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World Series of Poker Trip report
Read the original report in Issues  2343 and 2344 

We arrived at The Rio at noon on Thursday, May 28, 2009

            It was a rare cloudy day in the desert sands of Southeast Nevada.

As expected, they jacked us around on our room, but I can't tell you
about every dumb thing The Rio did because the Internet isn't that big.

Remember that legal battle I had with them - when was that, early 2003?

Once we got our room and once we relaxed, we decided we were hungry.

All casinoes* have a variety of restaurants but I wanted something simple and quick.
We agreed to try the All American Grill, which is a different place than it was in 2002.

I remember sitting there with Marc Perkel and The Brew and some other people in 2002
when it was just a burgers and sports bar, but now it's like a Gallaghers Steak House.

They had tons of meat (not really) aging in their special aging room - whatever.
You can pick your steak if you want, but I had a burger, Mrs. Bart had a sandwich.

You can't really see (When will iPhone make a better camera?) but those lights 
on the back wall are actually giant gas burners that gave the place a fireplace effect. 
Oddly, all that light in the room and it was so dark I couldn't even read the menu.

After lunch, I remembered reading something about the World Series of Poker was currently underway.
They started with some casino employee's tournament, but they also had some other thing going on.
Oh yeah, it was the anniversary of Jack Binion's first ever World Series of Poker (It started in 1970) so they 
held a Special Commemorative  40th Anniversary $40,000 buy-in No Limit Texas Hold 'Em tournament.
I thought I'd check that out and see if I could see any of the great poker players you see on TV.

I walked to The Rio's Poker Room, and it's a tiny little thing - maybe ten tables or so.
Shiiiiiiiit, in Tulsa we have at least two poker rooms wiith many more tables than that.
How long it would take to play a tournament with 2000+ people with just ten tables?

Then I found out the big poker action was going on in The Rio's Convention area.
No problem - it's only about a two-mile walk to the convention area, but I wanted
to see some big-time poker players so I convinced my knees to attempt the attempt.
Twenty minutes later I used my powers of deduction to conclude I was getting close.


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Marty's Entertainment Page

Marty always has good stuff.

Click on the E!

I peeked in one of the giant rooms and I almost fainted.

There were about a lot of poker tables in this room and there might've been 200 poker tables 
in this other hueueueueuege convention room. Ain't nothing that big in Tulsa :)

So I asked some questions and found out that, since every serious poker player in the world was in town this week,
The Rio set up all these extra tables to be sure everyone got to play all the poker they wanted.

I wanted to play some, but I wanted to try to track down some poker players first.
Then, in another room, the pros that were playing in that $40K tourney went on break.

It was one of the most exciting things ever - there were big-time poker players everywhere.

First I ran into one of my favorites, Antonio 'The Magician' Esfariandi - standing right in front of me.

He was a nice guy, talking his time to sign autographs and talk to everyone.
Soon, everyone was gone but me, so I struck up an intelligent conversation.

I asked if he'd sign an autograph for me.

He signed it "Bart, Don't Gamble," which is funny because if you've ever seen Antonio's TV show  I Bet You,
you know he'll bet his buddy Phil Laak on whether the next girl to enter the room is panty-or-thong.

Then, like an idiot, I asked him, "Where's your partner in crime?" meaning Phil 'The Unabomber' Laak.
He replied, "I don't know and I don't care - he's around here somewhere."

I felt like such a dork.  I didn't really expect to meet any of my poker "heroes" so I didn't have anything more 
intelligent to say, but I remember Ed McMahon once said he'd been asked, "So, where's Johhny?" about 
200,000 times in his life so Antonio must get that a lot, too.  I gave Antonio a Bartcop business card so he 
could check out The Tequila Treehouse and I let him go because he only had 20 minutes for his break.

Sure enough, a few minutes later Phil 'The Unabomber' Laak walked by so I grabbed him.
We talked for a few minutes and I gave Phil a Bartcop card, too.

Phil Laak sounds a lot like Rodney Dangerfield when he talks.

Damn, I'd been here maybe five minutes and I've already met and talked to two of my favorite players 
and that was much more than anything I had expected - and we were just getting started.

