I had an invite from Jeff for an evening of socializing, grazing, and poker…the 2nd annual World Poker Championship. The invite read something like, ‘bring a friend or three, let me know by Wednesday if you’re coming so I know how much food and drink to supply’, etc., etc., etc. HELL YES! I invited Wayne – he couldn’t make it because of work or some such silly nonsense (he attended last year’s event with me). Then I invited Suzanne and being the all around socializing, NLH poker playing gal that she is, she said yes. I invited Mark too but he went South or something. I went to the first annual World Poker Championship at Jeff’s house and there’s no way I would miss this one if I could walk and talk.

Meeting – eating – greeting all started around 6 P.M. Game time was around 8 P.M. We had choices. We could ‘pen’ our real name on one tag and our poker name on another tag, and stick them somewhere on our body parts or clothing. I chose Linda G. for my real name and ‘winehead’ for my poker name. Yup…that’s my ParadisePoker name.

One of the first things you need to know about Jeff is that he’s completely laid back, relaxed, great attitude, and probably carries a stress load big enough to choke Moby Dick on any given work day but it’s never apparent when he plays poker or in his social contacts. I’ve never heard him moan or groan (of course I haven’t slept with him, silly) about any ‘drears’ in work or poker beats. He’s got my vote for a person I like to just hang with. He’s got THE bachelor pad. Although on another point, I’ve never seen him chasing or leering so I believe that he created his pad for no other person or reason than himself. Makes it even better that way. He was just settling in last year when the poker event took place. This time…everything looks like it has a place and is there to stay. One part of the whole theme/scheme that grabs one’s attention is the chess game. Last year they were just pieces – big pieces – lined up along the wall – this year, they had a place:

Jeff - chess game

Of course I came in with camera ‘on arm’ and wine and beer and a delectably fattening, ultra tasty, snickers cake. Once I settled in – in 3 1/2 seconds – I started taking pictures. What can I tell you? I’m a picture freak…it’s that propensity to document thing (thanks, Amy). The final Table:

The final table

Part of the group had already gathered and Jeff had everything set up and ready to go, including a bar upstairs with a bartenderess:


The bar and game room are in an open area upstairs overlooking the kitchen/dining/living area. Two huge champagne glasses adorn this area, along with memorable pictures of by gone eras, and a pool table. There’s also a deck that affords one a great view of the city and allows access to the patio below. This is a view of the kitchen/dining/living area from upstairs – and some of the people that attended the gathering – taken through the foliage that adds an extra touch to the whole scene:


We were kept continually fed by Kip – always shoving hot ‘finger food’ in our face and tempting us to eat more than we should…woo hoo!

Kip - food service

Mike Minetti appeared…he took first place in a $1,500 buy-in tournament at a Mandalay Bay Poker Championship event. Congrats, Mike! And believe it or not, he really tried to win this tournament too. This picture shows Paul, Mike, and Mary.

Paul, Mike, and Mary

Vic won the tournament last year and therefore had a bounty on his head. Whoever knocked Vic out got a cool $20 paid by Jeff – out of his pocket rather than the prize pool. Jeff also had a yellow shirt for Vic to wear as reigning champion. If Vic lost this year, he had to relinquish the shirt to the new champ. Yours truly busted Vic out of the tourney and to make matters worse, he was first out.

Linda and Vic and the $20

As a matter of fact, I knocked out the first three players to leave the tourney. I ended up in lousy position myself and every time I picked up a hand after that, Chase had a better one. I did have a damn good time though. There were three tables and I drew for the ‘final’ table as my starting table. As the other tables broke down and merged, I did most of the dealing. When it got down to eight players left, I dealt, someone else always shuffled as we had two decks in play. When Suzanne busted out, she shuffled each hand for me. Her online name is Suzie Jacuzzi and that’s the name tag she gave herself.


And this is me, doing what I do best…dealing:

Linda dealing

Randy won the tournament – the final hand:

final hand

I hadn’t seen Randy in quite a few years, having dealt to him at the Mirage on a daily basis for years, and then not seeing him for years, it was startling to see him and his wife at Jeff’s place. In a way, it’s strange how poker brings so many of us together and then pulls us apart – yet brings us back together again. Randy received the yellow shirt (now dubbed the victory jersey by me) from Vic.

Victory Jersey from Vic to Randy

And not only that, Randy got a pile of cash (Hannah left a check), and a trophy. Sorry Hannah but we laughed our asses off over the check.

Randy collects the cash

This is Jason, Mike, Vic, and Jeff (our host and tournament director):

Jason, Mike, Vick, and Jeff

I took a lot of great pictures of a lot of great people. Next year – at the next WPC – I will hand out cd-roms with all the pictures of this event on them, as I did this year with last year’s event on them. What a fun time – thanks again, Jeff.

And please, when people tell you there’s nothing to do in Vegas but gamble…well…hey…maybe they’re right!

About Linda R. Geenen

The easiest way to begin is to start at the beginning. But where is that? At what point does one suddenly decide they are going to spend the rest of their life involved in the intricate art of the dance? What is the art of the dance? A game about people - played with a deck of cards. Poker! I stepped into the poker world in 1980 in Missoula, Montana. I didn't know anything about poker, couldn't tell you what the difference was between a bet and raise, or if a straight beat a flush. I had three boys to feed, needed a job and a dealing spot was open in one of the local bars. I played my first hand of poker in a 5 Card Stud game (with the help of one of my bosses) and that was it! I was hooked. I lived, breathed, slept, dreamed, ate, and talked poker. I eventually ran my own games (licensed by the County) in several different bars in Missoula, and at one point, managed the games in the bar where I started my first dealing job. In 1987 I traveled from Montana to Nevada to deal major poker tournaments, returning to Montana at the end of each one. In 1989, I opened The Mirage – along with 6,400 other people. In 1993, I moved to Gulfport, Mississippi, and opened Grand Casinos Poker Room, returning a year later to Las Vegas and The Mirage. In 1998 I opened Bellagio - along with over 9,000 other employees. In 2003, I dealt the final table of the Aruba Ultimate Bet Poker Classic event. Hey…I’m on TV! I had the privilege of being chosen as the dealer in the Howard Lederer videos that have been released on No Limit Holdem. I play poker on a regular basis and I deal to every name brand player that is still above ground and breathing air, the elite, the freaks, the ne’er do wells, the rich, the poor, the illiterate, the educated, the beautiful, the ugly, the superstitious, the rational, the sane, and the insane. Perhaps I am the one that is insane but if I am, I fit right into the game plan. Five nights a week I walk into the greatest, social melting pot known to mankind. I no longer dream about it but the art of the dance is prevalent in everything I do - see you there!
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