Friday, September 30, 2005

Second Annual WPBT Holiday Classic in Las Vegas

I was going to wait until Monday to write about this, but since Poker Stars made their huge announcement about their WPT Bahamas exclusive satellite for bloggers only, I figured the timing was right.

Bill Rini has been hard at work trying to nail down the final details for the next blogger get together in Las Vegas. It will be in December. And here's the skinny...
What: 2nd Annual Holiday Classic
When: Saturday Dec. 10th
Time: 10am (tentative)
Where: Imperial Palace poker room
Buy-in: $50 + 15 (juice plus dealer's tip)
Stop by Bill's blog to see who's going to be playing and how you can get a discounted room! Also make sue you shoot him an email telling him your info like blog name, real name, and contact info. I am trying to see if I can upgrade to a suite like last time at the Plaza. Some of the highlights of last trip happened in the wee hours in the morning in our suite that Derek and I shared with Eva and AlCantHang. We had a few SNGs, watched Drizz play on Full Tilt, and the Poker Geek passed out on our couch after trying to run with the big dogs.

I'm looking forward to playing in this event at Imperial Palace. It should be fun and we can take over the casino for the weekend. Of course, we'll find time to storm the Castle, gamble on football on Sunday morning at Mandalay Bay, and possibly go beer bowling or hit up some strip clubs.

In last year's event at Sam's Town, Felicia Lee won it! I made the final table as the chip leader and bubbled out when Julie from the Blue Parrot rivered me. In June, Chad issued a Minnesota bad beat on me when his 9-9 beat my 10-10. I am seeking revenge!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Thursday Pimp Day - Truckin and Top 15 Referrals

I recently published a new issue of my literary-blogzine Truckin'. We were a little late this month but that's par for the course for Truckin'! This issue might have one of the funniest stories to date from Daddy. Anon Hammurabi returns with Part 2 of his trip to the Sudan. The Human Head makes his debut and Joe Speaker returns with a story about... being young and vulnerable. And there's another installment of Subway Stories for you including something about my most recent trip to Amsterdam. Take a peek!
Truckin' - September 2005, Vol. 4, Issue 9

1. September Subway Story by Tenzin McGrupp
The homeless man wore a NY Mets t-shirt and black dress shoes three sizes too big. He wasn't wearing any socks. He stood in the middle of the subway and pleaded with everyone... More

2. With the Lights Out by Joe Speaker
The last thing you want is to be thought "different," so you check your childhood impulses and guard your secrets... More

3. Crushing Omaha by Daddy
I knew my wife would be sporting her new Victoria's Secret lingerie, and I had a secret of my own. A little blue secret. She didn't know it yet, but she had a date with the Vanilla Gorilla... More

4. A Million Miles in 20 Steps by The Human Head
The very thing that affords him a decent lifestyle is a sea of nothingness in which he must swim, and as he looks towards the entrance he is filled with a sense of hopelessness that is difficult to describe... More

5. Khartoum-Nyala (Sudan, Part 2): Domestic flights in Sudan by Anon Hammurabi
The Sudanese desert also has a very distinct colour of red, which looks really great from an airplane. But a killer shark also looks beautiful from safe distance... More

6. Red Light City by Tenzin McGrupp
The better looking ones are on the side streets and you have to navigate the narrow alleys while following the aroma of cheap sex in the air to find the doorways with the girls... More
Do you want to write for Truckin'? Feel free to shoot me an e-mail if you are interested. Make sure you read the guidelines for submissions.

Moving on...

15 Top Referrals

Why 15? Why the fuck not? Thanks to the following folks for the hits over the last week or so.
1. Las Vegas and Poker Blog
2. Iggy's Guinness and Poker
3. Card Squad
4. CJ, Otis & G-Rob's Up for Poker
5. Al Cant Hang
6. Aaron Gleeman
7. Wil Wheaton
8. Joaquin Ochoa
9. Odd Jack
10. Tao of Pauly
11. Derek's Poker in the Weeds
12. Bad Blood
13. Double As
14. Grubby
15. Poker Twitch
That's it for now. Sorry for such a crappy post today. I have too much writing to do and have to stop blogging. Besides Blogger has been kicking my ass all week (e.g. "The blog you were looking for was not found"). I'm till working on the Vegas book and a new project which takes a few hours of my time every day. Plus I have lunch in the city with my lovely assistant Jess, followed by a string of necessary errands that I'll be running around town trying to do for this weekend. I have a bachelor party to attend to on Saturday and I'm the guy who got stuck trying to score the drugs and the hookers. Shows you what my friends here in NYC think of me. Now, if I can only find a hooker who sells blow, then I'd kill two birds with one stone.

Tomorrow I'll write about my last two months of playing poker and the transition from a cash game player in Las Vegas back to an online grinder.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Purple Humpback Whales, Johnny Fuckin' Chan, and Other Useless Crap to Distract the Masses

I'm swamped with catch up work. Or call it bitch work for you non-PC folks. That's OK. It keeps my mind off of other things and definitely keeps me humble. I'm happy to be home again. Being back in NYC is a good thing since I'll be on the road a lot over the next several months so I'm enjoying the little things about this city that make it great. I've been eating bagels almost every morning. In Europe, Briana got me addicted to croissants. There are not as filling as a bagel and I usually have to eat two to get the same morning bread fix. In Las Vegas, they had no equivalent to bagels and croissants. The closest thing within walking distance to the Redneck Riviera was a McD's and a Wendy's. Since I was crashing at 6 or 7am every night that by the time I woke up, it was the lunch rush hour. Yikes. I just realized that I spent most of my time in Las Vegas eating fast food for breakfast. No wonder I put on 15 pounds. It was my poor eating habits and all the beer I was drinking at the Hooker Bar with Otis during dinner breaks.

Speaking of Las Vegas, I watched the most recent two episodes of the WSOP on ESPN last night with my brother. And fuck, I saw my ugly mug plastered all over the Johnny Fuckin' Chan episode. Originally ESPN was scheduled to tape the $2,500 NL event. That night there were two final tables, the $2500 NL and the $2500 PLH event. There were a lot of unknown online players and newbies at the $2500 NL TV table and the PLH table featured Johnny Chan, Humberto Brenes, and Phil Laak. It seemed they had more railbirds and media sweating them on the outer tables than the other event on the main stage. Even ESPN's second unit was all over Chan's table. I recall that Dan from Pokerati got yelled at for standing on a chair by one of the ESPN producers.

Last night I got a few comments from readers about seeing me in the background. I got several emails and a few voicemails. My friend Julie even sent me a text message, "I just saw you on ESPN!"

Man, I was just a few feet from the table when Johnny Chan cracked pocket Aces with the Hilton Sisters (see photo below). The suits at ESPN took note of the significance of Johnny Chan's run. As the players were being eliminated at the PLH table and Chan got closer and closer to winning his 10th bracelet, they gave the PLH table more coverage. When it got down to two, an executive decision was made to postpone the heads up match between Chan and Laak and shoot it on the final TV table after the $2500 NL event was complete. They waited for almost two hours before Chan and Laak played heads up. During the break, I wandered out into the casino to find some ginger ale to drink. I spotted Phil Laak sprinting at top speed. He was running right at me in the long corridors that connect the Convention Area to the rest of the casino.

"Slow down Phil, you got plenty of time!" I yelled.

He kept running.

There were plenty of media folks who got face time during that epic episode. As soon as someone wins a bracelet, you can see Flipchip in the background snapping a photo. I also saw Sharla from Poker Pages, Jay Greenspan, and Heather from Poker Wire. BJ was in the background in media row and I know Otis was back there too. During the Chan-Laak heads up match, I was seated in the front row with Earl from Poker News, Rick The Voice, and Doyle Brunson.

How the fuck did that happen?

I'm still in shock almost three months later. Watching Johnny Chan win his 10th bracelet was my favorite moment during the six hellacious weeks I covered the 2005 WSOP. It might have been one of the coolest things I got to see in my life.

Chan & Laak on the outer tables: a view from my seat

Johnny Chan -- the first 10 time WSOP bracelet winner

That's it for now. If you haven't seen that epsiode, set your TiVos and VCRs and check your local listings for when ESPN will rerun that episode.

****** ******

More Boathouse Bash stories are trickling in. Be sure to read: Derek, AlCantHang, StB, Bobby Bracelet, Spaceman, F Train, Joaquin, Helix, Carter, and Bad Blood. And yeah, and Eva too!

Update: Ah... I forgot that Steph had a blog! Check out her take on the events over at Clareified. She might have one of the best recaps that I've read. She also had this hilarious post on her site about playing with bloggers for the first time:

5. Everyone else at the table is re-raising pre-flop with 27o.

4. Half the people at the table get paid to write about poker.

3. One player starts live-blogging the action out loud during the game.

2. Small Blind, thinking everyone has folded to his raise, turns his cards face up. You protest that you're still in the hand, he apologizes and agrees to play the hand with his cards face up. He proceeds to beat you anyway.

1. The guy sitting next to you has Phil Gordon's cell phone number.
Yeah, I got Gordo's digits. I'm gonna sell April his phone number... one number at a time. By the way, don't forget to check out Clareified.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Catch Up

I'm still feeling the effects of the Bash at the Boathouse, a long week of covering the WPT at the Borgata, and a week long bender in Europe. My goal is to try to get some rest this week which is tough to do with a hectic schedule. Monday morning was catch up day for me. I figured out that it takes me two whole days per week that I'm out on the road to catch up with all the work that lags behind. I was away for two weeks, so that means I should be caught up by Friday. That won't happen of course because something always comes up. Plus I just picked up a new project to undertake and that's going to need some of my attention over the next upcoming weeks. It has the potential to be pretty cool. Stay tuned for that annoucement.

I spent most of yesterday afternoon writing two freelance articles. If you would like to read some recaps of recent tournamentsthat I covered, check out:
EPT Barcelona Open - Final Table Recap (Poker Player Newspaper)
WPT Borgata Open - Final Table Recap (Poker Player Newspaper)
In between hands on Party Poker, I bought a present for a friend's wedding which is going down in two plus weeks. Gotta love online wedding registries. I picked the most expensive item still left on the list. Why? Because I finally paid off my credit card. Time to run that fucker back up to the max. By the way, my buddy's bachelor party is this wekeend in New York City, and I forgot if it was my job was to get the strippers or the cocaine and horse tranquilizers. Or both.

