World Class

Event #29 $2500 PLH

After failing to avoid The Rio on Monday, I made a better job of it on Tuesday and went to The Wynn. I survived a long time without cards in their $330 comp which is testament to their structure. When a guy called all-in and won his race I was off to the cash game. I havn’t really put in the hours at the cash tables this trip so it was nice to have a break. The $5/$10 NLH game there is good and I won $29 after being $1200 down for a while. I would have played on but my good friend Des Wilson had just flown in. He was keen to eat and we had a nice meal at The Wynn. We talked a lot about how his book ("Swimming with the Devilfish" – very good you must buy it) has been doing and what the reactions of the players in it have been like. An early night was in order, and so it was a very keen and eager Bad Beat that set off to the PLH event on Wenesday.

The first thing I noticed was that I was to sit next to our current World Champion. Joe Hachem seems like a nice bloke and is definitely a good player so it would be fun to play with him. (Yes fun. I know, I know, it’s my living and everything but bloody hell it’s only a game I’m allowed to have fun). The rest of the table were mostly unknown to me and most didn’t really play great. I spent the first twenty minutes lost in thought as I passed a lot of bad hands and Joe Hachem had his photo taken a lot. I kept trying to find a good time to ask him whether he ever got to pick his nose in public any more. He was wearing his ipod though and the moment never really cropped up. I won a reasonable pot off him when I flopped top set (that’s what it feels like) and after checking the turn I lead out strong on the river. He took a long time to fold, and only did so after he gave me one of those "I know you just bluffed me but I’ll let you." looks. I gave a few back when he reraised my AhKh with position. I meekly checked and passed on the queen high flop. At that point Chufty popped over for a chat and to wish me luck. He’d already played the noon $5000 stud Comp and was now starting this $2500 one at 2pm. The World Champ had a little laugh at this and I took the chance to ask him who was the bigger legend in his home country out of Chufty and Action Dave. A wry grin came over his face as he, no doubt, reflected on some of Dave’s past exploits. "They’re both complete legends in different ways." was his cryptic reply. Just as I was starting to enjoy all this schmoozing I was all-in with AA on a 10,7,3 rainbow flop. The bloke with a set of threes had now doubled up twice in this way. My mood turned a bit sour and a rare Vegas crack-up followed. Although I have spent about five months in this town in the last two years, I’m still susceptible to the dangers that tilt can bring you here. Blackjack and a terribly bad cash session followed until 7am. By Thursday afternoon I had recovered my composure and liked Des’ suggestion of going over to Caesar’s for their 7pm tournament. With only one rebuy at $100 allowed I couldn’t lose more than $220 and that would be a good ship-steadier after yesterday.

I’m personally never averse to a good old crapshoot, as long as the majority of players don’t notice it coming, and this one offered good value. Looking back I can’t recall why I didn’t win it. All I remember was Des outlasting me and playing brilliantly to get to be chip leader with 18 left. If he hadn’t have lost on the river with KK v 88 he may well have won instead of finishing 15th. Although it was pretty late now we went over to Cafe Bellagio where Mike Ellis was celebrating a nice 4th place in their daily $1000 comp and John Duthie joined me in losers corner. A good deal of banter followed. On Friday I carefully avoided buying into the $2000 NLH and went to The Wynn for their $500 noon comp. With more chance of getting something back, and my good form at the venue, this looked like a perfect satellite for Saturday’s $5000 PLH.

After Wednesday’s bracelet attempt my schedule of tournaments to be played on behalf of was over. I hadn’t won enough for a place in Saturday’s comp to come from retained profits, so I was going to have to pay my own way if I wanted to play it. The distraction of The Rio meant that only 50 people showed up at The Wynn, including "Bootsy" Kholi and "Riverdave". I managed to beat all of them except one. Tournaments are normally very annoying for the whole field apart from one person and I was a bit dissapointed to not get the $8800 for 1st having come from 3/1 down to take the chip lead. The $5350 2nd prize was much needed though and with the help of a couple of backers who can’t have seen me play before I was in Saturday’s big one. On the way out of the Wynn I couldn’t help smiling at the signs promoting their new night club "Tryst". The slogan is "An Affair to Remember". I don’t know why they’re so coy. They might have well have named the place: "Casual Shag."

Neil Channing is sponsored to play poker tournaments by and