Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Theiving Douchebags, Panic in L.A., and a Vegas Cautionary Tale

While I was running around L.A. with Pauly this weekend, one of poker's nicest guys won his first WSOP bracelet and in the process, possibly put his best friend on such mega-tilt that he may never recover unless he wins his own piece of gold jewelry this summer.

I'm of course talking about "Tiltboy" Rafe Furst (and his dreamy, but braceletless pal Phil Gordon).

Then some theiving douchebag had to go and win one, re-cementing his position as a TV darling despite a seriously checkered past that the ESPN-Harrah's corporate junta would rather you not hear about.

I'm of course talking about Dutch Boyd.

The Doctor first alerted me to Olver Tse's letter to the ESPN brass, detailing how Boyd, while operating the online poker room, used his players' deposits to pay off company debts. When the room went belly-up, so did its players bankrolls. These players never recieved a dime back from Boyd, despite his promises to return their money if he was ever in a position where he was financially able to do so.

$475K for first place money in a WSOP event might help. Lord knows what he owes his backers, not to mention loan sharks, psychiatrists, and the manufacturers of whatever mood-stablizing drugs he's on at the moment, but I'd say he's in a better position now to right his many wrongs than he was a week ago.

Of course, ESPN and Harrah's don't want you to know this. That's why they're now threatining to revoke Oliver Tse's media credentials.

Welcome to the Sports-Entertainment Media Machine, the clumsier step-child of the Hollywood Media Machine. This fall, they'll try to convince you that Dutch Boyd is just a troubled kid who worked hard and overcame adversity to become a champion.

In related news, Tom Cruise is straight, Nicole Richie eats cheeseburgers, Scientology is a religion, my ex-boss never fucked 20-year old actress wannabes while he was still married to his second wife, and I've never smoked pot before.

I think Benny Binion just rolled over in his grave.

* * * * * *

Pauly and I put a capper on an epic, music-filled month of June with two Widespread Panic shows at the Wiltern Theatre. Though they've been playing and recording for decades, I got into Panic only about a year ago via my Phishy Intern at my old job and my sister, whose ex-boyfriend used to follow them around on tour. Sis copied a bunch of their live albums onto my iTunes and I was hooked.

The Wiltern is one of my favorite concert venues in L.A. It's only about 4,000 seats, ensuring intimacy, and the sound is incredible. The floor seating was torn out a couple of years back and its now all general admission. We were able to get within maybe 50 feet of the stage for both shows. Acquiring street parking on Wilshire both nights was perhaps just as amazing a feat.

Setlists courtesy of Phantasy Tour:

6/30/06 Widespread Panic, The Wiltern Theatre. Los Angeles, CA

Set 1 - Disco* > Papa Legba* > Good People* > When the Cows Come Home, Rebirtha* > CBrown**, Dyin Man > Holden Oversoul > Dorethea > None of Us Are Free

Set 2 - Lawyers, Guns and Money > Diner > Stop Breakin' Down > I'm Not Alone > Tie Your Shoes > Drums**** > Drums and Bass**** > Junior > Pilgrims > Climb To Safety

Encore - Trouble > One Arm Steve

* w/no JKeane - **w/JKeane on Pedal Steel - ****w/ Matt Abts

CBrown>Dyin' Man got the crowd dancing early and the second set absolutley smoked starting with Lawyers, Guns and Money>Diner. Climb to Safety is my favorite Panic song and was such a huge treat for me. I spun around and squealed like a wide-eyed little girl at Pauly as I heard the opening riff. He, of course "totally called it" earlier in the day.

7/1/06 Widespread Panic, Wiltern Theatre. Los Angeles, CA

Set 1- Surprise Valley > Ride Me High, Crazy, Weight of the World, Let It Rock > Radio Child > Greta > Flat Foot Flewzy > Love Tractor

Set 2- Second Skin > Thin Air, Baby Let Me Follow You Down > Driving Song > Smokestack Lightning > Drums > Driving Song > Give, A of D** > Visiting Day** > B of D** > Chilly Water**

Encore: Dream Song > Ain't Life Grand

** w/Sam Holt on guitar

This one was full of my favorite Panic tunes. I don't think I stopped dancing for a minute during Greta>Flat Foot Flewzy>Love Tractor. It was great to hear Driving Song live and I got completely drenched during Chilly Water. Apparently, it's a tradition at Panic shows to fling whatever you were drinking across the crowd during this song. I know I smelled beer on my shirt afterwards, though Pauly warned me that there's something of an urban legend that at Panic shows people piss into bottles and toss them into the crowd during Chilly Water. Well, the shirt went into the laundry and I the shower.

We recovered from the shows at Zuma Beach on Sunday, though the drive up the coast on Fourth of July Sunday was naturally hot and gridlocked. The more time Pauly spends in Los Angeles, the funnier Entourage becomes for him. The valley is indeed hot as fuck, the drive into the city from Malibu "exhausting" and an opening gross one dollar below expectations will make you want to put a gun to your head. Like I'm sure the producers of Superman Returns are feeling right now.