I also spent some of yesterday feeling like a New Yorker again. I rode the subway and ate three slices of pizza. I finally sat down and watched a bunch of stuff that Derek had TiVo'd for me. I saw the last two episodes of The O.C. and I'm convinced that Summer loses 4 pounds every episode, or one pound for every fifteen minutes of programming. I also saw all the epidoes of the WSOP that I missed including TJ Cloutier winning a bracelet. Talk about a special moment.

Speaking of which...

2005 WSOP Coverage

Don't forget to tune into ESPN tonight to see the latest installments of the 2005 WSOP.

I think that tonight is when ESPN will air Johnny Chan versus Phil Laak where Chan made WSOP history and won his 10th bracelet. They originally were going to air the $2,500 NL event, but that table was boring compared to seeing history be made by Chan.

Feel free to read my live blogging coverage of Event #24 $2,5000 NL.

They are also airing the $5K PLO w/ Rebuys which featured Phil Ivey, Allen Cunningham, Phil Hellmuth, Allen Cunningham, and Surinder Sumar all at the final table!

Feel free to read my live blogging coverage of Event #27 $5,000 PLO w/ Rebuys Final Table.

I dunno where or when they'll splice the Jen Tilly win for the Ladies Only event. Stay tuned to find out. But in the meantime, go revisit Flip Chip's 2005 WSOP photo galleries.

Boathouse Reprise

The trip reports are slowly trickling in. I forgot about so much stuff which is due to my short term memory lost during soused binges with your favorite internet celebrities. Be sure to read what everyone thought about the Bash at the Boathouse.

WPT Aruba

Ah the next stop on the WPT is Aruba. I had a choice of assignments between Aruba or Barcelona and picked Spain because I've traveled extensively in the Caribbean and I've been to Aruba, whereas I've never been to Barcelona before. Anyway, Double As is currently down there trying to make the TV table along with his buddy and NL tournament expert Curzdog. Day One is complete. Check out BJ's coverage of the WPT Aruba over at Card Player and let's hope Double As can cash in another major event. I also know that Amy Calistri is blogging the event. I don't see Double As anywhere on the list of players who made it to Day Two. Let's hope he made it and I'm just an idiot who forgot his real last name.

Recent Poker Playing Music...
1. Galactic
2. Jerry Garcia Band
3. Greyboy All Stars
4. Thelonious Monk
5. Flaming Lips

Monday, September 26, 2005

Bash at the Boathouse 2005
"Put that coffee down! Coffee is for closers." - Blake, Glengarry Glen Ross
Call it an omen. Or foreshadowing. Or a gut feeling. After a handful of us polished off three bottles of the Nectar of the Gods on Friday night, I sensed it was going to be a long weekend bender of wickedness and depravity. Perhaps it was hearing Derek violently puke in the parking lot outside the diner at 1am late Friday night that reminded me of the seriousness of partying with professional alcoholics. Kids don't try this at home. AlCantHang and BigMike are machines that run efficiently on heavy quantities of Southern Comfort. To try to keep up with them is liquid suicide. However, once a year people come from all over the world to make a valiant effort to hang with AlCantHang. Shit, no one even comes close to hanging with EvaCanHang. Everyone always fails miserably and in the wee hours after the Bash at the Boathouse is over, you could see the carnage spilled out all over the vicinity of the Boathouse. Bodies are randomly passed out in cars, in ditches, and on bathroom floors.

One of the side affects of attending the Bash is amnesia. After the 13th shot and your brain pickled in SoCo, you begin to lose time. Huge blotches of your memory are a blank and that's when you slip into the depths of utter helplessness and stupidity. Just ask Otis.


Before we headed to the Boathouse, Derek, StB, Bobby Bracelet, and myself played a quick SNG in my suite. We used Good & Plenty as chips. I busted out first followed by Bobby Bracelet. Derek went heads up with StB, and StB ended up winning the Good & Plenty Championships. Congrats!

The afternoon at the Boathouse began with poker. There were two tables going on the deck. One table was spreading 2-4 Horse (Featuring Otis, Bad Blood, Joaquin, Mike, Helix, and Bobby Bracelet) while I started up a NL table. I ended up dropping $80 or two buy ins.
My table:
Seat 1: Spaceman
Seat 2: F Train
Seat 3: Pauly
Seat 4: Carter
Seat 5: Stephanie
Seat 6: StB (and later... Mike)
Seat 7: Landow
Seat 8: Derek
Seat 9: Mrs. Spaceman
3:50pm... Derek defend his blind to my preflop raise and flopped wo pair with 3-6. Ughhh.

3:54pm... Derek and Mrs. Spaceman were involved in a ahuge hand. Derek raise, Mrs. Spaceman re-raised. Derek moved all in and she called. He had A-K and she flipped over the Hilton Sisters! The flop was Q-J-8. She flopped a set but Derek flopped a gutshot Broadway straight draw. The turn was a 10, and Derek hit his gutshot. The river paired the board, to give Mrs. Spaceman a full house. Wow! What a hand.

4:00pm... Bar officially opens and I start to lose most of my stack right around the same time. Coincidence?

4:05pm... Deek rebuys.

4:20pm... Spaceman rebuys.

4:27pm.. StB drops the Hammer.

4:34pm... StB rebuys when his 10-10 loses to Landow's set of 3s.

4:37pm.. Landow drops the Hammer.

4:445pm... I rebuy.

5:07pm... I went on a drink run upstairs. You gotta love Pennsyl-tucky. What would have cost me over $100, only ran around 1/3 the price. For the rest of th enight, I'd be drinking on AlCantHang's tab. I would love to see that bill.

5:26pm... I won the only hand of the night when my Q-Q held up against Landow's 505.

6:20pm... I busted out against F Train when my Hammer is no good against his 4-7o. I flopped a open ended staright draw and he flopped the straight!

6:21pm... I stopped recording poker and started drinking heavily. Stephanie end up the big winner along with Carter and Mrs. Spaceman. I think F Train and Landow both finished up.


Derek went to school in central Pennsylvania and calls pretty much everything outside of Philly and Pittsburgh... Pennsyl-tucky. There are a lot of rednecks scattered all over the state and the crowd at the Boathouse was a nice mixture of people from all walks of life. I'm not complaining about the skanky girls in attendance. I think skanky chicks always add flavor and zest to any social gathering. After five weeks of traveling through Las Vegas, Colorado, South Carolina, New York City, Amsterdam, Barcelona, and Atlantic City, I found myself in the middle of Pennsyl-tucky swapping cheap Mardi Gras beads for a glimpse of a random woman's breasts. I hadn't seen that much skin since Grubby and I went strip club hopping in Las Vegas. I heard that Derek even got to see someone's beaver.

The Lewey Award

This year I have to present a special award... the Lewey Award for Public Intoxication. It was a close race, but F Train edged Otis out.

If you don' know, F Train is 90 pounds soaking wet. And he was pounding drinks all afternoon. By the time the night rolled around, he was hammered. He even walked up to Derek and punched him in the ribs. It was more comical than anything else, but Derek didn't think it was funny and calmly walked away. Congrats to F Train on winning such a prestigious award. If you don't know, Lewey had a huge spill after he sprinted down a steep hill and suffered some serious road rash when he slipped and tumbled onto the concrete.


Here are some random things I overheard over the night:
"Don't you guys stop drinking for five fuckin' minutes?" - The bartender

"What's the spank bank?" - Mrs. Spaceman.

"Whiskey dick? I'm all about the whiskey dick!" - F Train

Random Girl (shunning Joaquin's advances): "My boyfriend is in the band."
Joaquin: "The band sucks. He'd never make it in New York City."

Bobby Bracelet aka the Ladies Man

Bobby gave his best to get his micro penis some action. We admire him for that. I was highly entertained watching Bobby Bracelet work his magic and spread his mojo around the Boathouse. He had been working a particular chick for two days and he finally got her to go home with him less than one hour before last call. And you call yourself a Varsity letterman, Bobby? I seriously expected better results from the 860th best poker player in America. He couldn't close the deal. As Joaquin phrased it best, "He's just like Chad Pennington. Three and out." There were a few props bets going on whether or not Bobby Bracelet could close the deal. At least Bobby got to have his junk felt up on Friday night and he got to suck face in the corner of the Boathouse with a local girl.

Otis Falls Down?

Mrs. Spaceman looked like she was having good time. And Otis stumbled around the Boathouse late night. A few of us were on Otis Watch, just to make sure he didn't fall down. He came close several times, but always managed to keep his balance. I nearly lost my shit when an incoherent Otis sat down at a table filled with people he didn't know and started talking, which was more like a form of babbling. He eventually trailed off into making hand gestures before he stood up and staggered away. At one point, Otis went from behind moderately drunk to propelling himself up to the chiplead for "drunkest guest." That's when the question on everyone's mind was not if Otis would fall down, but rather, will Otis puke?

I wish I had more time to write up a longer post. I might add more later inlcuding some pics and possibly some video clips. For now, thanks to Al, Evanne, and Big Mike for throwing another successful event. Carter didn't pass out this year. The food was great. The booze was free. BigMike raised good money for a great cause. I got to hang out and chat with Mike, who's a big fan of my blogs. And the bands were pretty good... both Petey and the Bandcampers and the AlCantHang Experience. I think one of the other bands was the same from last year, the one with the semi-chunky female lead singer with huge jugs that BG and I tried to hit on at the bar and she blew us off.

The only bad thing about the Boathouse this year was... no running of the Lewey. Maybe next year.

****** ******

Carter posted some pics of the Boathouse Bash... here.

F Train posted some pics.... here. (newly added!!)

Saturday, September 24, 2005


I'm about a few hours before game time. Al Cant Hang is hosting is annual Bash at the Boathouse. You can read all about last year's bash... here. Be sure to scroll down and read all the other posts about that crazy weekend last year which included a trip to the Borgata.

