing for a quick picture until security answered his call and
dragged us away. Oh, I guess I've also exchanged rgp posts with Glazer,
but I was somewhat critical one of his columns and am probably on his shit
list. Anyway, I don't recognize a soul. More gin. I win a decent pot.
One early limper. I only have QTo but I raise in the cutoff to isolate
him. No good. The button and both blinds call, as does the limper. I
flop an open ender and with that many players I'm willing to keep putting
in raises. We cap the flop and go two bets on the turn and I make my
straight on the end, getting paid off in two places. That hand puts me in
the black. I pretty much fold for the last 20 minutes. When Spaulding
beats the critic out of a big pot with total garbage, mister critic laughs
at his play. Spaulding gives him the home game business: He makes an L
on his forehead and says "Llllllllllllloser! Loserloserloser!" We're so
mature. I say, "Let's go. This guy will be much happier playing against
all these guys who play right." Several other players give the critic the
evil eye. But I doubt he got the message. We grab a last round of
cocktails from Mandy, and cash out. I was 18 dollars ahead. Woo, hoo.
So I probably won 50 plus, having tipped the runner 2 bucks, Mandy 3 bucks
an estimated nine times, and the dealer 1 buck some number of times. I
probably need to win 2.5 big bets per hour just to cover cocktail
expenses. I ask Spaulding where he wants to go. "Looking for trouble,"
is his reply. We wander the strip, catching the Mirage volcano show. The
whole fucking lagoon was on fire.

[Cue music: (She’s only) Seventeen, Poison]

Somewhere on the strip we pass two really hot girls loitering with an
older guy. Really hot. "They’re hookers!" says Spaulding. I'm not sure,
but they're pretty fine. We double back and when we pass them we say 'Hi,
beautiful night huh?' They reply, ever so slightly suggestively, but
that's it. Unsure, we walk away only to double back again. Spaulding
REALLY wants to make a score here. They're so good looking, even I'm
thinking that maybe taking Valtrex isn't so bad after all. We don't get
anywhere with them, although we never came right out and asked for a date
or anything. I don't think they were hookers after all. After getting
about 4 beers in random places, we wander back to the Flamingo at my
suggestion. I think I can win there, and Spaulding can drink cheap and
not lose too much, and it's a much friendlier crowd. During the course of
our travels, Spaulding must have collected a hundred of those in-call ads.

We get back to the Flamingo around midnight, I think. Travelers tip:
Wear a watch in Vegas. Once again we're pretty corked. Spaulding says
"Let's stop up in the room, I need a smoke."
"You can smoke at the table, remember?"
"Not this I can't."

I don't even want to know how he scored weed allegedly without leaving the
property or, more likely, if he was stupid enough to bring it along in his
luggage. In the room he uses a credit card to open a closet safe I didn't
even know was there, and pulls out a bag big enough to make me worry that
it would carry a trafficking conviction. We share a quarter pounder while
he arranges his in-call ads like an NCAA tourney bracket. He plays them
off, single elimination, until he decides on the hottest one. I casually
remind him of a past experience where the girls that showed up looked
nothing like the girls in the picture. "Yeah, yeah," he says.

We get back into the Flamingo games somewhere around 1:00. Spaulding
orders up and I remain silent. I don't want to suffer in class again, and
my head is really spinning. "Dude," Spaulding says, "don't you need a
"Damn you and your relentless peer pressure. OK, I'll have a..."
"...double gin and tonic," the waitress finishes my sentence.
"I’m obviously getting too predictable."

The Flamingo games are just so much better. Easy money, even for an idiot
like me. We're in a stud game with the three friendly ladies from the
night before. They remember me and mention my copying their drinks.
They're laughing it up, and they've got those really loud, chubby-lady
laughs. When they each order three different drinks, Spaulding says,
"Bring me one of each of what they're having." One of the woman says to
him, "What are you, some kind of alcoholic?"
"No ma'am, alcoholics have to go to classes. I'm a drunk."
They burst out laughing, really loud. I roll my eyes. They think
Spaulding is the funniest man in America, now that Carson is off the air.
The down side to this is that now that Spaulding has an audience, he
starts putting on the Spaulding show, and I'm sideshow Variable. One the
next waitress run, he says "Time to get serious. Bring us a couple of
Gibsons, and keep them coming until one of us dies."

[Cue music: It's the End of the World (as we know it), REM]

When I remark that I've had the bring-in three times in a row, Spaulding
tells the dealer he'll give her a buck every time she makes me the
bring-in. Soon he and I are betting $2 every hand on who will get the
bring-in. Whenever one of us wins we toke the 2 bucks to the dealer.
"Take it, it's his money!" We also bet on who will win pots we're not
involved in. Those winnings go to the waitress every Gibson run.
Spaulding is tipping players who beat me out of a pot. It's remarkable
how the staff will tolerate drunken louts, as long as they're toking. We
have a great time.

I have three more pages of notes in my Mead tablet from after this point
in the session. They are almost totally illegible except for an obscene
drawing that Spaulding made. Now I know how Hunter S. Thompson must have
felt. All I can say with certainty is that I woke up on the couch in
worse condition than the day before, with no recollection of when I left
the game or how I managed to get to the room at all. Spaulding is not in
the room. As I drag myself down the hallway towards class, I'm so
lightheaded that I feel like I'm wandering around in a Salvidor Dali

To be continued...


Fetish and Losing in Las Vegas - 04

More praise for this series:

"If this stupid crap is what passes for funny, then please shoot me if
I ever laugh again." -- Chris Parker (CPK332@hotmail.com)

"Shut up and Deal was long-winded boring crap, and your posts follow in
his footsteps" -- Pete Roberts


Subtitle: "Fuck the GFE"

(Cue obscure music: Apache, Sugar Hill Gang)

I survive class again, somehow. I weasel out at 2:00pm, somehow, with
another assignment to complete. I spy Spaulding at the bar near the
elevators. He's talking to some real slutbucket. Kind of a butter-face.
You know, everything is good "butter face." I know, that's an old one,
but it's appropriate in this case. I don't approach them, deciding to
just watch for a minute. She's got a reasonable body, but obviously her
odometer has been rolled over. Twice. She's wearing jeans so tight that
if she had a dime in her back pocket I'd be able to read the date on it.
Got the highest high heels I've ever seen. She's smoking, of course,

which accounts for her Yoda-like weathered skin and the Darth Vader voice
("Luke, buy a lady a drink?"). Gives me a real hard off. They head for
the elevators. Oh well. He looked soberish, so this shouldn't take long.
I plop down at the bar and work on my assignment. Having avoided
drinking for an outrageous 8 to 10 hours now, I allow myself three slow
lagers. I complete my assignment in just about an hour, then wander

Spaulding is getting dressed, having just showered. "Dude, I scored..."

"Yeah, I know, I saw her," I interrupt. "In-call ad winner?"

"Not the winner but one of the Final Four."

"Looked like she's spent more time staring at ceilings than
Michelangelo. Not much like the hot pictures on those cards."

"I know. You should have seen the hardwood beav, looked like a gnarled
hot wing. I had to go with Russian and manual."

"Always the discriminating gentleman."

"I gotta get a good one before we leave. I have one more lead. This
internet service where girls advertise – eros.com. You definitely get the
girl from the picture. They're a little pricey though. They advertise as
escorts, but it's pretty clear by the ads that they make the two-backed
beast. Here's something I don't understand: A lot of them advertise the
'GFE,' the Girl Friend Experience. What's that? They sit there and tell
you about all their stupid problems? Fuck the GFE, I want the DHO, the
Dirty Whore Experience."

I change into sweats and crash on the couch for a few hours of much-needed
sleep. After a hot shower, we saddle up and head out for the Mirage.
Surely there will be some pros to be found there. We hit the California
Pizza kitchen for some dinner. I have some kind of pasta-garlic-shrimp,
washed down with a couple of Anchor Steam Ales. It is the only meal of
the trip that I would say was quite good.

We hit the poker room and head for the brush. They're looking for one
more person to kick off a $25 satellite. Not even knowing what game is
being spread, I take it. It is limit hold 'em, and we start with T300,
blinds of 15 and 25, T25/T50 betting. There are two older women at the
table who look like twins. Someone asks them about it. They swear
they're not related. Every single hand, they glance at each other after
receiving their hole cards. When something is obvious enough for a fish
like me to notice, something funny is going on. They both bust out
rapidly. Eight(!) minutes after starting, a timer goes off and we jump to
25/50 blinds, 50/100 betting. What's that all about? After using red
chips for all of eight minutes, we race them off. I do not win a green
chip. I get 99 and raise. It's reraised behind me and I call. Three of
us see the flop, which contains a king and two small cards. Someone bets,
I foolishly raise, and when I'm reraised I'm all in on the first hand I
play, during the SECOND level, before I've seen the frigging turn card. I
lose to KT. Thoroughly disgusted by the format, I decide not to buy into
the $120 main event. Someone now says those two old ladies (they have
left) are sisters at least, if not twins, and they both have WSOP
bracelets. I mutter that we might as well have played bingo or flipped a
coin with that structure, and leave the table. Wasn't there long enough
for my Corona to arrive.

I take a 3/6 seat and look around for Spaulding. He's in a bigger game.
This 3/6 game is worse than Bellagio. Shortly, the tournament starts.
Dammit, the satellite structure must have been so fast because the tourney
was ready to go. I would have bought in to the main event if I wasn’t
worried that the structure would suck. I play tight, as does everyone
else, for about an hour, winning one hand. Realizing I have nil EV at
this table, I pick-up, down 20 bucks, and go to find Spaulding. He's on
the rush that had to come sooner or later, possessed by the ghost of
Dice-boy, and has the whole table on tilt. I decide to sweat him and
drink up for a while.

(Cue music: Hot, Hot, Hot – Buster Poindexter)

He beats top two pair by hanging on with sevens to river a set. The fool
three bets Spaulding on the end, only to get four bet. Spaulding shows
him the wicked-witch-of-the-west laugh, which is absolutely irritating. I
get on the list in case a seat opens at this table, which it never will as
long as Spaulding is sitting. I watch him work the magic that I have
suffered through so many times. He brings out all the home game moves,
like looking at only one card. He loses some, naturally, but the deck is
slamming him over the head and he's winning more than his fair share,
working up a nice stack. The more he wins, the more hands he plays, and
the more tilted his opponents get until *they’re* giving up tons of EV as
well. He wins one with 73o, making a straight, and trots out our favorite
Homerism, "I'll never get my comeuppance! Do you hear me? NEVER!" When
he actually gets dealt a big hand, the chips pour in like a slot jackpot.
To their credit, Spaulding's opponents are very nice to him, with no
bitching about bad beats. Unlike the Bellagio, they're smart enough not
to tap on the aquarium. Eventually he looks at his chips, decides he has
made enough, and announces, "Gentlemen, you have just bought me a Dirty
Whore Experience. Oh yeah." There is a loud outcry from the table,
urging him to stay. They actually ask him where he'll be playing later.

We go outside and snare a cab. "Take us to the nearest adult book store,
my man." Spaulding figured Vegas dirty book stores would be better than
ours. They're about the same. It's kind of comforting, in a way, to know
that how ever far you may roam across this great land, you can always
purchase a prosthetic forearm and fist, should the need arise. Spaulding
is a little disappointed that the store isn't more outrageous. I don't
know what he expected, perhaps snuff films. Anyway, he manages to find a
DVD that fills one of the gaps in his extensive collection. "Dolls With
Balls 4," or some equivalent. Spaulding goes to make his purchase. The
actual DVDs aren't in the display box (for anti-theft reasons, I suppose),
so the clerk has to fish the disc out of these file cabinets. He can't
seem to locate this particular disc. Meanwhile, two cute girls come in to
giggle at the merchandise, and they're standing only a few feet away from
us. Just then, the clerk says, "Ohhhh, that's in the gay section! That
explains why I couldn't find it!"

