Check it out … caught my eye the other night … Cashout tourneys. Though I’m not sure if they’ll be a regular thing, they made their debut this past weekend @AriaPoker. Interesting concept — essentially tournaments with pre-established guaranteed chops, allowing players to cash out at any point (and go home) … you know, should they not like their chip situation, have somewhere else to be, be on tilt from incessant angry wife texts … whatever … backer with a gun? Apparently they also can cash out and keep playing, too.
Full Tilt began offering these online a while back, but no clue how they worked out. According to the sign, these were the first ever in a land-based casino. I ventured over to see how it was playing, but they were down to three and it seemed at this point it was just straight poker. Mel Judah sat at the final table but wasn’t playing. I assumed he was sweating, or at least trying to woo, the lovely middle-age Asian lady still with chips. That may or may not have been true, but turns out primarily Judah was there because it was his game — supposedly his creation.
See for yourself what Mel is up to at CashoutPoker.com.
UPDATE: Oops, turns out the lovely lady was JJ Liu. One of these days I will learn actual players.
Hard Rock charity knocks
Also stopped by the Hard Rock this weekend … first time since Detox and the shuttering of their room (and operations) that made @hardrockpoker the Pokerati game’s home for most of 2010. No new-resto construct has begun — just a bunch of tables stuffed in the back of the old room, with their previously decorative orange-luxe highback leather chairs lined up in front of the TVs that used to entertain 1/2 players. With football on and one viewer lounging per screen, It was both awesome and sad.
Anyhow, the new smaller spot is still called the “Poker Lounge” … nice-ish, but looks unsettled in. And though it seemed clear from a matter of simple square footage that the Hard Rock’s days as a red-carpet poker venue are gone, none of that seemed to stop the good times at Gavin Smith’s Darius Goes West charity tourney (with Bryan Devonshire) … which was kinda a birthday party for the namesake beneficiary, Darius Weems, the kid with an extra-funky form of muscular dystrophy that Smith says inspired him to a WSOP bracelet this summer. Darius had just turned 21 (he wasn’t supposed to live past 16 I think?) … and really, can you think of a better host to welcome those coming of age into the glorious world of degenerate gambling?
Here’s video from the final table, with Layne Flack, David Plastik, and at least one semi-awkward kiss:
BTW, fwiw, the Hard Rock has changed their basic game to 1/3 NL, with a $500 max buy-in.
Elsewhere in Vegas …
Unvetted, unconfirmed word has it that Fiesta Henderson has closed their poker room. Supposedly they lost their players to the Club Fortune casino, which began holding a $40 bounty tourney ($10 for each knockout) and taking a better-for-locals high hand jackpot drop. (You’ll have to pardon Pokerati for not digging into this plausibly controversial game-shift.)
And here’s a globally funny poker picture … from power Vegas player Eric Baldwin at EPT-London: