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Poker News | PokerWorks Op-Ed

The Round Table – Sights and Sounds from the First Week of WSOP 2009

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I got into Vegas on Monday afternoon and since my condo wasn’t ready I decided to crash with friends at Panorama for the night.

As soon as I pulled up to valet, Chad Batista and Sorel Mizzi pulled up right behind me. You always know when it’s time for the WSOP because you can’t go anywhere without running into poker players.

As I was walking in the front door of the friends I was staying with, I literally ran into JC Alvarado who was headed out to the pool to join everyone at a BBQ pool party for Memorial Day.
I met JC and Adam ‘Roothlus’ Levy downstairs shortly after and quickly caught up with Scott Seiver, Aaron Been, Justin Bonomo, and Jonathan ‘FatalError’ Aguiar. After eating, a few of us headed out to the pool and eventually decided to head to a sports bar to watch the Lakers.

Marco ‘CrazyMarco’ Johnson ended up texting Adam and mentioned meeting up at the Pallazzo sports book. Now I wasn’t crazy of the idea of watching a game in the sports book because of how anal they are about using your phone. This place was awesome, though.

It wasn’t like any sports book I’d ever been in. They had this huge room, which I found out used to be Jay-Z’s 40/40 club, which was filled with comfy chair couches in front of an enormous screen.

We ended up getting a private room off to the side of the place and got settled in for the game. Initially it was just me, Adam, and Aaron, but friends slowly started trickling in.
Marco, Shannon Shorr, Adam Katz, Mike Katz, Amit Makhija, Hunter Frey, Thayer Rasmussen, Shaun Deeb, Jonathan Auiguar, Ben Palmer and a few other friends all hung out and unfortunately for me cheered on the Nuggets.
After the game ended there was talks of going out clubbing, but I just decided to go home and call it a night.

On Wednesday Annie Duke held a charity tournament at the Hard Rock called ‘Sucking out on the Rivers’ and it was meant to raise more money for the charity Annie played for on The Celebrity Apprentice, Refugees International. Annie and show mate Joan Rivers didn’t quite get along, and when Donald Trump fired Annie, a lot of people felt her charity was shortchanged.

As soon as I showed up for the event, all I could see were men dressed as Joan everywhere. Short ones, fat ones, even tattooed ones were all in drag mocking the woman who called poker players mafia members on national TV.
A couple of poker players showed up to support the cause, including Andy Bloch , Howard Lederer, Matt Graham, Men Nguyen, newest UltimateBet Star Player Brandon Cantu and frequent cross dresser Rafe Furst who dressed up as Melissa Rivers.

Annie and Andy made the final table, Annie finishing 6th and Andy taking 2nd. Andy generously donated his 2nd place winnings back to the charity, which ended up receiving a check for $16,800.

After the tournament a group of us, including Matt Graham, Adam ‘Roothlus’ Levy, Ryan Daut, Maria Mayrinck, Evelyn Ng, and Lex Veldhuis all headed over to Nobu for a later dinner. Evelyn ordered for the table and everything was fantastic, as to be expected.

The next day marked the start of the first ever $40,000 no limit hold’em event. This event created a lot of prop bets between the players, with how many entries there would be.

Around 11:00 am, just 1 hour before play began, there were about 100 players registered. Amit ‘Amak316’ Makhija made a bet with a friend that the tournament would have more than 169 players.

Just after the first break the numbers were tallied and 201 players were registered and participating in the first open event.

I heard Mike Matusow bet three separate $5000 bets on over 300, over 400 and over 500 players…not his best prop bet ever.

That night I went to dinner with Amit, Issac Haxton, Alex ‘Kadabra’ Keating, Vivek Rajkumar, and a few others. I always enjoy hearing how these young geniuses think about hands, and this dinner was no different. All of them were still in the $40,000 and were sharing lots of hands from their respective tables.
The next night saw the play down to the final 9, where Issac Haxton, Greg Raymer, Justin Bonomo, Lex Veldhuis, Alec Torelli, Vitaly Lunkin, Dani Stern, Noah Schwartz, and Ted Forrest would all be taking a seat at the ESPN televised final table.

I did notice something rather interesting after the final table was set. In the last three nights I had dinner with 3 of the final tablists (Lex on the night before the event, Issac on the day 1 dinner break, and Alec on the day 2 dinner break.)

After the final table was set I ran over to the new club in the Rio called ND to check out the WSOP welcome party. In attendance were WSOP Commissioner Jeffery Pollack, Mario Ho, Liv Boeree, Nick and Michael Binger, Jeff Madsen, Robert Williamson, Joe Reitman, Christian ‘Charder30’ Harder, and the evening’s host, Lacey Jones.

Lacey even debuted a music video called All In where she had a cameo.

Stay tuned for more fun from the series…

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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