I returned to the Bellagio for the first time since August. Man, I miss that place. There are very few casinos that can compare to the Bellagio. I saw the usual cast of characters covering the event... Larry from Bluff, BJ from Card Player, Heather, Jen & Lisa from Poker Wire, and even Foiled Coup made it to the Bellagio! I met up with the Poker Prof and Flipchip for lunch. Flipchip got comped by the Bellagio so we ate at Noodles, which is one of my favorite places to eat in Las Vegas. I love the Sesame Chicken there. I also bumped into a felow blogger Curtis K., who snapped some kick ass photos. The drive from Grubby's place to the Bellagio takes less than 20 minutes.
The main event for Festa al Lago IV started at noon today. It was Day 1 of the Doyle Brunson North American Classic and the biggest names in pker were all there. 420 players signed up and bought in for $10,000. Each player gets $20K in chips to start, which the pros all prefer. It's more ammo to play with. The top 100 win prize money. Here's the payout structure:
1 $1,060,000Yep, first place gets $1 million and a seat in the $25K buy-in WPT Championships. With 42 tables filled with some of the best names in poker, half of the field played in the poker room while the other half played in the Fontana Room, which overlooks the strip and the historic Bellagio fountain. Every 30 minutes the water show would go off. It was weird to see actual sunlight creep inside. Although it was raining all day, what little light crept through the windows. They actually had two tables going on in Bobby's Room of all places. That's were the lovely Carmel Petresco was playing.
***** Live Blogging Update *****
4:32pm... I took a very lazy and lax approach to covering the event today. I've learned the hard way that I need to pace myself during these events. So today, I lingered around and I watched. Foiled Coup introduced me to a hot blonde waitress who was from Brooklyn. She also used to live in Park Slope, a few blocks from where I used to live. While I wandered back and forth between the poker room and the Fontana Room, I heard a lot of bad beat stories and some gossip. One player who made the final table at this year's WSOP dropped over $2 million in "The Big Game" recently.
4:47pm... Here's who I spotted in the event: Doyle Brunson, Chip Reese, Phil Ivey, Lyle Berman, Jennifer Harman, Barry Greenstein, Howard Lederer, John Juanda, Daniel Negreanu, David "The Dragon" Pham, T.J. Cloutier, Carlos Mortensen, Humberto Brenes, Ron Rose, Chris Bigler, Andy Bloch, Mel Judah, Gus Hansen, Erik Seidel, Chau Giang, Minh Ly, Dan Harrington, Josh Arieh, Thor Hansen, Carmel Petresco, Kathy Liebert, Evelyn Ng, Liz Lieu, Men "The Master" Nguyen, "My Main Man" Freddy Deeb, Jesus Ferguson, David Grey, David Singer, Sammy Farha, Paul Phillips, Layne Flack, Billy Baxter, Erick Lindgren, Minneapolis Jim Meehan, Mike Matusow, Chip Jett, Dan Heimiller, Young Phan, Paul Wolfe, Rafael Perry, Mark Seif, John Phan, Maureen Feduniak, Dewey Tomko, Kristy Gazes, Jim McManus, Scott Fischman, Joe Sebok, John Myung, Mimi Tran, John D'Agostino, Senthil Kumar, Harry Demetriou, The Grinder, David Levi, Paul Magriel, Tex Barch, Lee Watkinson, Todo Leonidas, JC Tran, "The Mighty" Quinn Do, Barny Boatman, Harley Hall, Jean Robert Bellande, Tuan Le, Richard Brodie, Gavin Smith, Ted Forrest, Kenna James, Jan Sorenson, Surinder Sunar, Capt, Tom Franklin, and Mike Gracz. Phil Hellmuth played too and he arrived late as usual.
5:01pm... BJ told me about one powerhouse table that ncluded Gus Hansen, Andy Bloch, Dan Harrington, Allen Cunningham, Chris Bigler, and Carlos Mortensen. Ouch. I'd hate to be the poor shmuck who won a satellite and got seated at that table!
6:15pm... Chip Jett was one of the first players busted out early. So was Paul Magriel, Phil Ivey, Scott Fischman, and Tim Pham.
6:30pm... I updated my earlier post about the "Bathroom Fucking Incident."
7:22pm... According to Poker Wire, Chau Giang was the chipleader with about $127K. Players will complete their current level and play will end for the day.
7:24pm... Some late eliminations included: Mark Seif, John Phan, Barry Shulman, "Neverwin" Woolf, John D'Agostino, David Levi, Eli Elezra, Erik Seidel, Humberto Brenes, Joe Sebok, and Ron Rose.
7:47pm... Chau Giang busted Paul Phillips when Giang flopped a Broadway straight with Q-J against Philipp's A-J and top pair.
7:58pm... Al Cant Hang called me for a Dial-a-Shot. Congrats to BigMike who won the Boathouse tourney tonight!!
8:01pm... Chris Bigler, Thor Hasnen, and David Grey were all eliminated. 230 players remain.
8:11pm... Just found out that I won something cool from Poker Stars. Well according to the Blogger Championship blog, my blog was selected to win a Lou Krieger book. Thanks Poker Stars.
8:22pm... John Juanda and Dan Heimiller were both eliminated.
8:55pm... Day 1 is over. There are 214 or 215 players left. Recent elimiantions include Richard Brodie, Farzad Bonyadi, Dewey Tomko, Allen Cunningham, Paul Wolfe, and Senthil Kumar. At the last check, Chau Giang is the chipleader, although this is unconfirmed. Play will resume at Noon on Wednesday.