* * * * *

Are you still reading this? My God.

I sit here in utter disbelief that in less than 24 hours I'll be heading to Las Vegas for my second blogger trip. While I've been looking forward to it for months, the immediacy of it just crept up on me in the last couple of days. I mean, I was JUST THERE, right? Nearly being ejected from the MGM poker room, grabbing Pauly's junk, and passing out in a cab with hookers? Well shit. Here we go again.

I hope to be on much better behavior this go-around. I don't have to tell you that it's not that smart to start downing double shots of Soco with professional alcoholics after driving through the desert all afternoon and forgetting to eat. It's an even worse idea to do this while playing 2-4 hold'em at the MGM, not because I might lose money (I mean, it is 2-4. You're asking for it.) but because I might forget altogether that my chips are sitting on the table as I pass out in the Ava Gardner stall in the ladies room. I still owe Joe Speaker many hugs and Newcastles for cashing out my chips, shoving the money into my purse, and putting me into a cab back to my hotel, even if it was occupied by two black hookers. (If this man isn't a catch, please tell me what is.)

Ladies and gentelmen, I am the cautionary tale.

For the first-timers. Drink lots of water, don't forget to eat because it's so easy to do that in Vegas, make sure you know where your money is at all times, get fucked up but not too fucked up, introduce yourself to anyone you don't know, don't be embarrassed if you forget names because I'm going to do that a lot myself, don't worry about playing serious poker, and open your minds and your hearts because you're going to come away from this with dozens of new friends-- kindred spirits, really-- from all walks of life and all spans of experience. It's been said before and better than this, but that's what it's really about.

Tomorrow, Pot Committed turns one year old. It's the ultimate full circle for me to be able to spend that day with so many of the people who inspired me to create it.

I have outfits to plan and skin care products to pack. And trip to make to (no joke) Hottie's Lube to get my poor car's A/C compressor replaced. He might have it in by 4. Otherwise it's a trip to the Enterprise rent-a-car at the end of the block for a Ford Festiva.

I also just met our new upstairs neighbor girl. Very mousy. Very Jewish. Showcase is going to cry. I set the over-under on her calling the cops on me for noise at three weeks.


Gnome said...

Sounds like a sucker bet. I'll take the over.

jjok said...

"...In related news, Tom Cruise is straight, Nicole Richie eats cheeseburgers, Scientology is a religion, my ex-boss never fucked 20-year old actress wannabes while he was still married to his second wife, and I've never smoked pot before."


And happy early birthday to ya.

Ignatious said...

aww, jjok beat me to the quote, damnit. well said.

congrats on the one year!

StB said...

Happy blog birthday. I will buy it a beer at the Rio tomorrow.

Unknown said...

As a journalist, I can't believe how FUCKING bullshit it is that not only is ESPN covering up the truth about Boyd but the powers want to squelch others from telling it as well. I've lost a LOT of respect for ESPN.
Not only does it go against about 1,573 principals of basic journalism, but ESPN is missing out on an entertainment opportunity.
Poker is FULL of shady characters. That's almost what makes the game fun and alluring. Boyd is a scumbag. Make him a villian! Why do you think wrestling was so popular? The characters and the fact that it was so good versus evil.

Anyway, happy birthday to you, Pot, and thank you for your brilliant writing and great stories. You've inspired me to become a better writer, a little bit, anyway, and I hope you have a great time in Las Vegas. Maybe next year I'll make it out there.

John G. Hartness said...

I'm on for the under, but the clock doesn't start until you get home from Vegas. See you Friday!

Unknown said...

Whoa, you don't smoke pot?!?!

*head explodes*

Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Change, it was awesome this weekend meeting IRL the person whose writing entertains me on a weekly (often more frequently) basis, and I'm so glad I came out to Vegas for that reason alone.

Happy blogday btw, one year of writing like you do is something to be very proud of in my book. My blog is more than a year old, but it's hard for me to celebrate when my first 10 or 20 posts were all just drunken rants about how rigged pokerstars is.

And I could not agree more about Dutch Boyd. When I heard he actually won another bracelet, I was sick to my stomach. I don't konw about everyone else, but I was much happier when Dutch had decided to go off his medication, basically gone crazy, and had fallen off the face of the poker universe. That this scuzzbucket would have just won nearly 500 grand, of which of course not a penny will go towards reimbursing the people he stole from, is sickening, and clearly something needs to be done about it. If lawyers exist to take the case against McDonalds for making people fat, then someone has got to sue Dutch Boyd's ass for their losses from pokerspot.

Iakaris aka I.A.K. said...

Happy blog birthday Change, PotCommitted has been a regular read pretty much since I found out about poker blogs.

Very cool meeting you in Vegas, and GL with the screenplay.