2007 World Series: Wisdom among the dunces

I can't lie. There are some morons in the Amazon Room right now. I won't name names or point fingers, but I saw way too many ace-high flops see bet-raise-re-raise-all-in-call scenarios with hands like A9 vs AT. If the players started with 3000 chips and we were at the 200/400 level, it might make a tad more sense. However, these are 20,000 stacks getting moved into the middle in the beginning of the third level of play.

I was shaking my head at one of these push-monkey hands when I walked up on a dispute at rail-side table. One player, the loser in the hand, felt like his opponent was being awarded too many chips. His opponent remained silent. The dealer looked helpless and seemed to be unable to find a way to resolve the dispute. Before long, the head tournament director, two assistant TDs, the dealer, a dealer who was about to push in, and several players were trying to figure out a solution. That's when a tan man in a visor stood up at the end of the table.

"Push all the money over here," he said. Everyone fell silent as the man started placing chips in front of players, asking the occasional question, and--though he had not seen it play out--re-creating the entire hand. In less than five minutes, he had worked out the solution.

"Are you happy?" he asked the winner of the hand.

"Um, yeah," the winner said, obviously content.

"Are you happy with this? the man asked the loser.

"Yes," said the loser.

The man sat back down and a lone railbird applauded. I stood in awe as the head tournament director thanked the man and let the decision stand.

There is a reason they call Bobby Baldwin "The Owl" and it's more than his sharp features. Baldwin may not be a member of Team PokerStars, but for the day I'm going to nominate him for honorary membership.


About ten rows down, Victory Ramdin was sitting on a nice stack of chips. He was craning his neck in one direction and another. When he saw me, he asked, "Where is Ray Romano?"

"Table 23," I said.

"Does he have chips?" Ramdin asked.

What was this all about? Was it a last longer? Was Ramdin hoping to get broken to the actor's table and then bust him for making husbands worldwide look like the doofusses we really are?

Ramdin pulled an orange visor and a Sharpie out of nowhere.

"Will you get his autograph?"

I couldn't say no fast enough. I do a lot for my friends on Team PokerStars. I've gotten them drinks. I've watched the action so they could chat with people on the rail. Hell, I carried Barry Greenstein's book to a tournament for him yesterday. Autographs, however, are against my personal policies as a member of the media. If I start asking Romano for his autograph, I'm going end up like one of these people who walk around with t-shirts draped across their back.

Still, for a guy like Ramdin who could almost certainly pound me into a quivering pile of bruises, it was sort of endearing to see him struck by Romano's fame.

Or maybe he wanted it for somebody else.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in