Anyway, here's a run down of the events in the last 24 hours:
1. Derek, Mrs. Spaceman, and I watched Jason Spaceman bust out in the $300 + $40 US Poker Championships at the Taj in Atlantic City. I had a piece of Spaceman!
2. Derek & I got caught in Philly traffic. Not pretty.
3. We arrived at the Boathouse at 4:20pm for pre-party.
4. Watched StB drink 17 different kinds of beer.
5. I drank 2 Lagers, 1 Red Stripe, and several SoCos. I told myself I was "taking it easy."
6. EvaCanHang flashed us. Yes, I saw boobies.
7. Bobby Bracelet gets erections. It was "thrice confirmed" by a lovely young lady who willingly rubbed up against the junk of the 860th greatest poker player in the world.
8. BigMike tipped $130 on a $270 tab.
9. Bobby Bracelet made fun of the generic ketchup aka Red Gold at the diner.
10. Derek pulled off another successful "puke and rally" in the parking lot at the diner.
11. I almost hit a deer.
12. Bobby Bracelet and StB sang Footloose on the way home from the diner.
13. Two words: chipped beef.
14. I lost a prop bet with Al andBigMike. They bet me $100 I couldn't eat 6 crackers within 60 seconds. I could barely get three down.
15. AlCantHang danced by himself in a protest for the crappy music the DJ at the Bathouse was playing.
Later today we'll find out an answer to the eternal question... Will Otis fall down? Scholars, scientists, religious leaders, and oddsmakers have been baffled for decades trying to come up with proper scenarios.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

WPT Borgata Open - Final Table

This is a special day for me. I've covered the World Series of Poker, Ultimate Poker Challenge, and the European Poker Tour. But this is my first World Poker Tour final table. Despite the lack of sleep, I'm bursting with excitement. They are testing the lights as we speak at the Borgata and we are twenty minutes away from game time.

You can rea da recap of Day 3 over at Las Vegas and Poker Blog. It's called: World Poker Tour - Borgata Down to the Final 6.

Today's final table should be great for TV. Kathy Liebert has one WSOP bracelet and two WPT final tables (not including Ladies' Night). She's looking for her first WPT win. More importantly, no female has ever won a regular WPT event, so we could be seeing history tonight. Also at the final table are a few pros like John D'Agostino and David Singer. In 2003, David Singer made the final table in the main event at the WSOP and made one final table at tis year's WSOP. Plus any table is going to be fun if you have an Action Bob at it! Yeah, there are four Jersey natives at this final table.

Here's who made the final table including chip counts:
Seat 1: Robert "Action Bob" Hwang (Clark, NJ) $1,795,000
Seat 2: David Singer (Mamoreck, NY) $3,200,000
Seat 3: Al Ardebili (Jersey City, NJ) $1,425,000
Seat 4: Kathy Liebert (Las Vegas, NV) $1,045,000
Seat 5: John D'Agostino (Egg Harbor, NJ) $2,295,000
Seat 6: Richard Festejo (Margate, NJ) $540,000
I'll be back blogging live very soon. Stay tuned! Here are some early photos of the final table:

Linda Johnson WPT announcer

Behind the scenes on the WPT set

****** Live Blogging Updates ******

5:11pm... Linda Johnson is prepping the audience and she said that today is Mike Sexton's birthday. I spotted Matt Matros in the crowd and bumped into Chris from 21 Outs. He's here rooting on his buddy Action Bob.

5:30pm... The production crew is doing audience shots and bringing the players in one by one. They had to do a few extra takes. Action should be starting soon.

5:37pm... Cards are in the air! Blinds are $25K-$50K with a $5K ante. The average chip stack is at $1,716,666. I have Kathy Liebert in the last longer bet with BJ who picked Al. (Thanks to BJ for the Courtney pic!)

5:44pm... Here are the final table payouts:
1st: $1,498,650
2nd: $799,280
3rd: $427,115
4th: $349,685
5th: $299,730
6th: $249,775
5:45pm... We have our first flop!

5:48pm... John D'Ag (so much easier to type D'Ag that D'Agostino) raised and Ricardo Festejo just moved all in over the top. John called. Ricardo Festejo had A-K and John D'Ag showed K-10. The flop was J-5-3 and Festejo was still ahead. The turn was a blank and an ace fell on the river to give Festejo the pot. He doubled up and has about $1 million in chips. Singer is the chipleader with over $3 million. Kathy is the short stack.

5:58pm... Kathy Liebert just won a pot with A-A. No one called her though.

6:13pm... We had a big hand. All the money went in on the turn. David Singer flopped a set with 10-10. However, Ricardo Festejo had a staright and a flush draw on a board of 10d-Jd-3h-9h with Qh-Jh. The river was an 8 and Ricardo Festejo doubled up again.

6:18pm... Kathy Liebert is getting too many jucied hands early. She just had K-K and won a small pot!

6:22pm... We've got a full house in media row. The usual suspects like BJ from Card Player and Jen & Heather from Poker Wire are here in addition to Danny from Poker Pages, Larry (from Bluff & Gutshot), and Papergrrl, who I met for the first time. There are some local media types here who are idiots and even a documentary film crew, who pretty much parked their asses here and are taking up space in the crmaped area they gave us to work in.

6:50pm... Players are back from a quick five minute crew break that lasted twenty minutes. Here's the updated chip count:
1 John D'Agostino $ 2,245,000
2 David Singer $ 2,105,000
3 Richardo Festejo $ 1,800,000
4 Robert "Action Bob" Hwang $ 1,740,000
5 Al Ardebili $ 1,355,000
6 Kathy Liebert $ 1,055,000
Yeah, BJ and my picks are running last and next to last! By the way, my brother Derek is in the building. He's in the poker room playing $6/12.

6:55pm... We're on a new level. The blinds are now $40K-$80K with a $10K ante.

7:20pm... Nothing new to update. Action Bob just bluffed at a pot with A-2.

7:26pm... Kathy Liebert moved all in with A-Q. John D'Ag called with J-J. Classic race. Al said he folded a Queen. Kathy flopped an ace and all her railbirds went wild. The turn and river didn't help John D'Ag and Kathy doubled up and now has $1.4 million.

7:32pm... Action Bob moved all in and the pro-Action Bob crowd cheered. He picke dup the pot and his stack is now at $1.2 million.

7:33pm... This is the "Action Bob Show." He moved all in again and the crowd let out an "Ooooooh!" He had 9-9 and John D'Ag called with 9-9!! And they chopped the pot.

7:45pm... Updated chip count courtesy of Poker Wire:
1 Robert "Action Bob" Hwang $ 2,550,000
2 Richard Festejo $ 2,300,000
3 David Singer $ 2,100,000
4 Kathy Liebert $ 1,275,000
5 John D'Agostino $ 1,100,000
6 Al Ardebili $ 1,000,000
7:53pm... According to super poker statistician BJ, we reached a milestone on the WPT. We went the most hands without an elimination. Currently we're on Hand 59, which broke the Legends of Poker at the Bicycle Casino record of 58 hands without a bust out.

7:55pm... We're on a new level. $15K antes. Blinds are $60K-$120K. Action Bob has $2.2 million in chips.

8:02pm... We had another big hand. Both Al Ardebili and Richard Festejo moved all in with A-Js. They chopped the pot.

8:07pm... TV time out. They have to change the tapes in the camera. Be back in five minutes. I gotta piss! Here's a chip count:
1 Richard Festejo $ 2,580,000
2 Robert "Action Bob" Hwang $ 1,870,000
3 John D'Agostino $ 1,850,000
4 Kathy Liebert $ 1,620,000
5 David Singer $ 1,450,000
6 Al Ardebili $ 930,000
8:24pm... We're back. Al Ardebili moved all in with 3c-3s. David Singer called with Js-9h. Al flopped a set when a 3 fell. On the turn David picked up a straight draw but the river didn't help him. The case 3 fell and Al Ardebili hit quad 3s. He doubled up and Singer is now the short stack.

8:39pm... On Hand 73, David Singer was eliminated in 6th place by Action Bob. Singer had A-8 and Action Bob showed 6-6, which held up. David Singer won $249,775. A new WPT record was set for the most hands played before the first elimination.

8:51pm... Al Ardebili moved all in and picked up the pot.

8:55pm... Kathy Liebert moved all in with A-8. John D'Ag's called with K-Q. Kathy flopped an ace and turned two air when an 8 hit. She doubled up and had $1.5 million in chips. Al Ardebili and Action Bob both had $2.4 million in chips.

9:02pm... Richard Festejo doubled up against Action Bob. Festejo had 5-5 and Action Bob showed Qs-Js. Both players moved all in on the flop of 4c-4s-8s. Action Bob didn't catch a flush or an over card and Festejo doubled up.

9:06pm... Action Bob and John D'Ag were all in preflop. Action Bob was short stacked and had 10h-9s while John D'Ag showed 10-10. They both flopped straight draws on a board of J-9-8. The turn and river didn't help Robert "Action Bob" Hwang. He was knocked out in 5th place and won $299,730.

9:13pm... New level. $100K-$200K blinds with $20K antes. Here's an updated chip count:
Ricardo Festejo $4M
Al Ardebili $2.15M
John D'Ag $1.9M
Kathy Liebert $1.5M
9:21pm... John D'Agostino was knocked out in 4th place by Ricardo Festejo. Both players were all in on a flop of Q-3-4. Festejo had Q-8 and D'Agostino had Q-2. The turn and river didn't help D'Agostino and he won $349,685. Rocardo Festejo amassed a hige chip lead. He had over 85% of the chips in play.

9:31pm... Al Ardebili doubled up against Ricardo Festejo. Ardebili had Q-Q and his Hilton Sisters held up against A-J. Kathy Liebert aid she folded A-J.

9:36pm... With a short stack, Kathy moved all in with A-7. Al Ardebili called with Qs-10s. He flopped a ten and a flush draw. Kathy's hand did not improve and she was eliminated in 3rd place. She played excellent poker for four days and held on with a short stack at the final table. She won $427,115 for third place. Al Ardebili had a tiny chip lead with $5.2 million to Richardo Festejo's $5.1 million. We're on a break while they prep for the money presentation.

9:55pm... The Borgata Babes who brought out the money are pretty hot! Still cleaning up the stage. Stay tuned.

10:03pm... Cards are back in the air. On the first hand of heads up play, Al Ardebili raised to $600K. Richard Festejo did not hesitate and he pushed all in. Ardebili eventually folded and Festejo took the chip lead.

10:13pm... I just saw one of the craziest hands since I started covering poker tournaments. On a borad of K-7-2, Ardebili checked, Festejo bet $1 million, and Ardebelli moved all in. Festejo thought for several minutes and called with A-2. It was an unbelievable call! Ardebelli showed 3d-2s and was domianted until a 3 spiked on the turn to give him two pair. Festejo still had outs but the river didn't help him. He doubled up Ardebelli. Festego's stack dropped to $1.1 million to Ardebelli's $9.2 million.

