EPT Monte Carlo: Trinity of champions

The mission as I devised it was to peek in on PokerStars Passport holder Dustin Mele. I didn't know what I was getting into. Immediately upon my arrival, I was accosted by two security guards. They spoke in rapid-fire French, using the words, "Non, non, non!" as often as they could.

I grabbed for my all-access badge, the one that I believe would give me the ability to rule Monaco for a day if I really wanted. I flashed it in their face, as politely as I could. "Oui?" I said. Of course, it was more of a question than answer.

"Non, non, non!"

How, I wondered, was it possible that I, a friendly blogger with an all-access badge, could be denied a place next to Mele's table. What was so special about the very spot I chose to stand?

I looked around, pretending to be oblivious to security's demands. It then became clear. I had entered the Trinity of Champions.

On one side of the triangle sat 2005 World Series Champion Joe Hachem, up on a riser and behind a rail. On another sat Chris Moneymaker, 2003 World Series Champion. On the final side sat Boris Becker, the tennis world's uber-champion. I now understood. Security wasn't worried I'd get in the way. They were worried I'd disappear into some black hole in the middle of a sort of Bermuda Triangle of competitiveness.


Joe Hachem -- © Neil Stoddart

I maintained my position, however. Despite the inherent danger, I was determined to see what kind of stuff the PokerStars Passort holder had in his bag of tricks. If you're not familiar, Mele won a Tournament Leader Board competition at PokerStars that gave him the ability to travel the world on PokerStars' dime and enter ten big buy-in events.

Within minutes, I watched as Mele called a cut-off raise on the button. The flop came down ace-high and it went check-check. The turn was a blank and Mele's opponent put out a bet. Again, just a call from Mele. The river, again, a blank. This time, his opponenet checked and Mele counted out a bet. In it went.

Dustin Mele

After a short period of thought, Mele got the call.

"That's all you've got, huh?" his foe said.

On the table was a set of aces that had just taken someone for a short ride to Value Town.

With that, I escaped the Trinity of Champions and hopped off to a place where security personnel are more friendly to my wily ways.


For more on one of those champions, check out this PokerStars Video Blog profile of Joe Hachem.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in European Poker Tour