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…