"It's NOT fucking gay, it's a variation! Your fucking filing system is

Back to the strip. We decide to hit some bars and clubs and, unrealistic
as the idea is, try to pick up some non-professional dates.

(Cue appropriately hip music, Copacabana, Barry Manilow)

Wow, did that not go well. Granted, we were consistently hitting on good
looking women, but most of them wouldn’t even talk to us. It was kind of
an ego blow, even for us. I think we have to work on our pickup lines.
Here's some that didn't work, fyi:

"You don't look like a hooker at all."

"Now there's a quality boob job."

"Would you call this DVD gay?"

"Do stray cats follow you home?"

"You don't get it? Think about it: what kind of smell might attract a

Spaulding couldn't even make progress with the horsey girls. A horsey
girl is a mildly overweight woman who tries to get all dolled up. High
heels, and invariably too much make up. Because of the weight, they make
a clopping sound when they walk, hence the term.

I made this observation: If you approach a woman at a bar, and if you're
coming in from the side, if she does not make eye contact, just give it up
right there. She saw you peripherally, and your silhouette, staggering
gait, and perhaps the scent of stale whiskey which preceded you were
enough for her to make up her mind. By not looking at you, she's hoping
you'll leave her alone. If they won't make eye contact, you have no
chance. Not that we do so well with the ones who do make eye contact.

We visit the Venetian so Spaulding could take a dump. He tips the
cleaning person two bucks, and says "Dude, I totally befouled your stall."
We're looking at the canals, and the singing gondoliers. "What's the big
deal? It's about as deep as a baby pool." We visit a large room where
the ceiling is painted like the daytime sky. Spaulding asks me, "Dude,
wasn't it just dark out?" I hope he was kidding, but it's hard to tell
sometimes. We do not look for a poker room.

We visit the hotel room where Spaulding leaves some call-back messages for
his 'DHOs.' I remind him we have to check out by noon tomorrow, giving
him a very narrow operating window.

Once again, we find ourselves tilting drinks and players in the fabulous
Flamingo card area. I still can't get over the huge difference in player
quality from place to place. We get in a ripe game with several familiar
faces, most of them having never played as of a week ago. There's a
distinguished black gentleman at our table, who speaks like James Earl
Jones. First time player. Unfortunately, Spaulding (now loaded again)
thinks this is the time to lay down his severely white version of ebonics.

"True dat."

"Raise? You be trippin' homes."

"Foshizzle minizzle pizzle."

After that last one, James Earl looks at me and asks, "Is you friend
trying to say something?" I lean towards him and whisper, "He's slightly
retarded." James Earl looks at Spaulding for a few seconds, then nods in

I actually head for bed by 2:00am or so, only to lie there for 20 minutes,
wide awake. The irony. A few Gibsons might chill me out. True dat.
Back down I go, and manage to get back in the same game. We each have a
shot of Rumple Mintz, for the sake of tradition. The nonsense continues.
Spaulding wins a nice hand, stands up and does the Spaulding dance.
Picture Chris Farley doing a Tony Manero and you’ve got the idea. A new
lady near me rolls her eyes and mumbles "What is his story?" James Earl
leans over and whispers to her, "He's retarded, don't upset him."

(Cue music: Enter Sandman, Metallica)

Somewhere around 4 we take one more quick spin on the strip to see if
anything nice is out and about, and have a beer or two. When we get back
to the room, we both urgently need to see a man about a horse. I beat
Spaulding to the head. He'll use the sink, he says, he has to go that
bad. I say no way and slam the door. When I come out and he rushes in, I
notice a palm sized wet spot on the front of his jeans. "Dude, I was
ready to go and you cut me off. I had a little seepage." A grown man
pissed his pants. Nice. Wasn't Stantz in the Flamingo when he had that
'accident' described in his classic trip report? Maybe he was even if
this room. Somehow that seems fitting.

I change into my sweats and fall asleep in seconds.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

"Poker passed the Larry Test in the biggest way possible, which is to say Larry showed up one day babbling about the poker game he’d watched the night before the way a 12 year-old tells his friends about discovering the Playboy magazine in his father’s closet. Poker, it seems, has gone mainstream."

Strap yourself in.
Genuine tangential, Guinness-fueled uberpost ahead.

But first, here's a photo from the Cincinnati airport, reflecting our weather the past few days.

Where to even begin? I trust everyone enjoyed the holidays....I'm just so thankful that I don't have to hear any more freaking Christmas tunes for another 12 months.

I've had so much fun reading the Vegas Trip Reports that I haven't had it in me to post. I'm still relishing and reflecting upon my time in Vegas with my blogging brethren. There can't ever be another inaugural event and I'm so damn happy I decided to show up. I'm ill-equipped to explain it all properly.

Otis put it best in one of his wonderful writeups:

For one very long hour between 6pm and 7pm, I considered the possibility that I might die in Vegas.

Oh the Humanity.
The above still makes me chuckle.

Anyway, I'm still spending evenings laughing and playing donating with the bloggers on Party so I'm way behind on my reading. I'm having to win in my regular grinding just to offset my losses with the damn bloggers. If anyone wants easy money, come sit with me late at night after a dozen beers. I'm literally throwing a party, giving it away.

Anyway, I've some drivel to post. Hope I can bang this all out tonite.

A special shout-out of thanks to Aunt Maudie for sending me my official blogger t-shirts. Notice the plural. Maudie wasn't quite sure of my actual size, so in order to be safe, she had two tshirts made for me; one dwarf sized and the other regular sized.

I shall cherish that tiny tshirt forever. :)

Also, a few evenings ago, I enjoyed an interesting telly conversation with Johnny over at Poker Nation as he researches material for an upcoming book. We had a fun discussion about poker, and as voracious book readers/collectors, we compared notes on our favorite poker books and philosophies. Hopefully, I provided him with some decent info (sorry for the slurring, Johnny, I hope you could understand me) about the inherent risks of playing poker for a living and the solitary nature of both poker and blogging, within the confines of a community. Best of luck on the book, Sir.

It's funny, but I don't consider myself much of a gambler. I had most of the gamble beaten out of me, living in Vegas long ago. But I fully fathom that wagering on the turn of a card is gambling.

But so is driving on the fucking freeway.

Which got me thinking. "Life as a gamble" is a convenient metaphor spoken by gamblers and non-gamblers alike to emphasize the elements of risk and uncertainty in our actions. Accidents, misfortunes and/or bad luck may occur at almost any time to disturb our perceptions of order and control. This shared belief in the risky aspects of both life and gambling seems to be a subcultural symbol among gambloors. This belief orders the gambler's conceptual experiences and is a basis for strategy making, so there's good reason to believe that equating life with gambling, at least among full-time pro's, is more than just a catchy metaphor that rationalizes play.

Someone smarter than me once said, "Don't gamble unless you can afford to lose, and if you can afford to lose, you don't have to gamble." That confused me for a long time, at least until I went broke many years ago, and had to deconstruct from the ground up. Now it makes perfect sense.

One thought about this, something I've blogged about before. Per poker and playing comfortably within your bankroll. I was harassed quite a bit by Fast Eddie for not tackling the 15.30 games on a regular basis on Party Poker. What he still fails to understand is that for me to play my best, I need to be able to play with impunity. Not everyone is wired the same way but I acknowledge my limitations. I wanted and needed a fat cushion for those inevitable 200-300 BB downward slides when you run bad.

I truly feel that financial indifference is one of the keys to being successful (in poker).


The above is from BadBlood's latest post, a fine retrospective for any new poker players who may be struggling with their game right now. Actually, I just love hearing about everyone's poker journey, I truly find it fascinating.

Anyway, for me, the 15.30 games are much trickier than what I'm used to. I'm still adjusting. I've played a good amount of brick & mortar poker and quite a bit of the games below 15/30 on Party, and gotten purty good at evaluating games. The quality of individual 15/30 tables varies much more than the tables at any other limit I've played. Some tables are incredible, others are terrible, and tables can go from good to bad very quickly. I probably do more table hopping than I should, but as I said, I'm still adjusting.

Also, the 15/30 is not only a jump in stakes, it's also a big jump in aggression. You will get far fewer free turns in position, get 3-bet, stop-and-goed, and bluff raised much more and more effectively than you're used to. All of this is going to make your variance go way up. I'm no expert but I am doing OK in these games. Sure, I walk into my share of uppercuts and I pay for my aggression, but it doesn't bother me because I can absorb the lumps without Variance, the Bitch, throwing a temper tantrum in my head. Long story short: Just make sure you have the roll before you make the jump.

I sense a rant coming on, so perhaps I should just get to the Good Stuff. The Best of Poker Content from around the web. Lord knows it's been awhile since I did a genuine uber-post.....

So where to start? How about with a good old-fashioned shilling? If you aren't playing on Party Poker, you are deeply and profoundly retarded. Seriously. If you need a sign up code to take the leap, please consider Bonus Code IGGY and please email me afterwards, telling me how right I was about the awful players. I can't even write this paragraph with a straight face anymore, damnit, but it's still all true.

Let the rambling commence:

Geez, I just noticed the Bad Beat Jackpot on Party is nearing $300,000. Have you noticed how the BBJ table population explodes when it hits 200k? It's a tremendous apportunity for many of us because of the fish who rush into these tables to take a shot at a big payday are NOT full table ring game players. I love those guys.

I saw this response post about the Party jackpot tables and thought I'd share it for the unitiated.

Subject: Re: Party bad beat jackpot: when to play?

>The last 2 digits, at least, seem phony. The drop is $0.50 per hand, so
>there would be no obvious way to get those odd-penny amounts. I've been
>using a little piece of post-it on the screen to cover up the distraction.

The 'last 2 digits' are not phony. If you pay attention, you'll realize
that they only go up in $0.50 increments (ie .24 and .74) This is an artifact
of both the carryover and PP raking 10% of the jackpot each time it is hit.

To be specific (and all this can be found on PP's site) when the Bad Beat
Jackpot hits, 35% of the jackpot amount is paid to the player taking the 'Bad
Beat', 17.5% to the winning hand, 17.5% distributed to other players at the
table who were dealt into the hand, 20% carryover into the next jackpot, and
10% for PP's rake.

Thus, IMO, it is really only worth playing when the jackpot exceeds
$200,000, for two main reasons-- first two main prizes are $70,000+ and
$35,000+, and second... FISH, FISH, FISH...

hope this clarifies things for anyone interested, later

Moving along, the new Cardplayer is out. Go laugh at Phil Helmuth's latest 'strategy' column.

Speaking of laughing, please go read Jackpot Jay's latest ESPN poker missive about online poker. Here's all you need to know about Jay's poker acumen:

Online results from last week: minus $500
Overall online results: minus $4,000

We've been graced with two feature articles in USA Today about poker.
Here's one exploring the latest boom in poker magazines, entitled Publishers ante up with poker magazines. The second, was a front page story on teens and poker: Poker at an early age: Not just another teen fad

A snippet:

Though parents do acknowledge poker's obvious dark side, many see a vivid silver lining in their children's new pastime.

"I think Josh playing poker is great," says his mom, Deborah Rodman, a special-ed teacher who taught Josh to play. "I know where he is, and he spends less on this than going to the movies." She acknowledges that "gambling is an issue for some people, but I think the risk is far greater having him roaming around out there. Sometimes, I beg him to play poker."

