This weekend, over 100 of the biggest names in internet poker descended on Las Vegas for the largest tournament of its kind in history.
No, I’m not talking about the Bellagio Five Diamonds event. I’m talking about the World Poker Blogger Tour Winter Classic 2007. With poker bloggers from all over the US descending on Las Vegas, the number of live straddles in the various poker rooms along the strip increased threefold over the course of four days.
The Venetian was the chosen site of the private tournament, which featured celebrity bloggers Dr. Pauly of Tao of Poker, Iggy from Guinness and Poker, Otis from Up for Poker, and noted poker writers like Amy Calistri, Linda Geenen, John Caldwell and Tim Lavelli. Also joining the festivities was poker writer Johnny Hughes, who made his first foray into the poker blogger world since publishing his latest book, Texas Poker Wisdom.
The Venetian provided an excellent structure and environment for the event, which saw the largest ever turnout for a poker blogger tournament. 110 total entrants settled in with 6,000 starting chips and blinds at 25/50 for the event. Thirty minute levels gave even the tightest players room to play poker before the blinds and antes got high.
TheMark, a friend of Up for Poker from Greenville, SC was the first player to bust out, earning himself the traditional title of “Gigli” and a copy of the movie with the same name. The top 20 finishers paid, with the list of in the money players reading like a who’s who of poker writing. Among the money finishers were Falstaff, Paul ‘Dr. Pauly’ Maguire, Johnny Hughes, CK and Joe Speaker.
The final table was ten-handed, and it finally came down to Joaquin ‘The Rooster’ Ochoa and Bad ‘Otis’ Willis heads up for the title. After a few minutes of jockeying back and forth for position, Ochoa moved all in with Q-8 and Willis called with K-9. The flop and turn blanked out, but the 8 on the river gave the title and the golden hammer trophy to The Rooster. As an extra-special prize to the winner of the Winter Classic, poker blogger DrChako, who is currently serving his country in Iraq, sent over an American flag that flew over Camp Connor, where he is stationed. The flag went to the winner as a reminder of what he is over there protecting – freedom and friendship.
The top ten finishers placed like this –
1. The Rooster 2. Otis 3. Kuro Kitty 4. Schecky 5. Columbo 6. Grubby 7. Miami Don 8. Instant Tragedy 9. Change100 10. Drizz
The poker bloggers invasion of Vegas was, as always, a huge success and a great time was had by all. The Venetian staff did an extraordinary job of hosting the event, and dealing with all the shenanigans inherent in any large private tournament.
*The guitar pictured here is for DrChako, signed by the bloggers*