Wow, what an incredible weekend! I feel truly honored and blessed to have been given the opportunity to participate in such an awesome event. Meeting Daniel and his FCP team was a once in a lifetime experience that will certainly be treasured by all of the attendees. Special thanks to Chris and Sky for all of their hard work and planning… the weekend went off without a hitch, and everyone (including Daniel, I think) had a blast!I’ve taken some time to let this past weekend sink in and absorb a bit more, since it really was a surreal experience. I mean, come on, hanging out with Daniel Negreanu? At his house?? With his pals??? OK, Pinch me… Ouch, that hurt! I guess this was really happening. How cool is this?!?!FYI, if you are interested in seeing most of my pix from the Vegas weekend, I've posted them here: http://www.PokerShar.../fcp/index.html
The hardest part of this trip would be leaving my daughter for an extended weekend. She recently turned 1, and this was the first time that my wife and I would be leaving her alone -- well, with my in-laws, anyway. My wife was set on getting some much needed R&R, and was kind enough to let my buddy Kevin take her place in the FCP activities (boy did he ever jump on that opportunity). Since Kevin has been an FCP lurker, and was the person who turned me on to the site, I figured it was only fair that he should be my guest.Road Trip!
Our flight arrived in Vegas around 5:30 local time, and I immediately contacted Sky to arrange our pick-up. After getting a call from DCSports, we managed to meet up and DC proceeded to chain smoke about a pack of cigs! Must’ve been a turbulent flight, huh DC? :lol:We finally hooked up with Sky and Chris, and we all piled into Chris’ rental Tahoe. It was pretty obvious that Chris was no Vegas local, and at one point missed his exit and thought about taking advantage of his rented SUV by offroading through the desert median. Apparently, he made the right choice by staying on the road, since we sighted a 5-0 a few seconds later (good call, Sky!). We finally made our way to the Wynn and Chris took care of our accommodations at the front desk. Strangers Meet at the Wynn
After settling in at the Wynn, we managed to clean up and eat at the deli near the casino’s poker room. We arrived just in time and got to meet all of the finalists and their guests, as well as DN and his crew. It’s pretty funny how different these people looked from what I had originally pictured in my head while reading their posts on the forum. I can only imagine that they were all thinking the same thing about me. We had already met DC, the youngin’ of the bunch. We knew he liked to smoke a lot, so it would be interesting to see how he would fair in the non-smoking poker room! Then I met Governator… totally different than what I had imagined he might look like. He was a pale blonde sporting eyeglasses, with a build that would rival Negreanu (not Schwarzenegger), and was accompanied by his girlfriend Steph. Next up, JasonBo and his wife “W” (I still don’t know how to pronounce her name! Warpor?) from Texas. OK, so I’ve been to Texas and know a few people from the area. I’ve heard all the stories about how open beer containers are allowed in cars and the shotguns mounted on the back of the pick-ups, so I was in for a real shock. J-Bo was one of the most down-to-earth guys, and his wife was just as nice. No ten gallon hats or spurred boots to be found! All joking aside, J-Bo was THE documentary photographer of the group… always with camera in hand (as you can see by his posts). Next up was Chadwick, who we all knew so little about. He and his wife Holly has a certain look about them… maybe we’d seen them before? More on that later. Last, but not least was Royal Tour, who got bumped up and was able to participate due to DC’s age dilemma. Let me just say, he looks nothing like his avatar, which was a huge disappointment! Getting Position and Getting “Schooled”
Well, my luck started out well enough on Friday night as we started the freeroll tourney. As we were drawing cards for our seats at the table, I was lucky enough to get seated on Daniel’s left, and my buddy Kevin drew to my left. Talk about luck of the draw. I was at DN’s table and I was sitting next to him -- in position! Well, that’s what I thought at the time, anyway.It seemed my luck would continue as I bought a decent pot in my first action. I was doing fairly well, until I ran into my boat… 9’s over A’s. And just when I thought I had it in the bag, Negreanu had to go and ruin it for me with his A’s over 9’s! Wow, that really sucked!! Lesson learned. After that, I was pretty much on the short stack and played very conservatively, as I didn’t want to be the first out. Eventually I landed a pair of ladies and decided to push all in, which leads us to…Chadwick, Part I: Drunken Poker 101
Well, Chadwick had a substantial chip lead at our table and was getting a little toasty (he was at the far end of the table, closest to the waitresses). In his drunken state, he thought KT was good enough to call my all in… apparently he was right! He caught a K on the flop and dropped a 10 on the river to boot. Bye bye QQ. I think I was 12th or 13th at that point. I really couldn’t have played that hand any better, as I wasn’t getting any cards at that point. However, that beat must have boosted Chadwick’s confidence sky high, and he started to loosen up a little too much as we watched his chips eventually dwindle until Royal eventually put him on the rail.Governator Takes Down Negreanu and the Entire FCP Entourage
Hasta Lavista, Daniel! Gov takes down the $100 bounty on DN with a set of threes and puts DN on tilt. Oh how sweet that must have felt for Governator, who cleaned out the rest of us and battled Royal heads up to win the $1000 freeroll tourney on Friday night. Congrats again Gov… a job well done!Where’s the Hummer?
