Crocky's Corner: Back to the Future

Posted at 13:53 2008-10-09

Here we go again, another tournament on our doorstep, The 2008 PokerNews Cup Let’s jump into our time machine and go back 20 years.

Here we are at the Adelaide Casino, “The Home of Poker” with many budding poker players trying to win the prize money and a brand new car. This was my first time ever playing a poker tournament, and all of us were very excited. Poker room manager John Kocbek, his assistant Mike (not another bad beat) Comer, and poker host Val Saunders were overseeing 200 poker players. The entry costs were between $200 and $300 and there was no Main Event. The games played were Draw Poker, 5 Card Stud, Manila, and 7 Card Stud.

Now are you ready for a laugh? We all got $2,000 in chips, blinds and antes were $5 and the limits never increased! Tables were never broken so it was like a one table shootout. After 3 hours of play the tournament director pulled out a sealed envelope with a number between 1-60. This was the amount of time left to play, but the players were not informed! The top 3 chip counts at each table progressed to Heat 2. The tournament continued with the same format until a winner was declared.

These were the first poker tournaments in Australia and we didn’t care or know how tournaments should be run. Well 20 years later we are still learning and adjusting rules and regulations to try to make tournaments as fair as possible.
One of the Adelaide rules was that if you weren’t back in your seat after a ten minute break you would be disqualified. Joe Cabret was in the semi final stage and was 15 seconds late from the break. The fact he was disqualified was a bad enough ruling, but what followed was hilarious. His 4,250 in chips were placed in the middle of the pot and whoever won the hand also collected Joe’s chips! How fair this was you can argue amongst yourselves, but they were the rules, and had to be enforced as they were submitted to the government.

As years went by the tournaments were eventually run with more common sense. Adelaide was a beautiful casino and the poker room was very classy back then. It’s a shame that the bean counters decided to sell management the concept of filling the casino with slot machines as they never got sick, they didn’t take holidays and were much more profitable than running a poker room. Unfortunately the machines took away the natural ambience of the casino and customers stopped coming! Adelaide Casino went from one of the busiest casinos in Australia to a ghost town.

I loved Adelaide poker tournaments as we all knew each other, and it was a warm and friendly atmosphere.

Funny moments in Adelaide
1) I’ll never forget the time they hired Amarillo Slim to promote their tournament, only to have him stopped at the door by security, who refused him entry as he had a cowboy hat and jeans on. Right behind the security guard was a huge poster of Slim, but still the security guard stood his ground. I think he’s now working guarding an old age home in Hindley St.
2) Mike Comer copped a horror beat from Milo Nadilin. Mike took it like a gentleman “You have to be the worst player I have seen and you got no hope of winning. If you win this tournament I will kiss your BUM.” Few days later at a presentation lunch Milo dropped his 56 inch pants and Mike fulfilled his promise so all of us could see. Thank God we had finished our lunch.
3) A now famous Lithuanian poker player decided to be part time bookmaker on the $1 horse racing machine in the casino foyer during our 20 minute toilet breaks. The crowd was five deep with bets being called out. Security and their cameras couldn’t work out what was going on as only one person was playing the machine. When high fives and money changed hands security came running and so did we.

The Canberra Casino also ran several tournaments over the years, and that was another enjoyable and hospitable environment to play poker. These days both these establishments have taken a back seat to the Crown Casino, which as we all know has one of the best poker rooms in the world.
On October 12th we have the much anticipated 2nd installment of the PokerNews Cup, where we all had a great time last year. One of the special events run in 2007 was the $10,000 Bad Boys Invitational, if you want to see a funny video click on the link below.

After watching the video it looks like most of us need to join Jenny Craig, and if Lee Nelson gives up his poker career, I am sure pimping is right up his alley. I guess in all sports we have the cream of the crop, I think here we have the crop eating too much cream. Please Emad are we a little bored and as for Elvis Croc, pleaseeeeeeeeee.

In 2008 there will be two special high stakes events. A $10,000 HORSE event in which WSOP champion Joe Hachem and yours truly will be playing. The other event will be a Holdem Masters event with a $5,200 entry, and consist of playing five levels Limit Holdem followed by four levels Pot Limit Holdem and concluding with No Limit Holdem.

In the past I knew everyone I played against, but these days I am lucky to know 25% of the poker players I meet. The poker wave has been riding high, so let’s all jump on and see who gets wiped out in this year’s PokerNews Cup Main Event!

Surf's up, so jump on and catch the wave!
2008 Poker News Cup Schedule

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