10:17pm... We have a new WPT champion after four hands of heads up play! Al Ardebelli won $1,498,650 and a seat in the WPT Championships at the Bellagio. Richardo Festejo won $799,280 for second place. Richardo Festejo moved all in with 8h-7h. Al Ardebili showed Ah-9c. The flop was: K-5-2. The turn was a 5 and the river was 6. Al Ardebili won the WPT Borgata Open win Ace high. Congrats to Al and Ricardo! Both players won satellites to get into this event. And Kathy Liebert made history with the highest finish ever by a female on the WPT.

We have a winner! Al Ardebili the new WPT Champion

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

WPT Borgata Open Day 3

I'm back at the Borgata in Atlantic City, New Jersey for day three of the World Poker Tour Borgata Open. It's a $10,000 buy-in event. Action was moved down to the poker room for the final seven tables. 62 players remain with Franklin Caldwell as the chipleader. The final 62 are all trying to win the $1.5 million first place prize. The top 45 players make the money. We're going to be playing until we get down to 6 players. I expect to be here until the wee hours of the morning.

This morning, I ate at the Denny's next to my no-tell motel. I'd prefer Waffle House, but there are none north of the Mason Dixon line. I ordered the French Totast special with two slices of bacon and two sausage links. My waitress was estatic when I left her a 30% tip. I got addicted to eatin croissants for breakfast in Europe.

Here's an updated chip count (as of last night) courtesy of Poker Wire:
1 Franklin "Dee" Caldwell $ 485,000
2 Mike "The Mouth" Matusow $ 472,500
3 John D'Agostino $ 471,000
4 David "The Dragon" Pham $ 355,500
5 Robert Hwang $ 339,500
6 Tom Coan $ 335,500
7 JC Tran $ 304,500
8 Karlo Lopez $ 304,000
9 Surinder Sunar $ 291,000
10 Josh Arieh $ 282,000
11 Eric Haber $ 267,000
12 Evelyn Ng $ 263,500
13 Clonie Gowen $ 252,000
14 Sidney Miller $ 251,000
15 Jukebox" John McCann $ 246,000
16 Luke Chung $ 222,000
17 Doug Johnson $ 206,500
18 Chuck Furey $ 196,000
19 Barry Greenstein $ 193,500
20 Eddie Ting $ 181,500
21 Steve Zoine $ 177,000
22 Carmine Tirone $ 173,000
23 Robert Chasen $ 169,500
24 David Singer $ 166,500
25 Neal Gersony $ 165,500
26 Tex Barch $ 162,000
27 Richard Festejo $ 159,000
28 Herbert Cheng $ 157,000
29 John Whiting $ 156,000
30 Mike 'Stoney' Stonehall $ 151,500
31 Jon Gordon $ 146,500
32 Steve Dannenman $ 146,000
33 Ari Abramowitz $ 145,500
34 Al Ardebili $ 145,000
35 Tom Martelli $ 132,500
36 Greg Fondacaro $ 130,000
37 Erick Lindgren $ 114,000
38 Mark Matheys $ 113,000
39 Steve Rosen $ 106,000
40 Wooyang Lin $ 105,500
41 Denis Ethier $ 104,000
42 Rich Kirsch $ 104,000
43 Steve Kingsley $ 101,000
44 Richard Devito $ 92,500
45 Paul Snead $ 90,000
46 Mohamad Kamalzadeh $ 90,000
47 Thomas Schreiber $ 88,000
48 Fritz Stoner $ 86,000
49 Thomas Koral $ 85,000
50 Robert Winters $ 80,000
51 David Levi $ 75,500
52 Robert Ozello $ 64,000
53 Kathy Liebert $ 63,000
54 Steven 'Lev' Leveson $ 54,500
55 Kevin O'Brien $ 48,500
56 Dennis Summers $ 43,500
57 Leonard Santangelo $ 38,500
58 Richard Anthony $ 38,000
59 Eric Fessler $ 32,500
60 Mark Schaech $ 32,000
61 Chris "Armenian Express" Gregorian $ 30,000
62 Brian Powell $ 28,000
***** Live Blogging Updates *****

11:01pm... In the first funny moment of the day, Mike Matusow walked over to WSOP main event runner-up Steve Dannemann and yelled, "You ruined my life!"

11:07pm... Cards are in there air! We're on Level 15. Blinds are $1500-$3000. Antes are $500. 17 players until the money. The avg. stack is 166,129

11:10pm... Here are a few photos:

Barry Greenstein and Mike Matusow

Clonie Gowen stares down the opposition

Steve Dannemann aka WSOP runner up

Erick Lindgren in deep thought

11:40pm... 7 players have been eliminated already. We're down to 55. 10 more players until the money. WSOP bracelet winner Dennis Ethier was busted by David Singer. His 9-9 lost to Singer's K-K. I can see the bubble on the horizon and it looks dandy.

12:01pm... Erick Lindgren survived an all in with J-J versus Wooying Lin's 9-9.

12:24pm... Just saw Kathy Liebert's A-A hold up against A-J. She doubled up. Chris Grigorian was just busted when his A-K lost to J-J. "Two jacks," he yelled over to BJ at Card Player. "I lost to two Jacks!" 52 players remaining with an average stack around $190K.

12:30pm... Luke Chung knocked out Paul Snead when his AKs beat Snead's A-Ko. Chung caught a diamond flush to eliminate Snead.

12:46pm... Bouncin Round the Room: The poker room is cramped with spectators on the rail. At least the Borgata has done a good job roping off the area and posting security guards. We actually have wifi here which is amazing since the poker room is located in the basement. A lot of the players are aware that the media is writing about them. A few players have come up to BJ to see what he's writing about them. BJ was working on a photo that Clonie Gowen was in when she wadeed over during the break. She said, "Why do I always have a goofy look on my face in every picture I take?"

12:50pm... Players are back from a break. Blinds are $2K-$4K. Antes are $500. 51 players are remaining. Franklin Caldwell is still your chip leader.

1:00pm... There are three females remaining and Kathy Liebert, Evelyn Ng, and Clonie Gowen are all sitting at the same table in Seats 7, 8, and 9. Here's the proof:

Three Queens (click on photo to enlarge)

1:13pm... Steve Dannemann was knocked out. Barry Greenstein just knocked out Mike "The Mouth" Matusow. Barry flopped trips with 10-4 and Matusow flopped top pair with A-9. All the money went in on the turn. 47 players remain. We're near the money bubble.

1:30pm... We're on the bubble! Play is hand-to-hand. Steve Zoine was just busted in 47th place.

1:40pm... Fritz Stoner was just eliminated on the bubble. We're in the money!! The remaining 45 players are guaranteed to win at least $12,489. They are currently redrawing for new seats. Here's the payout list:
1st: $1,498,650
2nd: $799,280
3rd: $427,115
4th: $349,685
5th: $299,730
6th: $249,775
7th: $199,820
8th: $149,865
9th: $99,910
10th-12th: $64,942
13th-15th: $49,955
16th-18th: $34,969
19th-27th: $24,978
28th-36th: $14,987
37th-45th: $12,489
2:08pm... David Levi was just knocked out in 45th place when his K-K lost to Robert Hwang's A-A. Ouch. Levi won $12,489. There are 41 players remaining. Average stack is $239,534.

2:11pm... By the way, thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes. And thanks for playing in the WPBT event last night on Titan Poker. Congrats to "PI45" for winning it all. Too bad Maudie bubbled out!

2:15pm... Clonie Gowen knocked out Josh Arieh in 41st place. Josh had 9s-3s and moved all in on the flop with a flush draw. Clonie had A-A and they held up.

2:35pm... Bouncin Round the Room: I wandered over to the Italian deli and got a cannoli. Those rock. I also saw Josh Arieh walking through the casino with a dejected look on his face after getting busted by Clonie.
Last 5 Pros I Took a Piss Next to:
1. David Williams
2. David Pham
3. David Singer
4. Gavin Smith
5. John D'Agostino
2:40pm... Players are back from a break. Blinds are $3K-$6K with $1K antes. 39 players are left. Average stack is $264,102. Richard Festejo is the chipleader with $608K. Sid Miller is second with $600K. John D'Agastino is third with $582K. Barry Greenstien and Erick Lindgren have under $100K are are among the short stacks.

2:55pm.... Barry Greenstien was just eliminated in 38th place by Wooying Lin. Barry moved all in from the big blind with Ks-5s and Wooying had 7-7 which held up.

3:08pm... We're down to 36 players and there was a redraw for new seats. 4 tables left and action is nine handed. 30 players to go before we stop for the night.

3:45pm... Action has slowed down. 32 players remain. Average stack is $264,102. Kathy Liebert doubled up.

4:00pm... David The Dragon Pham cracked the Hilton Sisters when he turned a full house with 6-6.

4:20pm... Clonie Gowen was knocked out in 31st place when her A-10 lost to A-Q. She won $14,987. Kathy Liebert and Evelyn Ng are still alive.

4:31pm... Tex Barch busted out in 30th place. Tex had A-Q but lost to Wooying's K-9 when two Kings flopped.

4:40pm... Erick Lindgren was eliminated in 29th place by Greg Fondacaro when his A-J could not win against 8-8.

5:02pm... 27 players remain on three tables. Average chip count is $381,481. Blinds are $4/8K with $1K.

5:15pm... Bouncin Round the Room: I heard that Phil Ivey was down almost a million throwing dice the other night. Someone spotted him cashing out $500K at the cage a little while ago.

5:30pm... 26 players remaining. Evy is one of the short stacks. Kathy Liebert has over $500K in chips.

5:48pm... David Singer knocked out Luke Chung in 25th place. Singer's A-J outflopped Chung's A-Q. Singer now has over $1 million in chips along with John D'Agostino. 23 players left after Ari Abramowitz was just busted.

6:15pm... 22 players left. John D'Agostino is the chipleader with $1.225M. Players are on a dinner break. Action will resume at 7:15pm. Time for a quick liquid dinner upstairs at B Bar. Here's the top 5 chip counts according to Poker Wire:
1 John D'Agostino $ 1,225,000
2 David Singer $ 981,000
3 Carmine Tirone $ 710,000
4 David "The Dragon" Pham $ 685,000
5 Richard Festejo $ 660,000

Some Notables:
7 Kathy Liebert $ 625,000
10 JC Tran $ 460,000
13 Evelyn Ng $ 355,000
17 Surinder Sunar $ 258,000
7:15pm... Cards are back in the air. Blinds are $5K-$10K with $1,500 antes. Level is 90 minutes long.

