Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Copenhagen Photos

I just uploaded 40 or so photos from Copenhagen to my Flickr page. Check 'em out. Or enjoy the highlights reel below:

Wall art near Christiania

Ice skating at Kongens Nytorv


The old and the new

Trippy mural right inside the entrance to Christiania

Nyhavn Canal

Windmill in Churchillparken

Old army barracks in the Kastellet


The Little Mermaid

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Brandi Hawbaker Still Making Headlines... In Danish

I can't read a lick of Danish, but when it comes to the saga of Brandi Hawbaker, some words need no translation.

From the Danish poker magazine Ace:

I will fly one day!

Captain Tom's Penis


Monday, February 18, 2008

Velkommen til København

When Showcase pulled up to LAX to drop me off for my flight to Copenhagen, the traffic was backed up all the way out of the airport. "What the fuck?" we muttered aloud. It's President's Day Weekend. Isn't tomorrow supposed to be the freaky-hectic travel day?

As we passed Terminal 1 we saw rows and rows of cop cars forming some sort of a barricade around the part of the sidewalk where people are usually dropped off. A luggage-toting crowd several hundred strong was bundled together over to the side behind a rope. A TSA guy held a bomb-sniffing dog on a leash.

Terminal 1 had been evacuated. And Terminal 2, which I was flying out of, looked nearly deserted.

"Seriously, if you see anyone in a turban, RUN" said Showcase as I pulled my backpack out of the trunk. I immediately dialed Pauly.

"So... is there anything on the internet about LAX being evacuated for a bomb scare?"
"There are cop cars and dogs that sniff bombs all over the place."
"In your terminal?"
"No, the one next to me."
"I don't see anything on Drudge. I think you're fine."

It's always something with me and airports. Either I'm stuck in a middle seat, saddled with a screeching infant for 10 hours, or like now, confronted with potential terrorism.

(Turns out it was just some nutjob on a Southwest flight who made a "suspicious comment," forcing the evacuation).

The Northwest/KLM counter was a mess as usual. I did the self check-in, then had to wait nearly 30 minutes before the confused old man behind the counter (the SAME idiot who tried to bump me off my flight to Amsterdam last August after I was told to wait in the wrong line and I had to resort to tears to get attention from his superiors and make my plane) could give me my baggage tags. I farted around in the various book and electronics stores in the terminal while I waited to board and picked up one of those universal power adapters. I loaned my Euro-plug to Mandy for her trip to Italy and haven't seen it since.

The flight itself was painless. I read about 100 pages of Beautiful Children, a novel I just started, ate the lousy airplane food dinner, popped two Xanax, and managed to sleep for about 6 hours. I woke up somewhere over Scotland to the sound of a baby shrieking. I couldn't fall back asleep so I watched a couple of episodes of The Office on my iPod.

I changed planes in Amsterdam and played a SNG on Full Tilt while I waited out the layover. I bubbled, of course courtesy of several sick beats by some Aussie donkey who thinks it's perfectly reasonable to call a re-raise out of position with 6-8 offsuit.

Noah Boeken was on my flight from Amsterdam to Copenhagen, as was a friendly American guy who had won his seat on Poker Stars. It was also the first plane I've ever been on where NONE of the seats go back. Thankfully I was only on it for an hour.

I took the train into town (way cheaper than a cab and far more convenient) and walked the few blocks to my hotel. It's very modern with chic decor (cow-print couches in the lobby?) and the rooms as typically tiny as any European hotel I've stayed at. The elevators, though are the weirdest things I've ever seen. I must have been standing there for 5 minutes hitting the button and wondering why the doors wouldn't open. That's because you have to open them yourself! There's a wooden door in front of the actual elevator doors, that opens out toward you, quite normally, like the front door to your house would. Then, once inside the elevator, the typical metal "elevator doors" slide closed before you go up. Once on your floor, it's the same story. The metal doors slide open, but there's another wooden one behind it you have to shove open. Very bizarre.

