SCOTTSDALE, AZ–As I make my way back to Texas, I heard there was a big Chinese Poker game taking place in the Valley of the Sun, on a table made of suede no less, so I had to go check it out. Donkey Bomber was at the table — fresh off a plane from North Carolina, and frankly, a little shocked to see me there having not applied for media credentials through him — as was two-time bracelet winner Pat Poels, a dude named Rocky, Pokerati’s newest sexy blogger Big Robert, and Jesse McGinty … a Chinese Poker champion who apparently gets no love from CardPlayer, journalistic or otherwise. He won the inaugural $5,000 “Grinder” Chinese Poker Championship at Planet Hollywood (taking home about $50k) … but try to find mention of him in the magazine and it’s near impossible, even though CP was all over this event. (Was I the only one who went to a J-School that gave us an automatic F if we misspelled a name?) Also find it curious that Bluff didn’t include this Chinese Poker tournament in their rankings — even though it was a $5k event, which is the line they use — and vehemently defend — to determine which tourneys matter.
Anyhow, it’s starting to become clear to me … the Arizona Posse gets no respect. No wonder they are all so angry all the time.
The Chinese contingent of the Arizona Posse: (L to R) Robert Goldfarb, Jesse McGinty, Pat Poels, Nekpal Singh, and Tom Schneider.
They were playing $25-a-point (with royalties), which would grow to $50-a-point and then $100-a-point and then betting on drawing seven cards at random from the deck and making the best five-card hand. (I almost bought into that action. In fact, now that I think about it, getting 4:1 on $50 with no skill disadvantage … probably a mistake not to.) Learned a lot about playing Chinese from these guys. For example, I had no idea you could play five-handed with two decks, but you can! And when I questioned their use of non-Kem/Copag cards — they went with the more papery Bicycles — it was not because they were cheap, but because 100-percent plastic cards are a little too slick for optimal Chinese splays. Who knew!?!
(The AZ-Posse, that’s who.)
Bellagio-like spread health-conscious buffet at Casa de Goldfarb.
Though I left before the game broke, McGinty seemed to be the guy to beat, as he was up a couple thousand dollars by 2 am.