March 31, 2007

Racing Delayed - The Boys Hit Vegas!!!

February '07 - Costa Coffee, Banbury
The team makes a dramatic U-Turn.....Moldy closes high-roller Dave "Moneymaker" Walley on a new sponsorship deal using a unique two-spoon technique. Four weeks later the racing's out the window and we're gambling the whole package in a different championship - BINION's No Limit Hold 'Em - the home of the World Series of Poker in downtown LAS VEGAS? Forget yer lap times around Mallory, this is high stakes poker playing against some of coolest dudes in town.


March 18th 2007
A new team is formed:
  • Dave "Moneymaker" Walley, (rich but scared of wasps)
  • Mark "Professor" Pritchard-Jeffsy, (more analytical than Stephen Hawkin)
  • Tim "Speechmaker" Priest, (ex Bible preacher)
  • Jon "Chip Bleeder" Moldy, (Haemophiliac)
  • Steve "The Commentator" Longy (Trip Compere)
Moneymaker, books the Bellagio - one of the slickest hotels on the strip - A smart move as the boys from Blighty need to be at their peak if they're gonna kick the Vegas cowboys asses in their own back yard....

Day 1 (Wed)
To kick the jet lag the boys head to the Blackjack tables at the Bellagio. Down a dozen JD's and Margarita's to loosen up and admire some of the local construction work whilst successfully losing a wedge at the tables. Reality suddenly sets in....there no such thing as a free Margarita in Vegas!

Day 2 (Thur)
It's an early start and the Speechmaker is keener than keen - so keen in fact he blows nearly 100 bucks on the machines waiting for the rest of Moneymakers troops to arrive.

It's going to be along day so a hearty breakfast was in order at Binion's greasy spoon. Moldy takes the lead and orders a fruit salad with a "side" - the rest of the the team are impressed with his commitment to a high fibre/ low calorie diet, but puzzled why he's still sporting a Frank Carson paunch. Then it all makes sense when the food arrives....Moldy proceeds to push the gigantic fruit bowl away in disgust, pulls in the side of two 12" pancakes, empties half a pint of maple syrup and cream over the top and gobbles the lot.......The Speechmaker does a short presentation, the Professor gathers his books and then we all head off to the action..............it's Show-Time!

Binions tournament a.m - The boys hit the poker tables for this breakfast warm up and start juggling their chips to impress the locals. Unfortunately, with only 5 minutes training from the Presenter the month before the boys are spilling their chips all over the cloth - The local cowboys start rubbing their hands ready to clean out the wallets of these rookie poker starlets.

Most of the team bomb out early but Speechmaker stays remarkably quiet and focussed and makes it to the final table with barely three chips left. Team blighty gather around the final table anticipating a carefully crafted sermon from the Speechmaker to distract his opponents, but he's too jet lagged to let out more than a squeek and his tight play finishes him out of the money. Nevertheless, a good start, an
d the boys are ready to do some serious bluffing.....

Bionions tournament p.m - The team heads nervously into tournament 2. Most go out early but unbelievably the Moneymaker, with barely two blinds of chips left, makes a remarkable comeback. Completely ignoring the Professors "Book" and his advice to play only "two bullets" as a minimum starter hand, maverick Walley goes all-in again and again growing his chip stack at a remarkable rate. Incredibly Moneymaker makes the final table from 120 players and then continues to completely bluff his way through to the final heads-up, albeit down on chips compared to his opponent a Dutch cowboy called Van-der-Velt.

Union jacks mix with Orange tango flags around the final table to watch the showdown. Moneymaker bluffs a couple more hands and squares up. Eventually Dutch cowboy crumples under the pressure, pulls out the white flag and pleads with the Moneymaker for a chopped pot. Moneymakers killer instinct to finish #1 comes into play immediately and he instantly agrees to split the princely $2,500 purse in fear of losing the prestigious winners Fruit-of-the-Loom Binions T-shirt....Nevertheless, an awesome result - Her Majesty's train has started rolling...........

The evening dawns and Moneymaker on a complete high from his victory, decides to treat the boys to a slap-up meal at one of the best joints in town - Bellagio's Picasso Restaurant. The adrenalin is still pumping as Moneymaker loses his head completely and declares, "Gentlemen, fill your boots" BEFORE checking the price list! Within a flash the boots are being well and truly filled and the table is full of caviar, smoked salmon, fois gras and lobster and being washed down with some of Vegas' finest wines. The bill arrives and Moneymaker starts to wish he hadn't chopped the pot after all.......

Day 3 (Fri)
The boys take a brief sabbatical - the gang of four head to the golf course and Longy, voted by the team as being the worst golfer in Vegas, struggles to find a friend and heads off into the desert alone and despondent with nothing but a cactus to talk to. Fortunately, Longy is forgiven later and invited back into the fold.

The team has a full set and head off to the famous Golden Nugget in down town Vegas.... With high expectations, after a few hands of blackjack, the boys soon realise that the Nugget is now more of a bronze colour and the complete lack of customer service from croupiers "take no crap" Brenda and the depressed, bearded Hill Billy force the boys to take off to their home turf again - BINIONS. It's time for some rapid fire, "sit n go" Hold 'em.

Longy soon picks up the winners pot in game one, and to the teams joy, the relentless supply of free Margarita's seems to put a stop to Moldy's chip bleeding as he takes down the winners pot in game two - three wins for Blighty!

The poker marathon goes on into the early hours - Moldy and Longy eventually regroup and go in search of the rest of team eventually finding the Speechmaker in full flow at the tables of the Nugget. A sad lonely figure sporting just a chip and chair, he shrewdly delays his way onto the final table by complimenting each of the local cowboys on their natural good looks. The poker endurance is rounded off with a double JD and black coffee at 8am.

Day 4 (Sat)
The phones ring at the luxury rooms of the Bellagio at 10am - it's the Moneymaker. The team has been sanctioned to the lobby for the BIG weekend Hold 'em tournament at..you guessed it....Binions Casino. Nearly 200 poker dudes gather to enter the $3,500 weekend tournament. The Professor is champing at the bit for this one, clearly over his jet lag having gone to bed AFTER 12am the night before he's in the zone.

The team disperse as they go to battle........within an hour the Moneymaker is out - riding his luck from his first major win, he goes all-in on a full house only to be out drawn. Eventually its
down to just the Professor and Longy to fly the flag on the last two tables -but completely out of character, the Professor gets his decimal point in the wrong place and blows out - but still makes the money in 15th. Meantime, Longy looking more like Mr T is his bracelets and shades, blags his way onto the final table with some superlative poker play. The boys look on in amazement as the local pro's fold and fold again clearly intimidated by the glittering poker god.

It's show down time on the final table..........the crowd gathers and Longy,
keeping his composure purely from a complete lack of sleep drinking JD's on ice until 8am, realises he's going to miss the Cirque du Soleil mega show and goes all-in on A-7 unsuited...unluckily he loses out to just a Q kicker on a dubious call. Nevertheless, a result - nearly $800 in the bag and a seat at the Cirque to round off a night of a lifetime......awesome!!!

Epilogue
What a trip.....even better than a 59s lap of Mallory Park riding a Honda Hornet- the Moneymaker led the boys from blighty into battle and we did well. After a quick pit stop at the airport where the presenter picked up a meagre 500 bucks on the slots, the Professor squeezed in a bit more studying of advanced statistical theory of video poker, and Moldy continued to hone is looks around Phil Hellmuth, the team made a pledge to return in 2009 to bring home the WSOP bracelet to rest in the legendary poker halls of the Stratford Welcome Hotel and Country Club.....