I wish I could say something more insightful about my first trip to a Scandinavian capital, but I simply haven't seen much of Copenhagen yet. It was already dark when I got here (though my body clock is at about 11 AM). I'm about to go downstairs and grab dinner with Mike, my Poker News cohort for this tournament. Maybe I'll get to see a little more as we wander the streets, searching for sustenance.

Oh, yeah. It's also really cold here. Like, 30 degrees. I brought a parka. I look like the Stay-Puff marshmallow man. Stop it, I can hear you all laughing...

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The $320 Putt

Pauly flew back to L.A. from Vegas to spend Valentines Day with me. Do I have the best boyfriend or what? Inspired by our time on the mini-golf course in Queenstown, I got Pauly a portable putting green and a new putter for V-Day. The thing even shoots the ball back at you so you don't have to fetch it each time. We became such junkies down in New Zealand, and now we could bring the fun home. Golf (the miniature version at least)), I've found, is one of the few prop bets (aside from vegetable-eating) where I actually feel I have a shot against Pauly. Thank God for handicaps. We instantly started gambling on putts once we set the thing up. After a few practice rounds, Pauly set the ball at the end of the green and took his stance.

"$20 I sink it."

"I'll take it."

The ball broke left and Pauly missed.

"Double or nothing?"


He took another shot. Wide left again.

"Double or nothing for $80?" I offered.


He missed again and was approaching mega-golf tilt.

"OK, $160?" He had to get unstuck.

"Go for it."

He took a few practice swings, exhaled deeply and squited at the hole before taking his swing. He missed it again!

"Ship it! One more time. Double or nothing for $320" I said. I had a feeling he wasn't going to miss it this time, but I had to at least gamble.

My instincts were right. He sunk it in one graceful swing.

After that, we smoked blunts and watched one of my favorite films of all time-- Annie Hall. A perfect Valentines Day I'd say.

* * * * *

This afternoon, I played in Saturdays with Dr. Pauly even though my PLO skills are rather limited. It might even be my weakest game. On Week 1, I managed to bubble the final table (and the money). Last weekend I couldn't play because I was on the road from Vegas to L.A. so I was looking forward to getting back into the fray. On something like the third hand, Benjo (a French poker journalist friend of Pauly and I) opened for a raise. I had A-A-K-X and re-potted. When Benjo three-bet, I had a feeling that I was probably up against the other two aces, but there was no way I was folding the hand. I moved in and he called, showing A-A-J-X. My kicker ended up playing and poor poor Benjo was gone, courtesy of some rotten luck. Suddenly I had 3k chips and pretty much no idea what to do with them. I got involved in another hand soon after, and flopped two pair with K-6. When a straight card came on the end and my opponent bet $1,000, I had a feeling I had been rivered but made the donkey call anyway. Back to my starting stack. But luckily I was able to flop some big combination draws and pushed them aggressively. I ended up knocking out Joe Speaker (on a hideous beat when he turned a straight, bet pot and I called with a straight draw and the nut flush draw... I rivered a higher straight), Derek, and Iggy.

I had the chip lead at the final table, but gave a lot of it away playing too tight when it got shorthanded. I was card dead, but probably could have made some moves given my image. I just don't have the experience playing shorthanded PLO and I ended up running top pair into two pair and going out in 4th place. At least I was able to cash and boost my Stars roll a little bit.

I've only been home for about 2 weeks, but tomorrow I take off again. I'm flying to Copenhagen, Denmark to cover the EPT Copenhagen for Poker News. Mike Lacey of Antes Up is my partner for this gig. Pauly is going to join me in Copenhagen on Friday after spending a few days in Amsterdam editing his new project and smoking mass quantities of kind bud. We'll get at least a day to explore the city after the tournament finishes.

Don't worry. I made like, triple sure that I had aisle seats for the long (LAX-Amsterdam) legs of the flight. I also have a new book, and the iPod is charged and chock full of new tunes I've downloaded from Coventry, Pauly's group music blog that I've been contributing to as of late. Make sure to heck out the Justin85 mixes-- there are so many random bands on there that I'd never heard of that are great discoveries.