That sentiment could explain why retailers as diverse as populist Wal-Mart, upscale Restoration Hardware and gag-store chain Spencer Gifts are struggling to keep poker sets in stock.

"This is Cabbage Patch territory," says Scott Kling, vice president of sales and marketing for the U.S. Playing Card Co., referring to the '80s doll craze. "Supermarkets are calling us, which they never did before." Sales of the company's Bicycle brand playing cards are up 33%; demand for $100 poker sets has doubled.

That may truly be the watershed moment: comparing poker's popularity to the Cabbage Patch kids. Or could it be a poker problem appearing on Dear Abby? Either way, I think we're jumping the shark here.

Here's an interview with my hero of snark, Paul Phillips, from PokerLizard. I gotta agree with his sentiments here, even though I'm doing the opposite.
Check it out.

PokerLizard: What advice would you give to any aspiring pros? Any pitfalls to avoid?

Paul: My advice to aspiring pros is to change aspirations. Poker seems much more glamorous than it actually is, and for every player who is living the dream, there are dozens who aren't. If you're smart enough to succeed at this game, you're smart enough to succeed in the real world, with much greater satisfaction. If you don't want to work for “the man”, then start your own company and put your efforts into that.

I think poker is a great hobby but a very poor choice of profession.
I'm concerned that the current poker craze is going to leave us with
legions who eventually discover that poker isn't all it's cracked up to
be, but who have also rendered themselves largely unemployable.

Thanks to Felicia for pointing out the following thread on 2+2. It seems that Barry Greenspan had some issues with Daniel N. and Jennifer Harmon, per potential chip dumping and/or a prop bet. Jennifer was surprised, asking for an apology and Daniel explained his play this way: Full thread here.

quote snippet from Barry:
In this last tournament, though, with seven players remaining, twice he raised in for a good portion of her chips and she reraised all-in and he folded. The players at the table didn't like it, but I am not protesting.

Which players didn't like it? Name one? If you were there you would have seen me raising lots of pots and picking up the blinds repeatedly. Vinnie Landrum moved in on me twice... I folded both times. Humberto moved in on me once... I folded. Steve Rassi moved all in on me once... I folded. Jennifer moved in on me twice the entire time and I folded both times. The first time I had K-7 and the second time I had J-10 (I showed both).

I don't know about you Barry but neither hand seemed strong enough to call off another 600 to 650K.

Maybe I need to TEACH you an important tournament tactic. Based on your post you apparantly don't understand that there is no good reason for me to risk almost a million in chips unless I had a monster hand. I went from 4 million to close to 6 million without even seeing a flop.

Instead of playing a big pot, I was chopping away 90,000 at a time with virtually no risk. I realize you are a "side game" player and this concept may be lost on you. When I write my book I'll be sure to send you a copy. :)

I'm going to close with an old Jack Strauss story from years ago: Years ago Jack was at a final table just one away from the money. He started with a short stack but kept moving all in repeeatedly until he was the chip leader.

Finally the small blind moved all in and Jack called with KK. He busted that player and went on to win the tournament. You know what he said in his interview later? He said, "I think I made one key mistake with those KK. I think I should have FOLDED the KK and kept picking up antes. Evertyone was playing so tight trying to squeak into the money that I could have went to the final table with even more chips than I did."

That's an extreme example obviously, but was EXACTLY what crossed my mind when the play was seven handed- avoid unneccessary risk at all costs. That included called 600K bets with hands like J-10 and K-7!

Whoops, almost forgot Barry Greenstein player analysis. Want more? Barry Greenstein & Poker. Excellent inside scoop on all the players in the Big Games. Prolly my personal fave link in this entire post. Go enjoy.

Sammy Farha
Aggressiveness: 7
Looseness: 8
Short-handed: 8
Limit: 4
No-limit: 7
Tournaments: 6
Side game: 6
Steam control: 5
Against weak players: 7
Against strong players: 7
Best game: Pot-limit Omaha
Weakness: Any game except Omaha

Sammy may be the most feared short-handed pot-limit Omaha player in the world. He is so good that we only play Omaha with him in mixed-games with one or two other games added. Even though his fame came from his second place finish to Moneymaker in the 2003 WSOP finale, hold’em is not his forté. His fearlessness carried him through that event. A little known fact: Eight hands before the end of Day 2 in 2003, I drew out on Sammy and he got up from the table. He thought he was busted, but he had 5,000 more than I had. (80,000 was average at that point.) He said, "I’m leaving. I can’t do anything with 5,000." I said, "Sammy, sit down and take a shot." Sammy went all-in in the dark on the next two hands and doubled-up each time. Of the last eight hands played at our table that night, Sammy was all-in before the flop on seven of them. He ended the second day with 58,000.


Most people would expect the famous players listed below to be snobby because of their lofty status in the entertainment industry. Just the opposite is true. These stars are people persons which I imagine is part of the reason they took up poker.

Ben Affleck

When Ben plays in a casino he is hounded mercilessly for autographs and pictures, but he is usually very accommodating. I wish people would just let him play. I have played in three tournaments with Ben and each time he played significantly better than the time before. As a matter of fact, the last time we played together he won the first prize of over $350,000 in a $10,000 buy-in event at the Commerce Casino.

René Angelil

René is such an agreeable person that he never objects to playing whatever game other players want to play. The Vegas pros took advantage of his good nature by introducing him to a new form of poker each month: first seven-card stud, then seven stud hi/lo, then Omaha eight-or-better, and then triple-draw lowball. They didn’t count on René being such a fast learner and he soon became competent at all of the games.

Jerry Buss & Frank Mariani

The Lakers co-owners are proof that you can be nice to everyone you deal with and still be successful in business. The only time either of them takes their card playing seriously is when one plays a few hands with the other’s money when he is taking a break or when playing tournaments. It then becomes apparent that these guys are very capable players.

Larry Flynt

Larry paid his dues playing against the top players, and when he is on his game he is an excellent seven-stud player. At the Hustler Casino, the poker manager convinced Larry to play in a $75-$150 game to help bring players into the casino. Unfortunately, he plays better than players at that level and within a few months the game dissolved with Larry being the biggest winner.

Gabe Kaplan

Gabe is the best poker playing actor, although Wilfred Brimley had his way with Gabe at the World Series a few years back. He has been seasoned by years of playing with top players. In a big tournament, I would rank Gabe in the top 20% of the field. I also consider him to be the best combination color/play-by-play poker announcer. Unfortunately, the networks usually stifle his creativity.

Toby Maguire

Toby is serious about his poker game. He is very sharp, but he seemed too conservative when I played with him. I showed him some play examples in my book, and (not coincidentally, I assume) he won the next tournament in which he played. First prize was over $95,000.

James Woods

James has only been playing for a couple of years, but he is very enthusiastic about playing and discussing poker. He will talk with anyone about poker, regardless of their play level. James is very keen on reading his opponents and if he senses weakness, he will reraise on a bluff.

Some surprisingly candid nutshell assessments of the players in the big game.
Outside of his dig at Phil Helmuth, my favorite player post was:

Dan Harrington
Aggressiveness: 4
Looseness: 3
Short-handed: 6
Limit: 7
No-limit: 7
Tournaments: 7
Side games: 7
Steam control: 8
Against weak players: 7
Against strong players: 7

Best game: I’m not sure, but he has some nice results in no-limit hold’em tournaments.
Weakness: He isn't willing to put much money at risk, even it is warranted.

Dan was a solid player in the ‘80’s before moving on to a successful business career involving some sort of real estate loans. His running-buddy in the ‘80’s was Ray Zee who always ridiculed tournaments (as did many winning cash game players) and advised Dan of the foolishness of playing in them.

What I like best about Dan is he not animated like a lot of poker players and not too full of himself. He is incredibly thrifty, to put it mildly. When Dan goes to a new venue his mission is finding the cheapest place to eat. I’m not sure if he owns a car and he used to rent rooms in friend’s houses at discount rates even when he was well off financially.

Everyone's favorite professional poker blogger, Richard Brodie, has two new posts up in the last week. Go read the Quiet Lion.

A reader asked if I would pimp his latest lil biz venture, which I'll gladly do. He's offering some handy poker mouse pads, offering either percentage probabilities of hitting your outs or odds against. Check out the poker mouse pads amidst all the Rasta offerings.

Also, WSOP Tournament director, Matt Savage has put up a vanity web site. No blog yet, damnit.

Here's two great tidbits on 2004 WSOP tournament champion, Greg Raymer. First, I finally found where you can order those freaky glasses he wore. I'm getting a pair to wear to my next home game. Check em out here: 3D glasses.

But more interesting is the fact that Mr. Raymer was nearly robbed in the Bellagio. Here's the story, direct from FossilMan himself:

The story is mostly true. Two men, at least one of them carrying a gun, tried to rob me as I went into my room at the Bellagio. Despite being alone at the time the attempt started, and one of them having a gun, I still beat them both off and made them run away. If it weren't for the gun, I would've chased them down the hallway, and smashed their faces in as they waited for the elevator.

The story is wrong in two particulars. I don't carry large sums of cash, unless you consider five hundred to a thousand a large sum, and I'm not portly. I'm muscular and fat. These guys were 5'9" and 6'3", and combined outweighed me by a lot (the tall guy was a lot bigger than me). Yet I still beat them off, and came out of this with no injuries other than a slight abrasion on one shoulder.

I don't write this to brag, I just want any robbery-minded people out there who hear about this to know that I'm a tough mark, and they won't get that much off me even if they succeed. And if they do succeed, they'll either go to jail, or I'll find them myself and make them wish they'd gone to jail. I'm a very nice guy, super-easygoing, and am friends with pretty much everybody I meet, but if you f*ck with my life or my family, I'm going to f*ck you back and then some.

Later, Greg Raymer (FossilMan)

While on this topic, there is a new column by Johnny Hughes on Poker Pages called Poker Game Robberies that I found interesting.

Also, for your reading pleasure, please take note that 2+2 has their first issue of their new Internet Poker Magazine up and posted. There's a couple of good columns while GrannyMae continues to prove that he is a blithering idiot.

Moving on, there is a poster from Cincinnati on RGP who goes by the name of The Cincinnati Kid. From the Dumbass Department, I give you his latest post:

Going BUST and the fallout that occurs...

This is my first post on here in about 2 months.....

First, I wanna apologize to anyone that was affected by my absence from the RGP invitational.

Now, the sad story....

I should've taken a page from Mike McD's book but I crave the action and
I'm a cocky S.O.B......I would soon be humbled. I got into a Big NL Game
at my local club (10/20 blinds, no max buy in) which I was invited to.
There were 8 players each putting $3,000 to $8,000 in play. I put $5000
(most of my roll) on the table. I'm not gonna even recount the
BoringAssBadBeat story for ya because I hate readin 'em myself.....It's
poker, it happens.

After I lost all of that money I went into the bathroom and literally
vomited. I was sick. How could I tell my wife? Should I? I've never been
one to lie to her so I put myself together and wen't home with my tail
between my legs and told her. *side note* Guys, try to avoid this
situation because it completely sucks. My wife has never liked that fact
that I play poker and she doesn't approve at all. After a few hours of
arguing I convinced her not to divorce me. Seriously, it was bad. I even
avoided the gamblers anonymous altimatum ( I really don't have a problem
but a lot of people don't understand the game).

I made the #1 mistake in Poker. NEVER PUT ALL OF YOUR ROLL IN PLAY AT ONCE.

