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Copyright 2005 Poker News
October 22, 2005
Earl's Excellent Poker Adventure - Day Five
Author: Earl Burton
One thing that you will find is that, in Las Vegas, time has no
meaning. Whereas the normal world may correspond to a clock, in
this gambling oasis in the desert there is nothing that can't
be done at anytime. If you want to party, it goes non-stop. Eat
something? There are twenty four hour buffets and breakfast places
to satisfy you. If your tastes run to the, let's say, more exotic,
that can be had too. It makes for the sense of time that the rest
of the world runs under obsolete.
With that said, 420 players stepped to the felt on the first
day of the Doyle Brunson North American Poker Championship at
the Bellagio and, after the first day of play, nearly half the
field had been eliminated. Legendary big stakes player Chau Giang
was the leader on Day One, but his time perception seemed to be
off. According to rumor, after finishing the play for the first
day of the tournament, Chau headed off to Bobby's Room in the
Main Poker Room for more action. Night became day and, supposedly,
Giang NEVER LEFT! He played poker around the clock and came back
in to defend his chip stack. The cash game in the high roller
room of the Bellagio must have been quite lucrative and deservedly
so, because by the mid-point of Day Two, Chau's lead had been
With around 130 players or so, it was time for the next step
on the poker trail for myself. I walked down from the Bellagio
to the Mirage, a short little stroll at this time of year (and
probably the only time of the year!). The Mirage runs a daily
rebuy tournament that generates great action and many notable
players will find their way to the poker
room there. On this particular Wednesday, the buy-in was $100,
with unlimited rebuys and an optional add on at the end of the
Upon making my way to the table, I was interested in seeing that
California cash game and tournament player Mickey "Mouse"
Mills was at my table. I asked what brought him to the game and
he replied that, with the daily tournament
action on hiatus at the Bellagio, it was the best game in town.
It seemed there were some other players (none that I recognized)
that had at least competed in some of the action at the Festa
al Lago and even a couple who were already out of the main event.
This was to be a serious test for sure!
My plan was to stay pretty much out of the way for the first
hour, as rebuy tournaments are notorious for loose play as the
players attempt to accumulate chips. I was able to do this fairly
well, although it seemed that my opponents were, at the minimum,
getting some fairly decent hands to start with. There were the
weak Aces that were pushed with, which generally were crushed
by a better Ace or large pocket pairs. As a rebuy tournament will
go, these players simply chucked another $100 into the pool and
were off again.
I was able to hold my own for the first hour and made it to the
add-on, which I accepted to keep pace with those at the table.
While I wasn't the short stack, I wasn't exactly striking fear
in a couple of my opponents who were able to be the recipients
of one or two extra stacks of chips from the action of the first
hour. Soon after the break, though, I was to meet my Waterloo.
It started innocently enough, with pocket Queens, when a shorter
stack than I pushed the rest of his in. I felt it was worth it
to take the shot, as at the worst I expected a coin flip. I got
exactly that when my opponent turned a A-K of diamonds. My momentary
elation of having the advantage quickly disappeared when the Ace
came on the flop. This shrunk me down and prepared me for the
In middle position, I made perhaps the only true mistake during
this trip. With pocket threes, I chose to play them aggressively
and was called by the small blind, a gentleman who had recently
moved to the table with a good stack of chips. A hearts full flop
came with K-10-8. The gentleman on the stack called "all
in" and I made a fateful mistake for not giving him credit
for the face card in the blind. He turned up his King and my tournament
night was done.
My mistake was in overplaying the baby pair from my position.
I also made the additional mistake in not giving my opponent credit
for at least a paint card and compounding it with a silly call.
I would have been in condition critical mode had I not called,
but I would still have been playing. It was a humbling lesson
Nevertheless, it was a joy to play in the Mirage poker room.
The decor and feel are very comfortable and, with forty or so
tables in action, you can definitely find a game and price range
for your wallet. The play at the tournament, if indicative of
the cash games, would be very challenging and worth the time spent
in the room.
The good side of leaving the tournament is I was able to make
it back to the WPT event and catch the end of the day. At the
end of Day Two, we had played down to 39 players with some big
names dominating the leader board. Day Three would be played down
to the six men (or woman, as Kathy Liebert was still in contention)
that would make up the final table.
Gus Hansen continued his excellent play from a month ago at the
first European Poker Tour event in Barcelona and was in contention,
but eventually left before we reached two tables. Kathy Liebert
was playing excellent poker and showing some fighting spirit as
she stuck around for quite some time before she left for the night
in thirteenth place. There was a Feduniak sighting at this year's
tournament, but this time it was Bob Feduniak instead of his genial
wife Maureen. She patiently sweated him as he played for most
of the day on a short stack. When I asked her what was worse,
playing to a final table or sweating her husband, with a laugh
and a note of glee she said she would much rather be playing than
watching! The larger stacks and time eventually caught up with
Bob, as he was eliminated on a tremendously bad beat when he got
his money in with the best of it (Q-7), only to watch Danny Shiff
take him out with a 9-4 when the flop and the river delivered
fours. Bob was out in twelfth place.
There still were some big names on the tables, though. Two World
Series of Poker Main Event champions, Dan Harrington and Chris
"Jesus" Ferguson, were battling alongside Barry Greenstein,
WPT Mirage Poker Showdown champion Gavin Smith, WSOP bracelet
holder Jan Sorensen from Denmark, and Ming Ly, who was runner
up to Doyle Brunson when Doyle captured his tenth World Series
title. It was Ming, in fact, who ended the night for Ferguson
and gave us our final ten.
The final table is shaping up to be one of the most competitive
in recent memory. Ly, Greenstein, Smith and Sorensen are all doing
well, but Dan Harrington has been playing big stack poker with
devastating effects on his opponents. If a few of these gentlemen
can make the final six, and Abraham Gray, Ernie Scherer and Tony
Grand work their own impressive stacks, there could be some excellent
poker in store from the World Poker Tour when, in the next installment
of Earl's Excellent Poker Adventure, the Final Table takes place!
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