The Biggest Restaurant in The World?

Joe Beevers 'The Elegance'

LA Poker Classic, Los Angeles
$10,000 No Limit Hold'em WPT Event
Report by Joe on Wednesday, 25 February 2004 at 8:11 am

The Commerce is the biggest poker club in the world but surprisingly it doesn’t have a proper restaurant. Sure there is a small sports bar but that is surprisingly empty all the time. I am informed by one of the tournament organisers that they used to have a very good restaurant but the players never used it. The reason being that there is a full menu including breakfast, main entrees, Chinese, Vietnamese and other bits and pieces that cover just about everything you could really wish for and players eat them on the poker floor. To that effect the Commerce is probably one of the biggest restaurants in the world!

I was talking to Larry, an on-line qualifier from Prima, about how he had found playing in his first $10,000 event. ‘I knew it would be slow, but I never thought it would be that slow’, he said. Anyone that has ever played in the first day at the WSOP will know that most players are waiting for premium hands. The low antes and two hour clock (one and a half hours in the WPT) mean that you can pass many more hands without hurting your chip stack so when Dave Colclough told the following story half way through day two it surprised a few people.

There were about 100 players left from the starting 382 and the chip leader on Dave’s table had about 70,000 in chips. A new player was brought to the table that also had about 70,000 and was dealt into the big blind. He passed the first hand and then posted his small blind of 300. The action passed around to him and he completed his small blind. The big blind -BB-, the other chip leader, raised 2,500. As quick as a flash the small blind -SB- pushed forward a stack of 20 x $500 blue chips making it 10,000 to go. The big blind called without hesitation. Normally I wouldn’t tell you the hands until the end of the story but it’s easier to follow what happens if I tell you now. The SB had 10, 6 off suit and the BB Q, 8 off suit.

On a flop of Ks, 9h, 2s the SB bet out 6,000 but the BB, realising that his opponent was trying to pick up the pot cheaply, called intending to bluff the turn. The turn brought a red ten and the SB, now having made second pair and no longer needing to bluff at the pot, checked. Now the BB decides to try and steal. In the pot there are 9x100 antes, 2 x 10,000 pre-flop bets and 2 x 6,000 bets on the flop. The BB bets 10,000 more and the SB calls. The river brings the six of spades making a possible spade flush but two pair for the SB who checks. The BB now moves all in and after a small dwell the SB calls. Everyone at the table was expecting to see sets or nut flushes, I mean could you have guessed the hands? The pot of over 140,000 was the biggest of the day up until that point!

Having been knocked out on day two of the WPT event we have spent some time socialising. We all went for dinner at a nice restaurant which we were told was very close to the Commerce. We thought that we may be able to walk but it turned out to be a 20 minute drive, I suppose that’s LA for you.

Today I decided to play some $10 / $25 No Limit Hold-em. I played for about 5 or 6 hours and the whole time World Champion Chris Moneymaker was in the game. I watched him whooping and hollering when he won the WSOP main event last May – who wouldn’t be – and I was surprised at how down to earth he is. A player asked him if he was still working and he is, he is still working in the same restaurant doing the accounts just as he was over 12 months ago. I asked him if he was going to play in the Bellagio’s $25,000 buy in event and he told us that he is only going to play big buy in events if he wins a seat. The same applies for the WSOP – he has made a deal with his wife! I suppose that it is very sensible as we all have heard many stories of people winning the WSOP and being broke 12 months later.

Yesterday they played down to 6 in the WPT $10,000 event. It seemed to take an eternity to get from 12 players to 6 and they played well into the early hours of yesterday morning. The final is on now as I type this. Tomorrow is the WPT Invitational event that we are all playing in. I wonder if I’ll finish up sitting anywhere near Ben Affleck...

Start of today's final it looked like this:

1 Antonio Esfandiari 1,148,000 Chips
2 Quoc Al 'Vinnie' Vinh 1,026,000 Chips
3 Adam Schoenfeld 701,000 Chips
4 Bill Gazes 452,000 Chips
5 David Benyamine 276,000 Chips
6 Mike Keohen 219,000 Chips

The Final Result

1st Antonio Esfandiari $1,399,135
2nd Quoc Al 'Vinnie' Vinh $718,485
3rd Mike Keohen $359,245
4th Bill Gazes $226,890
5th Adam Schoenfeld $170,170
6th David Benyamine $132,355