Just then, here comes my good friend Mike 'The Mouth' Matasou who I'd met last year,
in all places, Tulsa, Oklahoma.   He flew to Tulsa on the same Southwest flight as us.

He was raging about some bad beat he'd suffered - Mike mostly has just one channel.

Then I saw Dave 'Devilfish' Ulliott talking to former WSOP Main Event winner Greg Raymer.

I think Devbilfish might've been on the very first episode of World Poker Tour that I ever watched.
When they finished their conversation, I asked Devilfish for an autograph.  Raymer looked at me as if 
to say, "He's nobody and I'm a WSOP champion and you want his autograph ?"   Sorry Greg.

I told Devilfish I'd seen him on WPT years and years ago and I asked him why 
he didn't play on more shows like High Stakes Poker. Not missing a beat, he replied,
"They won't let me on that show - I'm too good for 'em!"

Poker players - you gotta have an ego to bet the price of a house on each turn of a card.

Then I called Mrs. Bart and asked her if she wanted to come down and catch all this.
When she got there, she pointed out that Annie Duke was right behind me.

You know Annie Duke, fresh off being called "Hitler" by Joan Rivers on Trump's The Apprentice.

Sidebar: Talk in Vegas was that Annie really won the Apprentice, but Trump changed the rules at 
the last minute so "some lowly scum-of-the-Earth poker player" wouldn't win the precious Trump contest.

Annie was posing for pictures with her brother Howard 'The Professor' Lederer.

I remembered something about her being an Obama fan, so I asked her about it.
When she said she was, I gave her a Bartcop card and told her to check it out.
She signed an autograph for me that said, "Bart, play good!"

Sidebar: Annie Duke, up close, looks great. She has a very nice smile. 

I saw Ming the Master (also known as Men the Master) signing autographs for a big group of women.
(not my pic)
He didn't seem like much of a ladies' man, 
but you know how the babes swoon over a card player :)

Then I saw Umberto 'The Shark' Brenes posing with a fan.

When she left, Unberto and I had a brief conversation. Umberto comes off as a really nice guy.
When he plays poker with you, he warns you not to go all in on him because he carries a little
plastic shark that he "threatens" you with while making the Jaws shark sound and that breaks the tension.

Then I saw High Stakes Poker player (and Kobe Bryant's boss) Jerry Buss with a young girl.

Maybe he was "mentoring" her on the fine points of poker?
Then again, I've seen Jerry play and it's a good thing he's super rich.

Remember what Chris Rock said?
"Kobe Bryant is rich - the man who signs his check is wealthy."

Wait - I see she has a Lakers shirt on.
Maybe she's his personal traveling assistant?

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Mike Malloy Live

Still on break, I saw a crowd garthering around this one door.
I inched my way closer because I found this this was just like Yellowstone.

We went to Yellowstone in 1992, and when driving around, if you ever see a group 
of cars stopped along the road, that means something is going on and more often than not, 
it means someone spotted a Grizzly bear and everyone pulls over to watch.

This was better than that - the top two WSOP bracelet winners in the world
were off in a private room, waiting for the buzzer, trying to avoid the crowd.

Here's Phil 'Poker Brat' Hellmuth and Doyle 'Big Papa' Brunson just wasting time.
Between them they have an unbelieveable 21 WSOP bracelets.
Phil has 11, and everybody hates him for that.
Doyle has ten and Johnny Chan has ten.

Eventually, the break was over. 

Just then, faster than lighning, Doyle Brunson whooshes past me so fast it made the camera blur.

There I was, just inches from the Les Paul of poker players.
You wouldn't think an old man with a crutch could move that fast.

Imagine being a big race car fan, and then going to Indianapolis on Memorial Day
and being invited inside the oval to meet all the drivers that were racing in the Indy 500.

Imagine being a big fan of The Sopranos and finding youself at a taping
where you got to meet Tony, Carm, Pauli and Big Pussy.

Imagine being backstage at Live Aid, meeting Zeppelin, The Who, Clapton and The Mick.
That's what this was like for me and I felt like a little kid opening presents on Christmas. 

I caught Antonio and Phil fleeing some fans, hurrying back to the action.

So all the pro players filed back into the big room.
Oh, did I mention is was a big room?