I guess most of you know that rule already. Maybe this story can inspire
someone to think twice next time the juices start flowing to get into the
Big game. Anyways, I'm back. It's good to be back. I'm back playing poker
after about 2 months off and I think I'll be a better player because of

I just don't understand this type of idiocy, I really don't. I suppose I appreciate the time and energy and fucking mountains I had to climb to build my damn roll. Taking a shot at a Big Game is one thing, but to lay your entire roll out is beyond my comprehension. As I stated previously, I'm not much of a gambler. Except in those late nite blogger tables....

Hrm, I suppose most everyone has heard about the new Party Poker promotional points program but I'd be remiss if I didn't mention it. When you log in, click "my account" and go to my account (web site). Check the package. If you qualified for a shirt or a jacket, you'll have the opportunity to select your size, dwarf or non-dwarf. I'm not sure what else they'll be offering but it's a step in the right direction. Empire's crap VIP system rewards tournament play much more than ring games.

Speaking of new Party Poker initiatives, the Party Poker Steps tournaments are somewhat compelling for those of us who like the idea of taking a small amount of money and parlaying it into a nice score. I'm currently stuck at Step 4. A smart man, Jim Geary, broke down the juice on these tourneys, however, and it's quite eye-opening. Check out Jim's December 8th entry and feast on the math yourself. Personally, I'm of the opinion that any 'promotion' that feeds a large number of beginning players into higher buy-in levels is +EV, but it seemingly works out to 52.3% juice for those entering at step I.

Here is a great freaking Party Poker quote after the last upgrade:

"I was hoping the software upgrade would make the hands more realistic."
Party Poker player

Sounds suspiciously like Jay Lovinger to me.

Hell, I'm getting knee-deep in the Guinness now. I should prolly end this drivel, but for you, gentle reader, I shall plough on.

It's always good to take a minute out of your day to enjoy some poker art, such as it is. Here's a few solid offerings.
Ferrets & Poker
A Friend in Need
Poker on the Ferry
Indian Dogs Playing Poker

The movie High Roller (formerly titled Stuey) about Stu Ungar will be shown on Starz on Jan. 30. Now comes word that the movie will be released on DVD on March 15. Extras include commentary from Michael Imperioli, who plays Ungar in the film (Christopher on The Sopranos), writer/director A.W. Vidmer, and (oh the humanity!) Vince Van Patten.

The DVD announcement came in the form of a New Line Cinema press release you can view here: Stu Ungar movie.

Talking with Johnny about poker books reminded me that I'm a loser cause I haven't yet read SuperSystem 2. So I thought I'd share this review I discovered that seems worthy:

Subject: More on S/S 2

Just, and I mean half an hour ago, got my copy. Looks and feels a lot like
the black and gold edition of the original S/S. Alas, the unique
capitalization style is gone, it got to be a friend.

The book appears to be more a continuation than a replacement of the
original S/S. Stud hasn't changed as much as the other games, so no new
stud chapter. Many background chapters, including one by Doyle on online
play that refreshingly is NOT simply a plug for his own site. Jay Lovinger
has remarked on how few poker jokes there are, so I report a sighting of one
in Doyle's reason #12 to play online: "Players being as superstitious as
they are, I'm wondering if Doy;e's Room should add an optional tip
button...I might waive my endorsement fee and get rich off those tips."

Doyle modestly claims that he kept the original S/S No Limit Hold'em chapter with only a few additions, but the few I spotted are very good. When Doyle says "This is important," bank it.

All of the chapters except Mike Caro's appear to have had at least an edit by Mr Brunson, as in the original.

The Stud8 chapter, by Todd Brunson, which I was very much looking forward to, starts off honestly by saying that it's about a high stakes game. There are plays there that you wouldn't consider in a small game where five people might see fourth street. It looks less intimidating than the Sklansky (and Caro and Brunson?) chapter on stud hi/lo no qualifier; this is just a preliminary look, so I can't comment further.

Steve Zolotow's chapter on whether to specialize is disappointingly short. Jennifer Harman's limit hold'em chapter looks meaty at first glance (but her picture looks like it was taken while she was ill; I've seen her recently at a tournament, and she looks a lot better than that). Bobby Baldwin's chapter on O8 is substantial, and at first glance may be the best thing written on this game yet...maybe...we'll have to see how it wears.

What can I say about Daniel? He doesn't hide the fact that triple draw is played for stakes few of us can consider. He breezes along in his carefree way, and tells how to play the game. I don't expect to see another explanation of it any time soon.

And will somebody please tell me why Lyle Berman (40 page chapter on pot limit Omaha) is drawn with three frogs in front of him?

Now I have to get serious and study.

Anyone want a laugh? Please go read this guy's description on an eBay auction for SuperSystem. eBay auction of Doyle Brunson's Super System Poker Book

"THIS COPY OF SUPER SYSTEM BY DOYLE BRUNSON will be autographed by me PHILIP THOMS with an anti-gambling note and how much I'm in debt."

Also, someone sold their $8,500 4.02 CT PRINCESS DIAMOND MENS WPT POKER BRACELET on eBay a while back for three grand. I'm not sure who the seller was but you can go see the details for yourself: WPT Bracelet for Sale.

Time for the obligatory random picture. There's a caption there somewhere.

I'm only posting this Vegas Trip Report because it involves a Limo Driver from Hell. I wondered what would have happened had the bloggers encountered this scenario on the way to Sam's Town.

AC Trip Report: Limo from hell, and a real bad beat (very long)
Saturday nite, birthday celebration for myself. Twenty of us pile into a
Stretch Escalade to head down to AC for the night. This escalade would
turn into the limo from hell, but not out of the blue, there were many
warning signs.

Warning Sign #1: Escalade is a full hour late. This wasn't a problem
since we were waiting on a guy who was late himself, but the fact the
driver didn't even apologize or mention a damn thing about it struck me as
rather unprofessional.

Warning Sign #2: Driver tells me he heard nothing about the free 11th hour
I was promised for paying in cash.

Warning Sign #3: Driver tells me the 11th hour is no big deal, just be
sure to throw him a nice tip. Hold up! I was quoted a price that was
supposed to INCLUDE a 25% gratuity. I explain this to him and he says he
was told nothing about the tip being included. I call the owner of the

"You told me the tip was included."

"Oh it is man, don't worry, you don't have to tip him... but if you
could... if you guys could just put together a little something that'd be

Ok now this is total bullshit, but my spirits are riding too high to get
down. I should've said right there, "Your driver is not getting a tip, I
will explain to him why, and he can take it up with you." I just have
trouble being a hardass with the poor driver though. The last thing I want
to do is screw him over as he seems like an incompetent but totally
amenable fellow. We'll just figure out the tip situation later.

Warning Sign #4: Driver drives 15 miles north on the turnpike instead of
south before someone realizes it and turns his ass around. Does he even
know where AC is? It's beginning to seem like he's never driven a limo

So we're finally headed in the right direction, carrying on and having the
big time we all expected. With the copious boozing going on a pit stop is
in order. We all head into the rest station to the burger king and
bathrooms. The driver comes with us. Brings us to...

Warning Sign #5: One of my friends runs up to the driver in the food line
to tell him the a cop is writing the limo a ticket outside. He goes
running off. The idiot had haphazardly parked the limo right in the
middle of the road. Not only was it in a fire lane, but it was blocking
everything and everyone from driving through. Even though it was only
there for a few minutes, "he deserved at ticket" was the general
consensus. After getting his ticket from the cop, there was one bright
stop, at least he appeared to have a license.

I think the rest of the way down went relatively smoothly. We arrive at
the Borgata around 11 pm or so. Everyone splits into different
directions. Many were in a foul mood when numerous people told us the
minimum blackjack table was 50$. As it turned out we found ample 10$
tables and even some 5$ tables, something I've never seen outside of Vegas
much less on a Saturday night. Poker line is incredibly long. Most
people get a seat 2/4 and I sit 6/12. I only play for an hour or so.
This game was like a 1/2 party game. Highlight was a guy winning a hand
with 73o who was actually giving out poker advice. I think I only played
3 hands. First one was AK in the small blind, button raises, my
girlfriend and her friend come over, I reraise, everything thinks I'm
showing off for them and I get about 19 callers. I end up folding.
Girlfriend explains she's lost 1/3 of her life savings playing roulette
(60$ or so), somehow I am to blame, and she's in a foul mood. (actually,
very very rare for her) I felt bad as she had never gambled before and
didn't seem pleased with it up to that point. On my last orbit I pick up
KK and AQ winning two small pots to get me slightly in the black.

I head upstairs and find some of my friends on the blackjack tables. To
my shock my girlfriend is sitting in front of a mountain of chips. She
sat down with her last 20$ and had it up around 350$. Two of my friends
are getting fat backbetting her, thank god she is in a much better mood
now. We spend the rest of the night playing blackjack on various tables.
No one can lose. I predicted 18 out of 20 people on the trip would be in
the red and it's clear I'm going to be way off.

Finally it's time to go. Limo is only 15 minutes late, but we're waiting
on two stragglers. I explain to the driver I'm sorry for the delay but
we'll take care of him for the extra time. He is completely
not-irritated, his good naturedness is only matched by his incompetence as
a driver.

After calling him repeatedly, PAing him over the Borgata loudspeaker, we
decide to leave one man behind after waiting 34 minutes for him. He can
get a ride back to NYC by bus I am told. Of course 15 minutes down the
road he calls up and thinks I'm joking when I tell him we already left.
He shames us into turning around for him. I ask the driver if an extra
100 (before his tip) is fair for the reversal, he agrees. My idiot friend
was having too much fun (up 600 at craps) but at least he'd be able to
cover the comeback fee. We pick him up and start cruising for about an

After what was to happen next there had to be a bright spot and it was our
results on the tables. Out of 20 people we were up net about 1900$ and
these are all small time players. The biggest losers weren't down more
than 50$. All in all a great run. A little too good maybe...

We heard a loud sound and the limo began shaking. We couldn't see
anything but something was clearly not right. The thing sounded like it
was about to fracture in two, we were tearing up the guardrail and later
road marker signs. In my drunken state I wasn't the least bit concerned.
When it finally groaned to a halt some people were terrified but I was
actually laughing. Our limo from hell had wrecked!! How cool was that?
Someone shouted something about us being under water which scared the hell
out of everyone but we were fine, in one piece. I was sure my buddy at EZ

limos would find a way to get us home. Apparently the driver tells
someone, "the steering wheel stopped steering." No one knows if he fell
asleep or not but what's certain is that this escalade is now out of

I talk to the owner on the phone. He insists "this is completely normal,
probably just hit a pothole, just get back in the car and start driving
again." "But the steering wheel won't turn the wheels!!" "You don't
understand he says!! It doesn't have power steering!! Just push it back
on the road and it'll be fine!" The cop at the scene tells us what
everyone already knows, this limo isn't going anywhere. Mr. Owner starts
getting irate that a cop is involved. "What the hell are you talking to
them for!?" he shouts. Mr. Friendly Limo Owner who was oh so happy to
take my business and tell me a tip was included then tell me it wasn't but
I didn't have to tip him was starting to lose his cool. "Do you know how
much money this is going to cost me??!!" He kept rattling on about how
much money he owed and how this was such a hassle for him. Meanwhile 19
of my friends and I are freezing our ass off on the side road having come
god knows how close to dying. Mr. Owner then tells me he is not going to
pay for rides to get us home. "I can't afford to." He offers 250$ back,
(cabs are going to be 480$) I tell him that's fucking ridiculous and which
point he reduces his offer to zero.

I'm curious what people would have done in this situation. The friendly
driver seems adamant about not giving us any money back unless his boss
authorizes it. He says he's worked there for only 2 weeks and is quitting
tomorrow, but insists his "parents raised him not to give away money that
wasn't his". In his broken english I was unsure how he was arguing
leaving 19 people stranded in the cold with no money for a ride home was
the moral thing to do, but he was doing so.

