I played the best! Mr Pocket 8’s.

This is a true gambling story and a good story at that!

In late 2010 I was playing at Harvey’s (Lake Tahoe).

I was killing it at this 3/5 game.  I do not know why they do 3/5?  Maybe to rake more money for the house?  I was killing it, I had $1,400 as I remember it.  I was the chip leader but only by 3 or 4 hundred.    Then it happened, In walks Mr Pocket 8’s..

Jerry comes to the table!  First thing..   Before sitting down he asks if they can turn the TV station to The Heads up Poker channel.  Jerry saying, “Yeah I will be on that TV show..”  That was my cue..


Proof that I got the 8’s from Jerry.  Taken 2010


Usually once in a life-time, a moment happens that defines who you are and what you wanna be..  For me (In gambling) this is that moment.

Jerry says, “Yeah turn on the TV.”  I say, “Hey, don’t I recognize you?”  Jerry says as he shakes my hand…  “Yes, I am Jerry Yang 2007 World Series of Poker Champion!”

I go..  “Ohhhhh, your Jerry Yang WSOP champ from 2007!”  “Jerry Yang is gonna sit down and play poker with me!”  Jerry, “yes I should be on TV too!  Soon if they can find the right channel!”  Brandon, “OHHH!  I am going to play poker with Jerry Yang! While Jerry Yang watches Jerry Yang on TV!”

I shit you not I said that…

In a way… I was honest, at the time I was going for a degree in Psychology to learn more about poker.  Poker was all I cared about.  I was a fanboy and perfect study.  I did read every poker book I could find, usually twice…

Anyway game goes on..

Some time passes.  The table is having fun.  I ask the dealer, “Hey lets raise the stakes for Jerry!  Lets make it a 5/10 with a 7 dollar Vig once a half hour.”  For those of you who don’t know?  More money = bigger pots..

Badda Boom!  After some fuss and laughter, we got 100 dollar hands every couple min’s..

See, all that I just described is what I call..  The fine art of chest beating…  I was the chip leader, so I have a right to speak!  Jerry is a public personality…  I know, naturally he is aggressive, and he did welcome the challenge.

The moment comes with patience..

A couple hours in…..   ME, QQ and a 3 way flop with Jerry.  About $180 in the pot Pre-flop! Jerry raised, he was also last to act.  I smooth called, to see flop.

(Q, 10, 3) Rainbow..  I HIT!

I check to Jerry who puts in (200 Bet).

Other guy folds.

I take some time..  about 1 min.  Which is called Hollywood in poker..

(I call the $200)

Turn is a blank… Say 7!  Nothing changed, I had the Nuts!  So I check!

Jerry took a moment to be fair.  Then Jerry fires a Pot sized bet, about $550 as I recall.

I sat there thinking about Hollywood and all the lights and glamour…..  I took time really, about 2 min’s before I said “All In!”

I at least doubled the initial $550 on the turn because Jerry thought about calling for a moment…  As I recall a long moment..  Tense moment…

I just had to act like something boring was happening during this gambling defining moment of my life.

Time seemed to Freeze, the moment lasted forever…  The other players at the table did not mind, It was like TV only live!  I had messed with Jerry (just for fun).  Smooth called him with the Nuts..  And then, I checked raised the champ on the turn…  All with a look on my face, like; Is there something better on TV?

Jerry eventually called.  He really had too… (The pot was too big!)  River was another 10.  Big Boat for me!  One of if not the biggest pots of my life.  I recall leaving with over $3,500 that night.

He never showed.  And I never ask..  Because why would you want to hear a story about the truth?  Lol..


The 8’s, From Jerry

After I felted him.  Jerry said, “nice hand kid..”

Rounders..  I know…   But that was Johnny Chan..  Not Jerry Yang..   

I later asked Jerry to autograph a couple cards for me.  So I can remember the moment.  He was playing a WSOP satellite at the time.  Everyone was in those days.

Jerry said, “pocket 8’s it the name of a restaurant I bought and opened in California!”  He was currently playing in the live tournament.  I said so all could hear, “Thanks Jerry, your very aggressive!”  Jerry spoke up, “don’t tell everyone kid!”