7:26pm... Steve Rosen was eliminated by Wooyang Lin. Rosen had A-Q and lost to 8-8. Rosen is out in 22nd place and won $24,978. Wooyang then doubled up the sort stack a few hands later.

7:30PM... Bouncin Round the Room: VVP Sighting! WPT announcer Vice Van Patten has been seen walking around the tournament area. Kathy Liebert got some chocolate gelato from one of the places upsairs. It looked very tasty. I might have to get some for myself.

7:36pm... Thomas Schreiber is out in 21st place. 20 players remain on three tables.

7:42pm... Robert Chasen is out in 20th place when his A-K lost a coinflip to Richard Festejo's 8-8. There seems to be a trend that after a dinner break: players losen up and there's a bunch of all-ins in the first few orbits. Three players are out inside a half an hour.

7:50pm... John D'Agastino added to his stack after he knocked out Dee Franklin Caldwell in 19th place. We're down to the final two tables and the players are going to redraw. D'Agastino's stack is now over $2 million.

8:24pm... Action has slowed down. The Dragon lost a big pot though. BJ is doing a phone interview with a Philly newspaper. I'm trying to catch up on all my email that jammed my inbox while I was away last week.

8:50pm... Kathy Liebert's stack grows. She busted Tom Coan in 18th place. Coan won $34,969. By the way Kathy Liebert won her first WSOP bracelet in 2004. She also made 2 final tables on the WPT and has earned over $2 million in prize money.

9:05pm... Players are on a break. Blinds are $6K-$12K with $2K blinds. John D'Agostino is the chipleader with $1,985,000. 17 players remain.

9:20pm... There was a JetBlue flight that had busted landing gear and everyone in the poker room was watching the news as the plane was landing. Courteny Friel was captivated by the events and had her eyes on one of the many plasma screen TVs in the poker room. Anyway, as the plane landed the poker room broke out in applause. Then the front wheel caught on fire and everyone gasped for a few moments until the fire went out and the plane came to a halt.

9:25pm... Surinder Sunar caught a lucky card on the river to double up against David Singer. With A-9 Sunar rivered a 9 against Singer's 8-8.

9:35pm... Surinder Sunar doubled up again when his J-J held up against 8-8.

9:50pm... Tom Martelli's Q-J was knocked out in 17th place by Evelyn Ng's K-5.

10:25pm... Bouncin Round the Room: I decided to get some Gelato upstairs. So far today at the Borgata, I've drank three iced teas, one OJ, ate a canoli, one small portion of Cherry gelato, and a Panini sandwich with marinated chicken, mozarella, and a tasty tomato sauce.

10:30pm... David The Dragon Pham was knocked out in 16th place by Wooying Lin. Pham had 7-6s against Lin's A-J. Pham won $34,969. We're down to 15 players.
Here's an updated chip count:
1 John D'Agostino $ 2,250,000
2 David Singer $ 1,200,000
3 Wooying Lin $ 830,000
4 Al Ardebili $ 795,000
5 Richard Festejo $ 795,000
6 Sid Miller $ 660,000
7 Robert 'Action Bob' Hwang $ 600,000
8 Karlo Lopez $ 596,000
9 JC Tran $ 500,000
10 Greg Fandacaro $ 440,000
11 Carmine Tirone $ 400,000
12 Kathy Liebert $ 385,000
13 Robert Chasen $ 275,000
14 Evelyn Ng $ 195,000
15 Surinder Sunar $ 140,000

Here's who made the money so far:
45th David Levi ($12,489)
44th Mark Matheys ($12,489)
43rd Douglas Johnson ($12,489)
42nd Robert Winters ($12,489)
41st Josh Arieh ($12,489)
40th Michael Stonehill ($12,489)
39th Thomas R. Koral ($12,489)
38th Barry Greenstein ($12,489)
37th Edwin Ting ($12,489)
36th Eric Haber ($14,987)
35th Mohamad Kamlzadeh ($14,987)
34th Jonathan Gordon ($14,987)
33rd Charles J. Furey ($14,987)
32nd Herbert Cheng ($14,987)
31st Clonie Gowan ($14,987)
30th John Derick Barch ($14,987)
29th Erick A. Lindgren ($14,987)
28th Neal I. Gersony ($14,987)
27th John A. Mcann ($24,978)
26th Steven Kingsley ($24,978)
25th Luke Chung ($24,978)
24th Ari Abramowitz ($24,978)
23rd John Whiting ($24,978)
22nd Steven Rosen ($24,978)
21st Thomas Schreiber ($24,978)
20th Richard Kirsch ($24,978)
19th Franklin D. Caldwell ($24,978)
18th Thomas Coan ($34,969)
17th Thomas Martelli ($34,969)
16th David "The Dragon" Pham ($34,969)
11:00pm... Players are back from a break. Blinds are $8K-$16K with $2K blinds. John D'Agostino is the chipleader with $2.137M. Average stack is $686,666 with 15 players remaining.

11:20pm... Surinder Sunar and his A-K was eliminated in 15th place by Al Ardebili's K-K. Karlo Lopez was knocked out in 14th place by John D'Agostino. With K-J, Lopez flopped top pair and moved all in but D'Agastino flopped a set. Both Sunar and Lopez won $49,955. 13 players remain. Average stack is $792,307.

11:34pm... Evelyn Ng doubled up against Al Ardebili with K-K. She's still the shortstack. John D'Agastino has $2.6 million in chips.

11:48pm... John D'Agastino is on a rush and has over $3 million in chips. He just knocked out Carmine Tirone in 13th place. Trione flopped TPTK with A-10, but D'Agastino had the Hilton Sisters. Tirone won $49,955. 12 players are left. 6 more have to get busted, then I can go home and sleep.

12:01am... Evy Ng doubled up with A-K against Greg Fandacaro's Q-Q. She is no longer the short stack!

12:45pm... Players are back from a break. We're at a new level. Blinds are $10K-$20K and antes are $3K.

1:00pm... Robert Chasen's Q-J was busted by Wooying Lin's A-Q. Chasen took 12th place and won $64,942. Kathy Liebert is the shortstack.

1:05pm... G-Vegas celebrities "The Mark" and his lovely wife "The River Queen" just arrived at the Borgata to play some poker.

1:41pm... Evy Ng was eliminated in 11th place by David Singer. Her A-9 could not beat Singer's 4-4. 10 players remain and they are redrawing for seats at the final table. 4 more to go before play is stopped for the night. Average stack is over $1 million.
Here's the final table chip count:
1 John D'Agostino $ 2,500,000
2 Robert "Action Bob" Hwang $ 1,750,000
3 David Singer $ 1,571,000
4 Al Ardebili $ 1,108,000
5 Richard Festejo $ 923,000
6 Greg Fandacaro $ 650,000
7 Sid Miller $ 538,000
8 JC Tran $ 521,000
9 Wooying Lin $ 390,000
10 Kathy Liebert $ 300,000
2:08pm... Wooying Lin was knocked out in 10th place by David Singer. With a Queen on the flop, both players moved all in. SInger had A-Q while Lin showed Q-9. Lin won $64,942.

2:30pm... JC Tran doubled up against John D'Agastino.

2:30am... I've been here for 16 hours now. 3 more players to go. I hope I can leave by 4:30am!!

2:45pm... JC Tran doubled up against Greg Fandacaro. Tran had A-Q and Fandacaro showed A-J. Fandacaro flopped a Jack, but Tran turned a Queen.

3:00am... Sid Miller was knocked out by Robert "Action Bob" Hwang in 9th place. Miller had A-Q versus Hwang's J-10. Hwang flopped trips and that's all she wrote for Miller, who won $99,110 for 9th place. 2 more to go. I keep falling asleep, I'm so exhausted.

3:30pm... Been here for 17 hours. Ughhhhh. 2 more to go. John D'Agastino lost a big pot to David Singer when he missed a straight draw. Singer had Q-Q and took over the chip lead.

3:53am... Kathy Liebert doubled up with A-A versus Al Ardebili's J-J. She moved up to 4th in chips.

4:06am... Players are on a break. I spotted a few high priced hookers lingering around upstairs. I could use a stiff drink.

4:14am... Gavin Smith sat down at the same table as the River Queen and the Mark. It's a $1/2 NL table but it's late and Gavin had been drinking. Anyway, the River Queen sucked out on Gavin! She spiked a flush on the river.

4:20am... Players returned from a break. Blinds are $20K-$40K with $5K blinds.

4:30am... I've been here for over 18 straight hours. We're down to 7 players and reached the TV bubble! David Singer knocked out Greg Fandacaro. Singer had 3-3 and flopped a set. Greg Fandacaro showed A-7 and pushed all in with the nut flush draw. He caught running aces for trips, but that gave Singer a full house. Singer is the chipleader. Greg Fandacaro won $149,865 for 7th place. I can put my impending suicide on hold. David Singer is the chipleader with over $3 million. JC Tran is the shortstack with $320K.

4:50am... JC Tran was eliminated in 7th place in a three way pot. He had Q-Q. Al Ardebili showed A-A. And John D'Agostino said "I should fold this," and called anyway with Ac-Jc. He flopped the nut flush draw but his hand did not hold up. Al Ardebili won the main pot and side pot and JC Tran was busted. Tran won $199,820. Players will return tomorrow at 5pm for the final table.
Final Table Chip Counts:
1 David Singer $ 3,200,000
2 John D'Agostino $ 2,295,000
3 Robert 'Action Bob' Hwang $ 1,795,000
4 Al Ardebili $ 1,425,000
5 Kathy Liebert $ 1,045,000
6 Richard Festejo $ 540,000
See ya tomorrow. I need to write for an hour then it's off to sleep.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

WPT Borgata Open

I'm blogging live from the Borgata Casino in lovely Atlantic City, NJ. I'll be here over the next few days covering the WPT Borgata Open. Buy-in is $10,000 and players start with $20K in chips. I'm sitting in press row with BJ from Card Player along with Heather and Jen from Poker Wire. It's a mini-WSOP reunion.

I can't tell you how much I missed working along side those cool folks. We seriously bonded during our six weeks together and spent many moment working until sun up. They are some really great people and make the insanity of covering a tournament a lot easier with their comedic skills, their professionalism, and their willingness to share information.

When I walked into the huge ballroom upstairs, I found myself standing next to Courtney Friel, the new hostess of the World Poker Tour. She's stunning! Her episodes won't hit the air until March 2006.

