Saturday, March 12, 2011

Ironman tournament

I went to the Aria today, knowing that it was the last tournament in this year's Ironmen of Poker schedule. I had hoped to spend some quality time with the boys. Sadly, in the four hours I lasted, I never had one of them at a table with me (as far as I know; there are a couple I haven't met, so perhaps one was with me and I didn't realize it), which felt like a big ol' cheat. I should have asked for my money back.

Three things of note happened.

1. Ejection.

A couple of minutes before we were to get underway, I heard a loud call for "Security!" I have heard this much more often as a joke than as a real alarm, so I didn't think much of it. But I looked to see what the source was. To my great surprise, it was Todd Brunson, charging out of Ivey's Room. This was no joke; he was obviously pissed off.

I follow him on Twitter, so I knew that Shawn Sheikhan had been causing trouble for the Aria games recently. Sure enough, that's who the problem player was again. I snapped this picture, which unfortunately is basically useless:

The guy in the dark jacket stepped in front of me just as I was documenting Sheikhan and the other guy nose to nose and chest to chest, looking about ready to erupt in fisticuffs. By the time the stupid phone camera reset for another shot, the poker room personnel had separated them, so the moment was lost.

A few minutes later, Sheikhan was escorted out (via a private elevator that I had never noticed before--just a few steps from Ivey's Room) by four large men in black suits.

Here are the relevant portions from Brunson's recent Twitter stream:

It sounds like Sheikhan may have finally gone too far, and managed to get himself permanently excluded from the property. Seriously, WTH is wrong with that guy? He is Bad For Poker. We don't need people that prone to violence.

2. First hand.

First hand of the tournament, I am happy to look down and see A-A. We all started with 8000 chips, and the blinds are 25/50, so we have 160 big blinds. Because people play the first hands so cautiously, I thought I would probably raise, pick up the blinds, and that would be that. Nope. I raised to 150. Guy three to my left reraises to 450. I add another 1000 on top of that, and he immediately announces "All in." Hmmm, let me think. What should I do? OK, I call. He has K-K. I win.

Doubling up on the first hand of the tournament--that was a new one for me. I wish I could make it happen more often.

3. Telescope.

A couple of hours in, I was moved to a new table. We had a visually impaired player there. I didn't know it at first, because I didn't notice anything abnormal in his appearance or conduct. But I raised my first hand at the table, and he asked the dealer for a estimate of my stack. The dealer had just sat down, and others at the table quickly explained to her that the player really couldn't see that far. (I was across the table from him.)

On subsequent hands, I noticed him using a small telescope-like device to see the cards on the board:

He was, however, apparently able to see his own cards, though it looked like it took some effort on his part.

This was another new thing for me. I've played with Hal Lubarsky, who has an assistant tell him the cards and the action, but I've never before played with somebody who used an optical assist device. I'm really curious what his diagnosis is that makes him unable to see cards less than two feet in front of him, but it didn't seem like it would be polite to ask.

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