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Poker News | PokerWorks Op-Ed

The Round Table – Sights and Sounds from Aruba – Before the Tournament - I’m Back!!

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So I’ve been on a little writing hiatus – life has kept me busy – but I’m back to fill you in on the happenings down in Aruba.
 
I’m not joking, a week after I left Aruba last year I kept asking, “is it time to go back yet?” The place is just spectacular, nowhere like it in the world, and definitely my favorite stop on the poker tour.

Friday:

This year my adventure began in flight with Scott Ian, guitarist and founder of metal band Anthrax. Scott has been working with Ultimate Bet for a couple years now and shared with me some cool things he has coming up.

Scott is opening a bar with Alice and Chains member Jerry Cantrell in Las Vegas called Dead Man’s Hand, with their opening night party around the time of the WSOP Main Event final table.
 
They are also planning on hosting some pretty cool poker tournaments, including possibly a strip poker event.

When we landed in Miami for our layover we met up with Adam ‘Roothlus’ Levy, his brother Justin ‘Roothlus2’ – who by the way is winning his fair share of tournaments lately with a $48k win in the Borgata $400 no limit event and a couple other online events for more than $80,000- along with Joe Reitman, Amit ‘Amak316’ Makhija, and Shawn Rice.

Amit Makhija ran into some bad luck when the airlines lost his luggage upon arrival in Aruba (but luckily he got it back the next day.)

Once we got checked in, a few of us headed down to the center bar to catch up and unwind after a long flight. One of the first people we saw was Absolute Poker pro Matt ‘Plattsburgh’ Vengrin who was in great spirits about his arrival on the island.
 
Being that I was tired I only stayed for 1 drink and bid adieu to the boys as they headed out to the local bars.
Saturday:

Today was pretty much the only day off for the week in Aruba.  I ran into Annie Duke in the lobby who was preparing her slides for the teaching seminar the next day. She was excited that she changed her background of the slides to an ocean view – perfect for our current location.

After lunch a group of us, including Zach ‘CrazyZachary’ Clark, Adam Levy, Amit Makhija, Steve ‘gboro780’ Gross, and Jamie ‘TheCronic420’ Rosen, decided to rent a boat and go tubing and of course the boys were making last longer bets the whole way through.

Zach went up first against Jamie and beat him twice. Adam and Steve were next and surprisingly (no offense Adam) Roothlus beat Steve both times!

After the day on the beach we all met up for dinner and went across the street where they have built up this new strip of bars and restaurants. Billy Kopp, Hafiz Khan, and Matt Graham joined up with us as they arrived in town.
Sunday:

UB hosted seminars this morning with Annie Duke center stage. After the lecture, other Team UB pros joined in and had hand lessons where players could sit at the table with them and talk about what they were doing right or wrong.

After the session Liv Boeree and I went for lunch and then headed down to the beach. We met up with some friends and spent the rest of the afternoon out on a boat exploring the Caribbean waters. We even drove over to the airport to see if a plane would fly over us but one never did.

While most others were winding down on Sunday evening and preparing for their work week, the players at the Radisson in Aruba were ready to party.

UB hosted a catered party and multiple open bars and entertainment. Las Vegas Comedian Vinnie Favorito got the crowd going with his raunchy sense of humor and his ability to pick on the crowd with quick and witty comments.

After his set, a troop of dancers glided around the pool, one even bursting out of a plastic cake to celebrate UB’s 10th year anniversary as a site and sing happy birthday. Synchronized swimmers performed in the water as fireworks went off around them.

The real madness started after several UB pros jumped in/were thrown in the pool. The first few were Liv Boeree, Bryan Devonshire, and Tiffany Michelle and from there just about everyone within arm’s reach was thrown in.

As people realized they could be the next to go they started looking around for a place to put their phones, wallets, etc. I wasn’t thrilled about going in so I offered to hold everyone’s belongings.

By the end of it, in my possession, I held Liv Boeree and Tiffany Michelle’s purses, Bryan Devonshire’s girlfriend’s purse, Billy Kopp’s watch, about $5000 in cash wrapped with a rubber band, casino chips, a couple iPhones, Matt Graham’s wallet, and some other random things.

After deciding I didn’t want to be responsible for it anymore I shed all the belongings in my room and allowed the boys to throw me in the pool as well.

Later that night my door was off the hook. People I didn’t even know I had stuff off of showed up at my door to collect. The next day I was even chatting within a group of people and talking about the previous night exclaimed “I still have this chap stick…not sure whose that is.” To which Michael Binger snapped it out of my fingers…”Oh, thanks that’s mine.”

It was definitely a great way to start off the week.

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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