It is now back to hunting through my wardrobe for warm clothing. It's like, 30 degrees in Denmark and I think I own one sweater of any significant weight.

I'll catch you all from Copenhagen.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

How I Puked in Becca’s Airplane

There's one on every corner. Some sort of adventure to be had. Kayaking and canoeing. Skydiving. Parasailing. Paragliding. Bungy jumping. Jet-boat trips. A street luge. Sailing excursions. Skiing in the wintertime. Helicopters that land on a glacier for you. Walking one block in Queenstown, New Zealand presents a traveler with all of these options, and everyone you'll see there is doing something remotely outdoorsy or is at least thinking about it. They ride bikes. They wear backpacks. There are a lot of stores that sell those athletic sandals that I really hate and a lot of people wear them around town in between their outdoorsy activities. They don't call it the adventure capital of the world for nothing.

We'd talked about the prospect of bungy jumping for weeks. In my mind, I was completely against it one day and totally game the next. However, once I rode up Bob's Peak in the Queenstown Sky Gondola and passed the actual ledge I was contemplating hurling myself off of, I made up my mind instantly. Yeah, I wouldn't be doing any of that. It sounded fun in principle, but in that moment I knew I'd get myself all harnessed up and in the stupid suit and helmet and everything and would be that girl who just couldn't bring herself to jump. I rode a street luge with great speed and abandon, but that was probably as far as my "adventure" was going to go.

Several of our Kiwi friends, including Jules' hubby Graham, had recommended we check out Milford Sound while we were on the South Island. Our guidebook even crowned it the "Eighth Wonder of the World." I was intrigued and it didn't look too far from Queenstown. Seeing it properly did, however involve flying-- namely in a tiny airplane followed by a helicopter. Though I've had a streak of bad karma lately in terms of my seat locations and the quality of my seat companions on recent international long-haul flights, I've been able to cope with the "fear" element of flying quite well as of late, primarily due to a robust supply of Xanax. I could do this. Pauly even said he'd buy my flight for me as an early Valentine's Day present. We popped into a Flight Centre on Shotover Street and booked our tickets for the next day.

We ordered room service in the morning so we'd be properly sated for our day out. I got oatmeal and fruit while Pauly had eggs and lamb sausage (which I sampled-- not too bad). We called to check on the weather at 9 a.m. and were told that it looked a bit doubtful, but that we should hop on the shuttle van and come down to the airport anyway. The van picked us up in front of our hotel and there were three retired couples seated inside. They were all my parents' age or a little older. I tried to picture my mom and dad tramping around New Zealand and couldn't. Their idea of adventure is the Sheraton in Maui.

Once we got to the airport we got the bad news that our 10 AM flight was grounded due to the weather. Being it's a scenic flight, any cloud cover sort of puts a damper on things. We did have the option to re-book for 12 PM or 2 PM. We went for 12 and caught a ride back to the hotel, where we waited out the delay by playing Chinese Poker in the courtyard.

Back at the airport, we were told that our flight would go off, but we'd be unable to take the helicopter back. Instead we'd fly to Milford Sound, take a 2-hour cruise, and then fly back to Queenstown. I was cool with that. We met Becca, a pretty brunette in her mid-20's who would be our pilot. Two of the three retired couples rounded out our party as we walked out to the tarmac and met our plane.

That's the plane. It really did say DRY on the side. All of the planes had clever little three-letter names including WET and SEX.

Becca could tell I was nervous. I guess it was pretty obvious. One of the two older ladies on our flight introduced herself to me. Her name was Carol and she was from the U.K.

"You'll be fine, love. There's nothing to be afraid of" she said in a comforting lilt.

Oh really?

I sat in the middle row of the 7-seat plane while Pauly happily took the co-pilot's seat next to Becca. We all put on noise-reducing headphones that we'd leave on for the entire flight. We'd also be able to hear Becca over the headphones, telling us what things were. I took inventory of the seat pocket in front of me, finding a safety card and a barf bag. I pulled the bag out just slightly, ensuring easy access if anything were to go suddenly wrong. It's a ritual I've performed on airplanes since age 9, when I spent the latter half of a flight from Newark to LAX covered in my own vomit when I couldn't get to the bag quick enough during a particularly nasty bit of turbulence.

