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Bellagio Event 10 & Jack McClelland'sPoker Staff

by Roy Winston |  Published: Apr 13, '08


Yesterday was a good day for me. After playing a little Pot Limit Omaha on Full Tilt, I decided to play the $2,500 event after taking a few days off. The fields for these events leading up to the WPT Championship have been considerably smaller than previous Bellagio events which is a topic I will get to later, but there were 231 runners, as they say in Australia. It was a fairly tough field, although a lot of players are in Monte Carlo.

The day began terribly for me on a hand I could have gone broke on. It was my big blind and UTG limped for 50, which set in motion a 7 way limped pot. I had 6 4 in the BB and the flop cam 662. It was a good flop for me to say the least and I was concerned about the flush, so I opened for 275, and got two callers. On the turn, the 7 fell and I again opened, this time 450. Both players called and the river brought a J. The player in the SB seemed very excited but checked and I checked behind him as did the last player. The SB showed JJ for top full house. I was lucky that a 4 didn't show up. The flush coming on the turn saved me, and I avoided his trap on the river.

My style in these events when you are starting with 5,000 in chips is pretty tight and I was able to stay right at average through the day, until the dinner break, which was after 9 hours of play. I never won any big pots, but didn't lose any either, but managed to get to 33,000 at dinner which was again average. On my first hand back from dinner there were two players at my table one with about 12,000 and the other 18,000 in chips and one pushed all in from early position, the other said "all in" as well. I am in the SB and look down at QQ. I call and they table 55 99. The flop came 678, which made it interesting but I dodged any 4,5,9 or 10, and basically doubled up. I chipped up slowly again to 100,000, which with 18 players left was above average. I had played very few hands and looked down at KQ on the button and raised 3BB's. After the small blind folded, the BB, a solid player, Daniel Moravec, who I have played at the same table with quite often lately, looked like he wanted to raise, and asked "what I had in chips", he had me covered by about 25,000. The flop was a thing of beauty, 3910, and he checked it to me and I opened for 14,000. He thought for a bit and then I heard him say "I raise." There was about 60,000 in the pot and he raised 40,000. I very quickly said all in. He insta-called and showed AA. I did put him on aces, but with the ace of hearts. His miracle didn't come and I was up to 200,000 in chips.

The tournament director let us know we were playing down to 9 players or 3am whichever came first. I really tightened up going down the home stretch, I was getting tired and didn't want to make any mistakes. We were 6 handed with 12 players left, I raised on the button with KJ and Daniel called me from the BB, he started the hand with 31,000 in chips. The flop came K104 he checked to me and I bet enough to put him all in. He reluctantly said "Roy, I have to call you and tabled J10. The turn brought another king and he was drawing dead. We were down to 10 players with about 15 minutes left to play and I picked up 1010 in the cutoff and raised 3BB's. John Strzemp, who is best known for his 2nd place WSOP main event finish to Stu Unger (Unger sucked out a double up or John would have won the main event) and is one of the top casino executives in Steve Wynn's organization, pushed all in for an additional 10,000. It was a pretty easy call and he flipped over pocket 5's. My ten's held up and the night ended with nine of us. I have the chip lead with 255,500, JC Tran is on my heels with 200,000, Darrell Dicken's 190,000 put him in third place. Play resumes at 3pm today.

I would like to take a moment to recognize the tournament staff and dealers at the Bellagio. Over the past couple of years I have played tournaments all over the world and have seen many great tournament directors, staff and dealers. None however, exceed the group Jack McClelland has put together at the Bellagio. John Nieznanski, who runs the events when Jack goes home (which isn't too often) would be the Tournament Director at any other casino, is 1st rate, Alan Feiner who is also a senior staff member, and runs the best satellite system of anywhere and Nicole who also helps manage the satellites, Maria Gundersen at night and Craig Lumppi during day shift are also excellent. They are all very well educated in the rules, give fair and consistent rulings, and are customer service oriented. For those of you who have played events at Bellagio, you may have noticed I left out Thang O. Actually I wanted to say a special thanks to Thang. He is extremely hard working, with a great attitude, and always goes out of his way for the players. A story I'd like to share with you from the Five Diamond in December when I was playing the 2,000 event. I was struggling with a short stack and Thang noticed that I looked frustrated and asked "Roy can I get you anything?" I said "how about more chips?" A minute later he gave me a $5 Bellagio chip he said would bring me luck. I went on to win that event. So fast forward to yesterday, when my table broke early in the tournament, and I was below average in chips, Thang moved my things to the next table while I was on break. When I returned, there was a Bellagio $5 chip on top on my iPod. So thanks for the encouragement Thang, I really appreciate it.

The Oracle

For more information on Roy Winston or Joining Full Tilt, you can visit his website: or send him an email:

Roy Winston finished 16th in 2007 Card Player, Player of the Year race. He won the WPT Borgata Poker Open and finished the year with well over $2 million in tournament poker winnings. Roy plays online exclusively at Full Tilt. For more information on Roy Winston, you can visit his website: or send an email to: with your questions or comments. The contents presented herein on this blog are purely the opinions of Roy Winston, and are not intended to reflect or promote the opinions of any other person, group, or entity. If you like what I write than thanks for reading, and if not well, thanks anyway.

Any views or opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the ownership or management of
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