Like my posts about recovering from non substance addiction follow me here on twitter.  Find me on FB!  Search, (Brandon Pausa.)  Share, That is how I know you care!  Thanks all.  A oldie but goodie one for sure!

Photo Credit.



Major Todd’s Mission Statement (John J)

In my youth I made enemies out of people in my own life.

That is what I did with Maj Todd Hourihan (John J) during the end of my military carrier around 2008/09.  Why?  Well really… I thought my shit did not stink!  In fact, my shit did stink..  it still does stink to this day!

Major, if you do happen to come across this bolg?  Or LT Colonel (as I seen on linkedin.)  This is in no way complete satire on what I will call: (Our personal war).

Respectfully, you offered your mission statement to me a number of times.  You said something like, “Take another copy, you will see lots of good stuff inside there!”  I Immortalize this mission statement on my blog today.

Major Todd

Major Hourihan as I remember him.  

My blog is about overcoming obstacles, mostly self inflicted wounds, as you would recall.  I cover topics such as sobriety and recovery.  Most recently the 12 steps and my personal gambling addiction.  Working on this at GA.

My best guess.. The mission statement means something to me personally.  I hope to find out exactly what as I continue in recovery.

Now In its complete form..  My Company Commanders Mission Statement (re typed but UN-edited from 2008)  I even left errors in!   



MAJ Todd Hourihan

Command Philosophy

My leadership Style

-I am a patriot, Soldier, and Army Officer in that order.  It is a privilege to be an officer in the Army and I treat it that way.  Never forget the soldiers, without them we wouldn’t have a job.

–I come from a blue collared family.  My father worked hard and long hours to provide the best he could for our family.  He raised me with good morale values and honest day’s work for an honest buck.  You are born with integrity.  It is up to you to keep it.  Once your integrity is questioned or you jeopardize it you can never get it back.  (Have the intestinal fortitude to do the right thing)

-Balance.  It took me over 11 years in the Army to discover what most of my peers discovered early in their careers.  Balance.  There is a life after the Army and while you are in.  Enjoy the little free time you have with Family, Friends or with a hobby.  The work will still be there in the morning.  (Unless you had suspense and you decided to blow it off or in time of War)

-My Big one and most important one Loyalty.  I’m extremely loyal to both my higher and lower.  A lot of leaders don’t do this well.  Loyalties go both ways up nd down some highers forget that and expect or demand it from their subordinates.

-Honesty (I have no problem admitting when I’m wrong, almost to a fault).  It is okay not knowing all the answers.  But if you don’t know, don’t BS your Higher and subordinates (just say you don’t know).

-Weakness (some say I’m a workaholic (I’m working on that.  I’m my own worst enemy.)

-I try to listen to everyone instead of hearing them.  Hearing someone is the wrong answer.

-Team we are a team.  If we work as a team we can get there quicker, safer, and ready for the next objective

-I have and I do support the open door policy.  If my door is closed I’m in counsel. 

Expected of Subordinates

-Never lie or pencil whip something because the problem won’t go away it just continues.

-Give me 100% effort and I will do the same.  It is impossible to give more (so why do people say 110%)

-Be loyal.  If there is a problem give me a chance to work it.  If we still disagree or you sill feel wronged then there is other avenues you can go through.

-Bad news doesn’t get better with time.  Let me know bad news immediately so we can come up with Courses of Action (COAs).

My pet peeves

-Don’t try to impress me.  Your work habits and your actions impress me.  (No one likes a kiss A–).

Unaccountability of soldiers and equipment.  If you are leaving for the day let people know.  Just do not disappear.

-I will counsel my subordinates therefore; I expected others to do the same.  It will be done.  They are the future Backbone of the Army.

-Remember everyone has bad days.  Never hold a grudge.  Every day is a new day what happened yesterday is history.

-Anyone can identify a problem.  Leaders come to me with the problem and a possible solution.


Interested in a Major Todd war story.  I blogged about us here.  Thanks for reading, follow me on Twitter.  Search Brandon Pausa on FB.

Title photo Credit here.

Maj Hourihan’s personal photo credit here.

Why have I been program hater?

From your perspective it’s because I don’t have one.

The short answer; Authenticity. 