I don't pray, but I said a quick one as we took off. As we soared above Lake Wakatipu, leaving Queenstown behind, I found myself so mesmerized by the landscape before me that I forgot to be afraid. Either that, or the half a Xanax I popped on the ground was working. I pulled out my camera and immediately began snapping away as Becca narrated. It was magic. A scene straight out of the Lord of the Rings. We even flew directly over that film's "Misty Mountains." Wispy clouds encircled their snow-capped peaks and the lakes below were peacock blue. The canopies of the trees below were as lush as a velvet blanket. Now I knew what everyone meant when they said this flight would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

As we approached the Milford Sound airstrip, Becca banked the plane to the left and went into a 180 degree turn. Ohhhh dearrrrr. The plane descended as she turn, my stomach not quite making the drop along with everything else. And I got that feeling. That feeling that you know the vomit is coming. We all know that feeling. The bile rising. The sudden fever. The beads of sweat seeping out of your forehead. Can I hang on for another minute? Just concentrate. Mind over matter. Just hang on. Only another minute longer...

I couldn't hang on. I lunged for the bag and emptied the contents of my stomach into it. Ewwwww...

Before I knew it, we had touched down to land. I was shaking uncontrollably as I stepped off the plane, hiding my bag of puke behind my hoodie. Pauly was grinning ear to ear and excitedly started to show me some videos he had taken. Then, I held up the bag.

"Is that the lamb sausage?" he asked.

"And the oatmeal."

"Awww! Poor puke girl!"

Yeah. Guess who will be known as puke girl for the forseeable future.

Unfortunately, the weather was not cooperating. Upon landing, we were given the option to stay in Milford Sound for the cruise and then take a 4-hour bus ride back to Queenstown, or to fly back immediately. I was really torn. On one hand, I really wanted to see more of the area, but the idea of a bus ride that long, without a book or an iPod would be just excrutiating. Then again, in that moment, I couldn't even fathom getting right back on Becca's plane without even getting a few minutes to settle down, stop vibrating, and get my bearings back.

I looked at Pauly. He really didn't want to go on that bus ride. And neither did I. The flight won. We were going back up. Carol, the British lady gave me a couple of motion sickness pills before we got back on.

They didn't work. Before we could even reach our cruising altitude again, I was hurling into a fresh bag. Again, and again, and again until there was absolutely nothing left to hurl. I tried to puke quietly as to not disturb the others and not ruin their good time. I guess the whole noise reducing headphones thing helped out with that as well.

I desposed of the second puke bag as we walked off the runway. I was still shaking and looked positively green. I wondered if the pilots talked about their passengers to each other. Would Becca win some sort of prop bet about getting the most pukers in her plane or something? Maybe my story would be told over pints of Tui in some pilots' bar that evening.

"Puke girl! Puke girl!" teased Pauly as we rode back to the hotel. I wasn't gonna lose this name.

Still haven't.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Australia, New Zealand, and Las Vegas Photos

If you haven't stumbled upon them already, I've added over 100 new photos to my Flickr gallery from my travels down under, and from visiting Bean in Vegas this weekend. Check 'em out. Here are a few of the highlights:

Mountains in Fiordland National Park, New Zealand

Byron Bay, Australia post-sunset

Shop window in Nimbin, NSW

Views outside the plane on the way to Milford Sound, N.Z.

