I Made It To A WPT Final Table

Unfortunately, only as a member of the audience but I had a hell of a time all the same. Zengy and I decided to catch the WPT Ladies Invitational Wed night down at the Bicycle Casino. Z went down early and picked up tickets for him and I and I raced down to the Bike after work, making it there, literally, just as the group was being let in. p1010018

As part of the warm-up we had to test out acting ability going through a range of audience reactions from disappointment to complete pandemonium. Of course, being a California native, my acting ability shined through and I was awarded handsomely with a WPT T-Shirt for being the outstanding actor in my section. I’m pretty sure Robert DeNiro started off similarly so I’ve got some big shoes to fill.

Tonight’s match up was Sharon Goldman, the lovely Cindy Violette, Isabelle (?), newcomer Lavina (this was her first tournament ever – she had won an entry in a Bike tourney the day before), the stunningly beautiful Clonie Gowen, and Wendeen Eolis. Much to our disappointment, Clonie and Cindy were the first two out so we actually had to watch the poker match. We were able to entertain ourselves by doing our own Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patton play-by-play. Chris “Jesus” Ferguson made a guest appearance and former WPT final table player Paul “Quack Quack” Magriel was seated in the audience. I actually had expected to see more pros in the audience crowd but it seemed to be a mostly amateur crowd though Cindy did come sit down in the row in front of us after she busted out so life didn’t suck too bad.

Another disappointment early on was some knucklehead security dude who wouldn’t let me take pictures of Mike and Vince because he was too fixated on the rule of no pictures in the casino without realizing that WE’RE FILMING A TELEVISION PROGRAM!!!!! Once Mr. Killjoy left we were able to take some snapshots but the tourney was over by then and we missed getting Mike and Vince in their booth.

I won’t spoil it by naming the winner but it was a pretty interesting event to watch. Zengy split around 7pm to go play in a tournament and was back at 7:05 having busted out with pocket sixes. In the meantime, one of the floor people at the Bike sat next to me and we started chatting. Turns out, she might be able to hook us up with hosting our tournaments so I couldn’t have been happier.

After the tourney Z and I put our names up for some $100 NL. I tripled up within about ½ hour and ended up giving about $20 of it back so I was up $180 for the night. Lucky for me Zengy has a good eye and caught Cindy Violette and Wendeen Eolis in the lobby and we got some pictures with them. Clonie was playing at the NL tables too and Zengy slid in and asked to snap a few shots with her which she was overly gracious about accommodating.

So let’s take a final tally on the evening: 1. Got a WPT poker chip which I can use as a card capper. 2. Won a WPT T-shirt 3. Got a Bicycle Casino hat (they were giveaways) 4. Got to watch a heck of a tournament 5. Won $180 6. Got my picture taken with two of my favorite female poker players, Clonie and Cindy. Officially, the evening did not suck!

Bill Rini
Bill Rini is currently the Head of Online Poker for WSOP. He has been working in the online poker industry since 2004 and has held management roles at Full Tilt Poker and PartyPoker.