I have wanted to attend this event for the last couple years and I am really happy to finally be here.
My adventure (pun intended) began at the Miami international airport where I met up with Phil ‘OMGClayAiken’ Galfond at airport. We found our gate for the next flight to the Bahamas and ran into Noah ‘fourUhaters’ Schwartz and Brandon Cantu.
Brandon told us that he just ran into a friend he hadn’t seen in years that was on his honeymoon but they kept getting bumped on flights because they were all either oversold or too heavy. They eventually did get on the flight, after a bit of a delay and we were all on our way. Phil proceeded to beat me at gin and I intend for a comeback later in the trip.
After landing the 3 of us hopped in a town car and headed off to the Atlantis. We all told funny stories, including Cantu who told us that he just heard that a shark jumped out of its tank and slid down the waterslide and into the pool at the Atlantis. None of us believed him (including our driver) and he told us it was going to be his mission to find out the truth. To be continued on that I guess…
The welcome party kicked off around 7:30 and it was packed full of people.
PokerStars had the catered food and numerous open bars scattered around the outside pool area along with a local Bahamian band playing everything from Janet Jackson covers to Earth Wind and Fire.
I ran into Daniel Negreanu pretty soon after arriving and he told me he had landed yesterday, brought his mother along and also shared that the only 3 alcoholic drinks that he consumes are beer, champagne and wine. That night his choice of the three was Kalik, the local beer.
It was internet and live pros aplenty at the party and a few I saw and chatted with were Jeff Madsen, Peter ‘Number1pen’ Neff, Scott ‘SCTrojans’ Freeman, Mark ‘Dipthrong’ Herm, Sorel Mizzi, Kevin ‘Belowabove’ Saul, Joe Sebok, and Bryan ‘badbeatninja’ Devonshire.
I met, for the first time, WSOP Main Event final table finisher Craig Marquis and chatted with him for a little bit. He said he hadn’t played a satellite to win his seat to get to the PCA, he just showed up and planned to buy in, probably, at some point. Oh to have won a cool million at the WSOP ME this year…
After the party a few of us went to dinner, including Daniel ‘DJK123’ Kelly, Adam ‘Roothlus’ Levy, Mandy B, Heather B, Anthony ‘holdplz’ Spinella, and Jon Eaton.
There was a lot of poker talk, of course, and DJK ordered a burger called ‘the all in burger,’ of course. At the end the boys insisted on playing credit card roulette and I drew the cards to see who the loser would be. Anthony’s card ended up being the last to be held and he had to pick up the entire bill.
After that everyone called it an early night so they could be fresh for the start of the tournament on Monday, day 1a.
Monday night I went to dinner at Nobu with Adam Levy, his brother, Jeremy ‘Chipsteela’ Menard, Kevin ‘BeL0WaB0Ve’ Saul, Dan ‘Wretchy’ Martin, Mandy B, Heather B, and Eric ‘SiVTEC’ Tomberlin.
The boys again played credit card roulette and I again drew the cards. Eric ended up losing and picking up the $1300 bill.
After dinner we headed over towards the tournament room where there were tons of people hanging in the lobby playing cards. I jumped into a Chinese game with Michael Binger and Justin Bonomo for a couple minutes. Cliff ‘Johnnybax’ Josephy, Bryan Devonshire and Brandon Cantu were also playing cards – their choice of game being hearts.
Over in the poker room David Baker, Jonathan Little, Jeff Madsen and Daniel Kelly were wrapping up the day as some of the chip leaders.
One table that drew quite a crowd wasn’t from the tournament, but a $50-$100 cash game that included Antonio Esfandiari, Sorel Mizzi, Andrew Robl and Brandon Adams to name a few. They had tons of crazy side bets that included doing shots and pushups.
After the casino staff closed the poker room everyone headed up to Sorel’s room to continue playing. Sorel and Andrew decided to have a heads up match, each putting up $10,000, winner takes all. I don’t know how but for some reason I ended up dealing the start of the game. After a pretty quick game, Sorel ended up winning.
The next day, at the start of day 1b, Gus Hansen showed up to the tournament room around 11:30 in the morning. He was really confused when there was no one in the conference room playing at the tables. Somehow he thought it was 2:30 in the afternoon, so instead of being two and a half hours later for the event he showed up 30 minutes early.
A lot of players had some bad beats and got busted early, including Adam Levy who had set over set and Jeremy Menard who called it ‘the worst poker day in eternity.’
A couple people having a better day were Bryan Devonshire and Jeff Madsen who were playing beer pong at the pool. Chris Ferguson and his girlfriend were also there using the ping pong tables as they were actually intended to be used.
After that a group of us got pizza and called it a quiet night with a movie at the Atlantis theatre.
More to come as my days in paradise continue…
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.