My friend calls him back (the owner won't take my calls) and gets the
owner to give us a mere 200$ back which the driver does. Apparently he
had a different tone with him. While all he could do with me was tell me
how in debt he was (15k, which made his only giving me 250 instead of the
480 needed to get home ridiculous) and how bad I should feel for him, he
bragged to my friend about how he was "the head of a 5 million dollar
company and didn't get there by backing down from punks like us." His
closing words to my friend, "If you sue me, I will find you and kill you."

The driver's reluctant loyalty to this asshole is starting to piss me off.
His friendliness is starting to feel like condescension. I honestly
consider physically taking the money from him but is 500$ worth a fight
and god knows what else? Reasoning with him in his broken english as I've
been doing for an hour is getting very tiresome. I don't need the money
(even to get home, we won so damn much) but just hate this feeling of
getting screwed.

The tow truck and police drop us off at the next rest station. The tow
truck couldn't get the escalade to go (too big) and on the bright side the
guy told me the tow job was going to cost tons. Later we heard the next
tow truck that picked it up broke down 5 minutes later under the weight of
that pile of garbage.

We finally arrange rides home from local residents and end up going to bed
at 11am right after I call my credit card company and cancel the card that
Junior has the number for. A great night turned into a nightmare but all
in all a great time.

If you are looking for the worst limo company ever:


The owner (and total asshole I dealt with all night) is named "Junior",
and the way he's running the company Senior must be rolling in his grave.

If anyone has any advice about legal retaliation or any other ideas how I
can ruin that persons livelihood without getting thrown in jail, I'd
really appreciate it.

Yeah. Good luck with that.

I'm an indie rock/alt country kinda guy. So imagine my surprise when I noticed that the fine folks at Matador Records (home of Pavement, Guided by Voices, Interpol & Jon Spencer Blues Explosion) linked to this humble poker blog on their news page. Matador Records news.

Guinness shot out of my nose when I read BoyGenius's post, calling me out:

Does anyone besides me miss the "Old Iggy?" He’s gotten all supportive and stuff in everyone’s comments, almost as if he’s watched too many Lifetime Network movies with his newfound time off or something.

Nancy McKeon is in trouble! Someone call Meredith Baxter-Birney! He’s rapidly turning from Ignatious J. Reilly into Alan Alda. Next thing you know, he’ll be openly weeping and calling Felicia and Maudie "Sister."

I hate TV. With a passion.
But I'll admit in my fucking blog that I watch Oprah since I quit my job.

So in the interest of being snarky, allow me this repost about Russ Boyd and PokerSpot going under, costing many people much money. I think it's important to let people know the history of this situation. When Doyle Brunson's original poker web site went broke, Doyle paid every customer out of his own pocket. Russ just made excuses and continues to defy logic.

I truly want to rant on Russ Boyd and his blog. Most especially about his whining post asking his loyal subjects to reinstate his account on PokerStars. I actually emailed Lee Jones thanking him for sticking to their guns and keeping the ban on. Does anyone else see the irony in Russ's blog tagline, "Because Everybody Pays Their Own Way."

Well, you know what? This is my freaking blog so I'm gonna take the cheap way out and repost from August. I'm sure I've got a few new readers since then who may have missed this. Scroll past this if you know the story. If not, enjoy:


So I was reading one of my favorite poker blogs today and saw an apologist post about Dutch Boyd. Yikes! Because I'm behind on my reading for obvious reasons allow me to time travel back a few years in the online poker scene.

I am loathe to even mention this because of 'controversy', hell, I don’t even feel it’s worth talking about. My humble two cents: the Boyd defenders are simply stunning to me. But then again, when this shit went down in 2000-2001, I was playing poker every nite on Paradise and Pokerstars and reading RGP three times a day (so very little poker content on the web, at that point), whereas many of you probably are having to backtrack and try to figure out the story for yourself. I never put one cent into the site, thankfully, but watched this drama unfold from the cheap seats.

One point: I don’t know about the crew and ESPN and don’t care. I don’t have cable.

But I DO know about Russ Boyd and Pokerspot and what happened there, from message boards and private emails. You can go read Dutch Boyd’s posts yourselves on the RGP archives where he promises 100% payback of money lost. He promises that there are NO financial problems with his site. He denies that he is having cash flow problems while still accepting players deposits. It’s all there, folks. I'd encourage you to verify this for yourself before passing any kind of judgement. I'm just throwing this crap out there to give you something to read at work tomorrow.

A rake free site is a wonderful idea for the hardcore players out there. But it won't attract the fish. I want to play the fish, not the guy who is aware of rake and it's implications upon his earn rate. Think this through...geepers.

Another mitigating point: Dutch is obviously a very bright fellow. Perhaps too bright, too much of a rationalizer. He's also, from all accounts, a fine poker player. And he still refuses responsibility, to this very day.

See, the kids all love The Crew. And they are spouting off on RGP and attacking 2+2 with revisionist history. It's insane. The reality is that it's all documented on RGP in the archives - go read it for yourself. Too lazy? Good, that's what I'm here for. :)

There are a gazillion threads, posts and columns about this, but allow me to post this excellent article by Eric Rosenberg:

Russ "Dutch" Boyd to Open a New Online Card Room

The former owner of the now defunct PokerSpot.com has announced plans to open another online card room, a move that is getting strange looks from much of the poker playing community.

This story begins on August 17, 2000, when a post from "WJR" appeared on the poker newsgroup, rec.gambling.poker (RGP), stating that he was having trouble receiving his cashout from PokerSpot.com, a new online poker room. Shortly after, the post was replied to by Russ Boyd, CEO of PokerSpot. Boyd wrote, "...we did not receive your cashout request. I am not sure why, and we are still investigating, but we have no intention of keeping your money. This is a very isolated incident, and I think you'll find very few complaints regarding our customer service."

Ahh, but as time would tell, this was not an "isolated incident" and there were not "very few complaints", there were many.

The posts on RGP started to build up. One after another complaining (and warning others) that their cashouts were not getting processed. And just as quickly as the complaints rolled out, so did the excuses from PokerSpot support, excuses like, "We are reworking our entire cash out system, and this has delayed all cash outs by a week or two."

One PokerSpot member, John Buchanan, who played under the username "MS Sunshine", claimed that Russ Boyd and PokerSpot owed him and his wife "over $56,000".

What was going on at PokerSpot? Did Russ Boyd and company run off with the money? The players wanted to know.

In February of 2001, Russ Boyd finally came forward with another address to RGP:

"As many of you are aware, we've been faced with some recent problems at Pokerspot. ... Due to a situation with Net Pro Ltd., the company that until recently processed our credit card deposits, a large amount of our funds, which includes player funds, has been stalled." Boyd went on to say, "As far as money owed to players, Pokerspot will make good on all pending cashouts."

But PokerSpot never did "make good" on all pending cashouts as Boyd promised. Some that did receive checks were out of luck when they reported that their checks failed to clear the bank.

In a recent email interview, Boyd said, “Net Pro told us that they hadn’t gotten the funds that they processed for us from their bank.” He says that after six weeks, Net Pro eventually avoided his calls and PokerSpot never saw any of the money that players had deposited. Boyd went on to tell us that many of the 1000 or so players were able to charge back their credit cards, but there was no way for them to claim any winnings that may have occurred.

This was not a new story. In fact, it was similar to the post that he had made in February 2001 on RGP. Boyd says that he is aware that much of the poker community doubts his story, “A lot of people naturally assume that I took all of that money and partied, buying a big house in the Caribbean and breast implants for a blonde girlfriend. But that isn’t true. When Pokerspot failed, it ruined me. I didn’t have a way to pay my rent, I didn’t have a job anymore, and I had no idea how I was going to turn it all around.”

Boyd says that he had filed a law suit against Net Pro to try and recover the funds, but claims that the company was judgment proof, “They didn’t have any money to collect.”

In our interview, Boyd never did discuss why he wasn’t up front with the players in the first place. He did not mention the excuses about not receiving cashout requests or his customer support team saying that the system was being reworked. Now, nearly three and a half years after we heard the first complaint about PokerSpot, Boyd is trying to get back into the online poker spotlight with the launch of a new card room called RakeFree.com.

While working as a consultant to a sportsbook who wanted to implement poker tables, Boyd says that he came up the new idea of a rake free card room, “I tried to get the sportsbook behind it, but they didn’t see the business sense in giving up a potential $50 million a year in rakes. But I thought it had a lot of potential, so I came back to the states to work on it in May.”

While the idea may have potential, Boyd realizes that he has an uphill battle to retake his place in the online poker world. Boyd said, “I can’t promise that Rakefree.com is going to be successful. I have a lot of critics who have made it clear that they would never play [at] a site I was involved in.”

Having graduated from law school when he was barely old enough to legally play poker, some believe that Russ Boyd is boy genius. He never did tell us whether he thought he was a that was true or not, but he did say, “I sometimes get real moments of clarity that even surprise myself.”

Perhaps it was one of those moments of clarity when Boyd tried to put himself in the shoes of his critics and said, “If I was on the outside looking in, I’d be skeptical too. And I wouldn’t be rushing to deposit money at Rakefree.com.

Article by Eric Rosenberg

Again, there are sooooooooo many threads to recount, I could easily fill a weeks worth of posts just focusing on this issue. What Boyd did is akin to "Check Kiting". He knew there was no money to pay the withdrawals, so he kept accepting deposits to attempt to satisfy the withdrawals. Had he done this with a U.S. company, there would be no "Crew" and Russ "Dutch" Boyd would be in jail.

Think I'm being harsh? Think I'm a crackpot? Wait, don't answer that last one.

I'll bet Boyd is an interesting cat, all the same. Here's a legitimate question: who scores more often, Russ Dutch Boyd or David Sklansky?

Here is 2004 WSOP World Champ (and lawyer), Greg Raymer weighing in with an answer to a question about Russ:


is supposedly his side of the story about what happened earlier. I'd
like to know what is supposedly false in this story.

If its true, I don't see where he "stole" any money. It just sounds
like a cashflow issue that broke them when a business partner folded,
and the corporation couldn't pay off its debts, like often happens in
that situation.

What's factually incorrect with "his story"?


I'm most likely wasting my time talking to another Boyd shill, or Boyd himself in alias.

No, this type of thing does not happen every day in the business world.

Let's say you're going to set up a new business, as a general contractor. You sell shares of stock in your new company to investors. You also sell your business services to customers, who place orders with you to supervise construction of their buildings. Whenever you sign a contract with a customer, they are required to pay in advance for the work, starting with 10% immediately, and then they must continue to make advance payments in at least an amount deemed sufficient to cover next month's expenses on your part.

Now the company folds. At the time, you had 10,000 shares of stock outstanding. You also had $100,000 in corporate debt, money or supplies lent to the company. You also had $200,000 in advance payments, the money of your customers which had NOT YET BEEN SPENT on their behalf. However, this money was gone, because you had been using it to pay for the debts of the corporation, that is, if you hadn't used the customer's money, the corporate debt would've been $300,000 instead of $100,000.

The money lost by the stock investors, that happens in the business world every day. The money lost by the banks and suppliers who lent you cash or supplies, that happens in the business world every day. YOUR illegal use of the customer advance payments for corporate debts, that is illegal, and while it happens a lot more than it should, it does not happen every day. The advance payments were made in trust, that money NEVER belonged to the corporation, it was supposed to have just been held for use in making payments for that customer's projects, as the money was spent on their behalf.

