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News from the Poker Scene

Exploded on the scene is young Gus Hansen, the Dane who won the World Poker Tour’s first event, a no limit tournament at the Bellagio that was filmed for TV. Gus demolished a final table that included former world champion Scotty Nguyen and American rankings leader John Juanda to take the $500,000 first prize, but that was only a cap to his incredible month. Gus was so hot in the side games at the World Series of Poker that he was playing other players’ passed hands! Two pot limit Omaha hands were drawn at perfect-perfect odds of 800-1. The Dane gave a beating to the Bellagio poker room, and hasn’t surfaced since…

High stakes poker player and self made millionaire Lyle Berman is bankrolling the production of the World Poker Tour, a made for television series of tournaments which looks likely for the Discovery channel, but has no slot yet. The promotional video features Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patton as commentators. Van Patton did the commentary for many of the old ESPN World Series of Poker productions… The Poker Million – The Classics is reported to have sold out in one week, but there will be a reserve list. What’s the value for the players? Thirty-six players, sixteen hours of television coverage, you do the math. Most of the top Europeans are expected, the question is which Americans will come. Reno Nevada’s Jack Fox, who made the money in this year’s World Series of Poker, is confirmed. No word on Phil Hellmuth yet…

The Amsterdam Master Classics betting market on Betfair has traded six thousand pounds in the first two weeks. Peter Costa has been backed and laid for 500 pounds at 40-1. A patient punter could have easily negotiated 50-1, but as Costa has won approximately half of the tournaments he’s entered since June, I’d hate to be the guy who laid him…

Barny Boatman made the understatement of the year while lighting the teakettle. It was four in the morning after the first day of the big event at London’s Victoria Club and I’m crashing at Barny’s pad, a two floor walk up in Hendon with bread, marmite and backpacking Australians. Barny’s still in the tournament with a nice stack of chips, and I’m trying to figure out how he’s doing it. How with everything else he’s doing, he still manages to play good poker.
I’d seen him the week before in Cardiff, four days dubbing LNP VI. Between mouthfuls of stuffed mushrooms, spicy penne, and a whole load of red wine Barny declared, “This is clearly the best Late Night Poker ever.” That was on a Wednesday night. Thursday saw Barny, a hangover, and a night train to Paris, where he arrived just in time to buy-in to the main Hold’em event. He played until 7am the following day, out on the bubble. Straight back to London to dub the World Head’s Up video and play six tournaments at the Vic festival, all of which he went deep into and one of which he won after being down to a single chip. As far as I knew Barny hadn’t slept in ten days, so I just wondered how he was keeping it all together.

“I’m kind of on top of my game right now,” Barny said, “so it’s easier.”

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