At noon on Saturday, we all met in front of the Wynn, expecting to be picked up in a stretch Hummer limo. Well, when they showed up in a measly stretch Excursion we decided that was the last straw! So we all walked back into the casino… riiiiiiight! This thing was LARGE, and we had fun giving Sky a hard time about the fact that it wasn’t truly a Hummer. She was a good sport about it! Royal Tour was determined to open a sunroof in the limo, but was sadly disappointed when he found out they couldn’t be opened. So, he did what any other star-struck Canadian would do and stuck his head out the window instead! :lol:Once we arrived at Daniel’s digs, we saw his WSOP prize, the Toyota pick-up with license plate “WSOP 04”… how cool is that? Well, it only got better as we moved inside of his “modest” house. Golden Tee on the left, next to the flat screen TV and entertainment system. NFL Blitz and NBA Showtime on the right. A huge poker table in his dining room and computer system that would make any IT geek drool. Oh, and let’s not forget the DN hall of fame on your way up the stairs. He actually let us pick up the bracelets… just too cool for words. As JasonBo mentioned on the forum, lots of finger foods, lots of beer, and lots of conversation flowing. It really was incredible how everyone seemed to get along so well. OK, so Chadwick had a small beef with DC for talking some “smack” about his logo on the forum, but it was all in good fun. DCSports was affectionately dubbed “DCSmack” for the rest of the trip. All in all it was a great crowd. Onto the challenges, as Chadwick chose Eric (the camera man) to play DN in limit hold’em… probably a bad choice in retrospect (no offense Eric, but DC may have faired better). DN was up 1-0 now. Chadwick took a shot at NFL Blitz, but got spanked the first game, so he brought in Travis to bring in the heat. DN handles Travis and is now up 2-0, and his momentum is rolling… until… the old dude!Yes, that’s right, the old dude. Call him Santa, call him Moses, but call him automatic from the trey. Travis is his name, and the long ball is his game! This guy practically scores all of the points against Daniel and the Pacers (weak)… and Chadwick gets his first “W” with the help of the Travis’s (young AND old). Next up, E-dog’s crib.HORSE-ing Around at E-dog’s
So we all pile into limo #2 to drive over to Erick Lindgren’s house. We walk in to e-dog’s house and immediately see a billiards table, and air hockey table, 6 plasma screens mounted on the wall next to a large HDTV set. Talk about a bachelor pad! We meet “Crawfish,’ whose just hanging out in his sweatpants, sitting at a 30-something” plasma monitor playing in a $600 online tourney. He informs us that he has no job. Later that day we find out he won over $3k that day by placing. This must be the life! Then Marco and Jennifer show up… OK, this is getting crazy now. After chatting it up, I head outside to check out the half-court basketball set up. Chadwick decides to play Daniel in the billiards matches and chooses me for HORSE. Now I’m pretty sure that I have the edge on DN, since I’m 6 foot to his 5 foot nothing, and I play hoops twice a week. Of course, HORSE is an entirely different game, but I’ve got some trick shots up my sleeve. Daniel and Chadwick battle it out on the pool table in games of 8 and 9 ball, while I practice my trick shots in the desert heat. Later, I learn that they split the 8 and 9 ball matches, giving Chadwick another win (and $500 more of DN’s cash). Now the pressure is on me.I started out on fire… all the trick shots were falling and the crowd was literally in awe. I’ve got this shot that I shoot over the backboard, ala Larry Bird, that’s pretty tough on the competition. Another bread N butter shot was standing directly under the hoop and shooting a one-handed reverse standing layup. Now I was feeling it, and I just had to pull out the stopper, the shot of all HORSE shots… the one-handed under the leg running layup! It’s definitely one of the hardest shots percentage-wise, but I knew if I nailed it, DN would be in BIG trouble. So I sucked it up, and it managed to drop in. Watching Daniel try to duplicate this shot was definitely the highlight of the trip for me. This gave him HORS and I think I had H or HO at that point. Unfortunately for me (and Chadwick) that would also be the last time I was in control of the game. I started taking it a bit easy, and tried to mix it up a bit, and this gave Daniel the small glimmer of hope that he needed. He started nailing EVERY baseline jumper and I pretty much lost my momentum after that. Whether it was the heat, or the stiff rim, or just dumb luck on my part, I can tell you one thing: Daniel Negreanu is a true competitor who will exploit every weakness that he can find, and play the odds in his favor. On the other hand, it was really great to see the high he got out of the comeback, and I really think it made his day. So, I guess it was my gift to him in return for the awesome weekend (sorry Chadwick). J Oh, and Daniel, thanks for lesson #2. I’ll never forget this one! Go for the throat, man!!! Nice game, Mullin.Chadwick, Part II: Reality Down Under
