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Poker Blog established in 2003 as the first stop for poker news, poker stories, and bad poker advice.

December 31, 2004

Hooray for #2 or...3!

by G-Rob

Stop it!
That's not what I mean OK, so don't be dirty.

It's just that I, and I assume most other poker players, have a fierce competitive streak and for some reason I'm always good enough to get in the game. I just never seem to win.

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | G-Rob's Thoughts

December 30, 2004

From Rock Gardens to Sherwood Forests

by Otis

Thanks to everyone who has sent along public and private congratulations on my recent good fortune. While it's always tempting to rest on one's laurels, it's time to get back to dancing with who brung me. When we last left Otis in Vegas, he'd finally recovered from the first two days of insanity, settled down for a night and morning full of fun low-limit poker, and was on his way to bed to rest up for a couple hours before the NFL kickoff

The sun had again started sliding through the doors, again signalling that it was time to sleep. I knew that a full day of football with the blogging crew stood to be another experience that might lead me to ruin and I don't like to head toward ruin without a couple hours sleep.

Alas, it was not to be. I laid in bed for a couple of hours before giving up, logging on to the high-speed Internet service, and taking care of some personal business.

By the time I'd showered, I'd missed kickoff and the ability to join everyone in betting the Bengals. I thought that was probably a good thing, but headed over to Mandalay Bay nonetheless.

I discovered something that had come to be expected: I wasn't feeling too well.

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | Las Vegas

December 29, 2004

Ride the rush

by Otis

The blogger table was full for several hours Tuesday night. The buy-in was cheap as usual. Twenty-five bucks max with quarter and fifty cent blinds. It's all in good fun and nobody gets hurt too badly.

It also allows we bloggers to play what Iggy has started calling a pox on the poker community....the Hammer. For the uninitiated, that's 72o.

It's all in good fun. Push all in with the hammer, if you go bust, it's no big deal.

So, what in the name of all that's holy would possess me to put all my chips in the middle while holdinig the hammer when a $12,600 prize package in the Party Poker Million IV is on the line?

Well, frankly, it just didn't matter.

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | Tournament Action

December 28, 2004

Another Damn trip report....I'm almost done...really!

by G-Rob

So it's 10AM and the sportsbook is packed. In any other part of the world screaming gamblers high on booze and glory would be a shameful sight. In Vegas, hell, we started at 5.

Good news! The Bengals are on the big screen. Bad News! I can see just enough of the Ravens game to see that Eli Manning won't dent the under but Kyle Boller (Kyle F-IN' Boller!) was gonna cost me some dough.

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | Las Vegas

December 27, 2004


by Otis

The PokerStars Caribbean Adventure blog has gone live and now has a brief introductory post up.

One blogger has already sent me a note lamenting the lack of comments on the site. That was originally done by design. Now, I'm having second thoughts.

I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on the site and suggestions on how I could make a short-term blog more useful for readers.

Another trip report coming soon.

Permalink | Poker Web Sites

Can Your Blog get you FIRED?

by G-Rob

A newspaper reporter fired after his editors discover his blog.

Permalink | G-Rob's Thoughts

December 24, 2004

Going down the road...Feelin' bad

by G-Rob

Finally we're back home, sweet home. Well, not back exactly. After arriving in Vegas midnight Fri/Sat (Otis got there a half day earlier) we were now ACTUALLY CHECKING IN to the hotel at...

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | Las Vegas

December 23, 2004

Bordering on the Adriatic

by Otis

When we last left Otis, he'd busted out in 12th at the Holiday Classic and rode in a dissociative fugue back to the Excalibur. After spending 30 hours in Vegas without a hotel room in his name, he was finally ready to find a bed. It was 4:00pm

I suspected that I might be on the verge of some sort of physical catastrophe that would eventually be the stuff of Vegas lore and launch some promising medical researcher to fame after he studied what was left of my addled corpse and wrote about it in JAMA or Boy's Life. I wanted to tongue kiss the plump little girl who finally gave me my 8th floor room key and bid me a good weekend.

You don't know the half of it, I wanted to say. Instead I grunted something in the way of a thank you and--with G-Rob in tow--floated toward Tower 1.

Sleep, precious slumber, my own little slice of death was within reach.

Finally, I would rest.

