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Poker News | PokerWorks Op-Ed

The Round Table – Sights and Sounds from the Commerce Casino

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I’ve been in and out of the Commerce for the last 2 weeks for the Los Angeles Poker Classic.

Some big names have done big things here, including David Plastik winning event #2 $500 no limit, Jeff Madsen taking down event #24 $1500 no limit, and Scotty Nguyen making a deal with Chino Rheem for the H.O.R.S.E. title, event #29, a $10,000 buy in.
Now I must say – I was there to witness Scotty playing in this event and it wasn’t pretty. It really seems like Scotty didn’t learn much from his last brush with notoriety as he was back to drinking and yelling at some of his opponents. The peak of his antics occurred when he hit his flush after all the chips were in and knocked out Matt Graham in 5th place. As Matt was getting up from the table Scotty shouted something close to, “Bye bye, don’t mess with Scotty.” Needless to say his fellow poker players that were watching the final table action were less than impressed.
Other than that it’s been pretty calm around the Commerce, excluding of course the occasional bets that I have been a party too. You may be seeing Brandon Cantu with a new accessory this summer. He decided to flip a coin with Rick Fuller for $2000 and the loser has to pierce their ear and wear a 1 inch gold hoop earring for the duration of the World Series of Poker. Brandon has the option to buy out of the bet for $10,000 so we will see come May what he decided to do.

After he lost that bet, Brandon decided he wanted his money back and the best way to attempt to do that was to flip more coins. I played host for the flipping against Dan ‘Wretchy’ Martin and after about 3 flips Brandon found himself down another $10,000.
The week before the Main Event started I had a couple fun nights out. On Tuesday I went to Hollywood for Adam ‘Roothlus’ Levy’s celebration dinner. Adam took 2nd in the FTOPS $5000 event, cashing for $387,000. Joining us were Liv Boeree, Amit ‘amak316’ Makhija, Aaron Been, JC Alvarado, and Scott Seiver. We went to dinner at Asia de Cuba in the Mondrian hotel on Sunset and hit up Saddle Ranch for a little while after.
The $10,000 Heads Up Championship kicked off the next day and after 3 long grueling days, and 13 matches, Vivek Rajkumar (or the ‘sandduck’ as those that buried him at PCA like to call him) took it down around 6am on Saturday morning.

I was out winning money as well. Another night I went bowling with Dan Martin, Scott ‘SCTrojans’ Freeman, Mike ‘SowersUNCC’ Sowers, and Kevin ‘BeL0WaB0Ve’ Saul. It wouldn’t be a night out with poker players if we didn’t place a little wager on our bowls. Scott and I teamed up against Mike and Dan, leaving Kevin to play on his own with a side bet with Dan. After a strong start Scott and I closed out the game and each pocketed a cool $20. Nice life, I know.

Before the Main Event Liv Boeree and I met up with Scott Ian, Phil Hellmuth, Layne Flack and Brandon Cantu for some dinner at Beso in Hollywood. It was a fun night filled with typical Phil Hellmuth brags, and animated Layne Flack stories.

The Main Event kicked off at noon on Saturday with a successful turnout. 696 players showed up to participate, beating last year’s entries of 665 players. All of the previous year’s winners were in attendance, except for Gus Hansen who evidently is in Copenhagen training for his upcoming boxing match.

Even with almost 700 players there were still some stacked tables at the event, including one that featured Phil Laak, Chau Giang, Shaun Deeb, Dustin Woolf, Anna Wroblewski, Robert Mizrachi, Dennis Phillips and Joe Sebok.

Later in the day the prize pool was announced, with $1.6 million going to the winner and 63 places paid.

Day 1 bust outs included David Benyamine, Chino Rheem, Adam Levy, Erick Lindgren, Freddy Deeb and John Juanda.

At the end of the day 412 players remained and some of poker’s biggest names ended the day at the top of the chip counts. Daniel Negreanu, Jeff Madsen, Betrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier, and Nick Schulman all finished off in the top 6 in chips.

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.

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