Reading reports on the event he possibly had more than his share of good luck but,.. working in Hollywood and living in Malibu doesn't sound too unlucky to me. Incidentally rumour has it that he left.... wait for it a... $1,000,000 tip !!!. I hope i`ve got the noughts in the right place, but one million sounds an awfully big tip for the dealers.
It wasn`t all wine and roses for some of the players. Many had complaints about Harrah's heavy handed handling of a cock up with last years IRS forms. Several players were asked to pay tax on last years winnings or forfeit entry to this years competitions! Apparently Harrah's had given out the wrong forms to players last year, were asked to make up the difference by the IRS and decided to claim it back off the players as they turned up to play this years event. Some were apparently accosted as they took their seats at the start of the tournaments...incredible or what !
One or two seasoned wags and pro players were heavily critical of the standard of the play at this years World Series, stating that they thought it had gone down dramatically on previous years. Some blamed the organisers, some the amount of internet players and others the TV or media. Well.....my opinion, the media have definitely turned this once prestigious event into a circus and the quote "build it and they will come" seems very fitting. They have built it.... into the biggest and most expensive circus on Earth. But, unfortunately, a lot of the acts now contain "Coco", "Harpo" or one of their friends.
Talking of circuses I have recently had time to check out my old stomping ground Stoke. Now I don`t know if many of you are familiar with this God forsaken.....oops sorry... getting carried away, ..delightful gem of a place "the Potteries". If you aren`t then I can report that poker (?!), or at least a type of poker, is alive and well in this neck of the woods. Stanley's have just opened a brand new casino in the area and..... in a masterful stroke of publicity/advertising genius have decided to call it "The Circus". Very apt!
The cardroom supervisor is a lady by the name of Marie (I think) and what she lacks in poker knowledge she more than makes up for in energy and enthusiasm - very unusual for Stanley's and Stoke! Incidentally, for any ladies reading this article you may wish to check out Tuesday nights at the venue because that`s ladies only tournament night, and what an eye-opener it is. The tournament is very civilised (more like a W.I meeting) with breaks for drinks and a buffet, or as my pal "Big Al" puts it "the pie eating contest". Yes they build em big in Stoke.
Whilst on the subject of Stoke, I trotted a few hundred yards down the road to check out Stokes other casino - the Grosvenor Octagon. Well, they too have several tournaments each week with buy ins ranging from ?2-?5. It's not exactly major league stuff but, ...they do play an interesting version of no fold-em hold-em, which also transfers to the cash games later. So, if you like crowds, warm beer and a pub like atmosphere this is the venue for you.
My next venture took me to Luton - not my favourite venue to say the least, and that`s a view shared by many other players. Why? Well it`s not particularly well run and the staff are surly, but it always makes big money so we all grin and bare it. My first tournament was Monday`s ?200 No limit Hold`em Freeze out. It was full by 6.00pm (140 plus) and by the start there were another twenty on the reserve list. How did I fair? Lets move on to Wednesday. By this time many had said enough was enough, the customer service was appalling and the cash games non existent, so Wednesday`s tournament had about seventy runners, and my result? Don`t ask. Well seeing as you did. Eleventh. Yes, bubble plus one....I hate Luton! I had planned to turn up to play Thursdays event, but like some of the others, took my ball and went home.
I think that Luton may need to rethink their customer service policy, or should that be lack of customer service policy, because everybody I speak to has a complaint about the venue, but as we all know we will all be there next time because the prize money is so good. There is one good point about Luton and that`s the great Chinese restaurant around the corner from the casino.
My final trip was to another Grosvenor venue - Brighton`s "Summer Shambles". Yes, I know it was the "Shaker" but I`ve renamed it. Tuesdays ?100 Holdem No limit rebuy event had sixty runners and plenty of chaos. In fact, the best thing about it was the free buffet at the end of the buy in period, and the worst thing was the free advice given to all players from one or two locals who seemed hell bent on giving a critical comment and free poker lesson after every hand. Someone once said that advice given freely isn`t usually of any value, and that advice of value isn`t usually given freely - very apt in this situation I feel. I played two other events, Wednesdays ?300 freeze out and Saturdays main event. These proved to be no better organised and just as chaotic. When I quizzed the poker room manager as to why this was so, he said that there was very low morale in the card room in Brighton at the moment and that basically no one gave a damn.... nice attitude eh? Oh and just to top it all at the Saturday main event we were treated to a live karaoke type act blasting out all your favourite hits from the past for at least the first two to three hours. Who on earth organised this farce? In summing up plus points - the free buffet, negative points - all the above. But there is one bright spot in Brighton, and that's the Rendezvous Casino at the marina. It's just a different league.
Sorry for all the gripes but I`m afraid I just tell it like it is. Maybe I`m getting old and cynical or should that be bitter and twisted !!!!
I seem to have run out of space for this column, so the Omaha lesson will continue in the next column in two weeks time. In fact it will take up most of the next column as I now have no trips planned until the E.P.T. in either Barcelona or London. So, in the words of my favourite cartoon character "That's all folks".
Until next time, stay safe, play well and enjoy your poker,