2009 WSOP Vegas Trip
Posted by Anthony Martino
I hit Vegas in early July right around the time of the 2009 WSOP Main Event. While I planned to play some poker, I was mostly in town for business.
Early on I metup with one of the partners in PokerNations, pro player Eric "Rizen" Lynch. I've known Eric since around 2004 if my memory serves me right, and was happy when he came onboard to help with this project.
While meeting him, Annette Obrestad, aka Annette15 came up to us. She's a professional player from Norway who won the WSOP-Europe Main Event in 2007. Despite this, she was only 20 years old and unable to play in Vegas! Can you imagine being a WSOP Champion and being turned away? Also, the pictures do not do this lady justice, she was looking very cute when I ran into her in Vegas.
I found this pic online, as unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me when we met. She's a really cool and friendly girl who has a bright future ahead with poker, so wishing her all the best!
MEETING THE PROS
I managed to grab some shots of myself with various pros while down in Vegas. This is only a handful of the tons of pros I ran into, as I didn't have my camera with me each time. In all cases though, the pros were friendly and approachable. So don't be shy, they love to meet fans, and they put their pant on one leg at a time like the rest of us:
Me, Jerry Yang, Eric and Shauna Lynch
Me and Kenna James
Young Phan and I
At the WSOP around the Main Event they have what is known as Poker Palooza. It's a room full of booths featuring various companies and their products and services (poker coaching sites, software, supplies, etc)
This was a great opportunity to network, and get the word out about the upcoming PokerNations launch. At that point, we had already secured hundreds of pros and companies who would come onboard and be represented on our site.
The trip to Vegas easily doubled this number, providing tons more industry connections. People have been chomping at the bit to get onto this site, and in a few short days after I write this blog, we'll be starting the ball rolling with bringing people on for early access.
I had to mix in some pleasure with all the business. And during my weeklong visit I found plenty of other activities to involve myself in.
Early on I attended the Aced.com Party in one of the Sky Villas at the Palms. Then I hit the Bluff Party at Sapphires Gentlemans Club. I also got to attend the private 40th birthday bash of Bluff Magazine's President, Eric Morris, at the Tryst Nightclub.
I met tons of people I knew from online at these events, and made a lot of new friends as well.
I'm generally a mixed-rotation cash game specialist (i.e. games like HORSE, but generally including Badugi, 2-7 Triple Draw, etc) Typically play 20/40 through 40/80 limit.
But I found some time to also play the Venetian Deep-Stacked events. My first was a $550 buyin that saw me bust after 2.5 hours.
I had seen my stack knocked down considerably early on. I raised with AQ, got called by A4
We both flopped the Ace, but he picked up a flush draw. I denied him proper odds, but he called on the flop. On the turn I hit my Q, so had top two pair. Again I bet large enough that he didn't have the odds, but he called again. And the dreaded spade hit the river.
So early I was in a hole. I managed to rebuild my 3K stack back up to around 15K (which is what we started with) when my bustout hand hit.
Blinds at 100/200 and a guy raises in EP to 800. I find KK and make it 3200 to go. The guy who got me with the A4 s00ted earlier shoves all-in and has me covered. Folds back around to me and I tell him if he's got Aces, congrats, as I push the rest of my chips in.
He flips up AK and tells me he won't get there until the river. And sure enough he spikes the A on the river to send me packing. What hurt even more is that he's from New York and I'm from Boston, so the sports rivalries were already there.
I proceeded to the rail, and started booing the guy, which got a laugh from the table. I wound up playing a $330 buyin Deep-Stack event a few days later and this time lasted 6 hours, eventually busting with a pair against overcards when he flopped trips.
The cash games went well for the most part. I was a winner in 3/5 sessions. The competition in the mixed games was more difficult than I anticipated, and I had been away from playing for awhile since I've been so focused on getting PokerNations going.
I was getting a cab ride from one of the Gentlemans clubs at around 3:00am in the morning, back to the Rio. The cabby is making what I think is casual conversation, and inquires if the girls took good care of me at the club. I let him know I enjoyed myself, and he inquires how much I generally spend when I go to one of those places.
After I tell him, he mentions for that amount of money I could get "full service" and proceeds to drive me over to some shady, isolated street to a place called Club Exclusive. I'm pretty beat from my night of sin, and I'm thinking "wtf?".
He then rolls down my window and some girl comes over and tries to get me to come inside to the club. I decline and tell him to just bring me back to the Rio.
While I'm no Vegas veteran, I do know many of the cab drivers receive kickbacks. If they bring you to a particular establishment and you go in, they get a fee for it. So you can't always trust them to do what's best for you.
In addition, "full service" is illegal in the more populated regions of Nevada, such as Reno and Vegas. As such, you have to travel a good hour or so outside of Vegas to reach any legal brothels.
So if someone tells you that you can get "full service", they're either full of shit (i.e. you'll get a massage thinking you were getting more) or what their offering is illegal.
MORE PICS FROM 2009 WSOP