August 3, 2006

Bill Chen wins challenge match

I got a call from Bill about 10 minutes to noon. Obviously having second thoughts, he claimed he was hungry and wanted something to eat before our scheduled heads-up Hold 'Em match. I offered to meet him at the Rio buffet, where we had a trash-talking contest before he finally got up the nerve to proceed with the match. We went up to his room, ostensibly to get his plastic chip set, but really so he could try to intimidate me by showing the the two bracelets he had won this year. "If I wear a bracelet will it intimidate you?" Bill asked. "If you wear a bracelet you will look like a big teddy bear wearing a bracelet," I said, "Yeah, people always tell me that," he said, and stuffed the diamond-encrusted bling back into the safe.

We held the match in my Palazzo suite, a sprawling testament to my bad luck in the casino here complete with private parking, butler service, wet bar, satellite radio, two suites of bathrooms plus a powder room, and two terraces overlooking the pool, one with its own hot tub. We spread a bath towel over one end of the 16-foot dining-room table. I supplied the deck of cards from the gift basket I had won when I had busted first in the WPT Invitational at Commerce Casino. "Which seat will you be least comfortable in," he asked me." "You choose," I said. He picked the seat with the back to the wall and we began.

Matt Maroon had offered to deal, forgetting that he usually sleeps till four, so I left a message for him to call when he woke up and we dealt for ourselves. I won a few small pots right away but then Bill started catching hands that dominated me at every turn. After an hour I was down to the felt and lost an uneventful all-in hand. I handed over the $100 I had wagered against his $200 and he immediately called all his friends to brag about his triumph.

He offered me a chance to get it back by playing even money for a game of my choosing. I picked Omaha hi/lo and we played for about 90 minutes when Matt Maroon finally showed up. We decided it was really boring and cashed out with me being ahead $15.

I asked the champ how bad I played. "I probably wouldn't make the same bet with you again," said Bill. Vindication!


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