That is what Dutch Boyd did. He took the money that player's had in THEIR accounts, money that NEVER belonged to him or to Pokerspot, and used it to pay debts of Pokerspot. Then, when Pokerspot folded, the player's money was gone, and their was nobody or nothing left to repay them. That makes him a thief.

I didn't ever play at Pokerspot, and didn't lose a penny. But many of my friends did. If I ever enter a tourney and am at the table with Dutch, well, I'll be stuck there. But he will know what I think of him.

Later, Greg Raymer (FossilMan)

And my favorite thread on RGP is when Dutch asked WHAT THE HELL CAN I DO TO RECTIFY THINGS?

Gary Carson had been slamming Russ since 2000, when the very first smoke rings from the soon to be raging infernos were puffing.

But Paul Phillips gets in his two cents, responding to a Russ post about the published interview with Eric. Italics are quotes from Russ's prior post:

Given the circumstances, his "interview", such as it was, made you
look about as good as it was humanly possible for you to look; and you're complaining? That takes some serious balls.

Not the good kind, incidentally.

>Perhaps the reason I didn't explain the
>"reason I wasn't upfront with players in the first place" was because I
>wasn't aware the Net Pro problems were not a temporary problem.

More than one person has reported here that you assured them that their
checks were in the mail. All lies. It was not the job of the players on
your site to unravel the relationships between you and your partners. You
personally deceived them about the safety of their deposits and the status
of their transactions. You cannot blame that on a third party.

>You've been accused of giving me some pretty softball questions in the
>interview and not digging to the real truth.

Well duh.

>Now it's pretty clear to me that you most certainly did have an agenda...
>to paint my story as negatively as possible while still trying to appear
>as an objective reporter.

I don't know how much extra effort you think that requires, but no matter
how little, it's less than you think. Sheesh, I read that "interview" and
only came away with negative impressions of the "reporter"! And you don't
think it was fair to you. Wow.

And number #2 from my hero, Paul Phillips, responding to a direct question from Russ:

>So here's what hasn't been said before. I really am trying to correct my
>mistakes. So how do I do it? Seems to me that the two extremes are (1)
>taking out a great big life insurance policy and putting a gun to my head
>or (2) telling every Pokerspot player that I've washed my hands of it and
>this isn't a mistake that can be corrected. So what would you do, Paul?

I wouldn't be in your situation. Our lives don't fall from the sky fully
formed. They are products of our choices. Anyway, you've already said (2)
several times, couched in the language of the consummate excuse maker.

If I were unlucky enough to inherit your life on some freaky friday,
I would stop playing poker and stop trying to involve myself in poker
businesses. You will never, ever outrun pokerspot. Everything you
try to do in poker is destined for failure. I feel sorry for people
who might go into business with you without realizing that. And you're
compounding your sins by inflicting yourself on others that way.

Is the universe of your ambition so narrow? What kind of person would
continue to put all his effort into a field where he has earned so many
opponents, when endless alternatives exist? It's masochistic and it
smacks of an unhealthy desperation.

I must have 1000 quality snippets from players who lost money at Pokerspot. But I'll have mercy on you, gentle reader, and just post a few. Get comfortable and prepare to read. I apologize for the scattered order, including direct posts from Russ himself as PokerSpot began encountering problems, but I think it's better if I just dump it all here, instead of sorting and explaining. Enjoy:

Paul Phillips:

There have been ten zillion posts on rgp on this subject. He did not
steal the money in the sense that he ended up with it (as far as I know).
He did steal the money in the sense that he deceived trusting people for
no reason other than his own greed, and those people ended up losing
their deposits because of his deception.

That's still theft.

>I don't understand why a man who'd spent years
>developing Pokerspot and could make a fortune off of rake would kill
>his business and good name to make 400 thousand.

He killed his business and "good name" trying to keep his business
afloat in the face of an impending implosion, using the deposits of his
customers as currency for his effort.

>Wouldn't he have made much more over time if he just left
>Pokerspot as it was?

Perhaps, if he hadn't been about to go bankrupt.


Michael O Malley:

I find it amazing the following that Dutch has formed from that TV show and online poker. He has a group that follows him around and listens to what he says, of course only the positive stuff. They don't think he stole a dime and can't wait to play at his new site.

Will be another sad day when ol' Dutchy takes the money again and everyone tells his followers we told you so.


He's fundamentally never taken responsibility for the failure of pokerspot -- it was this guy, it was that company, it was sunspots. He was the guy in charge, and he's responsible.

The day one of the people who were robbed when PokerSpot went under gets one dime from that sleazebag, I will praise him.

Him SAYING he's trying to pay people back -- he cashed several hundred thousand in the series last year, and nobody mentioned getting a check from Dutch -- isn't nearly the same as him actually trying to pay people back.

He's a sociopath and a thief. Fuck him.


It's fairly easy to use a poker site that isn't vigilent to conduct credit card fraud and because of his incompetence he was sending fraudulent transactions to his credit card processor (not a business partner). As a consequence they froze his assets on deposit with them.

He then paid bonuses to new depositers to generate cash to try to pay off
withdrawls. That was fraudulent on his part.

He was a victim of fraud because of his incompetence, he resorted to fraud to
try to recover from that and it didn't work.

You can google it, but in a nutshell, Boyd kept accepting new deposits to
pay off current cashouts, like a ponzi scheme that eventually collapses.


If I steal a dollar and bet it on black, and if I lose, steal two dollars and
put it on black, and keep betting that progression until black hits, than I can
pay back what I stole. Am I still a thief?


First, he shouldn't have lied that cashouts were sent. I was told
multiple times that my "checks were in the mail" when they never were.
Boyd's excuse for lying is that "desperate men do desperate deeds."

Second, he insisted during the period of delayed cashouts that
everyone would get paid eventually, and if necessary, he would sell
the site's assets, including the software. After the site closed, he
received anr that would have given Boyd a few hundred thousand dollars
and on top of that, paid off the debt owed to the players. The deal
also included a non-competition agreement which meant Boyd would have
had to leave the online poker industry for 2 or 3 years. Boyd refused
that deal, saying that he "wasn't leaving the industry that easily."
He counterproposed with an offer of something over a million dollars,
and needless to say, the person who made the original offer laughed in
his face. At that point, Boyd's first concern should have been the
money that he owed other people, not whether or not he'd need to take
a few years off from the online poker industry.

During the cash out delay, he repeatedly mentioned a pending lawsuit
with the credit card processor, often e-mailing us saying that "the
lawsuit is coming along nicely and we expect to pay everyone soon."
But since then (I believe in the Live Action Poker interview), Boyd
says that he quickly realized the credit card processor had no assets
and any lawsuit would be non-collectable. So either he lied then
about the "lawsuit coming along nicely," or he's lying now about them
having no assets. Many people have asked Boyd to post details about
the lawsuit, i.e. a docket number, or even which country's court he
sued them in, but Boyd has never offered any evidence of that lawsuit
(he's actually never even offered any proof that there was a credit
card processor problem in the first place.)

When the Boyd FAQ is completed and posted, I assure you that there's
no way an unbiased observer could possibly side with Boyd.


From Russ's recent posts he doesn’t think he is responsible. His only
concern now is trying to make some money off of the whole thing and trying
to pawn his ideas of reopening the site off on the players that got screwed.
Russ..I gave you the benefit of the doubt after your first post, but since
then you have shown your true colors. YOU are solely to blame for the 1000
players getting screwed. Not some bank or cash processor, not the players
for talking and trying to pull their money out. As much as you would like
to think otherwise, you opened a business and it failed. That leaves you
solely responsible.


It is truly amazing what behaviors a person will try to justify if he
or she is a friend of the offender. Russ didn't just "fail in a
business venture." He outright stole money from hundreds of people.
It's not as if he asked me for five grand to invest in his business
and it failed. I allowed him to keep five thousand dollars of my
money in exhange for virtual "chips" that were supposed to represent
that money. Legitimate casinos are supposed to have enough cash in
reserve to cover the chips. Russ and his partners obviously didn't do

His company gave away a fairly substantial amount in freeroll money
that they obviously didn't actually have, which reeks of a ponzi
scheme to me--give away a lot of freeroll money and hope that enough
deposits come in that eventually the site can pay off that freeroll
money. Russ and his partners didn't just engage in a "bad
investment," they defrauded people.

I personally was told on at least two occasions that I was already never sent a check -- Russ replied to me in RGP that in "desparation" he instructed his support staff to lie about the situation. In any regulated industry, they'd all be in jail
right now. Instead Russ gets to play poker in Costa Rica and keep his
profits, rather than use them to pay off his debts.


Here's latest news:

Dear Pokerspot Players,

As many of you are aware, several weeks ago we began experiencing problems
with our then current credit card processor, Net Pro, Ltd. We promptly
stopped processing through Net Pro and have since been unable to take new
player deposits or process cashouts. We are pleased to announce that we
recently signed an agreement with Surefire Commerce, the most trusted name
in the online gaming processing community, to process all future player
deposits. All cashouts requested after March 15* will now be processed as

In addition, we also are pleased to announce we are at a point where we can
start repaying prior cashouts. All cashouts that have been requested prior
to the 15th of March will be paid according to the following schedule:

20% by April 15;
20% by May 15;
20% by June 15;
20% by July 15; and
40% by August 15.

Please note that we will be paying all players who cashed out in January or
February an additional 20% of their cashout as interest. We are pursuing
several different avenues that might allow us the opportunity to pay all
players before the above dates, including a lawsuit against Net Pro, Ltd.,
some short-term loans using the software as collateral, and a pending
licensing deal.

Once again, we apologize sincerely for the inconvenience this situation has
caused our players. We recognize that there has been quite a bit of damage
to our reputation as a result of Net Pro, Ltd. and Barclays Bank freezing
the player funds, and we can only hope that our reputation will be repaired once
we are able to pay all of our players.

On a side note, our service provider has upgraded our bandwidth to an optical
fiber connection. You should notice decreased latency, and increased playability. When new developments arise, we will keep you updated. In the meantime, we hope to see you on the site.

Russ Boyd
President, Pokerspot.com

* - Please note that this does not include cashouts made prior to March 15
that have been re-applied to a player's account.

>>Looks like we get paid

>>MS Sunshine


They don't have the money to pay you.

They are hoping to collect enough from players over the next 6 months so that they can pay you.

Gary Carson



Over the past two months, I've continued to see post after post where you
make assumptions about Pokerspot activities and attack the integrity of both
the site and myself personally. While I believe I understand your
motivations, I do wish that you'd at least accept the possibility that we
are handling a very bad situation as best as we can. There have been
numerous other online casinos and cardrooms which have faced similar
troubles which have simply disappeared.

The payment schedule is based on numerous things, not just a "hope" that
we'll be able to make enough money to pay off players. We are pursuing real
means to get the lost funds back, including filing a lawsuit and pursuing
asset-based loans. All of these means take time.

The current situation is bad enough without personal attacks. I lose enough
sleep at night without posts like I read the other night on 2+2, where a
player was (I believe jokingly) stating that he'd chip in to put a hit out
on me. The bottom line is that Pokerspot is here to stay. We will be
making good on all pending cashouts.
Once we are through our current
situation, I at least hope that you and our players will recognize that
although things haven't gone as smoothly as anyone would have liked, we are
trying to make things right.

Russ Boyd
President, Pokerspot.com

Guess who was right, after all?

Look, I don't begrudge Russ taking a shot on this crazy business and failing. Quite the contrary. And I admire him for having the balls to post on RGP post-Pokerspot, pleading his case, I truly do. But having spent the massive amount of hours back then, reading, and watching this all unfold, I expected him to be accountable. To have integrity. To not act like a slimy fuck lawyer.

