Not your father’s home poker game

In Las Vegas lingo, the rich and super rich are called slum-bills, slim-bills and slam-bills. A slumbill is someone with lets say $50 million or so. Slimbills have a net worth of $300-$500 million and slambills are the multi billionaires.

As you may have suspected, the bill at the end of these titles is from the word “billionaire”.

Every week, several slum, slim and slambills decend upon Las Vegas to test their poker skills against top professionals such as Phil Ivy, Sam Farha, Daniel Negranue, Todd Brunson etc.

I have also heard of stories about heads up poker sessions on line (on sites like FullTiltPoker etc.) where several million dollars swap hands in a few hours.

I am not a fan of online gambling and therefore cannot speak to validity of these stories.

This is basically what people with way too much money and a lot of extra time do for fun.

Last year, a Texas Billionaire lost over $15 million in 3 days of heads up poker against Phil Ivy. Later he claimed to have quit playing poker because of his loss. This, I highly doubt because once a gambler, always a gambler, specially when a lot of money is readily available.

This past weekend, 2 slambills, one from the U.S. and one from Hong Kong were in Vegas to play in a full cash game against 4 pros and 2 other amature, but very rich players.

The game was held in a private suite in one of the nicer hotels in Vegas and I had the “pleasure” of being present for around 5 hours of this game. I had to also give my word not to devulge the name of any player or the name of the hotel where this game took place. Although completely legal, these players are very descrete and do not want publicity.

Anyhow, to play in this game, each player had to buy in for a minimum of $1000,000, and no upper limit. Three players had bought in for $1 million, a couple for $2-3 million and 3 players had each over $5 million in front of them.

The game that was played was no limit Texas Hold'em with $5,000 and $10,000 blinds and $500 anties. On the table, there were $500 chips, $5,000 chips, $10,000 chips, $50,000 chips. I had seen $5,000 chips before but never saw chips in denominations where my entire net worth could be summed up in less than 100 plastic chips. Needless to say I felt very insignificant in that room.

OK, continuing with the events of the night, each hand resulted in an average pot around $150 to $250 thousand dollars.

Around 1:40am, I heard a player raise the bet by $250,000. Immediately afterwards, the phrase “I raise” was heard. The second raise was for a total of $500,000. All the spectators like me in the room started gathering around the table, respecting the 3 feet rule.

All the players folded except for the original raisers and the re-raiser. The original raiser to $250,000 took a couple minutes to think until he said the magic phrase: “All In”. At this point he had over $2.5 million in front of him. The re-raiser kept looking at his cards, then at the other player and back at his cards for well over 5 minutes. Then he said I call and turned over his 2 cards which were KdKs. The other player's cards were QsQc.

Shortly afterwards, the 5 community cards were dealt. The flop was 3h7d9s.

The 4th card dealt and placed on the table which was the Q of diamonds. At this point, one player had 3 queens and the other 2 Kings. Everyone almost started congratulating the rich amature player until the last card was placed on the table. You guessed right. This card was the Kh.

The lucky poker pro who shall remain nameless, won a hand worth over $2.6 million. Not bad for 6 hours of work.

Once he collected and stacked all his winnings, he declared to the table that he will be leaving by 3:30am and that everyone had a couple hours left to take a shot at him or take their losses back.

Around 3:30am his body guard came, grabbed around $1 million in chips. The hotel employees gave a “receipt” for the rest of his money and this VERY young pro left the room to go home I guess.

No matter how much money you have, to play one hand of poker for $2.5 million takes a combination of nerves of steel, balls of brass and I don't know what else.


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