Dry riverbed in Red Rock Canyon, NV

Bean Touches the Rocks, Red Rock Canyon, NV

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

You Have No Place Here

I hadn't seen Bean in over a year, the little time we got these days to spend time face to face one of the many casualties of the months (years?) I've spent following the international poker circus. After we took our last university finals, donned caps and gowns, packed up our apartments and said goodbye one June morning in 1999, we both went back to where we came from-- she to Pittsburgh and me to Los Angeles-- and have spent the balance of the nine years since keeping in touch through phone calls and emails and a visit every year or two when her sales job would send her out to a west coast destination like San Francisco or Las Vegas and we'd converge on whatever business-class hotel was putting her up and pick up right where we'd left off. Bean and I are evergreen. We're stronger than oak. Such were the bonds fused between us through three years of cohabitation in dormitories and run-down student apartments on the frozen shores of Lake Michigan. I think of living with Bean and I hear Pink Floyd's The Wall, I see scenes from bad nineties movies like Twister and Reality Bites and remember sucking down bonghits of ditch weed we bought from the kid upstairs for $40 a quarter as we ditched class after class yet always managed to pull out decent grades in the end.

Bean was a fashionista from the moment I met her. Though I came from the beauty capital of the world and she from a place too close to West Virginia for my tastes, you couldn't tell it by looking at us back in those early days. Her positive fashion influence on me continues to this day. I remember vividly how she took me to Macy's during junior year and got me to sit down at the Clinique counter and get my makeup done for the first time. From that day on, the Cherry Chap Stick and Cover Girl pressed powder that had gotten me through all-girls high school were banished from my repertoire forever and replaced with proper foundations and concealers and eye shadows and lip glosses. My beloved red Doc Martens were replaced with sleek black leather boots and I shopped at stores not called The Gap for the first time I could remember. Without Bean, I still might be wearing brown lipstick and tapered jeans. Yeah, that's a horror show.

Bean was in Las Vegas for her ex-boyfriend's wedding. The two had dated for over three years but remained close friends after their breakup. His bride to be was about 7 months pregnant and they had the ceremony at one of those wedding chapels up on North Las Vegas Boulevard, followed by a luncheon reception at the Venetian. I drove the 273 miles from Los Angeles as they said their "I do's" and once the festivites were finished, I met up with Bean at the Luxor, where she was staying. Though we'd been together almost two years, Bean had yet to meet Pauly, and was very anxious to do so.

I'm happy to report they got along wonderfully. There were multiple utterings of "Ohmygod you guys are so cute together" throughout the weekend.

The three of us got a quick bite in the Luxor cafe. Then Pauly went back to his room at Excalibur to write while Bean and I hit the casino floor. We took seats at a $15 blackjack table. She watched me play for a while and I explained to her why I was hitting or staying in certain situations. So much for my expertise, I was down over $100 after the first shoe. After a shuffle, she pulled out $100 and nervously traded it in for red chips. She lost the first hand she played.

"That was fast. I wish this was a 15 cent table instead!"

"Come over to my place. I deal private 15 cent table for you" said the fiftyish Asian dealer with a leer.

I continued my downward slide through the next shoe. Down to my last $30 in chips, I pushed the rest of them in and was dealt two eights. I reached into my purse for another $30 to split them. A 9 fell on top of the first eight for a 17. And then a third eight fell on the second hand. Another trip into the purse for $30 more. A jack for 18, and and ace for 19. The dealer was showing a 7 and turned up a 9 underneath, only to peel off a three for 19. I pushed one hand and lost two. Yeah, that was gonna be it for me. I'd been in Vegas for two hours and I was already stuck $260.

We walked over to Excalibur and found Pauly in the poker room. I told him my blackjack bad beat story and then headed over to a Pai Gow table to try and get at least partially unstuck. Bean was intrigued with Pai Gow.

"You'll like it. You don't win a lot, but you don't lose a lot. Well, you lose a lot if you're Pauly. And you get lots of free drinks and it's social" I told her.

She watched me play for a while and got the hang of it. In favor of sitting down herself, though, she decided to go back to her room and take a power nap. She was determined to go to LAX, the Luxor's trendy nightclub later that night.