My humble apologies to all of you NON slimy fuck lawyers out there.

Anyway, I don't give two shits about Russ Boyd. I'm really disappointed in myself for posting about this, but seeing that apologist post made me take pause. I felt it worthwhile to take some time and throw my two cents in.

I'm sad that I missed Dutch get his ass kicked by TJ on ESPN. Here's a post about the show that I'm dying to see:

Dutch Boyd is a fool.....

It may seem as though I have a firm grasp of the obvious, but Dutch Boyd
made a fool of himself on tonights wsop episode.

I know its popular to bash him, but this has nothing to do with rakefree
or any of that stuff.

He states on espn that poker is a "young mans game" or whatever which
obviously is an incorrect and ignorant comment, but then he gets totally
embarrased by TJ Cloutier a 65 year old veteran.

I dont mind if anyone when interviewed is confident or a little cockey,
but when you disrespect the older players and then to make it worse get
destroyed by one of those players you just look like a god damn fool.

The game of poker has no gender or age boundries, I am suprised he doesnt
grasp that simple concept. Of course he is part of the "crew" so I guess
he is special.

The crew had a good showing at the wsop that cant be disputed, but before
you "take over the poker world" you are going to have to win alot more
bracelets over the long haul.

And another:

The best part about the Razz show. . .

Before last night's show it was a bunch of kids running around with the "we're taking over the world!!!" crap. Halfway through Dutch says he's going to takeout T.J. "5,000 at a time. . .".

By the end of the show, Dutch played a mountain of hands like stone shit, and he limps away from the table with his head hanging. Then TJ is gracious enough to tell him he'll win lots of bracelets in the future, and Dutch just mumbles "we'll see. . ."

Humble pie is a beautiful thing. I loved it.

Anyway, enough already. I just needed to repost that after seeing pro-Russ posts on the message boards. If Mr. Boyd has a problem with this post, take it up with BoyGenius. I'm just trying to be all Old School.

Movie tip of the week: City of God. It gets a coveted A+ rating from yours truly.

So what's next here....new poker blogs? Let's see how drunk tired I get, writing all this nonsense up.

It seems like Party Poker have found new ways of cracking poker bots, even those running the "safe" dual computer setup. Woohoo!
WH forum thread 1
WH forum thread 2

I'm not sure what will happen with this next online poker announcement, but it's certainly something to be aware of. Last week, the folks over at 2+2 announced the Internet Series of Poker, 11 events with a $1000 buyin. Aw hell, I'll just post the details here or go read the thread yourself.

A few details on this:
This is a project founded and developed by Granny and myself. Once we had the concept, we approached the powers here at 2+2 in hopes of developing this event with 2+2 as the headquarters. Next thing I knew, Granny was having a private meeting with Mason. After a minute and a half, she walked out of the conference room, spit something in an ashtray, hitched up her nightgown straps and gave me a big thumbs-up.

Our goal was to create an Internet version of the WPT. We are in the final stages of development, and are happy to report that while there still are finishing touches to be applied, and contracts to be signed, we have gathered enough sites together and are shooting for a January launch for the inaugural season. The season will last 1 year, and will feature 11 different sites hosting a total of 12 events. One site will do double duty, and besides hosting a normal ISOP event, will also host the final.

The 11 regular events will have a $1,000+X buy-in (I'm assuming X = $50, but this could change) and should have some $1million+ prize pools. The final will have a $5,000+X buy-in (X = $250?) and, in terms of prize money, should blow the doors off anything the Internet has ever seen.

We've designed a couple satellite programs that should allow people of all bankroll levels to compete in this. What this means, is that players who win their way in for $5, $10, or $20, will not be facing a lineup typical to a large buy-in tournament. True, there will be some big name direct buy-ins, but there will also be a ton of other people from your stake level (and remember, this includes numerous fish from the site itself, this is not a 2+2 exclusive event.)

It is our hope that everyone will win in this. The sites get some great exposure, the fish across the net get to play in a really exciting event (keeping them coming back for more), the grinders here at 2+2 get to play in a big, +EV, tournament for a minimal outlay (i.e. whatever buy-in tournament they're normally used to playing), and the "Names" of poker get another big buy-in event to play in.

Other variables such as which sites will be involved, specific dates etc will be released just as soon as all the issues have been finalized. We are happy to answer any general questions and would love to hear any and all feedback, but we won't be able to provide too much by way of specifics until all the parties are on the dotted line.

Questions should be directed to Granny or myself. David, Mason, Ray and Mat will be supporting us through discussion in the forum and participation in events where schedules allow. Chuck has been an amazing help to us in developing the concept and will continue to aid us in the technical magic needed to pull this off.

However, they won't be tending to operational details so try not to bug them on ISOP issues. When the forum is operational and the series has launched, there will be a distinct chain of contact available for anyone with questions or problems. In the meantime, please direct flames and sexual requests towards Granny and positive reinforcement toward myself.

Let’s see if we can make some millionaires out of 2+2ers.

And maybe a blogger or two, damnit.

Here's a long, worthy Vegas Trip Report for those of you needing even more of a poker fix. Someone called these guys a Poor Man's TiltBoys, and I can go along with that. Go read The Itch.

Aw hell, I'm gonna have mercy on ya'll and end this monstrosity. Party Poker is calling me to the tables. I still more superb poker content in the que, so please stay tuned.

I'm not sure if this is an uber-post since I cheated and reposted the Russ Boyd stuff, but if I measured by amounts of beer consumed, then it clearly qualifies.

Here's a few new poker blogs. Please go visit the new guys, they need the support.

The Ugly Guppy
A couple of days ago I started reading Iggy's blog from the very beginning. Man, not an easy task -- that guy is a prolific blogger. I'm only up to January of this year(!), but here's what I've gleaned so far:

* Iggy dislikes Rush Limbaugh, Vegans, and Phil Hellmuth, not necessarily in that order.
* He likes cooking, eating, Guinness, and poker, not necessarily in that order.
* He's a serious student of the game of poker, and is always looking to improve.

I'd say this last point is what I respect most. In between the occassional humorous rant about vegans or Phil Hellmuth, there is a wealth of poker insight and knowledge (his own and links to others') rolled up in that blog.

Vanity and Poker
Making that transition from Street Fighter living legend to poker bum.

Poker Medicine
From the Life of a Medical Student and Online Poker Player

Trials of a Poker Apprentice - Evil Billy - Long time reader of this here blog
A journal following the ups and downs of a poker junkie who has set a goal of graduating from his apprenticeship in five years.

JSaw - Joey Knish Jr. the constant Grinder
Enter the world of limit poker!

Dogs Of Poker
Doggin' it out at lower limits online and in person.

Mockingbird Poker Tour
The Mockingbird Poker Tour, where good players get sucked out.

big lick
some ideas and thoughts about the game of texas hold em poker.

Poker In Arrears
Dealing My Poker Game A Swift Kick In Arrears

Liquid Poker
Well shit, everyone else is doing it!

KingSix Poker
Follow along as I squander all those years of college!

Show me the Monet!
Emini trading and stock betting abound as the life of a "bet investor" is exposed (naked and shivering) to the blogosphere.

Drop The Hammer Poker Blog!
I've been reading the reports from the blogger tourney in Vegas, and realized that even though I feel like I know all these people, they don't know me, and I really couldn't join them w/out having a blog myself...so here we are.

Twenty-One Outs Twice
Chris from Brooklyn has Vegas reports up

Last, but certainly not least, is this interesting cheating blog. Richard linked me up and I'm more than happy to do the same. A smarter man than I, Alan Bostick, wrote up an interesting background, which I'm happy to share here.
American Roulette
Professional casino cheater's thoughts on casinos, gambling and updates from currently working, never-caught, cheaters

Richard Marcus claims to have been a professional casino cheat, scamming his way to wins at roulette tables in Las Vegas and other gambling venues. He's written a book about his exploits, American Roulette, and he promotes it through his weblog.

The narrative of such books tends to be about how the glamorous Byronic heroes, acting illicitly and perhaps illegally, beat both the games and the casino heat to take money from the soulless and exploitive casinos. Some of my best friends have run blackjack card-counting teams.

The stated purpose of Marcus' blog is to tell stories that had to be cut from the book for space reasons, and to keep tabs on the goings-on in the world of casino cheating. Promotion of the book is also a big motivation, as I've said.

I have glanced at the blog, not having seen his book, and while Marcus may seem to be a bit full of himself, his stories ring true, consistent with what other people with similar experiences have told me.

And thus it ends, gentle reader. I'm too damn toasty to write anymore. Thanks again for reading and I hope this post Destroyed some Workplace Productivity.

Let's leave with an underage Trip Report and a lesson on why you shouldn't go to Vegas strip clubs drunk out of your mind:

Vegas Trip Report (Very Long)

Two of my buddies and I went to Vegas this weekend. I am 20 with a fake and one of them just turned 21 so it was our first time there. Our other friend had gone a couple of times and is a little older.

When we arrived at the Vegas airport on Friday, I was already in awe. The ladies were gorgeous and everything was lights and electricity. Our older friend surprised us with a limo and champagne so we could do a little pre-celebration on our way to the Luxor. We decided to stay there b/c with poker room rates it was one of the better deals on the strip we could find. I was a little nervous being 20 and all, but decided to just go with the flow and see what happens.

The Mirage:
We wasted no time, dropped off our luggage, and headed strait to the Mirage for some poker. We hopped right into the 2-5 NL game. It was a pretty soft game, but not as soft as I heard it was, and I was excited to try and make some money. I didn’t get many hands and made a few mistakes I would never make online from being a little excited, this being my first game in Vegas. I ended up about $100 after a few hours there. At 4 am I decided to play in the 10-20 limit game because it looked pretty soft. I picked up an insane amount of good hands and situations and made $610 in a little under an hour before we decided to go back for a little sleep. The taxi driver on the way back played us hard and took the long way back to jack up the fare. This was the first of many hustle attempts on my money.

I didn’t get to bed until about 7 am and woke up around 2 pm Saturday. One of my buddies played in the noon low stake tourney at the Luxor and finished 8th out of 84. The money was the top 7. We played for about an hour there, but they didn’t have anything higher than $50 max buy-in NL games so we decided to check out a new casino. After a delicious brunch we headed to the Palms.

On our way to the poker room my older buddy wanted to play a little craps and when I wanted to watch him they carded me. The guy looked at it for about 15 seconds and gave it back. I decided to stay away from table games out of the poker room from than on. The Palms was a smoking room which was really annoying, especially when I’m boxed in my people blowing smoke in my face. The 2-5 NL game here was much softer than the Mirage. Most of the players made very loose calls and it wasn’t uncommon for 5-7 people to see a raised flop.

I picked up AA in LP and there was a bunch of limpers. I knew I would get 1 or 2 calls if I made a big raise so I rose to $40. The SB called. He was a bad player who made lose calls. The flop was Q82 rainbow. He always looks back at his hand when he catches a piece of the flop and didn’t do it this time. I figured it was a safe flop and as long as I he didn’t have a pocket pair; there wasn’t much danger in slow playing this. After he checked, I checked behind him. The turn was a K and he looked at his hand so I liked the situation. He bet $80 and I rose to $200 and than he thought about it for a while and moved in which was $60 more to me. Of course I had to call even though there was a decent chance he would make the call pre-flop with KQ, but I stuck with my read and I was committed anyway. It was a $600 pot and I turn over the AA. He waits till the river and the river comes a K and I say “[censored]” in my head and he turns over KT for the take down.

