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.

ept-hachem2.jpg

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.

Oui!


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

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in European Poker Tour