I love Bean, but to be honest I was dreading LAX. It shows how much I love her and want to spend time with her that I went at all. The last time I set foot in a Vegas nightclub was for a WSOP party back in 2006. I think I even brought the same outfit to wear to LAX. Clubbing... it's just not me. I'm not 21, I'm not single, and waiting in a line with a bunch of provocatively dressed, fake-tanned college chicks with their boobs pouring out of their tops is probably on the list of the top 5 worst things you could ask me to do with my time. But I love Bean. So I put on my black pants and cranberry silk halter top and got in line.

Bean had been gifted with some sort of VIP pass for the club. Some guy had seen her checking into her room and offered them up. Basically, what the VIP pass gets you is a shorter line. There's the main line that snaked all the way past the club, around the bar, and up to the concierge desk, populated with hideously dressed obese tourists that would be standing there for the rest of the night. And then there was the VIP line where all the guys in black button downs and designer jeans and girls with fake tits stood, craning their necks to get the attention of some former high school linebacker in a black suit with an earpiece and a clipboard. I moved us aggressively through the cluster of shivering, stilettoed girls until we were flush with the velvet rope. There was a sign there advertising Paris Hilton's Valentine's Day party scheduled for next week. Bean made her best goo-goo eyes at Clipboard Guy and after about 20 minutes he let us in.

LAX was dark and cavernous, giant chandeliers hanging over the dance floor, while a balcony full of velvet-curtained VIP booths lined the walls on three sides. We grabbed a drink and took in the scene from a perch near the back of the room. About every minute or so, some guy would walk past and check out Bean or throw out a pickup line. I stood there and sipped my vodka rocks with a splash of cranberry and counted how many guys I could spot in black button down shirts. I think I stopped somewhere around 24.

With our second drinks in hand, we ventured upstairs to check out the VIP booths. Bean marveled at the bottle service spreads-- crystal decanters full of mixers, stainless steel bowls with wedges of lemons and limes, a fifth of Absolut rounding out the frame.

"See, you just add Paris Hilton or those girls from The Hills, get them drunk enough to dance on the banquettes, and you have an item fit for US Weekly" I quipped as we turned to go back downstairs.

"Hold on there, you're going the wrong way" said a tall guy with sandy hair. He took Bean by the shoulders and turned her around, leading her back to their table. A dark-haired friend of his appeared out of the shadows and put his hand on the small of my back to lead me the same direction. I recoiled from his touch and practically jumped away, giving him a sharp look. Yeah, boy I'm the difficult one in this duo. It's not the easy con you thought it was going to be. But if my best friend wants to have a good time, I'm going to let her.

Inside their private balcony above the dance floor, a bachelor party raged. There must have been about 10-15 guys in there and a half a dozen soused party girls. Sandy Hair jumped up on the banquette and Bean jumped up with him. I looked down at the spread of alcohol on the table and wondered if I could at least get a free drink out of this escapade. Just as I was about to go for the Absolut I felt a tap on my shoulder. Dark Hair presented me with his empty glass.

"Hey, get me a vodka tonic."

What, am I your fucking waitress?

He must have seen my jaw drop and my lips prepare to form a retort because he went and gave his glass to another friend instead. I looked over at Bean and Sandy Hair had his hands on her ass.

"How old are you, if you don't mind me asking?" he said. Bean looked over at me.

"Should I lie?" she asked. I shook my head.

"I'm 30." Sandy Hair looked at her in disbelief.

"She's telling the truth" I said.

And then we found out that Sandy Hair was only 19.

"You must have a great fake I.D." I deadpanned as I downed the last remnants of vodka in my glass.

As Bean continued to flirt with Sandy Hair, I started talking about poker with a nerdy, rotund gentleman who had settled into the corner. But he lost interest after a few minutes and walked away.

"So... do you like the poon?" I turned around and there was a skinny guy no taller than me standing there. He was so drunk that his eyes had taken on that dead, ,motionless quality that onsets just before blackout.

"Do I like the what?" I club-shouted back at him.

"The poon. The poon-tang. Do you give it up?"

"Excuse me?"

"Do you give it up?"

"I give it up to my boyfriend."

"You give it up to anyone else?"

"Not you, buddy."

"Then you need to leave."