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | Las Vegas

December 22, 2004

The Holiday Classic, through Otisian eyes

by Otis

When we last left Otis, he had just survived a meeting of Robin Iggy and his Merry Men at the Sherwood Forest. Otis awoke after a 45 minute power nap to repeated kicking in his ribs and stomach. Weary, but invigorated by the possibility of playing against some of the top poker bloggers and professionals, he rode the elevator ten floors and returned to the scene of the morning's crimes

The bar didn't look much different than when I left it less than an hour before. A few more people had shown up and the pre-tourney buzz was tip-tapping through the assembled bloggers and their friends.

This is not how I'd planned it. My plan was originally to sleep a little late, roll into the meet and greet around 11am, then play with a fresh head in the tournament.

Instead, I was going to be on time, bouyed only by a power nap and the excitement of the day's events.

I wore an Otis elevator work jacket and a custom O...tis hat. Later, I'd run into Felicia and she'd remark, "I liked you better without the hat."

I couldn't disagree with her. I was a mess and the hat wasn't doing anything to obscure my increasingly green face.

But that comes later. There's the matter of getting to the tournament, courtesy of Big Mike's Chariot Service.

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | Las Vegas

Playin' in the Band

by G-Rob

So, beaten and bewildered, Otis and I emerged from the bar... ready for the big tournament of STARS. Or, at the very least, tournament of players who are verifiably better than G-Rob. I knew I wouldn't win, I just wanted one big score. I hit it early.

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | Las Vegas

December 21, 2004

Decisions, decisions

by Otis

When we last left Otis, he was going to bed after being up for a very, very long time. He had just a few hours to sleep before heading over to Sam's Town. As he walked by the bar closest to the elevators, he ran into Daddy, Iggy, and Big Mike. It is here we pick up our story

Sherwood Forest, Pt. 1

Sherwood Forest was home to Robin Hood and his Merry Men. There, beneath the shade of the tall trees, they hatched their plans to steal from the rich, give to the poor, and generally stick it to the Sheriff of Nottingham.

Near the Tower 1 exit of the Excalibur Hotel and Casino, there sits the Sherwood Forest of an alternate universe. To the casual passer-by it looks like no more than an open-air bar that might be frequented by the bored wife of a poker player or a hooker in search of one last trick. But through increasingly drunken eyes, the bar looked just like the real Sherwood Forest might on a warm robber's night.

Though I didn't realize it at the time, I was arriving late to the meeting of Robin and his Merry Men. Little John (aka Big Mike) towered over the bar, a double shot of Soco in his hand. Friar Tuck (aka Daddy) stood looking weary but happy, as if he had just endured his fabled water-logged beat-down from Robin. And there, slumped over the bar, his locks brushing the marble, holding a greyhound in his hand sat Robin Hood himself. Apparently, he was already incognito, so as to fool the bad Sheriff. He called himself Iggy.

"Otis," they said almost in unison.

I looked in the air, wondering if Daffy Duck might be flying by, his buck and a quarter quarter-staff in hand.

Though every ounce of good sense I'd consumed in the past 17 hours told me to do otherwise, I stopped, greeted the pranksters, and, much to my own peril, accepted the offer last drink before I went to bed.

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | Las Vegas

December 20, 2004

Let's get to Saturday, shall we?

by Otis

When we last left Otis, he had survived his first half-day in Vegas, a table of O8 with Felicia and Glenn, shots with Al Can't Hang, and a bowl of buffet gumbo (Al: That's not gumbo!). All of this before he'd been in Vegas for eight hours. We resume the tale just moments after the O8 table broke.

You ever have those times in your life where you know odd things are about to happen? You can't quite pin-point where the night is going, but you know that if you keep one wheel firmly attached to the track, you'll be able to survive.

This Friday night in the Excalibur poker room--full of filtered air, rodeo musk, and cocktail waitress purfume--had that feeling hanging over it.

And I was about to break my cardinal rule for the first time since I'd arrived. I was about to play poker with nothing but a bowl of cheap gumbo (I know, Al) and a prayer to soak up the booze.

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | Las Vegas

The Bus came by...and I got on

by G-Rob

That's when it all began.

Much has been written about the tournament trip. Better writers than I have hunted and pecked their way through it. Still, it's a bizarre enough story to bear a retelling.

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | Las Vegas

December 19, 2004

Sorry, one more bit of pimpage

by Otis

One last thing before we return to the Vegas trip reports. ALL IN magazine has released its next issue. While it is actually the third issue the publisher has put out, it is the first with nationwide newstand distribution. ALL IN worked out a distribution deal with Time-Warner, so ALL IN will now appear in shelves at Barnes and Noble, and other stores.

