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Christoph Haller

Created on: 8. October 2007
Last update on: 19. August 2013
Entry from 8. October 2007    

Letter from Aruba

Aruba. A comfortable 30 degrees (85°F) in the shade. My flight is in two hours. Time to take stock of my Caribbean adventure. It was, at any rate, a completely successful and enjoyable tournament. My 40th place at the $ 5500 Aruba Classic brought me in some money, but I would have much preferred first place with 800k. Anyways, it was amusing and the cash games and everything else were all around fun and familiar in a Caribbean kind of way.

Phil Hellmuth is traditionally something like the host for this Ultimate event and one of his duties is also the official opening. That day, it was really hot and the ceremony took place outside in front of the hotel. To start his speech with a little joke, Hellmuth announced he wouldn’t talk too long and offered a $ 500 prize to the first four people that couldn’t take the heat anymore and would jump in the swimming pool immediately, fully clothed. – Hardly had he said that and already five thankful people were coolly and lucratively wet. But Phil Hellmuth didn’t let himself be stumped and since the pool clearly didn’t have video surveillance or slow motion playback (so the exact timing could not be determined) he just paid off all five wet players.

Speaking of small side bets, Russ Hamlton impressively demonstrated how important it is when you can read your “opponent” well. About that, I have to say in advance that Aruba is a wonderful island with wonderful people to some extent, but to my knowledge it leaves empty handed every year when the Nobel Prizes are given out: and by my guess it’s going to stay that way too. – Russ Hamilton had been here often and was ready to take the following risk. He laid $ 100 and $ 500 in front of himself and called the floorwoman: “If you can tell me the name of the current American president, you get the hundred dollars. If you also know the name of the vice president then you get the five hundred dollar vice president bonus." She thought about it briefly and then, with an air of confidence, answered “Bill Clinton” – Pokerface Hamilton had to fight back a grin. But always a gentleman, he took $ 50 out of his shirt pocket: “Bill Clinton is a good answer and worth fifty dollars.”

That was, by the way, the lineup every day on the high Omaha table. In addition to Russ Hamilton, Freddy Deep, Robert Williamson III, other changing heroes and me right in the middle of it all and that, by all means, successfully. There was always enough to laugh about. Such as Freddy Deep, who really only seems to have two things on his mind and can only do one of them. He definitely did not sleep much during the week but was always cheerful. One time he stood up and all the money on the table vanished. After awhile Freddy came back again and said something about a refreshing nap in the exclusive washroom of the casino. With that he was fit for the next twenty hours. Unbelievable this guy! I sat at the same table with Mike Matusow for many hours on the first day of the tournament. No-complains Mike “The Mouth” Matusow definitely knew how to behave himself, he was almost a little too friendly and that was also tiring. As soon as someone was eliminated from the table there were words of comfort and an analysis. Something like: “Maybe that wasn’t necessary to take the pot with this hand because…” In addition to technical gaming advice, there was also the assurance that it would go better next time. Of course, only if they adhered to the Matusowian words of advice.

No one comforted me when I was eliminated on the third day as the 40th of 554 participants. There wasn’t even a bad beat or a bad pot. The blinds and the bad cards just beat me. By the way, the host, Phil Hellmut, was out right on the first day and afterwards he had to – polite as he is – give a short speech again, down by the pool during a luxurious wine tasting. All that during 35 degrees (95°F) in the shade and so not the ideal weather to take part in the tasting. – But even a Phil Hellmuth makes a mistake sometimes and many mistakes later he came back to the gaming hall at an uneasy pace. Took the microphone away from the floorman and delivered – you guessed it – a speech. Not planned, not prepared and not understandable. You could only halfway understand the string of words: “it was nice at the pool, but here it’s nicer." Among other reasons, because Hellmuth consequently repeated those words five times and with some persistence the tournament management took the microphone away from him.

By the way, too bad that Robert Williamson III didn’t participate in the tasting. His shyness towards alcoholic beverages is not particularly high at any time of day. He just has the interesting habit of improving all his drinks a bit. For this purpose he always carries a large bottle of Tabasco is his jacket. I would gladly like to have known what would have happened if Williamson had “pimped” a glass of expensive French red wine. The Sommeliers probably would have fallen into the pool in shock and then Phil Helmuth would have had to award them all $ 500 prizes again. – All in all, a successful trip. Now I’m looking forward to having a bath and will get in touch again soon.




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