2008 World Series: Ramdin's genie

Victor Ramdin has a genie, but he looks nothing the lovely Jeannie from your TV set (or, for that matter, a semi-popular slot machine here in town).

“It’s my lucky genie,” he told his table. “I’m very superstitious.”

How lucky? Midway through the first level of the day he saw a raise and an all-in re-raise before he looked down at two black kings in his small blind.

“Call,” he said, his genie hanging just over his shoulder.

The first raiser smelled something funny and mucked his hand, leaving the re-stealing all-in player to sheepishly turn up Js7s. He was drawing dead by the turn.

“Sure, people just hand you their chips,” said a brash player a couple of seats to Ramdin’s left.

Ramdin pointed to his genie. “It’s the massage,” he said.

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Ramdin is more focused than I’ve seen him in recent years. He’s alternately grinding and playing huge pots. What’s more, he’s kept the same massage therapist-- a big, muscular man--near his back at nearly all times. The therapist is not quite Tiger Woods’ caddy, but at times it seems like it.

Even when the genie is away, Ramdin is winning. On a board of 4d5hAh-Qc-Qd, Ramdin checked and watched his opponent throw out 65,000 in chips. Ramdin tanked while the ever-present ESPN cameras swarmed. He finally threw in his call and watched his opponent muck without showing. Forced to show his own hand, Ramdin turned up A2.

He stacked his chips without a word--laser focus that only makes way for some fun table chit-chat between hands. ESPN seems to love him. The producers have made Ramdin their feature table player twice, and had cameras at the ready any time he is in a hand.

Last night, as he sat on the side feature table, he leaned back to shake my hand. In just a few short minutes, without really trying, he cemented my impression of him.

“My son starts school tomorrow,” he said.

Not even August yet, I wondered why. Ramdin explained his son has some exceptional talent in a wide variety of disciplines, including boxing and chess. Ramdin found a summer program for gifted kids, and in went his son. While Ramdin toils in Las Vegas, he’s making sure his family is well taken care of.

That’s Ramdin. He’s a strategist, he’s a provider, he’s a fighter.

“Why don’t you have a woman masseuse?” someone wondered aloud.

Ramdin said the females are fine, but they sometimes don’t have the strength to get to the deep tissue.

“You’re a fruitcake,” said the mouthy player from before.

Ramdin’s lips drew into a line, but he didn’t say a word. Instead, his genie spoke for him.

“Have you seen his wife?”

Later, Ramdin remembered the guy in not-too-fond terms.

“The guy called me a fruit,” he said.

From nowhere appeared the genie. “That guy was uneducated,” he said.

“Wish he’d said it to be outside,” Ramdin mused. Then he looked to his therapist-caddy-genie and said, “We’re going to have a session at the dinner break.”

***

Ramdin looks to go into that break with more than 600,000 in chips.

Here’s a video blog recorded earlier today when Ramdin was having a rougher time of it.


Watch WSOP 08: Victor Ramdin Day 4 Catch Up on PokerStars.tv

Editor's note: After publishing this article, we were made aware Ramdin actually has two genies in the field. Rob Marriott is the one featured in the article. Morgan Hildreth is the other. Both seem to be good luck for Ramdin and are a credit to the growing number of male therapists in the room.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in World Series of Poker