They had maybe 200 poker tables set up in this one hueueueuege room.
The pros were playing in a roped-off section there, with regular nobodies like me playing just a few feet away. 
I knew before the day was over I'd be playing poker in the same room as the ultra-elite players of the world.
Damn, that was fun just thinking about it.

Once they let us in, I put the hawkeye on the pros to see who I could see.

I saw Barry Greenstein, Gus Hansen, Tony G, previously described here as "that prick from Europe"
because I saw him on TV a few times and when he beats an opponent, he belittles them, calls them "girliemen" 
and says, "you don't have enough courage to play this game."  I wrote at the time that if  he tried that shit in America, 
mocking someone who just lost all their money to him, he'd be lucky to get away with just a severe beating. 
But, some people I talked to said he's the nicest guy ever away from the tables.

Here's Greg Raymer and Freddy Deeb (blowing his nose) who is one of my favorites.
Freddy saw me taking his picture and smiled and waved to me instead of being pissed off.

This is Vanessa Russo, a pretty card player (not many of those :)

Here's what she looks like from the front :)

If you watch poker on TV, she does that commercial where she bungie jumps off a tall bridge
and then says, "Once you've done that, there's not much pressure in a game of poker."

Speaking of poker babes, I also met and talked to Lacey Jones.

Not sure what I said to her, but it surely was clever and smart.

Next up: The best part of Day One

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Now it was time to use my eagle eyes and see which poker superstars I could locate in their natural habitat.

 Boom, there goes the dynamite!

 Doyle Brunson risking his $40K against Daniel Alai (to Doyle's right) and 
 Huck Seed (best poker name ever) in the grey sweatshirt next to the dealer. 

 For me, this was some of the most fun ever - watching them play poker from just a few feet away.
 I saw Greg Raymer push $40,000 worth of chips in one pot.
 And you can tell I'm close because the iPhone has no zoom.

 A few feet away I saw Eric 'E-Dog' Lindgren, (grey cap) with Antonio, still dressed in virgin white.

 Talking to Antonio is Steve Zolotow, who tells the most boring stories in all of poker.
 His voice will put you to sleep long before his story does.

 Oh, and I wanted you to see this:

 This is the lighting rack they'll use for the final table..

OK, moving on to try and spot more poker superstars.

Wow, at this one table, you can see Joe Hachem at the very left. 
Looking right at the camera (chin on hand) is Brad 'SB Rugby' Townsend
with Kenny Tran standing up in the checked shirt.

Walking between the tables, I smelled the unmistakeable sweetness of Humboldt's finest.
That surprised me, but there's no mistaking that wonderful sensation.

At each of these tables you can see the best players in the world.

There's Phill Hellmuth again, the John McEnroe of poker, the Dennis Rodman of poker, you get the idea.
He'll tell you at the drop of a hat that he's the best player in the world, and how can you argue with him
when he has more bracelets than anybody - even Doyle who's been playing since before Phil was born.

Before the night was over, this one table had Hellmuth, Phil Ivey, Scotty Nguyen and Freddy Deeb.
That's a lot of fire power - they need to put THIS tournament on TV.

There's Mike Matasou again (red on his back) working thru another bad beat.
The lady on the left is giving one player a during-the-game massage.

I wish this picture was clearer (Apple, get to work on that) but on the left, that cowboy hat
belongs to Hoyt Corkins, my pick for second wackiest name after Huckleberry Seed.

Blocking the cowboy hat from our view is Phil the Unabomber. 
To Phil's right blocking our view of the dealer is Ted Forrest!
At the very right Eric Lindgren in the white shirt with blue logo.

Another table jam-packed with top-tier players.

You know that expression...

If a bomb went off in this room, 
they'd have to start poker all over again. 

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Still the best advertising bargain on the Net

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by the week,
or by the month

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We decided to take a break and do something Mrs. Bart wanted to do, so we cabbed it 
over to the Pinball Hall of Fame.  It's on Tropicana, just past the Liberace Museum.

They have pinball machines from the 50's, 60's, 70's, etc.
Before I was old enough to loiter around pool halls, I loitered around pinball machines.
If you could somehow get a replay on the pinball, and your friends would hear that 
bolt-action snap sound when you win, you are cool.beans for a week!

