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

April 5, 2005

Ten Reasons

by Otis

Before you read this, read CJ's post below, and then come back for...

Ten Reasons to go to Las Vegas in June for the WPBT convention, even if you can't get a seat in the Aladdin Classic

Number One: Meeting the other bloggers

When I went out to Vegas for the Holiday Classic in December, I only knew a couple of other bloggers face-to-face. Those were guys who lived in my town. The rest were unknown commodities. And so happens the first time you meet the others.

BadBlood was near bubbly as we hit the motorized walkway. He'd cashed in his first Vegas tournament and we were on our way to meet the bloggers.

"We have to page Dr. Pauly," he said.

I agreed in earnest and did my best to avert my eyes as we walked into the poker room.

"Don't let them see you looking," Blood said.

Blood walked to the front counter and grabbed Ari, the manager.

"Could you please page Dr. Pauly?" Blood asked.


Ari jumped on the mic. I could barely contain myself as Ari and his accent hit the airewaves:

"Dr. Paury! Paging Dr. Paury!"

And there he was at a middle table, jumping up to greet us. The great Dr. Paury himself.

It is here, friends, that life in the Days of Otis, begins to take an odd but fantastically sublime turn.

My first day trip report can be found at "I'll see your Guinness and raise you one egg salad."

Number Two: Becoming a member of the Al Can't Hang Experience

It is no coincidence that the acronym for the ACH Experience is ACHE. There seems to be only one initiation rite.

I did what every reasonable poker blogger would. I accepted Al's offer of a shot of Soco.

Enter blurry poker play.

When I emerged from my first-shot haze, I heard a delcaration blaring from the seat to my left.

"That's not gumbo. That's not gumbo. Gumbo only comes from New Orleans. That's not gumbo!"

Al was moving into a land I like to call, "Full effect." He had two dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts under his chair, a sideboard of Soco shots lined up at his sidetable, and a sure insistance that what I was eating was bad free buffet food.

Like always, Al was right.

For more on this, read "Three tables, one playground, half-drunk"

Number three: Solving life's greatest mysteries

A lot of things surprised me when I was in Vegas last December. Solving one of the big mysteries was one of the most surprising.

"Otis," he said. It wasn't a question. It was a definitive statement. He knew who I was.

"Hey, man." I was being friendly, despite the fact that my brain was trying to work its way around how to play the hand sitting in front of me.

The guy said his name was something or other, then went on to mumble something about really liking my blog.

"I'm a friend of Hank's," he said. "We drove in together, and I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your writing."

Now, something should've clicked right there. Just thirty minutes earlier Hank had said he'd made the drive alone. I'd actively listened to that conversation.

And, so, the long-haired guy kneeling on my left kept talking. G-Rob's stack kept flucuating, the cocktail waitress kept bringing beer, and, for the love of all that's holy, I was still involved in a hand.

Do I raise? Do I cold call?

Passively, through increasingly drunk ears, I listened to the guy who was still talking. And just like when I hear 10-89 (local police ten-code for death) pop out of the police scanner, I heard something from my left that made me slip back into active listening.

The word was "dwarf."


I turned to my left and saw the smile creeping in the corners of the guy's mouth. Indeed, he had said "dwarf."

Somehow, I just knew.

I bounded from my chair and wrapped the guy in a hug like I would a brother I hadn't seen in years.

"You son of a bitch," I said.

Iggy had arrived.

Read the rest of this, including the first Pai Gow run, at "Let's Get to Saturday, shall we?"

Number four: A city that never sleeps

When the Bloggers are in town, there is rarely a moment when there isn't somebody to hang with. Even when you want to sleep, there are people wanting to party with you.

My ribs and stomach were starting to hurt. Something very wrong was happening to my body.

Through the clouds, I heard the voice of some Monty Python-esque god.

"Get up."

I think I answered, "No." I might've said, "I'm ill-equipped."

"Get up."

I smelled cigarette smoke and the pain was growing worse.

I opened my eyes to mere slits and looked up. There--more than six feet above me--stood G-Rob, his hair a mess, a cigarette dangling from his lips. He was kicking me in the ribs and stomach. Repeatedly.

"Get up. Big Mike just called for a stretch Excursion to take us to Sam's Town."

Within a few minutes, unshowered, in the same clothes I'd been wearing for 36 hours, I stood up, grabbed my Otis jacket and hat, and followed G-Rob back to the elevators.

One thing I learned on this trip: When Big Mike is being generous, it is a foolish man who doesn't accept the generosity.

For the whole story of how most of the bloggers were awake for a straight 48, read "Decisions, decisions"

Number five: Only one person can win the tournament, but everybody can have fun

Now, I feel shame that, as much as I wanted to enjoy the Holiday Classic tournament, I was ill-equipped. In fact, I was ill-eqippued for all of it.

As Charlie spoke, Evelyn Ng walked in the door. My mind again shifted. The lack of sleep started getting to me again. I could tell that Daddy recognized this from his seat in front of me. More than recognizing it, I felt like he empathized. He vocalized what was going through my head. Loathe to misquote him, I only remember that his first few words were, "In terms of weird..."