Let me start by saying.  My attitude may be something that is leading into a relapse.  That said, I have felt okay with going to a dark place as of late.  It is always shitty outside before you appreciate the good weather.

In the end, I hope this feeling leads to a new program.  One of total commitment to gamblers anonymous.  I am very much all or nothing with GA.  That said, I just can’t keep doing AA like I was anymore.  I would feel inauthentic.  Here is what I mean…

How can I in good conscious even go to AA and say I have 4 years clean.  Id probably be kicked out of a meeting for expressing myself.  Lol.  But, rightly so.  I do not respect myself for having a gambling problem.  I have been feeling crazy.  My roommate said, “get over your pity party!”  it’s a stupid fucking pattern.  Shit was so good this summer.  Now everything is all bad.  And knowing the pattern just makes me feel stupid.

Note:  I do graduate this year with a 4 year.  Took me 7 years.  Lol

After 4 years of AA, I feel like a copy of a copy of a copy.  Like that scene in fight club.  I will add a pic.  The point is, I was in the ARMY.  I know what the word program means.  It means you’re programmed!


For a time life was good enough, until it was not good enough.

Here is the shit.  I know what any reader in AA is thinking.  This guy is going to relapse…  And if I do, you can say “I told you so”.  But until then, I am intent on working 12 steps in GA.  And for whatever reason I am putting it in a blog.

Blog = Brand.  And my brand is recovery, because I am programmed, no relapses yet, God willing.  With that, I am thankful.

But, if sobriety does not give me a life worth showing appreciation for??  I may as well relapse!  And there you go, I rationalized a relapse…

Let me say; Gambling has been killing me.  Just like a drug or a drink.  And it is a hell of a way to die..  In a casino, feeling like a zombie..  Oh its bad, Bottom-feeder, scum of the earth!

If I do gotta go, than I’d rather go with drugs then gambling.  Gambling is a completely pathetic way to die.  I sincerely mean that!

I made 3 meetings this last week at GA.  I share like: “I feel like I am crazy.  That said, I will not do this program seriously until I get a sponsor and work the 12 steps of GA.”

Never, never ever, will I be someone who just hangs around a program.  Not unless I do the deal. (Right now I am hanging around)

Well, I am trying to show consistency.  I am trying to show that I take this problem serious.

And that is why I am not hanging out at AA anymore.  I have been enjoying GA meetings.  Those guys are crazy, just like me.

I am sure my AA sponsor will say, “Good justification for a relapse.”  All I can say is maybe… I need something NEW.

Just being sober, is not good enough.  No more pink cloud.  No more faking it till..  No more…..

And perhaps, my sponsor would be right.  AA programmers would be right.   I may as well go drink.

Deep down, I want to be sober, like I was at first.  I never ever want to gamble again, for anything.  I want those things with Authenticity.

Thanks.  Follow me on twitter.  Friend me on FB, search Brandon Pausa.  Photo Cred. 

Like a good addict, I made 2 meetings in a row. 

I took some time off blogging.  Wanted to make sure I was for real.  I feel real this time.

I am waiting a week or so to ask for a sponsor.  Like just one week.  I want everyone to know and see that I want to commit too “doing the deal in GA.”  Self-will..  Lol

In a way.  Things feel different this time around.  One thing is the same as when I got sober 4 years ago.  I am eating Junk food.  Like non-stop!  I could be trying to get fat…

An old timer shared about GA recidivism rate!  He said, “2% of all new comers make it a year.”  “1/4th of that, or .5% of all people actually get long term recovery time in gamblers anonymous!”


Reasons?  Gambling is one of the only addictions that you do not put anything into your body.

So I am thinking…  It is like I am addicted to nothing!  I love the recovery odds, .5% for total recovery, I will bet on it! 😉

One insightful thing the old man said.  “Gambling is an emotional problem.  Most gamblers have anger issues!”

Unlike AA where everything is about resentment.  Gambling is all about Anger.

As my mother always said, “you have anger problems!”  Shit, I learned something!

Recently, what happened in life?  My son left town.  I did kick my RX meds.  “So I am off my meds!”  Haha. The last 2 days, I went to 2 meetings in a row.

I feel ready.  Let’s hope this is a start.  I know, Keep coming back.. Kid!

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Thanks for support, B