They have about 100 machines, all in working order.

Remember when pinballs looked like this?

Or even older, like this?

Not only that, they also have Defender, Asteroids, Missle Command and Donkey Kong.

I have a potentially amusing Donkey Kong story - have I ever told you this?

Around 1980, I was the comptroller (never even knew what that was) for Tulsa's 
only and biggest video game dealer and back then the video game business was on fire. 

I suppose, to save on shipping, the boss ordered a whole truckload of mostly Donkey Kong arcade games.
I'm wild guessing about 50 Donkey Kongs would fit on a semi, and he ran out of storage space so I told him 
he could store the games in my garage if we could put two of the video games in our house.

He said yes so for a couple of months, we had an arcade in our house and $50K worth of Donkey Kong in my garage.
Lotsa people have owned video arcades, but how many of them ever had $50K worth of Donkey Kong in their garage?

OK, the poker pros are about to take another break so we headed back to The Rio

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We have cracked the $3,500 level!
Thanks to all who have been so generous.

I know what you're thinking...
"I've been reading  for years,
maybe I should send Ol' Bart a 'love' check."

It's been so long - I wish this was over.
I know you're tired of seeing Uncle Sam.

Help survive!
The cost of catnip is enormous.


 OR send a 'love' check to
 PO Box 54466
 Tulsa, OK  74155

OK, so we're back at The Rio waiting for my great friend Perry Sanders 

               (seen here with my good friend Les Paul)

to join this WSOP event with me, this first-time-ever Stimulus WSOP Event.

After the supper break, I was hurrying back towards the action when I heard the unmistakable sounds 
of Phil Laak and Antonio Esfariandi walking right behind me.  I knew it was them - we've watched every 
episode of their TV show and they have very distinctive voices.   I slowed my pace so they could pass me,
hoping to get a picture of them together when some guy yelled, “Hey, turn around so he can get a picture”
and they did but I missed the shot. 

Continuing to walk, I noticed that Chris Moneymaker was walking right next to me so we talked as we walked.
He was very nice – as was everyone I talked to.  I didn't get a "Fuck off, old man," once all weekend.
I asked him if he was going to stay and play every event until July 15.  He said he was staying for some kind 
of Legends of Poker tourney (former WSOP winners, I suppose) and then going home until the main event. 

Just then Chris and I came to a fork in the road.  Everyone was going right but Phil & Antonio went left, 
so Moneymaker calls out, “You guys know a shortcut?” and Antonio, thinking it was me trying to horn in, 
yelled back, “No, private meeting,” then he saw Chris and said, “Oh, Moneymaker, yeah, come with us.” 
So I let them go - I know they need their privacy

By now our good friend Perry had just arrived at The Rio and he was ready to start the action.
Perry brought his friend Jim the Nawlins Crocodile Cook from last November's Soorie.  (Can't find that link)

Now we needed food and drink so Perry spotted this Buzio's Seafood Restaurant.
They specialized in expensive seafood - yum!

As always, the second we got there Perry became the focus of the attention of the staff.
They gave us a great table and Perry asked for a wine list and a menu and Perry ordered some of this and 
some of that and a bottle of this and a bottle of that.  He's fun to watch when he's hitting all cylinders.

I was luckly enough to locate a steak on their menu, so I had that.
Perry and Jim were diving in to all these samplers they'd ordered.
There were all kinds of creatures I didn't recognize in those bowls.

As we were eating, Chris 'Jesus' Ferguson walked by, as did Annie Duke.
That reminded us that we were there to play poker, so before long we headed that way.
The dinner and champagne were great - thanks to Perry.
This was maybe the fourth or fifth time I'd walked the two miles to the WSOP.
Yoe know why they have so many buffets is Vegas?
So people don't lose too much weight from all the damn walking.
So we hit the massive poker room and it was jam-packed full of poker players.

It was the weirdest thing to stand near the center of that massive room and listen to
thousands of people riffling their chips from all 360 degrees in total surround sound.

Then we approached the chalkboard to register to sit down and play. Perry said something to the dude in charge and, 
I don't know how he does this, the dude's focus was all about Perry and even tho the poker board was full, within minutes 
Perry was seated at a high-dollar table and playing poker.  I wish I could tell what he was doing to get people to focus on him. 
He doesn't seem to say anything in particular - he certainly didn'tt hand the dude any money - they just instinctively know he's 
someone they need to make happy.

