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Poker News | PokerWorks Op-Ed

The Round Table – Sights and Sounds from Aruba – The Beginning of the Tournament

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Today marked day 1a of the $5000 main event buy-in. Those 188 players that weren’t too tired or hungover from UltimateBet’s opening party chose to play on the first day. Some players opting for this choice were Phil Hellmuth, Nick ‘FU_15’ Maimone, Jamie ‘PokerJamers’ Armstrong, Brock Parker, Matt ‘Ch0ppy’ Kay, and Matt Graham.

Early knockouts included a guy in the first 3 minutes who lost with A-A vs. Q-Q when a queen flopped and he couldn’t get away from his hand.

Also busting early versus a set was Mark ‘Dipthrong’ Herm after Adam Levy flopped big with 4-4. Adam even remarked that he hit about 4 sets in an hour at his table.

Among the 124 players that made it to day 2 were Jamie Armstrong, Brock Parker, and Adam Levy.

After play ended for the day a group of us went to a hibachi restaurant at the Westin and then stopped by a sports bar down the street to finishing watching the Minnesota game that several guys had bets on.

Just before calling it a night Zach ‘CrazyZachary’ Clark and Matt Graham decided to have a race in the parking lot. When I first heard about this I was pretty confused because I knew Matt came to the bar in white flip flops. Sure enough Matt decided to sprint barefoot against Zach wearing sneakers and still managed to beat him!


Day 1b kicked off with the remaining 281 players ready to play some cards. Some of those that opted to play this day included Amit ‘Amak316’ Makhija, Layne Flack, Joe Sebok, Liv Boeree, Tiffany Michelle, Erica Schoenberg, Nick Binger, Michael Binger and Gavin Smith.

Running into some bad luck early was Jeff Madsen who flopped a set with 5-5 but got all his money in on the turn when his opponent also happened to hit a set…of kings!

Annie Duke managed to get aces 7 times in 3 levels but couldn’t do anything with them and was eliminated when she couldn’t win with 2 pair.

Nearing the end of the day some of the chip leaders were Robert Mizrachi, Casey Kastle, and Justin Young.

After play we ventured on a 15 minute taxi ride away from the hotel for Argentinean cuisine. Joining us were Jeff Madsen, Billy Kopp, Matt Graham, Erica Schoenberg, and Adam Levy.

After dinner finished we of course played credit card roulette [CCR] and Jeff Madsen lost in a questionable way. I held the last two remaining cards in my right and left hands behind my back and asked the girl choosing which hand pays. She points to my right arm and says, “left hand.” Since she pointed to my right arm (which would be on the left for her obviously) I kind of lifted it and asked her, “this arm?” To which she nodded in agreement and then I flipped over that it was Jeff’s card. He was kind of annoyed because technically she said left hand and that would have meant he didn’t have to pay. I still think the ruling goes to him paying since she pointed at that hand and I confirmed before flipping it over.


Since I opted not to go out last night I woke up early and went to the gym with Tiffany Michelle. After a nice workout we went for a run along the beach and on the way back this guy yelled out, “Amazing Race girl !” We kind of laughed because it was so random and she had her hair back, with sunglasses on but he still recognized her.

Day 2 started back up at noon with 263 players remaining, including defending champion Matt Brady, and Johan Storakers, who finished 2nd last year and took 3rd in 2005.
Hitting the rail early were Nick Binger, Jason Grey, and Amit Makhija.

Robert Mizrachi meant business when he showed up for this tournament. Starting the day with 80,000 and one of the chip leaders he consistently cruised up the rankings and finished the day chip leader once again with 353,000.

Mizrachi wasn’t the only WSOP bracelet winner still left in the field, also finishing the day with bracelets under their belt were Brock Parker, Eric Baldwin, and of course Phil Hellmuth.

After play we rounded up another big group for dinner at one of Aruba’s best rated seafood restaurants. Our group of more than 15 included Allie Prescott, Jeff Madsen, Steven ‘PiKappRaider’ Burkholder, Scott Ian, Liv Boeree, along with the other usual suspects.
Of course after dinner the boys wanted to play CCR to determine the bill but everyone felt really bad because Jeff Madsen lost again on what he called “the biggest CCR of my life.”


Mid day I hopped on a huge catamaran with about 14 others and went on a snorkeling trip around the island.

Mike Sowers, Jason Koon, Hunter Frey, Lacey Jones, Steven Burkholder, Amit Makhija, Adam Levy, Billy Kopp, Jamie Rosen, and Matt Kay all joined to spend the afternoon on the water.

One of my favorite parts of the trip was when we were arriving back at the dock and Steven whispered that he wanted to push Billy off the boat as he was standing in front of a gap in the railing only blocked by a piece of rope. Lacey, Steven’s girlfriend and I banded together to help Steven take him down.

First Lacey asked to borrow Billy’s designer sunglasses because she didn’t have hers. Then I grabbed his lucky Kentucky hat and tried it on. Finally Steven’s girlfriend offered to hold his shirt in her bag. Surprisingly he just handed over all his loot and didn’t even think twice.

While we were robbing him Steven managed to unhook the rope part that was in his way and just as soon as Billy turned around and asked, “Why is the rope unhooked?” he was in the air falling into the water.

He was a great sport about it and everyone had a huge laugh.

After fast and furious bust outs (about 20 in the first level) the tournament ended early with the same man dominating the chip counts. Robert Mizrachi finished the day with almost double the amount of Ty Reiman in 2nd.

That night everyone headed to the $100 rebuy tournament UB was hosting for a local charity, The Children’s Home Imeldahof.

My first table included Matt Graham, Billy Kopp, Tiffany Michelle and Matt Kay. I tripled up early and made my way to the final three tables where Lacey Jones joined me ala Liv Boeree in last year’s Ante up event where we played the final two tables together.

Everyone was playing fast and having a great time, and I ended up busting on a 3 way all in with Ah-Jh to Phil Hellmuth’s 9-4 and Steven Burkholder’s K-3. Of course a king on the flop and Lacey and I were out!

After UB matched most of what was earned they ended up raising almost $17,000 for the charity!

News Flash

The IRS Scores Big at 2015 WSOP ME Final Table

The IRS managed to snag 34.13 percent from the payouts of the 2015 November Nine, totaling $8,467,091.

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