Talked with Roy Cooke this morning. You Card Player readers know of whom I speak. Born in Atlanta, but raised in England and later Seattle, Cooke honed his card skills in Washington state card rooms. At the age of 26, he took off for Vegas to play professionally.
“Those were very enjoyable years,” Cooke said. “I brought the woman down from Washington who would become my wife (Misty) and we started a new life.”
Even though Cooke thoroughly enjoyed poker and played it very profitably, he decided to start a real estate business seven years after moving to town.
“I didn’t want poker to be my only source in life,” he said. “I didn’t want to grow old and get burned out on it. I know guys who got tired of it and were trapped because it’s the only think they knew. I didn’t want to be 65 and having to win to eat.”
Cooke has recently written a series of columns in Card Player imploring someone to help unify the poker community by forming an organization that would represent the best interests of the game. Cooke called out Doyle Brunson as the man for the job, but he told me this morning that he hasn’t heard from him, and in fact, says that Brunson is looking to start a new poker tour of some sort.
“Right now there are several groups fighting over pieces of the pie and they are looking out for themselves and not for the game of poker,” Cooke said.
ESPN has the World Series of Poker Circuit, Travel Channel has the World Poker Tour. Fox Sports Net has Superstars of Poker. Card Player and Bluff have different ranking systems for tournament players. Cooke is afraid as the poker world becomes increasingly splintered, it will follow the path of boxing, which has myriad different associations and champions.
“You’re going to have mishmash of rules and champions,” Cooke said. “We’re already getting there. You can be ranked number one in place and off the list in another.”
Cooke said one unifying organization could give players more leverage in benefiting from television contracts.
“Right now the World Series of Poker and World Poker Tour need to talk to each other and work together,” he said. “I’m not sure they like each other much.”
I’ve spent the last couple of days venturing out to some of the nice poker rooms in town that actually spread the limits I want to play, that being $10-$20 and $15-$30. I sat down in a loose $10-$20 game at the Mirage the other night and this Asian guy two to my right kept calling me down with who knows what because he always folded on the river. When the man pulled out a flush on the river against a guy to my left to keep from going broke, I leaned over and whispered to the pot winner, “Don’t be offended, but I was rooting for him. I didn’t want you to bust my ATM.”
The dealer gave me a disapproving look, she of the plastic face and DDs, her features voluntarily destroyed by the hand of a surgeon, creating a mask that would make Michael Jackson proud, but which I found hard to gaze at.
I won a few hundred there and headed to Bellagio for $15-$30 action. I recognized a guy in the nine seat, a young Asian man I had seen on a WPT final table but I couldn’t recall his name. He later got up and I saw him dealing at another table.
It never ceases to amaze me how bad some people play, even at a limit as high as this. One man wearing a roofing company hat blew through three racks in just a few hours. That’s $1,500 worth. He was friendly though. He told me he was from Toronto and used to have a roofing company. The man said he used to play in games around Toronto with “Danny.”
“Now he’s rich and I’m sitting here,” he said.
“I may have to go back to work,” he said with a laugh.
Keep it up man and that could prove true.
I caught fire early, and was up $700 at one point, but I went card dead and cashed out a $155 winner.
I then went to the Wynn, which is a very nice casino, as well it should be, having cost $2 billion. The poker room is nice, though not as good as the Bellagio. I couldn’t get a $15-$30 seat so I sat down in the $1-$2 NL game. I booked a small win of $25 in a couple of hours play.
Just outside the poker room, Wynn has a Ferrari on display on one of those turntables. The view is free, but the gift shop next door charges handsome prices. A red polo with the Ferrari logo is $70 and a cheap looking cap is $32.
I capped the night at the Nugget in unlucky fashion, my flopped two pair losing to a river straight, my flopped set losing to a flush and the most inglorious of all – my flopped set of aces losing to a gut straight. A drunk, albeit friendly drunk, in the eight seat called my $15 pre-flop raise after several limpers to see a flop of A-J-Q rainbow. He bet $20 into me and I went all in for $80 more. He calls with K-3 and spikes a 10 on the river. The woman sitting beside him told me she threw away pocket 10s. Great, the two outer busts me. The drunk cracked my aces and others’ kings twice. Later, he disappeared for several minutes and when he returned threw a handful of candy bars on the table, perhaps trying to atone for his misdeeds. I ate a $300 M & M’s Amazing bar before heading back to my bed at the Four Queens.