At some point in the limo, we managed to demystify the Chadwick mystery… apparently a few people on the trip, including my friend Kevin, swore that they’ve seen Chadwick and Holly before. In fact, as we were on our way to breakfast on Sat morning, Kevin told me he had figured it out. Road Rules! That’s where he had seen them before. I thought he was crazy, since I’m not a huge reality show fan, but he assured me that it would come out by the end of the trip. Well, someone finally asked Chadwick and Holly and it was confirmed, Chadwick was on Road Rules Australia (season 6), and I think Holly was on the following season. How surreal is that? This trip would only get crazier as the night went on. We all piled back in the limo and went back to DN’s pad for the finale… Golden Tee and NLHE. Daniel manhandled Royal Tour, who gave it his best shot. DN is just too damn good at that game. We also got to check out a beta version of Stacked, which I have to say looks wicked cool. I’m not a big gamer, but I just might have to go out and buy this one in October! The AI is very cool. And then the final challenge was started, NLHE. Chadwick decided to play DN heads up and gave him a good run, but in the end Negreanu would prevail, giving him a final record of 6-2, and Chadwick came away with a cool $1k (minus a tip for Travis). Funny, that we were all so focused on the NLHE match that nobody noticed Ng and David Williams had joined the party! This day just keeps getting better.DC “Smack” and His Losing Streak
In between matches (and smokes) DC was itching for some action. He lost to JasonBo’s wife “W”, then lost to Jen Harman who smacked him around like we knew she would (although I think he liked it) and then he started losing in the mini game of HORSE by the pool,.. It was actually pretty funny to see DC on tilt, because we all knew that he’s a decent player, but he just kept getting beat after beat… and he kept going back for more. At one point in the night, he was playing $5 a head for 2 out of 3 in Rock, Paper, Scissors! Too funny… DC, you the man! We all chilled out at Daniel’s house for another hour or so, and then headed back to the Wynn for a private dinner at Wing Lei.SAKE! SAKE! And more SAKE!!!
I can honestly say that I was blown away by the dinner at Wing Lei that evening. This was the one event that only the finalists could attend. At 10pm, we all met in Wing Lei, a Chinese-French restaurant in the Wynn. Everyone was spiffed up and looking sharp, and we were all commenting on how awesome the room was. It was a large circular dome with a huge round table that seated 11 and a large “lazy susan” that rotated in front of everyone. This would be perfect for passing the carafe of hot sake around! Did I say carafe? I meant carafes… lots of them! All in all, I think I counted 12 total! Not to mention the red and white wine that kept flowing into our glasses. The food was great, and the drinks kept flowing. Everyone was toasting and sharing stories. Wow, that was GOOD SAKE!!! I think Daniel is still a little freaked out by the dragons on the wall!Chadwick, Part III: The 120 Second Eggplant Challenge
As dinner was wrapping up, Chris (aka Slash) decided to take the night to the next level by proposing a challenge. Daniel had left a large plate full of eggplant on the table and Chris offered $100 to anyone who could eat the entire dish in under one minute. After some negotiating, the terms were set at 120 seconds… and JasonBo took the bait. However, Daniel managed to talk some sense into him but then Chadwick decided he needed a few more bucks, so he grabbed the eggplant and committed to the challenge! Daniel decided not to talk Chadwick out of this, as he was pretty sure the Road Rules alumn would be up to the challenge. 3, 2, 1… GO! Chadwick was off to a blazing start, nearly finishing half of the plate in the first 30 seconds, but then he started lagging. He stopped to take a few sips of water and started falling behind in the count… then with 20 seconds left, Chadwick sucked it up and somehow downed the rest of the plate with only a second to spare! Well done my friend.Mike and the Giant Wasabi Ball
Now we were all pumped up and Slash was onto the next challenge. Five balls of wasabi were taken from a plate and rolled into one massive green wad of sinus killing paste. Now, if you don’t know what wasabi is, or have never had it… let me assure you, it’s not something that you want to eat a large amount of! The offer was now on the table. $100. No takers. $200. No takers, DN drives the stakes up to $300. Still no takers (our asses may be dumb, but we’re no dumb asses!). Finally one of the servers, Mike, says that he’ll eat it for $500. SOLD!!! OMG, this has got to be the funniest thing I’ve seen in quite some time. The Asian waiter stuffs his face with a giant ball of wasabi and his eyes look like they are about to pop out. Mike starts to convulse a bit, but manages to keep it down and proceeds to chug 2 gallons worth of water! After taking his money, he makes a B-line towards the men’s room and has a personal chat with Mr. Porcelain. Talk about going down in flames!!
Well, after we realized that no one could top that performance, we all headed out (I think they were about ready to kick us out over an hour ago). I managed to get a few goodbyes in before the FPC entourage continued on for the night. The next morning Royal informed me that they had stayed out at a club until 5am. Sounds like they had a blast… I know I did!Again, if you are interested in seeing more pix from the Vegas weekend, I've posted most of mine here: http://www.PokerShar.../fcp/index.html
Once again Daniel, many thanks for a weekend that none of us will ever forget. You are an amazing ambassador to poker and a genuine person outside of the game. I can only hope that other FCP members will be given the opportunity to participate in similar experiences. Thank you!- JEFFGEN