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  • 2008 WSOP – Day 2a

    By Anthony Holden

    At the (first, more select) PokerStars party last night, Daniel Negreanu told me that he’d first read Big Deal when he still really was ‘Kid Poker’, still in high school in Toronto. He even wrote an essay about it. His 16-year-old self was already, he said, playing poker – the book had nothing to teach him about that – but it did describe Vegas in a way that made him want to go there.

    Kid P had never, at the time, been to Vegas. Now he loves the place so much that he lives here – not least, he said, because when he first arrived, he found Sin City was just as I’d described it.

    Well, whoa. I mean, WOW! That book has in its time brought me a few compliments, but this one ranks right up there. Then Joe Hachem told me he’d read it a third time, since he had first told me (in London two summers ago), ‘It’s so good I’ve read it twice’ – as now on the jacket of the paperback. Then Chris Moneymaker, of all people, decided I needed to know about his weight-loss regime (‘Jogging – I cain’t stand it, but it seems to work…’) It was time, I adjudged, to move on to the second (and considerably, by a few thousand people, less select) PokerStars party.

    With Team PokerStars’ John Duthie and Victoria Coren, both playing in today’s Day 2a, I stood in the red-carpet line with other so-called VIPs for a while to have my photo taken with Paris Hilton and sundry ‘celebs’, then got so bored that I skipped over to the less VIP line and got straight into the Palms’ joint-already-jumpin’ Rains night-spot. There was time for a pleasant chat with the ever engaging Tom McEvoy before the ‘music’ (a.k.a. row) grew so loud, and the joint so claustrophically full, that I joined the notables outside for a cigarette by the pool.

    Back inside again, there was no point in even attempting a conversation over the noise. So I waited with legions of others for the much-hyped cabaret – Dita Von Teese, a ‘burlesque’ dancer, i.e. stripper, whom Vicky C insisted was too good a stripper to be called merely a stripper. After watching Dita climb out of her oyster-shell, then her giant Martini glass, and artistically take off all her clothes (pictorial evidence available here),  I decided that a stripper is a stripper is a stripper, whatever else she may call herself, and found myself free at last to escape Rain to the merciful calm of the bell-ringing, slot-clanging, punter-shrieking casino.

    And so to today’s Day 2a, some of whose leading players were jiving till dawn at he Palms with PokerStars’ finest. Not me. I have a duty to my readers. Well-slept and (OK, for once) reasonably well-groomed, I was over at the Rio on all your behalves by lunchtime, when the first 1,252 of more than 3,000 Day 2 survivors began battle. Vicky Coren, John Duthie, Neil Channing, Dave Colclough and Barny Boatman were among those leading the British charge, with Donnacha O’Dea flying the flag for Ireland and Shane Warne spinning for the Aussies, against the likes of Scotty Nguyen, Barry Greenstein, Hoyt Corkins, Steve Zolotow, Thor Hansen and many other big American names (adopted or otherwise) in Pokerland.

    During the three levels before the dinner break, 100 people were busting out per hour. Among the departed, pre- and post-dinner, were former world champs Scotty Nguyen and Robert Varkonyi, Greenstein, Channing, Kathy Leibert, Philip Hilm, David Grey, Paul Wasicka, Erick Lindgren, Billy Baxter, John Hennigan, Marc Karam, TV star Ray Romano, plus poker writers Michael Craig and Susie Isaacs. Then, alas, Vicky Coren, whose set of threes was cruelly cracked before she ran pocket jacks into aces.

    Come 1.30 a.m., some 500 survivors out of those 1,250 starters were relishing the prospect of a rest-day off before Thursday’s Day 3 – while more than 2,000 other Day 2 survivors (self included) were preparing to do battle today, with less than 12 hours off before that same Day 3.

    Doesn’t seem fair, does it? On either count. But, hey, what is these days? Or ever, let’s face it, was?

    I’m booked to have dinner with Coren and Duthie at the Wynn’s snazzy SW steak-house this evening. Fond as I am of both, I’ve told them to be thrilled (for me) if I don’t turn up. It can only mean that I’m still hanging in there, fighting on for that handy (to say the least) $9 million first prize…

    Only time differentials may mean that they might just learn my fate before you do.

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    Comment from Gerard ‘t Hart
    Time: July 9, 2008, 4:36 pm

    Nice blog – reading it now daily. I liked ”Big deal” and just finished ”bigger deal” – great writing! Is your next book. written of course after winning the final table of your current tournament, going to be called ”Biggest deal” (I am sure you have heard this before). Good luck tomorrow! Gerard

    Comment from Richard Whitehouse
    Time: July 9, 2008, 5:18 pm

    Thank you for the link to watch snippets of the PokerStars party. After downloading 47 million gigabites of stuff I was really expecting to see 1) rude bits of a lady stripper or 2) A tipsy Tony Holden interviewing Paris Hilton (whoever she is).

    But alas just teenage poker players looking bemused having to cohabit with grown-ups.

    When are PStars going to realise that sex and gambling is a winner. or is surely the way to go……..

    Comment from J. Wheatley
    Time: July 9, 2008, 8:13 pm

    Thanks for the tip off Richard. Ive decided to cancel the download now I know theres no rude bits 😉

    Comment from Jeremy Olson
    Time: July 10, 2008, 8:11 am

    I’ve been to Las Vegas a few times but never got into any really cool partys like that. Sounds like you guys had a pretty good time.

    Comment from David Cox
    Time: July 11, 2008, 5:33 pm

    That’s right, Holden. If we don’t get more filthy pix we’re all going to go over to Cindy Blake’s blog. That’ll show you.

    Comment from Anthony Holden
    Time: July 12, 2008, 4:40 pm

    But there ARE topless pix on that vid. What can you guys be looking for? I share your enthusiasm for Cindy Blake’s blogs, Dave… if only she had time to write more…

    Comment from David Cox
    Time: July 14, 2008, 12:29 pm

    Call that topless pix? I’ve been offered more stimulating images on feelthy postcards outside the station in Istanbul. More filth NOW or this site’s in big trouble.

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