I missed Day One of the action because I was flying from Amsterdam to New York City. You can head over to Poker Wire or Card Player to see what happened. This year's WPT Borgata event started with 515 players. The prize pool is over $1.5 million and the top 45 players are getting paid. Action will end tonight when there are 45 players remaining.

Here's the payouts (thanks to BJ):
1st: $1,498,650
2nd: $799,280
3rd: $427,115
4th: $349,685
5th: $299,730
6th: $249,775
7th: $199,820
8th: $149,865
9th: $99,910
10th-12th: $64,942
13th-15th: $49,955
16th-18th: $34,969
19th-27th: $24,978
28th-36th: $14,987
37th-45th: $12,489
Over half the field was eliminated on Day One which inlcuded a ton of big name. Here are some notable bustouts on the first day: Johnny World Hennigan, Mel Judah, Chris Bigler, Liz Lieu, T.J. Cloutier, Edward Moncada, David Williams, My Main Man Freddy Deeb, Johnny Bax, Paul Darden, Andrew Black, John Myung, Miami John Cerruto, Antonio Esfandiari, Jennifer Tilly, Harry Demitriou, Mike Wattel, Phil Ivey, Toto Leonidas, Mimi Tran, Hoyt Corkins, Padraig Parkinson, Brad Kondracki, Dan Heimiller, Phil Unabomber Laak, and Amnon Filippi.

At the end of Day One, only 285 players survived out of 515. Tom Coan emerged as the early chip leader with over $280K in chips. David Benyamine was a close second along with WSOP runner-up Steve Dannemann is among the chipleaders with Chip Jett and David Pham.

Early on Day Two Chris Jesus Ferguson was knocked out when his Big Slick lost to A-9. Ouch. Even Jesus gets kicked in the junk every once in a while. Also eliminated were: Tim Phan, Mike Gracz, Quinn Do, Tony Cousineau, David Benyamine, Erik Seidel, Bob Stupak, Chip Jett, Carlos Mortensen, Cyndy Violette, and Steve Brecher.

New WPT Hostess Courtney Friel (click to enlarge)

Erick Lingren (for Heather & the April Sisters)

****** Live Blogging Updates ******

4:54pm... Bouncin Round the Room: In the corner they have a pretzel and root beer stand. They sell root beer floats and two cute Russian girls are working the booth. I was trying to see if they wanted to go up to BJ's room and party later tonight. Next to the pretzel stand, they also have a Dunkin Donuts booth! I spotted the WPT camera crew doing a few promos with Courtney Friel. I chatted for a few minutes with Barry Greenstein. He wanted to know a little bit more about the EPT.

5:15pm... Recent Eliminations (courtesy of Poker Wire): Allen Cunningham, Minh Nguyen, Mickey Appleman, JC Tran, Farzad Bonyadi, and Jean-Robert Bellande.

6:08pm... Alan Goehring has been knocked out. Players are on a dinner break until 7pm. 11 tables are left or about 110 players. Luke Chung is our chipleader with about $440K. Time for me to do my football pool picks!

7:09pm... Players are back from dinner break. Blinds are $800 and $1600 with $300 antes.

7:30pm... Bouncin Round the Room: I went downstairs to the Italian deli and I just devouvered one kick ass cannoli. The room is quiet right now, which is odd after a dinner break. Usually players losen up and there a lot of all ins. Steve Zolotow and Blair Rodman are out. However, Kathy Liebert, Josh Arieh, Erick Lindgren, Surinder Sunar, Layne Flack, Kristy Gazes, Clonie Gowen, John D'Agostino, Steve Dannemann, Evelyn Ng, Ted Lawson, Barry Greenstein, Mike Matusow, Tex Barch, Russell Rosenblum, and David Singer are still alive. I just had a quick conversation with Andy Bloch. He suggested that they go to 9 handed tables to speed up the action, even 7 or 8 handed. That way, it forces players to play more hands and the tourneys don't last forever.

7:50pm... Russell Rosenbloom has been eliminated.

8:00pm... I posted pics of me annoucning the final table in Barcelona over at the Tao of Pauly. Take a peek!

8:05pm... We're down to 10 tables. TJ Cloutier is standing in front of us near media row. I wonder if he was playing craps earlier?

8:30pm... Syracuse Chris has been busted out.

8:35pm... How about some more pics?

The remaining players

Evelyn Ng

John D'Agastino

8:50pm... Bouncin Round the Room: It's been a long time since I did this installment! Back by popular demand...
Last 5 Pros I Took a Piss Next to:
1. Erick Lindgren
2. Josh Arieh
3. Steve Dannemann
4. Tex Barch
5. Andy Bloch
9:12pm... Kristy Gazes was busted by David the Dragon Pham. Bill Gazes was also eliminated.

9:25pm... Layne Flack has been eliminated.

10:59pm... I just got busted from the Titan tourney. Derek had his A-A cracked. Ouch.

11:08pm... We're down to 72 players. Franklin Caldwell is the chipleader.

11:30pm... Quote of the Day (courtesy of Jen from Poker Wire): "Of course I knew what a blowjob was, I was in junior high school for God's sake!"

12:17am... Action has completed for Day 2. There are about 62 players remaining. Mike Matusow and John D'Agastino are among the top chip leaders. Franklin Caldell is the chipleader. There were some other notable players still left including Clonie Gowen, Kathy Liebert, Evelyn Ng, Tex Barch, Josh Arieh, Erick Lindgren, David Pham, JC Tran, Barry Greenstien, David SInger, Steve Dannemann, and Chris Grigorian. Play will resume at 11am on Wednesday. Tomorrow we'll play all the way down to 6. So we'll have two bubbles... the money bubble and the TV bubble.
New WPBT Tournament Tonight!

Just a reminder... Iggy set up a new WPBT tournament for us on my birthday of all days. Everyone's been bitching all summer long about having another blogger tournament, so where is everyone? There were only 17 people signed up so far. That's not impressive numbers.
What's the deal? Iggy worked pretty damn hard to set this up and I'm skipping out on work coverign the WPT just to play.

So what's your excuse? Sign up and fund your Titan Poker account now! If you don't like Titan, then tough shit. I'd prefer to play on Poker Stars or Full Tilt but if we do, that means some of our closest friends cannot play in the WPBT events because they work for those online sites. Titan is the best alternative.

I'll be running up a Hilton Sisters Challenge during the tournament, if that's incentive for you to play. If you crack A-A with Q-Q, I'll give you an autographed copy of one of my novels and I'll throw in a $10 gift certificate to Blockbuster.

Sign up today. Don't wait until the last minute!
What: WPBT No Limi Tournament
Where: Titan Poker
When: Tuesday, September 20th at 9pm ET
Buy-in: $20 + 1
Password: thehamma

This event is open to everyone... bloggers and readers!

titan 3

Monday, September 19, 2005

Some Pics

I posted a few pics over at the Tao of Pauly including one of Gus Hansen sleeping on a table. Go see for yourself.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

New WPBT Tournament on Tuesday

Just a reminder... Iggy set up a new WPBT tournament for us, on my birthday of all days. And yes, I'll be running up a Hilton Sisters Challenge during the tournament! If you crack A-A with Q-Q, I'll give you an autographed copy of one of my novels and I'll throw in a $10 gift certificate to Blockbuster.

Sign up today. Don't wait until the last minute!
What: WPBT Tournament
Where: Titan Poker
When: Tuesday, September 20th at 9pm ET
Buy-in: $20 + 1
Format: No Limit
Dress Code: Pants are optional
Password: thehamma

titan 3
I'll be in Atlantic City covering the WPT Borgata Open on Tuesday, but I will sneak off to play in this event. See you there!

Yeah, I leave Spain in less than twelve hours and I'm pretty sad to go. I must say that I kinda like it here... a lot. Man, if I didn't have the Borgata Open and the Boatyard Bash, I'd stay here in Europe for a few more weeks. Did I happen to mention how I'm slowly falling in love with Spanish women?

Anyway, I stayed up all night after I wrote until sun up. I wandered around Barcelona all morning taking a few pictures and thinking about everything that went down this past week. I decided that I am the Forrest Gump of the poker bloggers. I'm the luckiest person I know. I'm just a dumb ass who somehow gets fortunate time after time.

While I was announcing the final table last night, I had one of those moments... how the hell did I get here?

One year ago just a few days shy of my 32nd birthday, I was broke, losing my hair, kicked out of my studio and without a place to live, and unemployed (unless you count playing Party Poker as a job). You all know what's happened to me since then. Un-fuckin-believable.

Stupid is, stupid does.

Next stop... New York City.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

The Barcelona Open - Day 2

Well, I'm back at the Casino de Barcelona for the second and final day of action on the EPT. It seems like I only left here a few hours ago! I'm pretty excited. The bubble time is always fun. And today we have two bubbles... the money bubble and the TV bubble.

As the conclusion of my first EPT event is underway, I must say that I was impressed with how everything was set up. Sure, they weren't prepared that so many people would want to play, but overall everything was very professional. If it wasn't so damn expensive to travel through Europe, I'd love to be on the road follwoing the EPT on every destination. Alas, I have other obligations and tournaments to cover over the remainder of this year. But I'll be back in 2006 to cover at least one or two EPT events.

It's raining in Spain today. I didn't think it rained in Spain. Oh well. Last night it was pouring when I left around 5am. I caught a cab with Howard from Poker Stars and Brandon Schaefer. In order to catch a cab, we had to fight off a crowd of drunks who were kicked out of the casino. Yeah, casinos are not 24 hours here.

This afternoon, I ate lunch at the mall next to the Princess Hotel. Man, it was jam packed with hot women on a Saturday afternoon. Talk about leaps and bounds from the skinny toothless crack whores who roamed the hallways at the Redneck Riviera.

Moving on...

