Four Queens Poker Classic, Las Vegas
$5,000 No Limit Hold'em Championship
Report by Joe on Friday, 3 October 2003 at 10:57 pm

It seemed apt that the trophy for the Championship Event at the first venue on The Prima Poker Tour was a globe. Not just any globe but one that cost several hundred dollars and one that would grace any trophy cabinet. All the countries and continents are inlaid in different stones. The most striking being England and North America which are both mother of pearl.

So was it to be? I certainly wanted that trophy!
I rose a little later than planned after ten and didn’t have time for the gym and spa this morning. I spent nearly two hours online and then walked over to the Four Queens, via Starbucks, for the draw.
The event was $5,000 ‘double chance’ just like the original Poker Million won by John Duthie. All of the 97 entrants started with $5,000 in chips and everyone could take another $5,000 in chips at any time during the first three levels. Each level was 90 minutes and the blinds started at $25 / $50.

I was drawn on table 25 seat 7. In the one seat was ex-world champion, Carlos Mortensen from Spain, who nodded at me. In the four seat was Harley Hall, who you may remember made the final table of the WSOP main event with Julian Gardner when Robert Varkonyi won it in 2002. To his left in seat five was Allen Cunningham who is recognised as a top American tournament player. I liked the look and feel of the table even before a card was dealt. Usually an event with a slow format like this takes a few levels to warm up but I knew Carlos would probably gambol to get chips and the guy in the two seat, his name escaped me, was liable to play anything.

I wasn’t surprised then when the two seat called a raise with J,3 off suit, hit the three on the flop, and then spent the next fifteen minutes complaining about his ‘bad beat’ when someone made a flush against him on the river. There were chips to be got on this table and I was determined to get some of them.

Carlos played maybe ten of the first twenty pots raising many of them. He clashed in a raised pot with Cunningham when the flop came 10h, 6c, 2c and led out for a significant bet. Cunningham moved all in (this was on the first level) for about $3,000 more making it $4,500 in total. Carlos showed just how he became world champion as he called confidently with Q, 10 off suit. He was 100% correct as Cunningham held 10c, Jc. Unfortunately the river brought a club and Carlos was forced to take his $5,000 free add on early. Not as early though as Paul ‘Eskimo’ Clark who was the first player to take the add on and the first to bust out which must have been pretty quick because I saw Ram walking out of the room very early which was a shame as he was in the running for best overall player of the festival only a few points behind the leader.

I soon realised that the American in the nine seat couldn’t pass a hand for a re-raise and managed to collect from him on a couple of occasions when I found decent hands. I was soon up to nearly $20,000.

The field was a tough one and included several ex world champions and top American players. Phil Hellmuth and Mike Laing were on the two adjacent tables to mine and were both on the Jack Daniels, Phil announcing that he was going to play with the benefit of alcohol for a change. They both seemed to be talking non-stop and I had them in stereo! Phil didn’t last that long though and Mike is still there talking. Scotty Nguyen, Eric Seidel, Young Phan, Dan Harrington, TJ Cloutier, John Esposito, Freddy Deeb, Paul Phillips, Jim Bechtel, Kevin Song, Daniel Negreanu, Layne Flack and Bill Gazes were just a few representing America. For the Europeans we had The Mob, Peter Costa, Thor Hanson, Carlos and last years winner Bruce Corman. We were desperately outnumbered.

Just before the dinner break, at the end of the fourth level, Barny busted out when he flopped a pair, a flush draw and a straight draw that never improved. We were to play one more level after dinner and I had decided to try to build my stack in the last 90 minutes play of the day. It seemed that everyone else had the same game plan though and every time I raised somebody seemed to find a better hand. Ross was trying to build as well but became a casualty trying.

Forty two players remain and I have managed to build my $20,000 into a little under $12,000. Blinds resume tomorrow at $300/$600 with $75 antes and I know that I have some work to do but I have enough and I am happy to still be there.

The remaining players are:

Chere Haley $54,250
Annond Ramdin $50,925
Erik Seidel $45,650
Toto Leonidas $45,450
Kirk Conrad $43,525
William Kirby $42,100
Randall Skasgs $39,600
Dan Harrington $35,425
Peter Costa $35,200
Minneapolis Jim $30,425
Warren Carp $29,300
David Levi $28,925
Arthuro Diaz $28,600
Mike Laing $28,475
James Ferrel $27,625
Gerson Mosbauher $25,075
Lee Markholt $24,525
Kenna James $23,950
Thor Hansen $17,900
Greg Wynn $17,325
Barry Greenstein $16,550
Dow Barton $16,050
Kathy Leibert $15,750
Louis Asmo $15,550
Dick Corpuz $15,400
John Esposito $15,200
Allen Cunningham $15,175
Tony Cousineau $14,850
Harley Hall $16,650
Gerals Rhoads $14,550
Steve Ford $14,050
Dan Negreanu $12,750
Chad Layne $12,325
Joe Beevers $11,775
Jesse Jones $10,900
David Plastik $10,375
Gary Haubert $9,625
Dave Kutcher $7,375
Dan McGuire $7,325
Zachary Warren $5,750
Paul Kroh $5,750