Fresh off my unbelievable Tahiti vacation I headed off to Las Vegas for the WPT Five Diamond at the Bellagio for a couple days.
I arrived just near the end of day 1b and ran into Joe Sebok and Ali Nejad
near the front of the Fontana Lounge where they were prepping for their PokerRoad radio show with that night’s guest, Annie Duke.
The night ended just before 9 pm with 225 players remaining from day 1b and a collective 376 returning for day 2.
Myself and Liv Boeree joined Adam ‘Roothlus’ Levy, Justin Bonomo, Matt ‘mattg1983’ Graham, and a few others for dinner at Fix. The restaurant was packed with a lot of other players and friends that had just completed their day, including Chino Rheem, Annie Duke, Joe Reitman, Mark Newhouse, and Dandruff.
After dinner Liv and I ran into Jeff Madsen , Ali Nejad, and Joe Sebok who were playing Pai Gow and decided to run over to Bellagio’s most recently renovated club now known as The Bank. JC Tran had a table and right next to him was Rhynie Campbell’s table who was celebrating his birthday. At one point the Christmas clad waitresses escorted over an enormous bottle of pink Moet to Rhynie along with multiple sparklers.
The next day all the players from day 1a and day 1b returned to play in both the Fontana Lounge and the actual poker room.
Play in the poker room started off quite disturbing for those seated near the railings. Evidently there were renovations occurring at the Cirque du Soleil ‘O’ theatre right next door and the players definitely weren’t happy about having to endure the ruckus while they were trying to focus on their play.
Annie Duke and tablemate Freddy Deeb both shook their heads and asked that something be done to help them as they were seated closest to all the commotion.
I spotted Phil Ivey with a flourishing head of hair. Ivey usually keeps his mane cropped short but it was just now showing a little more depth. Evidently Ivey and Roland de Wolf have a 6 figure bet that Ivey can’t cut his hair for a year. This could get interesting!
Noah ‘fouruhaters’ Schwartz was hanging around the tournament area after busting because he said he still had a few horses remaining in the field.
Adam Levy ran insanely bad on his day 2 losing with K-K to A-K and Q-Q losing to 10-10 and eventually Q-Q losing to A-J all within a few hours of play.
Chris Ferguson busted just before the end of the day and joined some of us at the bar outside of Fontana lounge and played video poker. A guy sitting with us told us how he just won $10,000 playing the day before…we weren’t so lucky.
That night a few of us went out to Jet at the Mirage. Liv Boeree, Joe Reitman, Robbie Cunningham, Adam Levy and myself hit up the enormous nightclub for a few hours and tried to protect our drinks from the ‘snow’ (some kind of soap substance falling from the ceiling.) Looking back this was kind of a precursor for how our trip would end up.
139 people returned the next day to play their day 3. The money started paying at 100 players and sadly enough for him, the bubble boy was Jon Friedberg.
A lot of well known pros that certainly didn’t care about just making the money ended up busting just after that. Marco Traniello, Phil Hellmuth, and Johnny Chan all came in succession and cashed for $21,620.
Annie Duke endured a brutal beat when Mike Matusow played this pot with her.
Annie raised preflop to 16,000 and Matusow called in position. The board came and Annie pushed in the rest of her stack (around 55k) Matusow pondered for a little bit and said outl oud, “This may be the best call ever or the worst call ever.” He eventually did call for a third of his stack, and it technically was ‘the worst call ever.’ Annie tabled for top pair top kicker and Matusow sheepishly turned over for a gutshot straight draw and runner, runner heart draw. Matusow got just that as the turn and river came Everyone at the table was in awe and just like that Annie was out in 76th place.
“I snap shoved so he would think I was weak, but it’s almost impossible for it to be a good call in that situation,” Annie explained.
The next day Liv and I were scheduled to fly out to Los Angeles for a Metallica show and we woke to some interesting weather in Las Vegas…snow! After boarding our plane and sitting on the runway for several hours we were finally alerted that we wouldn’t be able to take off and the whole Vegas airport was shut down for the night.
Michael Binger came to pick us up and we all couldn’t resist having a snowball fight in the parking garage. After the fight we headed back to the Bellagio and it really was crazy to drive down the strip and see falling snow all around us.
We finally did make it to LA the next day and were able to get to the Metallica show. Afterwards we were hanging out backstage and it was kind of funny to hear band members from Alice in Chains talking about their high stakes home games with other A-list celebrities. Poker really is everywhere these days!
Up next is PCA in the Bahamas – back to the beaches!!
Like a wheel, the Round Table is a circle of adventures and victories, beats and stories, and life as it unfolds with a cast of characters that may, or may not, have joined you in your home on a local TV program. There's so much more to poker than what you see on TV. Although I won't use canvas, I will paint the full picture for you as I follow the lives of some of your favorite (and some unknown) players. The Round Table is an ongoing series of life, viewed full circle.
*Join Katie in the Bahamas! PokerStars is running satellites right now and for a limited time you can get $25 free when you register with PokerStars.*