Poker Diary

World Series of Poker, Las Vegas
Report by James Vogl on Saturday, 1 May 2004 at 7:57 pm

Two months ago I won an online qualifier to play in the $25,000 Bellagio WPT finals. After weeks and weeks of expectation I found myself sitting down with $50,000 chips in front of me and blinds of 25/50 in the largest money tournament ever held to date. During the first break I heard a lady in the crowd on her cell phone, ‘You are never going to believe this honey. I just shook Gus Hansen’s hand’ (three times WPT winner). This along with the TV cameras, media interest and a $2.7 million first prize goes to show that poker is on the way to not just being a backroom gambling game but is becoming a high profile sport.

The fan did not mention to her husband that a minor celebrity via the name of Ben Affleck was also in the field of 340. He was also spotted completely wasted, throwing chips across the table and bluffing off $80,000 in a high stake no limit hold-em game that night before hitting the baccarat tables.

After 14 hours of play towards the end of the second day, I dropped unceremoniously out of the marathon, with a week to contemplate the upcoming WSOP and share with the self proclaimed ‘Brat Pack’ comprising Keston, Jones and Posner.

After this week of relaxation (?) I found myself all in with 9, 9 against pocket Jacks deep in downtown Las Vegas in my first ever WSOP event, the $2000 NLH, contemplating a trip back home. But I managed to spike a 9 on the river, and from there on I basically didn’t lose a pot and found myself winning a gold bracelet and 400 LARGE ($400,000).

I won’t bore you with any of the hands (if anyone is interested the final table airs June 18th on ESPN in America), but I will say that it is only just sinking in that I managed to beat the second largest field in WSOP history after playing during the tournie with such great players as Chip Reese, Phil Ivey, Devilfish, Sammy Farha and Gus Hansen to name a few.

As I am fairly new to poker I thought only the final event gave a gold bracelet, so when the interviewer asked what does winning mean to me and I said, ‘ Well 400 thousand, I don’t feel like a champion really, just very, very lucky.’ He was quite surprised especially when he saw the bracelet on E-bay the next day! (Only kidding)

Thanks for everyone’s support on the forum and all the phone calls. It really has been an amazing week. I will be here for the next month trying to pick up a few more bracelets, so see you downtown in the Horseshoe or back in the Vic!

No-Limit Texas Holdem Buy-in: $2,000
Number of Entries 834
Prize Pool $1,534,560
Official Results
1st James Vogl London, UK $400,000
2nd Shawn Rice TX $213,300
3rd David Chiu CA $122,640
4th Tuan Nguyen CA $105,420
5th Carl Frommer CA $92,080
6th Charles Shoten CA $76.720
7th Anthony Lelluoche Paris, France $61,380
8th JC Tran CA $46,040
9th Brian Haverson PA $30,700