After he got seated, I signed up for the $2-$5 table to get some poker practice in.
Because I'm an idiot, I left all my money in the room.  I had to go ask Perry for a $200 loan so I could play.

Soon, I saw my first Mississippi Straddle.
Usually, a straddle is when the first person with the option of betting doubles the big blind without seeing his cards. 
In a Mississippi Straddle, the dealer makes that double bet out of turn, forcing the small and big blind to act first instead of last. 
Apparently that's legal in Vegas.

Then it happened - the situation you kinda hate when you just sat down with very little money:
I got Aces on the second hand and this guy bets $50 - so I had to call him - then another guy raises to $100.

I hate when this happens - it's much more fun if you've been playing for hours and you're getting hungry
when you get your pocket Aces because you're going to leave anyway and you could leave a big winner.
But when you get them right after sitting down, you can't help but think about Oliver Hudson.

So I'm trying to slow down the action, but they're going crazy and they eventually put me all in.

The flop wasn't dangerous, something like 2-7-J, the turn was no help, but another seven came on the river.
So if either of them had a seven in his hands, then my name is Oliver but I got lucky. Right after I pushed the 
remainder of my chips in, the other guy said, "Dammit, you got me."  He was bluffing the whole time. 

Whew! And even better than whew, I was sitting there with over $600 in front of me.
As fun as it is to play poker, it's even more fun when you're playing with someone else's money.

Just then a cocktail waitress asked if I needed anything, and it's so hard to get them to remember
the names of fine tequilas, but they know what "Jack" is, so I ordered a double shot of that.

As fun as it is to play poker, it's even more fun when you're playing with someone else's money,
but playing with a slight whiskey buzz is even funner.  She came back with my double shot, I wolfed it down 
in front of the others to intimidate them - not sure why but that works - and I tipped the waitress a dollar, 
the customary Vegas tip from the non-rich.

Hey, double shots of Jack for a dollar? 
Delivered to you by a pretty girl while you gamble with the money of others?

I could get used to this.
No wonder Las Vegas gets 40 million visitors a year.

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So I continued with my evil gambling, occasionally ordering another double shot of Jack and watching 
my stack dwindle down slowly.   I was having a lot of fun playing poker when I see this guy walk by...

He's an actor named Jason Dohring. 

He played the 400 year-old vampire on CBS's Moonlight, which we liked but CBS killed it 
because they couldn't find an audience that likes watching beautiful and wealthy vampires partying.
but the vampire movie Twilight was the biggest hit at Sunday's MTV Awards - way to go, CBS.

Oh, and he also spent three years kissing this woman on Veronica Mars.

Dohring was the only non-poker celebrity I saw all weekend, besides Jerry Buss.

So I kept playing and I kept watching the size of my shrinking stack.
I was determined to leave a winner because I was going to sit sown with 2,000 
other poker players the next day and I wanted to build up a little confidence. 

Oddly, some dude next to me said, "We have to losen up that big stack," so he gave 
a few dollars to the waitress and told her, "Bring him (meaning me) a triple shot of Jack." 

In Las Vegas, if you hand somebody the right amount of money they'll do anything you ask, and soon 
that waitress was back - with TWO plastic cups.  One cup had - seriously - about six ounces of Jack 
and the other cup was Jack on the rocks, full to the top.  She asked me which one I wanted.  I knew I
was about done playing, so I grabbed the cup that didn't have all that distracting ice in it and my friend
took the other so we toasted to free Jack Daniels and Bart's big stack.  I knew I'd have fun at the WSOP.

When my stack got to about half its size, I grabbed and loaded a rack with chips and headed out.
I left with $307 and a good buzz from those shots and cups of Jack - not too shabby.

So I start the two-mile journey back to the elevators and I see a man walking in front of me.
Remember back in New York, I was inside the Ed Sullivan theater and I noticed the man walking
in front of me was Biff Henderson?  I could tell by the shape of the back of his head it was him
and this time I knew I was looking at the back of the head of poker great Ted Forrest!

