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Eight Funerals and a Dinner

by Padraig Parkinson |  Published: Nov 22, '09


I’ve probably spent six months of my life in the Bellagio but until the week before last, I’d never considered popping over for the weekend. Then again, I’d never had a friend at a November final table before, nor had I had a friend about to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, so I decided to give it a go!

I went to watch the final table with a Las Vegas legend called John Sheffield, better known to poker players and bartenders as Scof. This was an excellent play because with Scof around, it’s pretty near impossible to be bored. Jeff Shulman, who was the source of my tickets, had previously had a few words to say about Harrah’s in July, so it was no great surprise to find we had the worst seats in the house if you actually wanted to see anything. We took this as a good sign. It all started pretty good with the Barry Shulman WSOP Europe bracelet presentation ceremony, which involved a pretty impressive army band.

What wasn’t impressive (though it was quite funny), was the announcement that Barry’s victory was proof that anybody could win. I can’t believe they said that. The man had beaten one of the toughest fields ever assembled and had won the hard way, consisting of a seventeen-hour final table, five of it heads-up with Negreanu. They’ll never learn. The comedy continued when they said James, if he won, would be the first English winner since Matloubi (who was actually Welsh). Maybe they should consider having the final table in January or February to give the boys a chance to get a bit of practice in.

Sooner rather than later, we discovered a bar with two huge screens, which provided an excellent view of what was happening, which wasn’t very much actually, though with the likes of Mike Lang, Layne Flack, etc. dropping by and Doyle Brunson signing his new book in the corner, it certainly wasn’t boring. Apparently, the UB lot (Phil, Annie and Joe) had a bit of a lock on the internet commentary, though they weren’t able to see the hole cards. It was suggested in the bar that Russ Hamilton might be able to help them out there. I didn’t understand the joke but I laughed anyway.

The Hall of Fame dinner was a bit of a ’Who’s Who’ job. Doyle, TJ, Tom Mc Evoy and Jack Binion made short speeches. Tom Sexton made a long one. That didn’t leave much time for Mike but he looked pleased anyway.

I went back to the final table, where there still wasn’t too much happening though some of the stories were pretty good. My man got unlucky in a real big pot and finished 5th. I kind of lost interest and went back to the Bellagio. At least I could see what was going on there.

Padraig is currently involved with Jesse May in hosting Irish Pub Poker Tours for medium-sized corporate groups. For info you can contact him on Twitter @padraigpoker.

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