And, as a matter of pimpage, I have two articles in this issue. And if that isn't worth buying, there are a bunch of half-nekkid pictures of Shanna Hiatt.

Sorry about the pimpage. I got so used to being a pimp in Vegas (that story is coming soon) that I just can't stop.

Permalink | Reading Material

December 17, 2004

Day 2: My Worst Beat and then Revenge

by Luckbox

For the most spectacular announcement in the history of Up For Poker, see the post below. For another installment of CJ in Vegas, keep reading.

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | Las Vegas

We interupt your regularly scheduled trip reports...

by Otis

Let's talk a little bit about karma for a second.

I've always been a big believer in what comes around goes around. That goes for good and bad. If some malevolent creature conspires to hurt me or a friend, I feel like, regardless of the outcome, that creature will someday get her's.

It goes for good, too. And that's the good thing about karma. Pauly half-joked last week that he made it a point to give handouts to as many homeless people as he could find in hopes the poker gods would shine down on him in Vegas.

Karma can be a fun thing to consider as you live your humdrum lives. Perhaps more than that, it can be a good way to live your life. It's sort of an off-shoot of the golden rule. Do unto others, yada, yada, yada.

Now, I need to talk to you about Wil Wheaton a little bit.

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | Poker Web Sites

Three tables, one playground, half-drunk

by Otis

When we last left Otis, he'd already busted out of a low-limit tourney, played four hands of $4/$8, busted out of a NL game, then doubled up in a NL game, then found the blogger table. We join the story just three hours into his arrival in Las Vegas

"I am the only one at this table who doesn't have some sort of prostate problem."

I was grumpy. BadBlood and I had just made it to the Excalibur poker room. The blogger table ($1-$3 spread limit) was in full effect. The entire room was submerged in the table's hammer screams and nearly non-stop laughter.

I wanted to sit down with them, drop the Hammer, pound my chest, and scream, "Me Otis! You hammered!" But Ari said the table was full and there was a waitlist. Of course there was. There's always a five-deep waitlist for online blogger games. Why wouldn't there be one here?

I slumped to the lobby of the hotel to make a business-oriented phonecall (more on that in the coming days), then returned to the room to find the table was still full.

And so I sat down with my rack of white ( at a $2-$6 table. I was cramped into the one-seat next to a guy with a hearing aid. The guy next to him had a hearing aid a cowboy hat. No one at the table was less than 60 years old. They were all talking about the National Finals Rodeo that looped on the big screen in the back of the room.


I considered asking the dealer if he would give me a prostate exam, just so I could feel like I fit in.

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | Las Vegas

That's It for the Other One

by G-Rob

Somehow, I knew where this was headed. No good can come of it. Nothing positive would be molded from the mental mud this week. I'm the blogger-in-waiting, the guy who knows Otis. If you're luring fish, I'm the friggin' worm.

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | Las Vegas

December 16, 2004

I'll see your Guinness and raise you one egg salad

by Otis

From breakfast to lunch, a study in blind faith, blind stealing, and blindly stepping into an alternate universe

"What are you looking at, lady?"

That's what I wanted to say. But, of course, I didn't. Because even as snarky and tired as I was feeling, it just didn't seem right to dress down the woman right in front of her video game-obsessed kid.

It was 7am. I'd made exceptionally good time on the interstate run from South Carolina to Charlotte, NC. I'd packed just one carry-on bag to carry with my briefcase. Check-in proved to be almost too easy, which left me with time to kill.

I toyed with the idea of finding a coffee stand or a crystal meth dealer. I hadn't slept but a couple hours before I left for the airport. I felt my internal systems fighting against themselves in what I was sure was a prelude to a greater war that would be fought on the Las Vegas battlefield.

Instead, I wandered into the airport bar and found a spot near the back. The bartendress approached.

"What do you have on draft?" I asked.

"Bud, Bud Light, Miller Light, Sam Adams, Bass..."

The word "Bass" was forming on my lips when the nice bartendress finished.

"...and Guinness."

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | Las Vegas

December 15, 2004

Day 2: Gawking at the Pros

by Luckbox

You'd think the all-star list of poker pros I met in the morning would be enough to satisfy me, but it was just the start.

After the tournament ended, Maudie, Bad Blood and I grabbed a bite to eat back at the Excalibur and then Maudie and I decided to take a walk of the strip. It was Maudie's first trip to Vegas and last night in town. The last thing I wanted was for her to head back to Oklahoma without absorbing the sensory overload of the Vegas experience.

