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Staff Tournament – training. team-building and lots of fun!

On Monday afternoon the staff made the most of the Casino’s Ramadan opening hours to hold a “just-for-fun” Hold ‘Em tournament. Even with no money at stake there was a buzz of excitement and a certain amount of tension as everyone took their places at the tables. Could the Blackjack dealers beat the croupiers? Could the reception staff take on the Managers? Everyone had a shot at winning bragging rights as the best Texas Hold ‘Em player at Casino Royale.

Just as too many cooks can spoil the broth, having several dealers on each table did make things interesting! The tournament director stepped in and very quickly everything was running smoothly; turns were taken at dealing and players new to the game were helped with the rules by the more experienced staff. While everyone was having fun, cheering great hands and cunning bluffs the day also made for a superb training exercise for those wanting to become Hold ‘Em experts.

As the blind clock ticked its way to the higher levels, 3 tables became 2 and then to the final 9 players – a mix of management, back room staff, dealers and the lovely lady from reception who amazingly had never played before and was getting a great big slice of beginners luck.  It was great to see a total of 4 ladies in the final 9 especially as the male staff out-number the girls about 10-1.

Eventually the beginner’s Luck ran out for the lovely novice, but not before pushing all-in and winning a couple of decent pots to replenish her dwindling stack. With just 5 players left in things started to get a little more serious and sunglasses were donned by some in the hope of looking like a professional poker star. During one crucial hand one of the marketing team went all-in after the flop – 2 diamonds and a possible low straight. Two other players also went all-in and we had a showdown. Mr Marketing had 2 diamonds and the others were on for the straight. On the turn the straight came in but the flush was still possible. As the river was dealt, an Ace of diamonds, a cheer went up around the room as the popular Mr. Marketing raked in the chips.
He eventually went on to win the tournament but without that diamond he would have been out before the final three – it just goes to prove that one lucky card can make or break you.

Inaugural Texas Hold ‘Em Tournament at Casino Royale

The inaugural Texas Hold ‘Em Tournament at Casino Royale  was so successful that all three tables were full and latecomers ended up disappointed. The mix of nationalities and experience made each table an entertaining experience in itself; those who play regularly were happy to explain the rules and strategies before play began so that even novices felt welcomed.

The chatter at the tables was monitored by the multi-lingual dealers who ensured no collusion was taking place and translated where necessary from Russian, Italian, Arabic and English. Whichever language the players spoke, the language of the cards was universal. Many hands went down to the wire with the river card being make or break.

One hand was particularly memorable; nothing much on the flop and a lady with a small stack went all-in. The table thought this too rich except for one guy with enough chips to ride it out – we had a showdown. The lady had a possible straight but the guy was winning with high pairs. The turn helped neither and it came down to the river. As the 10 turned to give the lady her straight the other players cheered and thumped the table in joy. It seems even at a tournament everyone loves an underdog.

In fairness the gentleman  with the large stack went on to have a chance at the big money, but the lady who had  Luck on her shoulder for one hand seemed happy just to have entertained the table. When she did finally lose her stack (just before the final 9) she was amazed to have done so well and confessed to being a complete novice. Just goes to show how far a little luck can take you.

At the end of the night it came down to nerve and stacks. Two players ended up with the choice of going head to head after a long night of play. Equal stacks and a mutual respect saw then sharing the prize for 1st and 2nd rather than risking it all on a turn. Maybe even the best gamblers prefer even money odds…

All-in-all (no pun intended) a great night for Casino Royale’s inaugural tournament. Lots of interest in more games and many players gave great feedback about the night and their wish-lists for future events. The casino will definitely be hosting more nights like this and have plans for a regular schedule.

Maybe one day soon they will be hosting the World Poker Tour with Johnny Lodden and Adrian Mateos going head to head in a nail-biting final rather than graciously splitting the pot…

Mateos v Lodden EPT finale

Mateos v Lodden EPT finale

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