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Barny Boatman
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The Big Kahuna

Five Star World Poker Classic, Las Vegas
Report by Barny on Sunday, 18 April 2004 at 6:01 pm

The night before we headed for Vegas I got a call from Radio Five Live to come down and talk about how the Brit Pack were setting off to take on the world’s best at the WSOP. As it turned out, the golf was over running when I got to the studio and - since they declined my offer to explain the small white ball to the listeners - I waited until they could fit me in. You never know what they’re going to throw at you in live interviews and I found myself making a joke about Posh and Becks which I wasn’t sure went down well in the sports studio. However, it looks like they are going for a regular live link to The Mob in Vegas. We’ll let you know when we’re on.

The following night we arrived at our top secret hideout; beyond the neon wasteland somewhere out in the trackless Arizona dessert (about four blocks from Walgreen’s). ‘They’ll never find us here’ I thought. But next day I opened the door at 7.00am to find a beaming four foot chauffer all in black polishing a gleaming thirty foot white stretch limo. ‘Mr Boatman?. I’ve come to take you to the Big Kahuna!

I think I’ve heard of the Big Kahuna; isn’t it a mountain in Death Valley? It seemed a bit early for sight seeing but I jumped in anyway. Turns out, the Big Kahuna is a big funny friendly guy who does a popular Arizona drive time radio show. He put me at my ease asking questions and cracking jokes about the English food. ‘Isn’t it all just fish ‘n chips and nothing else?’ he asked. ‘Oh no’ say’s I, ‘that was years ago. We’re more sophisticated now… we have tomato sauce on it’. He did the polite thing and roared with laughter. Then we were on air and I was being grilled about my Mob connections. In the middle of the interview he asked me the same question about English food so I thought ‘he must have liked my answer before…I’ll say it again.’ But this time the Vegas commuters were treated to a couple of seconds of dead air as he stared at me blankly. Must have been the way I told it.

There is a real Dunkirk/Blitz spirit at the Bellagio since the lights came back on. Everyone is bravely making do with half size tournament buy-ins and you can’t get banana for love nor money. Jack McClelland has done a great job of getting the show back on the road, and the excitement and anticipation is building for what could well be the biggest tournament of all time: Tomorrow’s 25K World Poker Tour event. Yesterday’s super satellite alone generated forty-one seats, and many are predicting over three-hundred runners. A year ago this would have been unthinkable, but they way things are in the States now, no-one will be surprised.

We are all in good health, relaxed and confident. Tomorrow we have our biggest day in our biggest year playing what is now undoubtedly the biggest game in the world. I hope that’s enough to impress the Big Kahuna.

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