He continued, but I already knew where he was going. Here we were, a couple of schlubs, surrounded by some of the greatest pros, on our way to a private tournament set up in our honor, working on a few minutes sleep, after a rock-star night and morning that we shoud not have survived, and Evelyn Ng just walked into the room on a virtual hydrofoil of beauty.

In terms of weird, indeed.

That's when I broke down. It all just became too much for one tired Otis to handle. I felt myself breaking up and didn't want to disturb Charlie's speech. As quietly as I could, I slipped out a side door into the faux open air of the Sam's Town Casino courtyard.

To read what happened in the actual tournament, you can read, "The Holiday Classic through Otisian eyes"

But the point is this...even if you're not playing in the tournament, everyone will be there. Most people will bust out and be there on the rail with you. Go play slots with Grubby. Go do soco shots with the ACHE. Hit on Mrs. Otis. There will be things to do.

Number Six: The characters

When you start slinging chips with the bloggers in the sidegames, you'll meet a cast of characters you'll remember forever. Just last Friday, I told the story of Albania.

Albania arrived in a quiet whoosh of funk and bed-fashion. I questioned for a while whether he had teeth. I could tell he was from out of town (way out of town) but couldn't get a read on his personality otherwise. That was until someone beat him on one hand and he degenerated into the quickest tilt I've ever seen. Then, I was fascinated by his rebound, as he came back two hands later and laid a beat on somebody, slammed his cards on the table a' la Phil Hellmuth and beamed with pride.

Finally, someone got up the courage to ask, "So, where you from, bud?"

His one word answer set the stage for the next several hours: "Albania."

Dr. Jeff and I looked at each other across the table. The song clicked with both of us at the same time.

To the tune of "When the Saints Go Marching In" we began singing, "Albania, Albania, you border on the Adriatic..."

The table looked at us, expecting an explanation. We could only offer that the song was from an old version of the show Cheers in which Coach was studying for some geography exam and needed songs to help him remember his countries. Sadly, for a long time, we couldn't remember the rest of the song.

Albania's catch-phrase was "You be nice to me, I'll be nice to you." Albania didn't like to be checked-raised, slow-played, or otherwise hammer-inflicted. Anytime he felt like he was wandering into a trap, he'd sit up in his chair, look at his opponent and say in his thick Albanian accent, "You be nice to me, I'll be nice to you."

He said it to Dr. Jeff at one point, to which Dr. Jeff with more poise than I'd expect from a guy 12 hours into a session, responded "How about this? I'll play my hand and we'll just see how it turns out." As it turned out, Dr. Jeff won the pot.

It was about that time I had a fantastic idea.

"Albania," I said, "do me a favor. Say this: Give that man his money."

For some reason, Albania indulged me. And suddenly, there, sitting at the back table of the Excalbur Poker room sat none other than Teddy KGB.

I couldn't have been more pleased.


And make no mistake, the bloggers will take over a poker room (more than likely the Excalibur). And when they do, you'll never want to leave.

Number seven: The stories you won't immediately tell your signigicant other

I tell Mrs. Otis everything. But some things I wait a few days to divulge. Like this moment in the Sherwood Forest.

As the sun again threatened to rise, two hookers who couldn't land cowboys came up and grabbed us.

"Well, it looks like you're it," one of them said.

Oh, jeebus.

These girls were not attractive. They both looked used up and tired. Nevertheless, they were friendly and conversational. While G-Rob and I tacitly agreed that "never in the world would we ever consider...yadayada" we thought it would be fun to talk with them.

And so we did, for a very, very long time.

Before I knew what I was doing, I had vowed to help them land dates for the night. At one point I started trying to brush in cowboys who were walking by the bar.

As one guy in a cowboy hat walked by I said, "Hey, buddy, want a shot? Have a seat."

G-Rob pointed out that I had just become a pimp. And not a very good one.

For how this could've ended ini my arrest, read the rest of "From rock gardens to Sherwood Forest."

Number eight: Reasons to come back
By the time the fourth day had arrived, i was ready to call it quits.

Feeling more and more ill-equipped but determined to fight on for the final few hours, I dragged Marty and G-Rob through the pit and enegaged in a little single-deck blackjack. Just when the table was getting hot and our drinks had arrived, Dr. Jeff called me on my cell phone.

"You better get back to the poker room. There was just a big fight in here and I think it has something to do with Pauly."

I colored up in seconds, grabbed my drink, and made tracks back to the poker room in time to watch the flor crew pick up the final chips from the floor. I scooted over to Pauly's table where he told me the story.

I sat back and thought, "That should just about do it. This trip has now seen everything."

Even if you're not playing in the tournament, you're going to have stories to tell forever.

Number nine: The friendships last beyond the weekend

I'd be hardpressed to tell you anything about how BG, G-Rob, Eva, and Al played in the Holiday Classic, with the excpetion that Al is colorblind and couldn't tell the difference between green and gray chips. But, I know that these crazy folks showed up out of the blue in the Bahamas when I was there and we had a ball.

Number ten: ?

Well, that's a secret. But keep an eye here and on Guinness and Poker in the coming days. If everything works out, you may not give a damn whether you play in the Classic or not.

So, there's ten reasons out of a hundred I have.

I bet there are some other folks out there who have a few of their own.

| Otis' Thoughts