And if she hadn't wanted to take that walk, we never would have seen the biggest names in poker, live and in person, at the Bellagio.

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | Las Vegas


by Otis

I stepped out of a five day binge of poker. new friends, and unbridled fun into 24-degree air and a hour and half drive home. Though the temperature was almost painfully cold, home was most certainly warm. L'il Otis smiled. Mrs. Otis made me giggle. Scoop the Therapy Mutt licked my face. Holiday decorations and gifts sat nicely around my nice little place in suburbia.

Remarkably, not including tokes and taxis, I finished in the black for this Vegas trip. And if you count the profit I made in meeting some of the best people I've met in years, I finished way, way up for the week.

A suitable and nearly-comprehensive trip report is forthcoming. I just need a day or so to get my head together and determine what kind of filter I'm going run the stories through before publishing them.

Oh, and I can't feel my knees. I think that indicates something may be wrong with my body.

Permalink | Las Vegas

December 14, 2004

Day 2: Doubling Up on the Italian Pirate

by Luckbox

Since the day I started really playing poker, I've dreamt about sitting beside the world class players at the table. And thanks to some really good people in the poker blogger community, that dream came true on Saturday. I only wish I could have played better... but that's getting ahead of myself.

For those who don't know, the Italian Pirate is Max Pescatori (that's my back in the picture and Max is on my right, picture courtesy the PokerProf). He was one of two world-class players (along with Charlie Shoten) who sat down with us for the World Poker Bloggers Tour Las Vegas Holiday Classic. And, to my dismay, they were both at my table. Lucky me...

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | Las Vegas

December 13, 2004

Day 1: Cowboys and Hookers

by Luckbox

Get ready for an onslaught of trip reports from the WPBT Las Vegas Holiday Classic. I'm simply the first one back, so you get me first. I didn't make it to work today because I've accumulated about 10 hours of sleep since 10am Friday morning.

There have been a few reports already from other bloggers and dozens more to come. It was a blast. It was more fun that I ever possibly could have imagined. The good news is that there will be a "next time" and you all must come.

If you didn't know, our WPBT event coincided with the National Rodeo Finals. That meant Vegas played host to the largest collection of cowboy hats and plastic breasts since the release of Western Barbie. That was my first thought as I arrived in Sin City...

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | Las Vegas

December 10, 2004

False Confidence and Pain

by G-Rob

Bad news, dear readers, the big wigs are gone. Otis left for Vegas first thing this morning and CJ leaves soon after. Only the grounds are left and the pot is getting cold. I'm killing time at work.

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | G-Rob's Thoughts

December 9, 2004


by Otis

The flight attendants weren't that cute. They had that seasoned "I was a stewardess when you could still smoke on a plane" look about them. I was drinking, because that's what I did in those days. Plus, it was New Year's Eve and 1996 was about to turn into 1997.

The uniformed ladies were doing their best to make the cabin look festive for the holiday. For some reason "Rocky" was the in-flight movie.

Two of my buddies sat behind me as we crossed some imaginary line over the dark waters of the Atlantic. We were barreling toward Europe on an east-bound flight, all of us maintaining a tacit understanding that as we flew at several hundred miles per hour against the time-zones, we were eating up the rest of 1996 faster than we'd ever ended a year before.

After "Rocky" had ended, there was some general chatter about the New Year having passed. I had hoped for some rowdy celebration on the plane that involved me tongue-kissing the aged stewardesses. Instead, the flight attendants said we were going to celebrate in a different way.

"We're going to show 'Rocky' again," they said.

And so as Balboa again began his beef-punching, I settled back for a two-week trip through several counties in Europe.

And not once did it occur to me that I had only a book-bag full of clothes to last me through the next fourteen days.

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | Las Vegas

December 8, 2004

Saddle Up

by Otis

You know the sound, right? There's a near-defeaning roar of a jet engine, a squeal as the rubber tires hit the runway, and a long drone as the plane comes to a stop. The cabin titters. The doors open. And then there's a lot of clanging from the slot machines in the terminal.

In about 36 hours, the first blogger wheels will touch down in Vegas for a five day extravaganza of hammer-dropping and Guinness-slurping.

But, what's that? We're not the only convention in town?

That's right, folks. The National Finals Rodeo will be in its final days.

Because we all want to fit in, I'll offer up the cheat-sheet I'm taking with me.