44 players are left. Here's an unofficial chip count courtesy of TK from Blonde Poker. The Great Dane appears to be the chip leader.
Gus Hansen 219.2k
Mika Puro 207k
Anders Gidgon 205.8k
Peter Gunnarson 192.8k
Nicholas Martin 173.9k
Feriould Romain 167.5k
Jan Slavik 103.9k
Luca Pagano 101.2k
Peter Ohlson 96.9k
Mike Luumi (?) 94.6k
Joachim Geigert 92.7k
AnbJorn Hagd (?) 87.5k
Kirill Gerasimov 85.1k
Richard Redmond 83k
Carlos Mortensen 73.4k
Jemil Butt 70.5k
Bueno Patrick 67.9k
Dario Alioto 64.5k
Patrick ?? 62.8k
Richard Ashby 62.6k
Fougeron Thomas 62k
Jan Boubli 61.6k
Greek Jack Dionysiou 60.1k
Christer Johannson 56.7k
Ben Callinan 50.5k
Alex Bowler 49.8k
Eskillon Hans 49.4k
Thomas Gunderson 49.1k
Ranigal Simms 45.2k
Iwan Jones 43.1k
Robert Binellii 42.7k
Richard Baldwin 42.7k
Patrick Martenson 39k
Luke Smith 37.7k
Anton Berstromm 37k
Hakon Warstead (?) 36.3k
Michael Zasdenberg 34.6k
Michael English 30.8k
Steve Day 28.7k
"Smokin" Steve Vladar 26.1k
Richard White 20.2k
Edik 19.8k
Liam Flood 18.3k
I will be posting the payouts as soon as they are relased. Stay tuned for some live blogging updates! And there's a small chance that I will be doing some annoucning/emcee'ing today. Action was supposed to resume at 3:30pm local time, but that's a few minutes away and it looks like that's not going to happen.

***** Live Blogging Updates *****

3:37pm... Cards are in the air! Blinds are 3000/6000 antes are 600. 43 players are starting Day 2. They are not taping anything until the final table, so my short-lived European TV career has come to an end. David Hasselhoff can breathe a sigh of relief. Although, I hear I'm huge in Belgium. (I love that "line" from the 1990s flick Singles when Matt Dillon played the stoner lead singer of Citizen Dick, which also included actual members from Pearl Jam, and he told a music reporter that his band was big in Europe.)

3:44pm... Here are the payouts. Top 27 pay. EPT final TV tables are 8 handed.
Final Table Payouts:
1. 416,000 Euros
2. 228,000 Euros
3. 117,000 Euros
4. 91,000 Euros
5. 78,000 Euros
6. 65,000 Euros
7. 52,000 Euros
8. 39,000 Euros

And the rest:
9. 26,000 Euros
10-12th 15,600 Euros
13-15th 13,000 Euros
16-18th 10,400 Euros
19-27th 7,800 Euros
3:55pm... We have a writer's pool going on the time the final table will end. Here's who has who:
Matt from Gutshot 12:45am
TK from Blonde Poker 3:15am
Howard from Poker Stars 2:30am
Tom from Antes Up 2:31am
Pauly 4:00am
4:00pm... Here are some random pics:

The final 5 tables

Media Row

Moving all in

I was having coffee with a few folks from Poker Stars and Isabelle Mercier sat down. I asked her about what she thought of the tournament structure at the EPT. The levels are 45 minutes and she said they were too short.

4:35pm... We're down to 29 players!

5:01pm... We've reached the bubble. 28 players are left. Gus Hansen's stack is now almost 290K.

5:08pm... Former WSOP champion Carlos Mortensen bubbled out in 28th place when his 10-8 ran into A-J. All remaining players made the money and will win at least $7800 Euros.

5:10pm... The best name at this year's EPT has to be Jemil Butt from Norway.

5:13pm... Players are on a ten minute break while the player's color up. I spoke to Christer Johansen for a few seconds. He started the day with 47K and now he has over 137K. He was involved in the huge hand yesterday when his A-A held up against Gus Hansen's A-7s (Gus flopped a nut flush draw and a gutshot straight draw) and the wild Finnish kid Ilari's Hilton Sisters.

5:25pm... Blinds are 5K/10K with 1K antes. 27 players remaining.

5:35pm... I can't keep up. Everyone is going all in right now. Richard Ashby from England was just elimnated in 25th place when his Hilton Sisters were cracked by J-J. 24 players are left. Mike Luumi took 27th and Peter Ohlson busted out in 26th place. They all won $7,800 Euros.

5:45pm... Christer Johansen doubled up. He now has almost 300K.

6:00pm... I spoke to John Duthie, creator of the EPT and he said some positive things about my annoucing stint yesterday. "It's good to hear an American voice do poker. It's proper." His feelings were echoed by one of the guys in the "truck." He explained, "When you hear a documentary, you expect to hear a British voice. With poker, it's natural to hear an American voice. It sounds right." Maybe I can parlay this into a gig! Ah, probably not. They were all being nice. I'm glad I didn't fuck up as a pinch hitter.

6:11pm... Were down to 21 players. Thomas Gundersen finsihed in 23rd and Ben Calliman took 22nd. They both won $7,800 Euros.

6:20pm... We're down to 20. Luca Pagano was eliminated when his K-J ran into K-Q. Who say's the Kournikova doesn't win? Gus Hansen is over 400K now. Gus with chips is a dangerous thing.

6:45pm... I had a quick bite to eat at the bar with Tom Murphy. We had a great discussion on the different styles of play from the different Europeans as compared to how Americans play. It could become great material for a future article. In short, the Scandanvians/Nordic countries are hyper-aggressive. And most Europeans think Americans play too tight.

7:00pm... We're down to 12 players. Gus Hansen has over 700K in chips right now. Andreas Hagen was 19th, Richard Redmond took 18th, Joakim Geigert busted out in 17th, Peter Gunnarsson was 16th, Nicolas Martin finished in 15th, Iwan Jones busted out in 14th, and Thomas Fougerou was out in 13th.

7:35pm... We're down to 9 players. Michel Zajdenberg was out in 12th, Patrick Bueno took 11th and Jemil Butt busted out in 10th place. We've reached the TV table bubble!

8:00pm... We're down to 8 players when Mika Puro was knocked out in 9th place. Everyone is on a dinner break while they set up the TV table. Action will resume at 9:15. Here's who's left: Gus Hansen, Patrick Martensson, Jan Boubli, Romain Feriolo, Christer Johansson, Patrick Antonius, Anotn Bergstrom, and Dario Alioto.

9:55pm... After a huge delay, the final table is ready to begin. Cards are in the air! Here's who made it:
Seat 1: Gus Hansen (Coppenhagen, Denmark) $743K
Seat 2: Patrick Martensson (Stockholm, Sweden) $281K
Seat 3: Jan Boubli (France) $292K
Seat 4: Romain Feriolo (Marabella, Spain) $282K
Seat 5: Christer Johansson (Holliken, Sweden) $885K = Chipleader
Seat 6: Patrick Antonius (Helsinki, Finland) $331K
Seat 7: Anotn Bergstrom (Lund, Sweden) $338,500
Seat 8: Dario Alioto (Palermo, Italy) $87,500

Seat 1: Gus Hansen (Denmark) 3 time WPT Champion

Seat 2: Patrick Mortensson (Sweden)

Seat 3: Jan Boulbi (France)

Seat 4: Romain Feriolo (Spain)

Seat 5: Christer Johansson (Sweden)

Seat 6: Patrik Antonius (Finland)

Seat 7: Anton "Doogie Howser" Bergstroem (Sweden)

Seat 8: Dario Alioto (Italy)

10:15pm... We have our first elimination from the final table. Romain Feriolo was knocked out in 8th place by Christer Johansson. On a flop of K-10-9, Feriolo moved all in with 10-2. Johansson called with 10-9 and he turned a full house. Romain Feriolo won $39,000 Euros for 8th place.

10:33pm... Holy shit!!! John Duthie asked me if I could announce the final table for a level or two later on tonight to give Thomas Kresmer a breather.

10:40pm... Dario Alioto was shortstacked and moved all in with KQ. Patrik Anontious called with A-10 and it held up. Dario Alioto was eliminated in 7th place. He won 52,000 Euros.

11:11pm... Gus Hansen had been getting beat up by the three Swedes at the table. he lost a lot of his stack to them. He moved all in with A-8 versus Patrik Antonius's pocket threes. He caught his ace and doubled up.

11:13pm... Anton Bergstrom was knocked out in 6th place by Gus Hansen. Anton had Q-10 and Gus had A-4. Gus caught trip 4s and Anton was eliminated. He won $65,000 Eruos for 6th place.

1:30am... I'm back after annoucning the final table for the last two plus hours. We're down too three players. Christer Johanssen is the cipleader. Jan Boulbli is second and Patrik Antonious is last in chips. I need a stiff drink after the two most stressful hours of my life and collect myself. Be back in a few minutes after I get my shit together.

1:48pm... OK, here's the run down so far. Gus Hansen lost a big pot with Ks-7s to Patrick Mortensson's A-Q. Patrick Mortensson was the short stack and moved all in. Gus called. Both players caught a runner runner straight but Patrick's was higher. I incorrectly called the hand and announced that Gus won to the crowd. Gus corrected me and said that he lost. I thought he was pissed at me, but I just spoke to him and he was cool with that. Gus Hansen's stack took a big hit. He eventually was eliminated in 5th place when his Ks-Qs lost to Jan Boulbi's J-J. Gus Hansen won $78,000 for fifth place.

In the battle of the Patricks... Patrick Mortensson was eliminated in 4th place when his 8-8 ran into Patrik Antonious' Q-Q. The young Patrick Mortensson won $91,000.

Patrik Antonious was eliminated in 3rd place when he missed a flush draw with Ks-3s on a board with As-4s-Ah. Jan Boubli flopped two pair with 3h-4h and it held up when Patrik failed to catch his flush. Patrik Antonious won $117,000 for third place.

2:15am... We have a new champion. Jan Boubli from France won the Barcelona Open! With K-Q he caught a Queen on the river to beat Christer Johansson's As-2s. Christer flopped two pair on a board of 8-2-8. Bother players got their money all in on the flop. The turn was a rag and the river gave Jan Boubli the win. Christer Johansson won $228,000 Euros for second place. Jan Boubli won $416,000 Euros for first place and a seat to the EPT Grand Finale in Monte Carlo in March of 2006.

Jan celebrates his victory

Jan Boubli the 2005 Barcelona Open Champion

Jan's check

I was filling in for Thomas Kresmer

That's it for now. See ya in Atlantic City in a few days where I'll be covering the World Poker Tour and the Borgata Open.

Friday, September 16, 2005

The Barcelona Open - Day 1

Yesterday, I bumped into Marcel Luske getting out of the elevator. He's staying in my hotel, the Barcelona Princess. Last night, I headed over to the Casino de Barcelona to survey the scene. You need to show your passport to get into the casino. You also have to pay. I got in for free because I'm with the media and help from the Poker Stars crew. I must say that everyone at Poker Stars has been extremely accomodating to me. They really made life easier in Spain and are allowing me unfettered access to everything. So thanks to Mad, Tamar, Marta, Conrad, Howard, and everyone else I forgot to mention at Poker Stars. Yeah, even Otis too!