I reloaded, and took a few more beats and didn’t catch many cards. I was down $600 in the session before we decided to go to the Bellagio for the real games.

BTW, what does the word Bellagio mean?

I was shocked to find that the five-diamond WPT event was being held while we were there and realized I might finally find some pros I see on the old tube. One of the prelim events was going on and there were 2 tables left and John Juanda was sitting on one of them. I didn’t notice till’ I was 5 feet from him and it was pretty cool to watch him play. My friend said Scott Fishman was at the other table and when he went to show me him the seat was empty and I couldn’t tell if there were chips in the seat or if they belonged to the guy next to him. My friend said he must have gotten up implying he might be out, and sure enough I turn around and Fishman is standing right behind us and made a little laugh and sat back down with a tower of chips. Inside the poker room it was packed. I sign up for the 10-20 NL, but it was a long wait so I also signed up on the 2-5 lists. It is $200 must buy for that game and unlimited for the 10-20. I wanted to give the 10-20 a shot to learn a thing or two and was willing to loose 2K in it as I recently won $9000 in a party poker tourney. David Williams walks by me as I get my $200 chips and I also notice Devilfish Ulliot in the corner playing 25-50 NL.

I know I sound like a little school girl, but it was exciting for me to see all these pros playing live as most of my experience is online. The very first hand I picked up QQ and played them a little overaggressive and got busted my KK. I was on a body high from all the stuff going on around me that I didn’t even think to realize I played the hand terribly. I reloaded another $200 and waited a bit to see what my opponents were doing. There were some terrible players there.

I pick up AA a few hands later. Two limpers and I make it $30 to go on the button. A new player at the table called and a guy who didn’t really know how to play called. The flop comes 258 rainbow. The first player checks, the terrible player bets $75 and I move-in after. The first player folds and the raiser calls immediately and turns over 23o Turn came a 3 and I lose another $200.

Not the greatest start, but I’m having a good time. My name was near the top of the list for 10-20 and I decided to scout out the table I would be going to. There was one 10-20 NL in the high stakes room and a must-move just outside it. Stan Goldstein was the only pro in the must-move that I immediately recognized, but a few more looked familiar. It was a tough game, but a few worse players were there as well. I told myself I would fold almost any hand early until I felt comfortable at the table. The very first hand I picked up JTs and it was folded to me and I folded in MP. There was a raise to $80 behind me and one caller. The flop came three of my suit and I chuckled in my head after they both were all in by the turn. One had top set and other had top two pair and was low stacked. I would have tripled up, but I couldn’t let that affect me. Next hand I got KJo and kept getting similar trash hands that I had to keep folding. Once I built my tight image I started playing a few pots.

The first hand I won I had KQs in LP and made a raise to $80 and got 2 callers. Flop was Qxx and I was able to take it down for a bet of $200.

About two hours have passed and I haven’t gotten too many hands, but was up about two hundred, (I bought in for $1500, probably should of mentioned that) Than my first big hand came along where I played it in a way I would never have done online or in a game where I had a better comfort zone. After this hand I realized I shouldn’t be playing in this game, not mainly because of skill level, but the combination of being intimated and not thinking strait. Up to this point I was mostly an online player and this whole experience of being in Vegas and seeing pros left and right was a very exciting experience and a body high. I had the bankroll to lose this money, and my main goal was to have fun and not worry about the money, but it was still too tough for me because of the intimidation.

I picked up AKo in MP and raised to $80 and got a tough player who I think was a regular to call on the button. The Flop came 389 with the 3 and 9 being diamonds. I made a feeler/semi-bluff steal bet of $120. He thought for a little while and called. The way in which he did everything made me almost sure he was on the nut flush draw and was just thinking how he should play it. The pot was $430 now and normally the play would be to just shot down unless I improved on the turn in which case I would re-evaluate the situation. The turn came a J of blank. I thought for a little while and decided I was willing to lose this money and just wanted to see if I had the right read so I fired $400 to give him a bad price to call. He thought for a while, this was usually a face paced game, and this was a much longer wait for him than usual. He called and I started shitting my pants. The pot was now $1230 and he is either slow-playing a set or flopped the nut flush draw with the pair of 8’s to go with it. The river came a low blank. I start thinking for a while and decided he probably would have raised my turn bet if he had the set and had no value in giving me a free card for that high of a bet by me. So I decided he had missed the flush, but had me beat. I could give up the pot now or bet my last $1100 or so and probably take down the pot. This is where the comfort zone came into play. I am not used to these stakes and this size of pot made me nervous. It is my action and I do a standard count of my chips. I count my chips by getting a pile of 5 $20 chips and matching them across just like everyone does. The problem is that I was not focusing and was only thinking about the size of the pot and what I should do so I had no clue what amount I had come to.

Now I had my chips back piled up, but had to count them again. This time I was nervous and realized what I had done and once again didn’t count up the numbers as I was playing with my chips and kind of tipped them over and didn’t do it very well. So the third time I actually counted and found I had around $1100 left. Now what’s going through my head is that I’m showing nervousness and maybe a big bet would get him to fold, but the way I acted would more likely make him call with a weaker hand. What I needed to do what say all in and keep my mouth shut or check/fold. Instead I say “$800.” He thinks for a while and asks why didn’t you just go all in? Once again I should have kept my mouth shut or I was thinking of saying something like to leave myself enough money to buy a plane ticket home. Instead I say “cause I still have chips left.” Man am I stupid. He calls and turns over A8 of diamonds and wins the huge pot.

Later Stan told that if I wanted to go with my read and trap myself in a big pot with [censored] than I at least have to do it well and I just need to go all in and let that be the end of it on the river and he would of folded if I had done that. A pot lost is a lesson learned. I really needed to just play my game and I didn’t do it very much while I was in Vegas other than the Mirage. I feel like next time I will be much more mentally prepared. The trip wasn’t over yet and in no way did I mentally prepare myself any better before I left. I was basically hustled by Vegas. The taxis going the long way to places and other stuff to try and get my money, and I fell for almost all of it. It’s weird because online I am a machine now, I play ABC poker and won’t go on tilt, but the lights and the tits and the glamour really got to my head. I still have a lot to learn. Went to bed around 8 am and woke up ready to rock and roll on Sunday.

Our original plans involved us going to many more places and doing many more things than just poker, but it seemed like we woke up and went strait to a casino, and by the time we got our seats it was 5 pm. Next thing you know its 5 am. The food was delicious in Vegas BTW. I didn’t go unsatisfied once when it came to the grub. But who had time to eat, we degenerates needed to gamble. We ate a great buffet at the Luxor and played a little in their poker room before heading to the Palms. When I was playing at the Palms, all I could think about was getting back at the Bellagio. The cocktail waitress’s at the Palms were just too gorgeous and I needed one last look at em’ before going to the Bellagio. I took a bad beat early and than made a terrible call that I haven’t made since my early days of poker which is when I realized that I’m sleep deprived and am not focusing on the game at all. I decided a nap and some food was in order to get my mind ready for another shot at the Bellagio 10-20. I was willing to loose 2K there and lost $1200 so I figured I would just buy-in for $1000 this time and see how things went.

The Bellagio:
Everyone was there today. TJ Cloutier, Phil Helmuth, Phil Ivey, Sammy Farha, Antonio Esfandiari, Men the Master, Minh Nguyen, Amir Vahedi, Robet Williamson, Marcel Luske, Devilfish, and many more that I can’t remember off the top of my head. Oh yeah, Layne Flack, and a bunch more. I buy-in for the game for $1200 and Stan Goldstein is once again at the table, but this time on my left. He told me about my mistakes the day before and was incredibly friendly to me throughout the night. After a little while, I see Antonio Esfandiari and his girlfriend walk into the cage and he walks out with 3 racks of very big chips and pulls out wads of cash and sits to my right with about $15,000. Once the guy left on Stan’s left I was going to go grab it, but Antonio did first so he and Stan were both on my immediate left. Soon after he pulls out more cash and has somewhere in the 80 grand range on the table. He was a friendly guy to me, but gave the cocky [censored] image on the table. I think he is a nice guy, but he really gets his table image across well and I think he pisses people off. There was another guy at our table who was a complete [censored]. I am not sure if this was complete table image or whatever, but he tried to tick everyone off. I just found him as funny, but he got Antonio to really want to bust him and Antonio doubled him up 2-3 times because of it. It was a really heated table with a lot of [censored] talkers and one or two guys who kept buying in for the minimum and donating. After a little while both Antonio and Stan would live straddle every time which was terrible for me b/c of my position. Antonio had a move where he would straddle, get 4-5 people to call, than when it got back to him he would re-raise $300 more about 50% of the time. It was a pretty intense game and I enjoyed it a lot. They taught me a few tricks, but I was moved to the main game after about an hour of the straddling wars.
The main table game was much tougher and there were 3 people I recognized there and I was one of the few weak links there. It was fun to be in the high stake room. If any of you were there, I was the kid with the sponge bob watch and the condom wrapper as my “protector” for cards. I lost one really big pot after a bunch of [censored] cards in set over set after having built my stack to about $2200. I cashed out $700 and put the hundreds in my jeans pocket at 4 am ready to hit a strip club. One of my two friends wanted to go with me and he gave me the $200 he owed me and I put it in my wallet. Before we left I wanted to get some free drinks so I got 2 shots and a couple of double cocktails before we left.

The Spearmint Rhino:

We headed over to the Spearmint Rhino. I showed the bouncer my fake and he didn’t even glance at it and just let me in. I got a bunch of singles from the lady at the desk from the $200 in my wallet and stuffed them in my pocket forgetting about the hundreds that were mixed in with them. The ladies were beautiful and I was a little nervous and wanted to relax a bit so I ordered a shot which cost $8!!!!!!!!! Than the lady gave me a double cocktail and it was $24!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wanted to walk around and figure my way around this place before spending too much money, but the ladies spotted the sucker right away (they would be good poker players). I got a one song dance which was $20 and kept getting drinks. Before I knew it I was completely hammered. I’m one of those people who remembers spots when I black out and can piece things together, but some details can be sketchy. This is what I do remember: I found a girl that took me in the back for a $100 private dance and they made me order 2 drinks back there. They kept me going and I ordered a $200 half an hour private showing afterward. By this point I was completely gone out of reality from the drinks and pulled all the money out of my pocket because I was tired of reaching in there to grab singles for tips. The stripper was being "generous" to me during the dance and I wasn’t sure why. It wasn’t until the morning back at my hotel that I realized I was tipping her in hundred dollar bills instead of singles! I tipped her $900!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I woke up incredibly pissed off in myself and I had to get out of Vegas. My friend played in the noon tourney at the Luxor and finished 4th of 60 and I told them I was going to go to the airport and try to fly standby.

The Airport:
I go to check in at the airport and they told me I missed my flight coming in from Denver so they cancelled my spot on the way home. When they printed out the tickets for us in Denver to go to Vegas, they printed out two of one of my friends and one for the other. I got past all of security and got on the plane without a ticket. I didn’t realize this until now. Of course that is a huge security issue and they were really shocked and didn’t believe I got on the plane with a ticket that was in a different name. They eventually got me on standby and I was out of there $4000 poorer.

It was an amazing experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I made many mistakes, but learned from them and next time I will go there for the either the poker or the glitz and glamour because mixing them is a deadly combination.

Link of the Day:
Don't Think, Just Drink
Shamings.Com: "If your friend is beyond drunk and may become unconscious, quit messing with him and get him some help." Unless you have razors, permanent markers, feminine products, or a marital aid on hand.

All Content Copyright Iggy 2003-2007
Information on this site is intended for news and entertainment purposes only.

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