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Poker News | Casino Poker | Tournament Reports

The Round Table – We Like to Party…In Aruba

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After visiting Annie in her gi-normous suite Sunday evening, and readjusting my day's goals to becoming a pro poker player so I could have my own one of those, I headed back to my regular "sweet" room to get ready to party. Annie had loaned me an outfit to wear, complete with shiny pink $400 Prada shoes. Oh the life of a rich and famous poker player. Still on my ‘to do' list, of course.

That night was the opening reception for the Aruba Poker Classic and it wasn't without excitement. Not wanting be the first to arrive, I showed up for the party a half an hour past the starting time. Swilling solo would never have been an option because the pool was packed! Set around the beach and pool area, Ultimate Bet went all out.
There were food options, numerous open bars and cocktail waitresses practically insisting you order a drink from them. A band sang karaoke style tunes and numerous players were spotted on the dance floor, including Phil Hellmuth and Annie Duke with her children. The attendees were able to scope out their competition and find out what other pros were gracing the island with their presence.

Shortly into the party Phil Hellmuth grabbed the microphone and pretty much didn't let go of it until he left. After doing everything from talking about himself, to talking about online and now live phenomena Annette "Annette_15" Obrestad, to introducing Ultimate Bet's team he finally ended his MC duties by bribing anyone and everyone to jump into the nearby pool.

Women, children of Ms. Duke, and All In Magazine's own Hollywood Dave, plugged their nose and didn't think twice after Phil started shelling out the cash. At $500 a pop the ‘Poker Brat' seemed intent to show everyone the money.

After a crazy night most people headed off to bed to be up-n-at-em for the WSOP Academy the next morning. I
KrazyKanuck, Shawn Rice, Mark Seif, Poker H0, Annie and Debo sat in a panel on the stage. Each of the pros spent a lot of time covering pre and post flop play, giving out pricey advice to the players that attended the seminar.

Phil Hellmuth notoriously showed up late, with two ‘Pro Player ' models in tow, and just in time for the Q&A session where attendees were able to stand up and ask questions to their favorite pros.

"It was great that we had a party last night and over a 100 people still showed up early in the morning to learn poker," Annie Duke said shortly after the event.

An interesting side project, going on during the tournament, is The Travel Channel filming an hour long special show entitled You're Travel Guide: Aruba Poker Adventure. After the Q&A, Annie had a sit down with the host of the program, Shane Reynolds, and taught him preflop strategy to help him out in the event.

Up in the penthouse Phil Hellmuth was getting some camera time of his own. After winning his seat in the VH1 ‘Rock ‘n Roll Celebrity Poker Tournament,' Scott Ian, from Anthrax, received lessons from the one and only Poker Brat and The Travel Channel got it on film.

Online pro, and huge Anthrax fan, Gary ‘Debo34' Debonardi joined Hellmuth and Ian at the table, donning a black and gold ‘Phil Hellmuth' ball cap, and assisted with the lesson. Hellmuth catered his instruction to describe playing in the Aruba event with the 90 minute levels and blind structure.

Ian brought up dealing with bad beats and Phil talked about how he always has the best hand, "I'm the best player in the world and I always have the best hand." Oh Phil! He did actually follow up with advice, saying you just have to move on and not let it get to you.

A couple hours after the lessons, both Reynolds and Ian were quickly put to the test when they decided to join Hellmuth's single table re-buy tournament along with Annie Duke, Joe Reitman, Poker H0, Annette Obrestad and a few others.

After numerous rebuys, by most of the players, Hellmuth was on his game that evening and took down the $5900 1st place cash. As the players busted, many of them headed over to the casino's poker room and tore it up in the cash games.

Day 1a started Tuesday...stay tuned to find out who showed up late, who got a hold of some chips and who spent the rest of their trip on the beach and not in the poker room.

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