• Where is the ‘Big Game?’

    Date: 2004.06.01 | Category: Hand Of The Week | By: Phil Hellmuth   

    The following games exist just as I described them below–in the Bay Area…

    I was dealt 2-2-2-9d-6d, and the wild card turned up was a 2! I now had one of the best-possible hands that could be dealt! I could play the 6d, 9d, and then make my three wild cards complete my ten-high straight flush. The chips literally began to fly into the pot, raising and re-raising as we drew cards and turned up a “fitter” (common card). These amateurs are as bad at poker as they are rich, I thought. As the pot grew in size, I had to pinch myself for two reasons: first, this hand, but second, because of the opulence of this house. I had to admire this guy; he had an exercise room for him and his wife bigger than any I had ever seen in any hotel (I’m not kidding). Four brand-new gleaming stair masters, four beautiful treadmills, weight machines, steam room, hot tub, etc…

    For his only child, who was now all of two-years old, he had just built a brand new amusement park quality slide in the back yard that is two stories high. His sub-zero refrigerators were filled with ten different kinds of beer, the wine was at least $100 a bottle, the food was catered and vast in both selection and quantity (including Sushi!), and he had expensive cigars available for everyone–gratis. He must have spent at least $1,000 to host this poker game. Apparently, he was worth north of $400 million, and had planes and a yacht as well.

    With the last card now being turned up, and now nearly 85% of the chips in the whole game pushed into the middle, I smiled my victory smile. But then they took the 2 away and said, “This is the final wild-card, and turned up a K.” What! (Settle down Phil, it’s your first time in the game, don’t show your ass!) I smiled as I folded my hand, lost the pot, and re-bought. The host asked, “How much do you want Phil'” “Give me $60 worth,” I said, whereupon, he pushed me a small mountain of chips. “Boy that was a nice pot” said one of the participants in the game-a venture capitalist worth more than ten million dollars. “I sure would have liked to win it” said another former CEO of a high tech company. “I bet there was $330 in that one,” said another wealthy player in the game.

    As I left the game, I noticed two Mercedes 600’s in the lot, a Lamborghini, and, a rather ordinary in comparison, Lexus 430 as well. The players had all been wearing expensive Italian sweaters, silk shirts, and Ralph Lauren dress downs. As I drove 10 minutes north to Lucky Chances (LC) casino for a poker game, I noticed a lot of Toyotas, Chevrolets, and other non-descript cars in the LC parking lot. I walked over to the main game, a $5,000 buy-in, 10-10-20 blind game filled with a bunch of shabbily dressed individuals in t-shirts and sweat suits. There had to be at least $50,000 on the table, and I saw two $30,000 pots in the four hours I was there.

    What the heck is going on here” The super-rich are playing for nothing, whilst the not so rich gamble for everything! To some people poker is a social game, and to others it is a way to make a living. Some players like to keep the percent of their net worth on the table at well below .5%; and others like to have 50% of their net worth on the table. Bill Gates allegedly likes to play small stakes poker, while Bill Smith liked to play as high as he could afford, and higher!

    It is all good…I just wish that I could get the guys in the private game up north to play for everything! If that were the case, I would soon be worth tens of millions; and it wouldn’t be long before I wanted to play only “social poker” as well! I hope that everyone enjoyed this weeks Hand of the Week”. Good luck playing your hands this week.