That link says Ted has a current rank of  457Horseshit!
I seriously doubt there are 456 poker players better than Ted Forrest.
I doubt there are 56 players better than Ted Forrest.

Ted had just kissed his wife-girlfriend goodbye and he and I were walking the same
direction so I had him cornered and he really had no choice but to speak to me  :)

I gave him my card and as we walked he said he was an Obama fan and I told him he might like
Then I asked him if any of the big boys were playing in that piddlin' $1000 entry tournament the next day and 
Ted said he was sure some big players would be there, but he was still alive in that  Special Commemorative 
40th Anniversary $40,000 buy-in No Limit Texas Hold 'Em Tournament so he wouldn't be there.

I figured I'd tortured him enough, so I let him go.

In one day, I saw or met dozens of the top poker players in the world.  It's easier to name those 
I didn't see - including Daniel Negreanu, Sammy Farha and the great Gabe Kaplan. I would've
enjoyed telling Gabe that I think he's the best poker announcer and analyst I've ever seen.

But now it was time to get some sleep so I'd be sharp at noon the next day,
but I had some of the most fun ever thanks to you generous readers.

Look for the World Series of Poker 2009 Trip Report Part 2 tomorrow.

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World Series of Poker Wrap-up

There were some fun moments and some funny moments that I'll try to recreate.

Saturday morning Mike the Dealer called with some last minute advice so
we went over some things I needed to be sure to remember.

On the way to the first 2-hour session, I saw this booth:

               Click  for  More Info  if you Agree

Ten percent of America plays poker - that's 30 million voters.
If the Democrats had any brains... should I bother to finish that sentence?

They WSOP dudes actually used their heads when they set this up.
Once they verified my identity,  they gave me a card that said,
"Brasilia Room, Table 249," so even a guy with an IQ of 64 could find his table.

We were getting ready to start.
The lady's voice came over the loudspeaker and said, "Welcome to the 2009 World Series of Poker!"
I confess, I got some goosebumps hearing that - this was really happening.

For the first few hands, everybody was playing cautious - nobody wanted to be the first Oliver Hudson.
But after a few minutes, they started betting like crazy.
There were four guys in a row who were playing almost every hand.

These 3 guys and a fourth, bald dude were betting, raising, raising, raising, etc.
I know aggression can win poker games, but they were betting big chunks and all we had was $3000 in chips.

I couldn't seem to get much of anything going, my stack was slowly dwindling away.

I was playing a few hands, but when these donks said, "Raise $300," and I didn't have Kings or Aces, I folded.
One thing always on my mind was coming back and writing this report.  I didn't want those who sent in their
hard-earned money for me to get to the WSOP to think I just blew it all in the first few hands.

One hand, I got Q-J so I stayed for the flop.
The flop came 2-4-J, which gave me Top Pair and a pretty good kicker.
I raised and the guy next to me re-raised all in (I had more chips than him) so I called him.

He turned over Aces and my heart sunk.  If I lose this hand, my tournament is crippled.
Maybe there is a God, because a Queen came on the river giving me 2 pair and the victory.
This poor bastard started squealing like Mike Matasow on his period.

It was my biggest hand of the day and I should've lost it, but I got lucky.
There was only one way to handle this: Double shot of Jack.

Time went on and that big hand got me back in my scaredy cave.
Once again, my chips stack fell to about $2100.

I guess the only good news is I had established myself as a very conservative player
(Very conservative?  Moi? :)

I called Mike and told him what was going on - he said he'd come right over.
Eventually the 2PM break got there and there I sat with my $2100 in chips.
Mike the Dealer called from the hallway and said, "Let's talk."

He asked how things were going and I told him the truth.
"They're running me over.  I can't get anything going.
  These guys are betting like a f-ing comet is headed towards Earth.
  They don't care about losing their chips - but they're winning.  What can I do?"

Mike slapped my face really hard.
He grabbed my shoulders and gave me a good shake.

 'Boo Hoo, I can't get anything going.'

That got my attention.

He asked how the others were playing and what their chip counts were.
I told him and Mike came up with some great strategery.

