Tonic Is No Slam Dunk

Posting Up

(Jamie Squire - Getty Images)

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Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Talk about drinking the Kool-Aid. Fresh off our exposé of Antonio Daniels's secret weapon -- tropical fruit punch-flavored dietary supplement Nutri-build III® -- we walked into the Wizards' practice yesterday and what did we see? Gilbert Arenas downing a bottle of tropical fruit punch-flavored Nutri-build III®.

"This is why I play so good," he was saying.

We looked around the court. Brendan Haywood had a bottle of the red stuff. So did rookie Andray Blatche. Strength-and-conditioning coach Drew Cleary told us that 12 of the Wizards' 15 players are Nutri-build III® believers.

(By the way, before you criticize us for stretching this story out over two days, remember that the NBA is stretching this series out over two weeks.)

As careful readers of this feature will recall, Nutri-build III® is not yet available in this market, but we borrowed a few samples from Cleary. The players prefer tropical fruit punch-flavored Nutri-build III® mixed with "orange-orange" Vitamin Water, but the Wizards were all out of "orange-orange." So yesterday, the team mixed tropical fruit punch-flavored Nutri-build III® with fruit punch-flavored Vitamin Water, a concoction punchier than Cavs Coach Mike Brown after Game 4. And how does it taste?

"It's like drinking a melted popsicle," said Blatche, who could have a future as a food critic. "It's good as hell."

Not willing to take his word, we bought some taster cups and set up shop outside Verizon Center. Believe it or not, several passersby declined our offer of a free sample of Wizard Juice, but we finally found some takers.

Mike Burgoon, 24: "I used to work at a camp and we used to make this stuff called bug juice, a kind-of non-brand-name Kool-Aid. It tastes like that."

Chris Remuzzi, 28: "Like chalky Kool-Aid. It's got a funny aftertaste, too -- like that fruit punch flavor they have at the dentist."

Karen Mudd, 24: "It tastes like a melted-down lollipop. It's disgusting."

Rob Coar, 45: "It's a sweeter Hawaiian Punch. And I haven't had Hawaiian Punch in years, but it was pretty sweet. If [the Wizards] win in the playoffs, maybe I'll reconsider."

His friend, Audrey Heiligman: "Can I have my own cup actually? I'm low on calories today and I have a class after work, I'll see if it helps me. Seriously, if Gilbert drinks it it's got to be good. You can quote me."

Bluffing With the Stars

After Calvin Booth told us of his admiration for poker stars Phil Ivey and Phil Hellmuth, we checked in with fellow poker fiend Gilbert Arenas, whose card-playing idols include Sam Farha and 2003 World Series of Poker champ Chris Moneymaker. Yesterday, we spoke with the experts:

Gilbert

Farha

Moneymaker

On Gilbert's idols"I like Moneymaker. And the guy who used to have the cigarette in his mouth but it was never lit [Farha].""It makes me feel really good. It means a lot to me, it really does.""I'm flattered, that's actually pretty cool."
NBA poker experiencePlays in Wizards' locker room during halftime and on team plane.Has played with Eddie Jones in Las Vegas. "He has no clue, but he loves the game.""I've played with Steve McNair and I've played with Cory Lidle from the Phillies. No NBA guys -- I met Shane Battier and he wants to play, but I haven't had a chance yet."
On pre-flop confidence"It can be 2-3 or Ace-Ace, I play the same way. I take all my crap into the flop. Your starting cards mean nothing until the flop comes out.""You know what's funny, I'm a very aggressive player, I play like him. As long as you have the money and you're looking to bust somebody, play those hands. If you know when to lay 'em down if you miss the flop, it's no problem. It can be pretty expensive sometimes, but if I hit the hand, I get paid.""If you're calling huge bets with 2-3, you're going to lose badly. But if the blinds are low and it's affordable to get in cheap, then yeah, get in cheap. If me and him were to sit down and he played every hand, he'd get chewed up and spit out."
On bluffing"I don't bluff, I just come in.""I hate to say it, that's an amateur, that's a beginner. Beginners are scared to bluff. But again, you have to know when to bluff. I make more money bluffing than playing hands, this is the truth. People tell me, 'You're so lucky, you're catching flops.' And inside I'm laughing, 'You don't know what I'm doing to you.' ""You have to have a table image, and if you're a person that never bluffs, every time he bets people are going to fold, he's never going to get paid off. Gilbert sounds like he needs to come out to my poker camp in September. Anytime he wants to play, tell him to give me a call, especially if that's the way he plays."


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