"You need to leave. Right NOW. You have NO PLACE HERE!" he shouted, inches from my face. I started to laugh. That really didn't help things.

"Bean, this gentleman says I need to leave."

"What?" she said, turning away from Sandy Hair.

"Apparently I have no place here since I'm not single."

"That's right, bitch, you have NO PLACE HERE!" Skinny Short Guy slurred, sloshing vodka out of his nearly-full glass.

"No, it's OK, they can stay. Chill out, man" said Sandy Hair.

"Did you hear what this bitch said to me?"

"Why are you getting up in my face, man? Do I offend you that much?" I laughed.

"Get the fuck out" he spat.

"OK, we're out of here" said Bean, disentangling herself from Sandy Hair.

"That's right you douchebag, I'm taking the one single girl out of your party that's still 100% conscious" I said, pointing to a blonde splayed out on a chaise lounge as I grabbed Bean's hand and pushed our way through the velvet curtains.

"Are you OK?" said Bean, concern washed over her face.

"I'm fine. Let's get another drink."

"What did he say to you?"

"He's just a tool. And drunk. Don't worry about it."

We got another round at the bar. Guys continued to chat up Bean as I stood to the side. I really didn't belong here. At 22, I desperately wanted to belong in places like this, but I was miles away from the person I was back then. Much happier with myself. Blessed with someone who loves me no matter what. I looked around and watched these guys trying to get girls to talk to them. I couldn't believe how predatory it had all become. I suppose it was predatory 8 or 10 years ago when I was more into this sort of scene, but perhaps just not as overt and premeditated. Guys hung out by the door to scope the new meat walking in. They whispered to their friends as they judged the pickings. And the girls did the same. I even saw Sandy Hair and Dark Hair back out in the field, looking for more prey. Bean and I passed by them on our way out the door. But there was nothing more to say to them.

Once outside the overstimulation of the club, all the vodka really kicked in. We made our way over to Mandalay Bay, where Pauly was playing poker. I caught my first glimpse of him as he was re-checking his hand, an agonized look on his face. All five board cards were out. He grimaced and folded, just like I knew he was going to. I'd have to clue him in on that tell later.

He cashed out and we went to the sportsbook bar to show Bean some of the local hookers. I told Pauly the story of what happened up in the VIP Booth and remarked that if he had been there, he would have put skinny guy into a wall. That's my man. Bean gasped.

"Seriously, he would. He's threatened drunk Dutch poker players over far milder offenses."

We walked Bean back to Luxor before heading back to Excalibur. There was still a huge line outside of LAX, even at 1 A.M. I saw some of the same faces I'd seen waiting there hours ago and desperately wanted to tell them that there were so many better things that they could be doing with their night than waiting to get into some place that obviously didn't want them. I mean, there weren't even any celebrities around. It was Grammy weekend.

Instead I just let my mind wander to the next day's plans... Red Rock Canyon... a nice dinner with two of my favorite people in the world... getting unstuck at the Pai Gow tables...

Places I belonged.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Saturdays with Dr. Pauly

"This was always a fun way to kick around a Saturday afternoon in a blogger tournament. No leaderboard, no tracking the money winners, no asshats. I suspect the new regular Saturday afternoon tournament will be a lot more relaxed then what our blogger tournaments have become. Back in the day when they were thrown for no other reason then to sling some chips around with invisible internet friends without the pressure of someone standing on your throat if they don't like your style of play."


Amen, my brother.

Come play. This afternoon. On Poker Stars. I have no idea how to play this game and will probably be really high while I play it.

Take my money. I dare you.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Brandi Hawbaker Sex Tape

I step off an 11-hour flight from New Zealand and what's the first little slice of internet goodness I lay eyes upon?

A Brandi Hawbaker sex tape. 'Fo reals.

It's of the home-made variety, and primarily consists of a static shot of the poker world's favorite train wreck fellating some anonymous man to the sounds of 50 Cent's "Candy Shop."

Only a middling, standard performance, that lacks creativity, I'd say.

The extremely NSFW link via 2+2.