The poker room is located downstairs and they had 25 tables spread out. They were setting up the "TV table and stage" while a satellite for today's event was ongoing. The relatively small room was super crowded. I spotted Mike "Lucky Blind" Lacey who was trying to win a seat in today's $4000 Euro main event which begins at 4pm local time or 10am New York City time. His buddy Tom Murphy was around as well. They will be providing coverage of the EPT for their Irish readers over at Antes Up. I met both guys at the WSOP. The Irish guys are always buying me beers at a faster pace than I can drink them. Lacey continued this tradition on one of his breaks. Yeah, there's a bar like five feet from the poker room. I spent a lot of time there getting to know my good friend... Senor Cerveza.

I also chatted with John Gale for a little bit. He's a good guy and will be playing a mixture of EPT and WPT events during the remainder of the year.

Otis told me that I needed to hang out with Brandon Schaefer. He's the best player under 26 that you never heard of. He was the runner up in the Grand Finale at Monte Carlo last year and he also won another event on the EPT. He's a cool guy too. He got even more respect from me because when I introduced myself he said, "Man, I love your blog." Yeah he's reads the Tao of Poker. Pretty cool. I ended up having dinner with him and several members from team Poker Stars, including Mad.

For lunch today, I got to crash the Poker Stars luncheon for their players. On a big screen in the center of the room, they showed clips from last year's EPT Barcelona event, which was cool because I never saw any of the episodes. Brandon told me that most of the episodes from Season 1 are available for download at bit torrent. I also got to eat another meal with Brandon and two of his friends from Seattle. It's hard not to root for such a nice guy.

Conrad spoke for a little bit and he even introduced me as a reputable member of the American media. He's obviously never read any of my clips. Ha! I've been eating fish at every meal since I arrived in Spain and lunch was no different. I also got to catch a glimpse of the stunning Caroline Flack, who is the hostess for the EPT. She's the Shana Hiatt of the EPT and was conducting random player interviews during the luncheon.

Any pictures and live blogging updates will appear below.

***** Live Blogging Updates *****

2:45pm... There was only one snafu I encountered at the Casino. There was no wifi access near the poker room. Tom Murphy said that you can get a faint signal if you sit outside the disco on the other side of the bottom floor. So that means I don't think I can do a ton of live blogging like I anticipated. If the connection problems clear themselves up, you can expect frequent updates and photos. If not, you can always follow Howard who will be blogging for Poker Stars in place of Otis for this event.

3:25pm... Wifi access problem has been solved! I rode over to the venue on the shuttle bus with Dan Roth, an American qualifier from Seattle, and Isabelle Mercier. I chatted with both for a bit. I spotted Tony G, Barny Boatman, Marcel Luske, and Gus Hansen waiting in line to get into the Casino.

3:45pm... Guess what? Tamar from Poker Stars asked me to emcee the TV table today. I will be taking turns with tournament director Thomas Kremser and Howard from Poker Stars. We'll be alternating levels. I have no idea what I'm doing, but it should be fun. Basically, I'll be doing my best Johnny Grooms imitation announcing raises and all ins on the TV table. I highly doubt that I will be on the broadcast because they usually cut those bits out. So I'll be doing some live blogging in between. Good thing I'm only midly hungover today.

4:20pm... The tournament was scheduled to start at 4pm. We're running late and will begin at 4:35pm. I'll be starting my announcing duties at the beginning of level 2.

4:48pm... Cards will be in the air shortly.

5:00pm... Blinds are $25/50 to start with 45 minute levels. 294 players are in with a waiting list of 90 players deep. First place should pay well over $400,000 Euros. Last year 227 players enetered the first ever EPT event in Barcelona. Play will begin shortly. On the feature table is Brandon Schaefer, Gus Hansen, Pascal Perrault, and Daniel Larrson.

5:05pm... Cards are in the air!

5:17pm... On the feature table, Gus Hansen's A-A held up against Daniel Murelius' K-K.

5:41pm... 8 minutes until show time for me. I hope I dont royaly screw up!

6:41pm... Well I'm back. I announced level two of the featured TV table and I was super nervous. Here's who was there:
Seat 1: Pascal Perrault
Seat 2: Christer Johansen
Seat 3: Theo Jorgenson
Seat 4: Frederick Ostervald
Seat 5: Peter Eichardt
Seat 6: Gus Hansen
Seat 7: Daniel Larrson (and later... David O'Callahan)
Seat 8: Brandon Schaefer
Seat 9: Ilari Shames
So I tried to act calm, but I wasn't. Before this all went down, I went to the production truck and talked to one of the producers and directors. The production crew is all British. They were pretty cool and gave me some guidelines. Again, I have no clue what I'm doing and only pitched in because I was asked by Tamar from Poker Stars since the normal TD is overwhelmed with the huge turnout at this event. The PA was a nice gal named Francine and she told me not to worry. When I finsihed she said that everyone in the truck thought I did a good job. Oh the best thing out of all of this... I got to wear a Poker Stars shirt. I think I get to keep it too.

Anyway... it was awesome to watch Brandon play. I was going to sweat him at some point today anyway and he was surprised to see me up at the TV table with a microphone in my hand. I watched Gus Hansen hit quad queens. He cracked Daniel Larrson's pocket aces. Gus raised preflop and Daniel reraised. Gus called. The flop had one Queen. Gus bet, Daniel raised, and Gus called. The turn was a Queen. Gus checked and Daniel checked. On the river another Queen fell. Gus bet $4000 which covered Daniel, who called. Gus showed Qd-8d for four of a kind which beat Daniel's A-A. I put Gus on a Queen too after I saw his hand shaking when he went to count out his chips. He joked afterwards, "It was hard to get away from flopping top pair."

It's one thing to cover tournaments from media row or the sidelines. It's a whole other world be that up close and watching several top notch players go at it.

9:12pm... I'm on a dinner break. Half the field goes on dinner break while the other half plays. Anyway... Brandon Schaefer has about 11K in chips. We chatted at dinner. He's waiting for good hands. I got some positive criticism from the roducers about my announcing skills. They wanted me to give more information on the sizes of the pots. Counting up chips is harder than I expected!

9:40pm... Marcel Luske told me he has $13K in chips. Peter Roche has about 17K.

11:00pm... I just announced for a third time. The blinds are now 200/400 with 50 antes. Gus Hansen has $46K. Brandon Schaefer has $9K. Dan Roth has about $15K the last time I checked.

11:05pm... 324 players bought into this event. Top 27 players will make the money and $416,000 Eruos goes to the winner. This event has the most entrants of any EPT event.

11:11pm... Here are some random photos. I'm no where close to being as good as Flipchip, but here's my best efforts.

David O'Callahan (left) and Brandon Schaefer

American Dan Roth (center)

Isabelle's eyes wander

Marcel Luske's peeks at the flop

11:12pm... The guys at Gutshot told me some news about Isabelle Merceir. She was short stacked and moved all in with A-5. She flopped two pair and tripled up. She has about $7K plus now.

11:21pm... Bouncin Round the Room: It's been a long time since I did one of these updates. Here's the deal. People smoke everywhere in Europe. The small downstairs floor of the Casino de Barcelona sits under a thick veil of second hand smoke. Since it's Friday night, there are people here at the casino who are dressed up in their most fancy clothes. The men are wearing tuxes and expensive suits and the ladies are wearing stunning cocktail dresses. Damn. Hot. European. Chicks. Aye Carumba! And some of them have seen me announce the TV table. Media row is underneath the grand staircase. I'm sitting at a table with Howard from Poker Stars (when he's not announcing the TV table), the Brits from Gutshot, and the Irish guys from Antes Up. Rolf Stolbloom is in the corner too. Tom Murphy agreed to buy us a round of drinks in media row. There is open seating for $10/20 Hold'em. It's in Euros and that's the lowest limit they have.

11:31pm... Brandon Schaefer was eliminated. He had 7-7 and was heads up with Gus Hansen. The flop was 10-3-2. Gus checked and Brandon bet. Gus check raised and essentially put Brandon all in. Brandon reluctantly called and Gus hsowd J-10. Damn. Brandon played well all day and night. He endured a difficult table including Gus Hansen to his right and some Finnish kid Ilari Sahamies to his right, who was raising every pot.

11:35pm... I heard that Devilfish is out.

12:40am... Isabelle Mercier is out. Her K-K lost to 9-9 when her opponent caught a four flush on her. Dan Roth has about 22K. 163 players are remaining.

12:44am... I just completed my level of announcing. The levels were 300/600 with 100 antes. Christer Johansen tripled up with A-A against Gus Hansen's Ad-7d and the Finnish wunderkid Ilari Sahamies's Q-Q. Gus flopped a nut flush draw and gutshot straight draw. However, Christer's A-A held up and he tripled up his stack. Ilari was eliminated and Gus Hansen lost a big chunk of his stack.

2:00am... My European TV career is over for the time being. The TV table will no longer be taped, so I am free to drink at the bar with the Irish guys. The TD made a decision to end pla at 4:30am and resume tomorrow at 3:30pm and play it out then. 108 players are left.

2:10am.... Dan Roth has about 50K in chips!

2:30am... Marcel Luske, Noah Boeken, Tony G, and Barny Boatman have all been eliminated. 90 players left according to Mike "Lucky Blind" Lacey. Carlos Mortensen, Liam Flood, and Gus Hansen are still in.

3:00am... Bouncin Round the Room: I headed to the bar about thirty feet from where I'm sitting in media row for a few late night cocktails. Service is awful in Europe but the drinks are cheap. Three beers cost $7.50 Euros. I saw producer for the EPT TV series. He told me I did an excellent job and might need my services again tomorrow if the TD is still busy since there will be another event tomorrow starting. By the way, both production assistants are cute British chicks. And they are both blondes. They both told me I did a great job. Alas, I can't tell if they are being honest or doing that polite British things.

3:30am... 64 players remaining on 7 tables. American Dan Roth is still in the mix.

4:20am... 46 players remaining. Action will end in 10 minutes. Then I get to stay up until dawn writing recaps!

4:30am... Play has been stopped. 44 players remain. Action will resume at 3:30pm local time. That's 9:30am NYC time or 7:30am Las Vegas time. By this time tomorrow, I hope that we will have a new EPT champion!