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Rock stars on the roof

by Phil Hellmuth |  Published: Oct 07, '08

Posted: October 07, 2008 12:09 PM

"Turn the plane around!" Rock stars on the roof!

One big shout out: Congrats to John Juanda for winning the main event of the WSOPE in London, it was well deserved.

Wow, $14,000 for a plane ticket-from San Francisco to London to Aruba to San Francisco--and we still get grief on our flight! We were having a pretty good day on Sunday in Aruba as Layne Flack, my wife, and I headed to the airport. Once there we went into the business class lounge and began to watch the Phillies/Brewers playoff game along with members of the band "Pearl," Michael Binger, World class tournament director Matt Savage and his wife Mary Ann. Layne and I began a Chinese game for a $100 a point, with the promise that Binger could join our game once we were on the plane. While we were in the lounge it became clear that no one was sitting together, so we scrambled our seat assignments along with the other first class passengers, and suddenly the fourth row was Binger (4a), Layne, (4b), me (4c), and Kathy (4d). As we began to leave the gate the host in our section became confused with the massive seat changes-matching names to seats--and said to Layne and I, "That's why I asked that you wait until later and tell me when you changed seats." He had a bit of an attitude so I said, "What, you didn't want me to sit next to my wife?" He then became emotional as he said, "I don't say things for no reason!" Layne said, "Oh really?" Then he said, "Do you want me to turn the plane around?" I immediately said, "Yes." Then he said, "OK," and he walked up towards the front of the plane with purposeful strides, and picked up the air phone. Now my wife and a few others in our section said, "No, no!" But I kept silent, while thinking, "What is this guy thinking? Is he insane? Now he is going to direct the plane back to the gate, and say exactly what to his supervisor? No way can he do that." Of course, we took off as scheduled without the host saying another word. Layne kept saying, "When are we heading back to the gate?" (But at a low volume, so that the host couldn't hear us. Layne wanted to stir it up-he owed me from my needling him and Chris Bell on the golf course--but this wasn't the time. Still, Layne had Binger, Savage, and I laughing!) Seriously, I thought about reporting the host for threatening us like that, but I ultimately decided that he may have been stressed out for other reasons that I didn't understand. I will say that this may not be the best line of work for the guy.

My week in Aruba really was amazing! Sadly, I arrived a little bit too late to play in the main event due to the fact that I made Day Two at the WSOPE main event. However, with my wife in Aruba, and with us staying in the penthouse suite, it may have been the best thing for me. We slept in everyday, we threw an epic party, we attended parties, snorkeled, swam in the ocean, and I emceed "Ante up for Africa." Speaking of AUFA, Don Cheadle came all the way to Aruba to host the event! I'm proud of Don for having so much heart, and so much belief in doing the right thing for Darfur. Don is a great guy!

Don was my partner when we played in a three man scramble, with UB and AP CEO Paul Leggett rounding out our group. Leggett has come in and cleaned up both the sites. He has met with players, investigators, and media personally in order to restore confidence in the brands. UB and AP needed a strong CEO with perfect ethics like Paul, and I'm proud to call him my boss (I represent UB). In any case, Don, Paul and I were out flanked on the golf course by Layne, Jon Green, and golf hustler Chris Bell (a 26 handicapper who is "Short" of the tee-yeah right!). On the eighth hole Don and I had to leave to make it back to the hotel for AUFA, so we declared it our last hole. After Bell hit a 275 yard drive into the wind, and Flack hit a 260 yard second shot for their team to the right of the green, we were in major trouble. But Paul hit a great shot from 140 yards (in huge wind) to 14 feet, and they knocked their chip to about 3 ½ feet. Paul and I missed the putt, but Don knocked it in as last man putting to save our team $4,500! Studly shot Mr. Cheadle! Thank goodness, as I lost $3,000 in three swings betting Layne I could make a one handed putt-at a $1,000 a pop--and I was down another $2,000 already. I had a great time hanging out with Don, especially later on at the AUFA party. I'll say it again, Don is a class guy.

On Friday I played golf with Jon Green as a partner, and we shot lights out! I made putts from 15 feet off the green (left hand low), 20 feet (one handed), 14 feet, 12 feet, and we didn't three putt a green! I won back $4,000, and Jon Green won $3,000 against a four-some (I don't want to mention their names without permission). When Jon and I walked into the penthouse suite after the round, there were people everywhere setting up for my party. But the coolest thing about walking in then was that "Pearl" (featuring Scott Ian, and Pearl Aday) was testing the speaker system on the balcony of my penthouse, and the bar was open for me. I grabbed three bottles of Dom (we had over 25 at the party), and danced while I had a "Private concert." "Pearl" was killing it! They were belting out songs, and Layne and Debo called me to come up and listen! Layne showed up for "Sweet Child of Mine" and I handed him a bottle of Dom as my wife and I headed out for dinner. 90 minutes later, the party was on! We had Dom (and 50 other bottles of alcohol), a DJ, bartenders, the Red Sox game on in a mellow room, the hot tub cranked up (Layne, Chip Jett, and about four beautiful girls were in there putting on a side show), and the highlight was "Pearl" playing live. Wow, what a party! That makes two unforgettable PH parties in two years. UB must have spent $80,000 on the party, and it seemed like the whole island could hear the music!
"Pearl" also played the closing party on Saturday night, with a stage right over the top of the pool, and many of us in the pool dancing like madmen. Matt Brady won $1 million for first place, and Debo and Binger both told me that they were impressed with the way he played. Brady jumped in the pool afterwards as is the tradition here in Aruba. FYI - Johan Storaker finished second for $500,000.

Now I'll take a little time off, and head to Vegas to play the Bellagio main event on October 20. Then we have opening night for the "Real Deal" at the Venetian on the 21st, and I'll be in Vegas doing the "Real Deal" (Oct 21 and 26, Nov 2 and 4) shooting three "Poker after Darks," and playing the main event at the Bellagio. Since "Best Damn Poker Show II" starts on October 27, I am also planning on going to LA that day to do "Best Damn Sports Show."

Learn more about Phil by going to his website, and visit his Web store at

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