2007 World Series: Duthie's on Tap and Running Hot
by Simon Young
John Duthie, like so many visionaries before him, had his flash of inspiration while soaking in the bath. As he played with his rubber duck (okay, that bit I may have made up, but it's a nice image nonetheless) he had his eureeka moment that was the European Poker Tour. From that moment has grown the best tournament schedule outside of the US - some would say better - and a relationship with PokerStars, who proudly sponsor the tour.
John Duthie: Scrubbing up well
John, a Brit who become the first to win a million pounds on live TV in 2000, is now also part of Team PokerStars and representing us well. As I toured the enormous Amazon room for the first time time today - probably covering two miles in the process (I wonder if I can claim new shoe leather on expenses?) - I happened upon his table and found him in typical "Duthie Action". There was already four cards on the board and several thousand chips in the middle. The board was 10-2-K-A with three diamonds, and John rolled in 2,600. His opponent quietly re-popped with 6,200. John called. The river was 8 clubs and this time his opponent moved first, betting 3,000. John dwelled for a short while before calling, and rolling over 8-6 diamonds for the flush, hammering the other guy's Q-J for the straight. So our man is off to something of a flyer, sitting on more than 30,000 already.
As he likes his bathtime, you could say he is cleaning up at the table.
Isabelle Mercier: All smiles
Meanwhile Team PokerStars is well represented throughout the room. Isabelle Mercier is a shining light among a sea of serious, baseball-capped men. She's in happy Isabelle mode at the moment - smiling, chatting, greeting me with a beautiful wide grin. Quite frankly I am a sucker for a pretty girl, and she could have her angry/serious/don't-mess-with-me look and I would be just as happy. She's being chummy with her table colleagues, but you know she is just suckering them into giving her a hatful of information. And for Isabelle fruit fans, she has not yet started to tuck into her collection of apples and bananas that, no doubt, are weighing down her designer bag.
Also spotted dotted around the room flying the PokerStars flag: Tom McEvoy, Noah Boeken, Luca Pagano, Vicky Coren, Bill Chen and a certain Australian gentleman called Joe Hachem (currently tucked away in a corner on the feature TV table). You may have heard of him from two years ago when he did rather well at this event.
A host of other names adorn the many hundreds of tables, showing the patience needed in this game to slice through the field. Britain's Ben "Milkybar Kid" Grundy grabbed me as I walked past. "I folded Kings on the second hand," he said. "I had to do that at the Monte Carlo EPT final as well." His re-raise to 2,000 and been re-re-raised to 8,000 - so his decision was quite probably the correct one. That is how the pros go deep, by having the ability to lay down monsters. As my blog colleague and boss Brad Willis noted yesterday, however, there are plenty here willing to go all the way, and out of the door, with A-K or top pair.