Poker Stars Shine at UB’s WSOP PartyTweet Share
A few of us guys from PokerRoomReview.com hit the Vegas Strip last night, heading over to CityCenter for the UB.com 2010 World Series of Poker kickoff party. Having done the previous night’s Bodog bash fashionably late, we decided to do the UB event early, planning a “hit and run” that would allow a bit more sleep than the past few nights had seen. So much for those plans.
We got to the Mandarin Oriental right at 9:00 and headed up to the 23rd floor Mandarin Bar with its panoramic view of The Strip. Among some of the first to arrive, we were greeted by no less than ten lovelies with trays full of big boy beverages. Grabbing a drink, we checked out the room. UB pulled out all the stops – every table in the lounge was inlayed with backlit UB logos, countless logo-adorned and “Raise. Stack. Own.” throw pillows covered the low sofas, and UB-branded snacks were everywhere (note to self: tossing back a fist full of wasabi-coated peas is never a good idea). It was immediately apparent that the online poker company is proud of their 2-character domain name as they spared no expense showcasing the new brand.
Trying not to look too much like gawking tourist geeks, we watched as one celebrity poker player after another entered the party. There were enough big name pros in the room that we began to wonder exactly why the organizers had decided to rope off a special VIP area in the back, since the entire room was VIP. Had every celebrity player chosen to remain in their special enclosure, the only ones remaining outside the VIP cage would have been us. However, despite their status, the pros in attendance illustrated that they really are regular Joes (and Annies and Phils) just like the rest of us. In fact, the velvet rope ultimately disappeared.
We caught Joe Sebok and Annie Duke, who in their matching white blouses appeared to be a couple (obviously they weren’t). When we asked for a quick snapshot, remarking at how lovely they looked together, Duke jokingly suggested that perhaps she and Sebok should make out for the photo op. Sebok seemed extraordinarily agreeable to that proposition. Both Team UB pros proved to be very gracious and PokerRoomReview.com wishes both of them the best of luck in the WSOP Main Event.
As the mingling continued, we caught up with the Bad Boy of Blackjack and Team UB pro “Hollywood” Dave Stann, 2005 back-to-back WSOP bracelet winner Mark Seif, Mark “P0ker H0” Kroon, Adam “Roothlus” Levy, and UB’s babealicious Liv Boeree. Again, despite their celebrity status, each of these pros proved to be friendly, accessible and gracious. They are truly good folks and it was a blast spending the evening with them.
Then there was some guy named Phil Hellmuth hanging around the joint. When we approached the Poker Brat for a photo op, he quickly donned his shades as if he had something to hide. We’re not sure what that might have been, though Daniel Negreanu may shed some light on what’s going on behind Hellmuth’s sunglasses when we catch Kid Poker later this week.
In real life, away from the tables, Phil Hellmuth is a really nice dude. We’ve never been seated at the same table with the guy so we’ve been spared the experience of a Poker Brat beat down. That being said, Hellmuth proved to be just another regular fella in a bar … the kind of guy you’d like to hang out and have drinks with. We did try to get some insight into what he has planned for his WSOP Main Event “grand entrance” slated for Wednesday. He wouldn’t spill all the beans, but he did say that his trademarked Main Event arrival would be in a Mixed Martial Arts theme. When asked if he’d been hitting the gym so he could go shirtless and oiled up for an authentic MMA-style entrance, he thankfully informed us that he would not be removing his shirt. We politely took that as a “no” as well to the question of working out and getting ripped. Nonetheless, he refused to give us any more details, stating only that he has a few surprises up his sleeve for Wednesday’s Main Event arrival. We’ll be there.
While we wish Phil, Joe, Annie, Adam and all of the UB-sponsored pros great success in the WSOP Main Event, we do have one gripe. They were all so much fun to be with that, before we knew it, time had ticked away and our chariots had turned back into pumpkins. Well past midnight, there was nothing else to do but say “adios” to our UB buddies and stumble across Las Vegas Boulevard to join the other drunk pumpkins at Fat Burger. Another late evening, another early-morning headache … just another night in Las Vegas.
Check out more party pics below, or head over to UB.com to learn more about all of their sponsored poker pros.