"Fuck it, it's time to make your move or you're out of here in the next hour.  Here's what you do:
If you get Aces, Kings, Queens, Jacks and maybe even Tens, you go all in.  Fuck it.
If you get A-K or A-Q or A-J and maybe even A-10, you go all in.  Don't fuck with these guys,
don't figure out what to bet, just put those fuckers all in if you have any kind of decent hand."

Hmmmm, seemed risky, but Mike deals poker 8 hours every day and he could be right.
So I shook his hand, thanked him and I got some aspirin for my sore cheek.

You would NOT believe what happened next:

First couple of hands I had nothing so I threw them away - then I got A-K.
One guy bet, another guy raised him, so I swallowed real hard and I went all in.

They both quickly folded and I was suddenly back to even with $3000 in chips.
A couple of hands later, I got Jacks and they started betting and I went all in.
Boom, I'm up to $5000 in chips and they're starting to mumble.

One guy (in the blue) said, "Sir, (Get that) what did you do on that break?
Did you chug a bottle of testosterone or something?"

ha ha

That was priceless.
My new reckless style of play had gotten their attention.
Now *I* was the big, bad gorilla at the table and they were the scared bunnies.

I think we should change Mike's name to Mike the Mentor.

A few hands later, I got Aces and after they bet, I went all in again.
Boom, they folded and I'm up to about $7000 in chips.

Next hand, I got a pair of tens.
Wondering how long my good luck would last, I bet just $1000.
The dude calls me and the flop comes 7-8-9.

Shiiiiiiiiit, I got an over-pair and a straight draw, so I went all in.
The dude turns over two aces, making this the second time I fell into that trap.
But the turn brought me a Jack so my straight beat his pocket Aces.

That called for another Double shot of Jack.

The table started calling me "Ace breaker," which, at the time, was more fun than oral sex.
I kept playing the way Mike told me and my stack kept getting bigger and bigger.
I got up to $9,000,  then to $11,000, then eventually I had $13,500 in chips.

It got so good, the dealer was coming to me to make change - ha ha.
There were $27,000 worth of chips at our table and I had $13,500 of them.

Finally the 4:30 break came, so I called Mike with the good news.
"Fuck me, you have $13,500 in chips?  Are you f-ing serious?"

I was.

Mike said, "You might be able to coast to Day Two with $13,500 in chips.
Change everything now - go back into hibernation.  Don't call any all ins and don't
go all in yourself unless you have pocket Aces.  Christ, you have $13K in chips?"

I was having a really, really good time as we took our 4:30 break.

That's when I ran into RJ - his report is coming right up.

It was only a 20 minute break, enough time to use the restroom, make a phone call, etc.

Back to the action - next break is at 7 PM and it's 90 minutes long.

Then came the bad news.

Some suit came over and said, "We're breaking up this table," and I'm like W T F?
No, I like this table - I just got these guys where I wanted them, and now we're breaking up?

Suddenly I'm at a new table and plenty of these dudes had more chips than me. Damn, I got to be
the big poker bully for a couple of hours and it was wonderful while it lasted - but now it's gone.
Suddenly, nobody is afraid me of, I'm just another short-stack shlub at this new table.

I played very few hands, so my stack was shrinking.  I figured it was better than losing.
After another hour ticked by, they started collecting antes from each player as well as the blinds.
For the 5:30-6:30 hour, it cost $475 in chips for every round and I was down to $11K or so.

Nobody was afraid of me here, I was just some Okie rube with a Bartcop hat.

I kept playing, winning some, losing some - now I'm down to about $9,000.
Then they moved me to another table - must've been the All Star table because
some of these bastards had $40,000 in chips and I was back where I was at 1:30.

I held on until the dinner break at 7 where I left holding onto $7,500 in chips.

Perry was a few tables away, so he texted me and said he had a table reserved
on the roof of The Rio at at The Voodoo Lounge and Cafe.
Yep, you guessed it - more super-expensive seafood - yum!

The bad news?
We only had 90 minutes and it's a two-mile walk to the Voodoo and two miles back.

We took the exclusive Voodoo outdoor elevator to the 50th floor.

   You can see The Bellagio on the left and behind The Rio sign is the massive, incomplete City Center,
   the $8 billion dollar (yes, that's billions) complex attempted by MGM/Mirage and the bad boys from Dubai.

