2008 World Series: Party on...

By Stephen Bartley and Howard Swains

You had to be there. Really, you had to be there.

If you haven’t learned by now that the only place to be during a major poker tournament is the PokerStars party, then you haven’t been paying attention. And even if that was the case during this year’s World Series; even if you weren’t among the 2,008 players who earned their chance to win $10 million via a satellite on PokerStars; even if you hadn’t seen the invites to the PokerStars party plastered all over this blog; even if you hadn’t seen the billboards at the Palms Hotel; even if you hadn’t seen the PokerStars aeroplane flying along the Las Vegas Strip and over the Rio; even if all that was true, you would have known something special was happening tonight. You would have felt it. There was a disturbance. It was, in short, a party like no other.

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It started with nothing more than a pretty remarkable girl in a hoop suspended 20 feet above the dance floor, not a muscle wrong, no leg flip left unchoreographed. It was clear from the start that this was not your usual Monday night experience. And once the Queen of Burlesque herself Dita von Teese, emerged like a pearl from an oyster, or a giant powder case, there were few jaws not dropped to the floor.

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Von Teese was dressed in something akin to a silver skirt, blue suspenders and feathered tutu. It was a ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ all this was going to be discarded, of course, and sure enough, with hordes of beautiful people packed into the club and hundreds more waiting outside edging closer to the entrance, Dita showed Las Vegas how to celebrate a World Series rest day, courtesy of the biggest and best online poker site in the world.

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Everyone from the main event, that makes 6,884 guests, had been invited, and it seemed most people had accepted the invitation. By 9pm the cocktail hour had most certainly arrived. According to eyewitness reports, the queue to get in stretched through the casino, through the doors into the night time heat, whilst inside the temperature was equally high in anticipation of the feature event.

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Chad Brown and Vanessa Rousso


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Dario Minieri and Luca Pagano


Team PokerStars Pro were out in spades. Joe Hachem gave the introductions, reeling off the chip counts of the remaining team players, getting a big ironic cheer for his own count which happened to be the lowest. Many were drinking soft drinks with a big day ahead of them tomorrow; some preferred slightly more potent beverages, regretfully released from the burdens of a second day in the main event – at least not this year.

Greg Raymer and Chris Moneymaker worked the room before heading to the VIP lounge, so too Chad Brown and Vanessa Rousso, with the likes of Bill Chen, Dario Minieri, Luca Pagano and Isabelle Mercier each partying the night away amid mighty crowds enjoying the festivities.

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Hevad Khan and Steve Paul-Ambrose


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Isabelle Mercier and Bill Chen

And who wouldn’t. In the biggest party town in the biggest party country in the world, the biggest online poker site got the biggest star. And if you change all those ‘biggest’s for ‘best’, you wouldn’t be wrong either.

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