A Royal Aussie Millions Story

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February 17 2010

Written to Feature Articles by Royal Sampler

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"A Royal Aussie Millions Story"
February 17, 2010

Devoid of live poker in his country of residence in Lao, Aussie Tim Napper shares his experiences from the felt of the 2010 Aussie Millions!

I'm heads up in the Shootout event at the Aussie Millions - winner moves through to the final table and some guaranteed cash for their trouble. Loser walks. I’m facing a river all-in on a board of Q-J-9-6-7 holding Q-T. The tattooed young lady opposite of me sits back calmly, seemingly content with her huge bet.

I had flopped my first ever Royal Flush a little earlier in this same tournament. Yes, it was on the ‘PokerPro’ tables, which is almost the Internet but I’ll take it as my first Royal Flush none the less. I also experienced the rarest of rare pleasures when the other person in the pot pushed all-in. Hung over as I was, it’s a damn good feeling facing an all-in bet while holding a Royal Flush.

But the hangover had made the tournament a struggle. The night before I was drinking at Crown’s Nobu with Kelly Kim (WSOP ‘November 9’, 2008) and Peter ‘Ro-Boat’ Rho (2nd place Aussie Millions 2009). Our expensive drinks comp’ed by a patron of the gambling arts called Curley and his extravagantly bearded confederate called Punter. At one point I found myself drinking 30-dollar glasses of scotch while engaged in an intense conversation with Peter Rho on how the hell he didn’t go broke the year before at the final table of the Aussie Millions when it was three handed and he had a set of kings on a A-K-J-7-2 board with Stewart Scott holding the improbable Q-T. How can you NOT go broke there? But Peter, in a moment of genius, had flat-called a bet on the river rather than going all-in. He was explaining to me the reasoning behind the flat-call, but the Scotch I was quaffing and the Sake I drank earlier were starting to interact and I couldn’t follow what he was saying.

Toward the end of the conversation I noticed that online poker phenom Tom ‘durrrr’ Dwan and some of his mates were sitting at a table nearby. I begin to insist with Kelly and his boys that we have a poker crew smackdown with durrrr and company. Punter nodded vigorously in agreement, announcing that he wanted to ‘throw some hands’. In a drunken haze I could see nothing better than yelling “Bluff this, genius” as I front-kicked Mr Dwan in the sternum; his brittle, sun-starved, cadaver-like body snapping in half with a satisfying crunch. But Kelly declined. Fortunately, he and his boys were good guys, and not given to bouts of drunken foolishness.

Let me digress further. Antonio ‘The Magician’ Esfandiari likes to tell everyone how he hates bad beat stories. If someone comes up to him with a story – the Magician likes to recount – he just tells them ‘he doesn’t want to hear it’ and walks away. Antonio doesn’t seem to have a problem, apparently, with verbally bad-beating the rest of us repeatedly with inane and repetitive dialogue every time a camera is pointed in his general direction. He says three things and three things only when he gets his delicately plucked eyebrows and designer spectacles on the TV screen: 1) “weeeeeee”; 2) “only in America!”, and 3) “Have you played ‘Lodden Thinks?’”.

I’ve heard these phrases and watched him make others at the table play Jonny-fucking-Lodden Thinks about 300 times now and I just can’t take it anymore. Argh. Antonio - I want to watch High Stakes Poker, not listen to you speculate on how many push-ups you think Phil Laak thinks that Phil Hellmuth can do (I’ll take the under on 4, by the way). Bad beat stories are infinitely more interesting – and here’s a quote from Mel Brooks that helps explain why – “Tragedy is when I cut my finger; comedy is when you walk into an open sewer and die.” You’ve heard it all before? I don’t give a shit. My bad beat stories are the most important in the world.

So my head was pounding. I had top pair, and it was heads-up, but I still didn’t feel good about my hand; not good at all.  My opponent glances over at me, casual, unworried. But rather than think it though and make a solid fold, I open my parched mouth and croak “call”. Peter Rho can fold a set in that spot; I can’t even fold top pair.

“Just a straight,” she said turning over 8-5 suited for a spiked gutshot on the river.

I slam the table, stand, grudgingly shake hands, and walk away.


Now if I can just find Antonio's address so I can send him my bad beat story.

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