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | Las Vegas

December 7, 2004

Sorry, South Carolina

by Otis

Allow me to offer a whole-hearted, "Well, sonofabitch" to this story that's about to come out of South Carolina news outlets.

Rather than clog the fun of Vegas anticipation here, I've written up a brief summary over at my news blog, The Poker Papers.

Now, read below for less depressing stuff.

Permalink | Poker in the News


by G-Rob

Otis has again raised the bar with his props. A wiser man would fold, but I have an image to maintain. Following his post on a poker blog is like a magician who lets his assistant strip for an opening act. He's good at poker...and I'm...tall. Very tall.

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | G-Rob's Thoughts

December 6, 2004


by Otis

In an effort to kill some time at work, I've decided to risk a little of my own cash to make this trip to Vegas a little more interesting.

As such, I offer up the following prop bets to any takers:

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | Las Vegas

My temple's done been flooded

by Otis

"Car bomb?"

"Sure. Car bomb. It's my birthday, after all."

Car bombs arrive. New girl doesn't like her car bomb.

"You want her car bomb, too?"

"Sure. Car bomb. It's my birthday after all."

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | Las Vegas

December 4, 2004

In Training

by Luckbox

As part of my plan to not embarrass myself a week from today, I've been playing some MTSNG's at Empire. I just wrapped two up, making the final table in both, but only cashing in one.

In this case, 2nd place really, really hurt, and here's why. We're down to two and I've got about a 4000T chip advantage over my heads up opponent. I'm in the SB with QTs and I make the minimum raise. My opponent calls and we see a flop of A-K-J rainbow.

Hmmm... in some places, they call that the nuts.

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | Tournament Action

December 3, 2004

Living a short-stacked life

by Otis

Sometimes the liquid soap is just especially sudsy and that makes me happy. The water is just hot enough to make the shower relaxing on a tired Friday morning. Enough to make me ignore the slight growth of filth on the shower curtain liner.

This is going to be a good day, I thought.

Then I got out of the shower and came face to face with Mrs. Otis. She'd just gotten off the phone.

"You better high-tail it to work."

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | Otis' Thoughts


by Luckbox

It's become the most fabled hand in poker blogger history. A Google search of "hammer poker" brings 197,000 results.

First on the list, of course, is the Poker Grub, the inventor of the HAMMER. Up For Poker squeaks in just under Grubby, but only because we love the hand so much. At this point, our goal has to be getting Vince Van Patten use the nickname during the WPT.

When it comes to our Vegas trip, I would imagine that 72-off will become one of the most-played hands in our tournament. And every time it gets shown, I figure the person playing it should stand and announce "the HAMMER" to everyone in the room. I imagine it shoud be followed by a round of applause.

Permalink | Las Vegas

December 2, 2004

Thank You!

by Luckbox

First, go below this post and read Otis' post. He poses some questions for those of you joining us in Vegas.

Second, I wanted to thank all of you for the tremendous growth of Up For Poker this year. We'd be doing this if no one was reading, but knowing so many people stop by makes us want to do an even better job!

Permalink | Luckbox's Thoughts

Priming the pump

by Otis

Warning: The following is mindless drivel that is not even worth reading. I just needed to get it out of my system for the morning

In Kansas City, Missouri, the autumn air can take on a bit of a dewy haze. Bright red brake lights on the noodly junction onto I-70 shoot through the dew droplets in millions of tiny prisms. It makes it hard to drive, especially if you're fighting to get back to a holiday you created. It makes it even harder if your libido is making it difficult for you to correctly turn the steering wheel.

Damn that woman, I thought, just two seconds after my front right tire slammed into a bridge.

It was the last weekend of October 1992.

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | Otis' Thoughts

December 1, 2004

Notes from an addled mind

by Otis

I felt it coming on Monday night. At first I thought I was severely dehydrated from drinking too many Diet Mountain Dew's during the workday. My throat was a little scratchy. By 9pm, the flow hard started. By 1am I decided I was calling into work sick. By Tuesday morning I was a mess of sloppy-headed confusion.

And somehow, all I could think was how grateful I was this was coming on now instead of in two weeks.

With that I slipped into 24 hours of medicine-headed introspection and gambling.

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | Las Vegas

Today's Poker

by G-Rob

How popular has poker become? Just how mainstream is our beloved game? Here, on December 1st, it makes its debut as a "hot gift for your Christmas list" on the Matt and Katie flower hour. Much like our favorite music, the mainstream is not a fun place to wade.

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | Poker on TV