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Barny Boatman
Other articles by Barny Boatman

The Wild Wild West

LA Poker Classic, Los Angeles
$10,000 No Limit Hold'em WPT Event
Report by Barny on Sunday, 22 February 2004 at 6:37 pm

The Commerce Casino is vast, stylish and grand. They tell me that most of it was recently built but the sepia deco kitsch is pure fifties Barton Fink LA. No slots here, no floor shows, no flashing lights or fishnets. Just a huge permanent poker feast with scores and scores of high and low stakes tables busy day and night. It is unusually easy to find your way around the Commerce, disorientation is not necessary as there is nowhere nearby to escape to. We are in some kind of industrial estate by the freeway and even if it wasn’t raining the pool is tiny, and the hot tub... you might as well drop a t-bag in it and make your self a cuppa! Lucky we love poker.

Today in the upstairs banqueting hall the World Poker Tour main event was getting underway. There was no mistaking the sense of occasion. Gus Hanson, Doyle Brunson and James Garner – that’s right, Bret Maverick! - had done the cement handprint thing joining the 'Poker Walk of Fame' in front of the world's media. Every big name in poker was there and those not giving interviews were signing autographs while a beaming be-suited Mike Sexton glided around like a waxwork on wheels.

Remember the Western movies where thousands of adventurers saddle up and race westward in a mad scramble for land or gold? That’s the scene that came to mind as around four hundred players jostled around the white board while one by laborious one the seating positions went up. Soon the whole field would be galloping toward the sunset and by day's end half would be eating dust.

My table was fast, - Layne Flack made sure of that -. By the end of level one I had more than doubled having bluffed John Bonnetti off a big pot with nine high on the river and also won a big one with flush over flush. The bloke next to me asked who was the best player in The Mob and (modestly forbidding) I pointed to Ram who was in a pot on our table. Just as I said it, Ram moved all in on a bluff, got called and hit a six outer to double up. ‘I thought you said he was the best’ said my incredulous neighbour. ‘Why do you think he hit his card?’ Says I.

Elsewhere, Joe found two people betting into his nut flush and Ross was on manoeuvres. All four of us had chips. In the break we had dinner with the Prima satellite qualifiers who all seemed to be hanging in there and having fun. They are a good bunch and they can obviously all play. The Mob were in great shape having all doubled up or more.

Back at the game I moved tables with about thirty five thousand and found myself playing with three time WPT champ Gus Hanson for the first time. For once it wasn’t his day as both Ron Rose and I took a piece of him and he left the way clear for a new Commerce Classics champ when he went out just before the end of the day. I took a big hit when I found a player on a stone cold bluff on the flop and he caught running hearts for a flush.

With less than ten minutes to the close of play and half the field gone I was still comfortable with twenty-five thousand. We were all going to day two with a good shot is the biggest comp we had ever played in outside of the WSOP main event, and we were playing great, what a feeling! Well you can guess the rest... I called a small raise with 66 and the player who had just sat in Hanson’s seat made a small reraise – too small to pass. I smelt a rat when he checked the J55 flop but ignored my instincts when the six came on the turn to make me a house. I called on the turn and raised all-in on the river. He was supposed to have an over-pair but he had flopped Jacks full and I was about as gutted as I can remember being in a tournament. I had felt all day that I was going all the way in this event.

Still, I’m over it now and the great news is the boys are all there. Ross has thirty two thousand; Joe has twenty five and Ram seventeen. I’m sure at least one will make the money and I think a great result could be on the cards. Go on boys make me proud.

LA Classic WPT $10,000 Buy-in - Day One Update

382 entrants

1st Place $1.4 Million (27 in the money)

21 tables remain (about 185 players)

Selected Chip Counts

Ross Boatman 31,750
Joe Beevers 25,025
Ram Vaswani 17,700

Bill Baxter (Chip leader) 59,675
Hassan Habib 56,750
Andrew Bloch 56,200
Phil Gordon 32,075
Harley Hall 15,925
Don O'Dea 18,100
Paul Phillips 19,700
Mel Judah 16,525
Dan Harrington 28,975
Ali Sarkeshik 8,375
Chris Johansson 21,175
Erik Seidel 20,050
Doyle Brunson 10,275
Scotty Nguyen 8,375
Phil Hellmuth 30,225
Peter Costa 23,025
Dave Colclough 38,175
Jesse Jones 23,800

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