Remember a couple of weeks back, when I picked up on a piece that Wil Wheaton posted over in the Poker Stars blog? In it, Wil reported his conversation with Barry Greenstein concerning the actions of Tony G (the "G" is for Guoga) and a couple of other British players, early in a re-buy event at the WSOP. The gist of the conversation left open the possibility of collusion, more specifically that the "couple of other British players" mentioned allowed Tony G to acquire a sizeable early chip stack, which he then didn't touch until the end of the re-buy period.
And now, in classic Paul Harvey fashion, for the rest of the story.
I don't think my jaw hit the floor when I discovered that Tony G was to be one my Poker Dome opponents, but, yeah, it was a shock to the system. When I arrived rather early at an upstairs Caesar's business suite for my pre-show interview tapings, there was Tony G, answering questions with Mila, the Mansion Poker associate producer who was our "people" person --- our main contact, tour guide and nanny for the duration of our stay.
"Tony G?" I asked, most intelligently. As indeed it was, and he was in early for his own interview, being simultaneously scheduled for his own Day One Main Event action over at the WSOP. Given that it was 11:20 and WSOP play started at 12:00, he had little time to anything more than exchange pleasantries... and he was off.
But that evening, Tony G was at the Poker Dome dinner, held in an elegant back dining room at the Empress Court, the way-y-y upscale Chinese restaurant at Caesar's Palace. Tony G had already crashed out of the WSOP, and sitting next to him at the table was another youngish man who I soon learned was Damon Rasheed, CEO of PokerNews and an occasional business partner of Tony's.
Rasheed was well aware of Tony's early rush at that tourney, although both of them were unaware of the allegation against Tony until I mentioned it. So in approximate language (because I wasn't lugging my tape recorder or notebook), here's the until-now-untold part.
One of the the other two players was Ram Vaswani, also well known for mixing it up, and Ram was the one who supposedly started the blind pushes. A well-bankrolled (my assumption, there) Tony G saw the opportunity to mix it up to grab a quick lead on the cheap ("cheap" being a relative term), as did the third player who entered the fray. That Tony G was the one who won the coin flops is something of a moot point; one of the three was likely to do well.
It doesn't change a bit the commentary I made about re-buy tourneys still offering hefty edges to those with deep bankrolls; as a matter of fact, it reemphasizes the point. Still, some players carry it to extremes. Yes, Daniel Negreanu did make 40 re-buys in an event here a week or two ago. So someone at his opening table did really, really well... if not necessarily Daniel.
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