..and the view was Ghost Bar-ish.

In real life this picture is in color, but you know how those art majors can be.

We ordered - Perry and Jim and Mrs. Bart got frog legs, mussels and crab cakes.
I ordered a bone-in New York Strip steak.

Of course, the staff hovered around Perry to be sure he was happy.
"More champagne," he'd call out more than a few times.

 Vegas - it's Disneyland for adults

The seafood showed up right away, but no steak.
I'm checking the time and wondering about that two mile jog back to the tables.

My steak arrives with about 30 minutes until we shuffle up and deal again, so I inhaled that steak.
Damn it was a good one, and they even brought a seperate bone full of marrow.
My good friend Jim volunteered to take that off my hands - thanks, Dude.
And thanks again to Perry for the mighty fine Voodoo dinner.

So we jogged back to the tables and I got Mike the Mentor on the phone again.
He confirmed my suspicions that it was time to become Crazy Bart again.
I had $7,500 in chips and my table mates were f-ing loaded.

My stack...

Meanwhile, at this new table, I'm up against Murderer's Row...


Nothing happened right away, but I knew I had to pick a spot for my last stand.

Then it happened - I got a Q-2, which I'd usually let go, but I was last before the dealer
so most players had already acted and they just limped in, bringing the pot to over $3000.

The flop came Q-2-J and I double checked my cards and yes, I had two pair. One guy bets 1,000,
another guy raises to 2,000, another guy raises to 4,000 and we had a lot of money in this pot.
I go all in, knowing if I win this hand, I'll be up to about $20,000 and I'd be back in business.

We turned the cards over.

Then I get the bad news - the guy to my right had Q-J - his two pair beat my two pair.
If he'd gotten a Q-K or A-K instead of a Q-J,  I would've beated him and won that big hand
and maybe even gotten a second wind to keep going, but all in all, my luck that day was pretty good.

See this dude here?

He is the face of pure evil.

Remember when you were a kid and Grandma fell down the stairs?
She didn't fall - Mr. Evil pushed her.

Actually, he was a pretty nice guy.
He seemed to feel bad about knocking me out.
I asked if I could take his picture and he agreed.
I gave him my card and told him to check the page in a few days.

So, at 8:47, my super-fun 2009 World Series of Poker experience had come to an end.
On TV when you lose, everybody claps and the announcers say what a good dude you are
and then the foxy poker babe comes over and says, "Hey, Bart, what happened?"
and then they flash the amount of cash you won on the TV screen - but not here.

Here, when you lose, your sorry ass gets up and you slither away unnoticed.
I was unprepared for the emotional crush.
I'd been playing for less than nine hours but the crush was there.
I can't imagine what it's like to play like that for four days and then get crushed.

One thing made me feel better:
In that big $40K that all the poker pros played in?

Daniel Negreanu and Sammy Farha and tons more big timers were gone after 4 hours.
They didn't even make it to the third break where I could meet them, so after learning that
I lasted more than twice as long as they did - that picked my spirits up a little bit.

Speaking of spirits, I dropped by The Rio Gift Shop on the way back to the room and bought
myself the smallest bottle of Jack.  Perry dropped out (after having his Kings cracked) so we
had a toast to our "success" and there was nothing left to do now but go back home.

Perry and Jim went back to the Voodoo Lounge for "More champagne!" but I was tired.
My Abby Normal brain can't handle 9 hours of concentration like it used to :)

Next day we got on a Southwest "whale" and headed back to K-Drag.

But as you can tell, I had just about the best weekend ever. Being the bad-ass gorilla
at a WSOP table was enormous, amazing fun and I couldn't have done it without your help.

Thanks to RJ for coming all the way from San Fransisco to watch, (and his poker donation)
thanks to Jim,  it's always fun partying with The Crocodile Cook, thanks to "More champagne"
Perry for the great food and wine and thanks to Mike the Mentor because it would've been a
lot duller trip report with out his miracle advice that brought me from $2,100 to $13,500 in two hours.

Extra super-thanks to those who sent in donations so I could manage the entry fee.
I'm sorry I didn't come home a winner, but I had 3 days in Poker Heaven that I'll never forget.

Note: Except for the slap, everything is swear-to-Koresh true.

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