March 2008
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Annie Duke’s hourly rate

As the USA flipped onto daylight savings time a few weeks ago and the UK don’t put the clocks forward until next weekend, it’s actually a 7 hour time difference right now rather than the usual 8, and I’ve felt a little less jet-lagged than usual.

Even so, after an early start for a bunch of pre-breakfast gambling and a long walk along the Strip all the way down to Sahara I was ready to crash pretty early last night and ended up flipping TV channels in bed until I came across Deal or No Deal.

The contestent, Mary Beth, was a self-proclaimed great poker player who had actually played in a live tournament one time and finished like 9th or something.

However her interest in poker actually came into play in one of the offers she was made. In addition to $138,000 in cash for her case, the banker added an extra special prize.

Look, it’s Annie Duke!

We’re reminded that this leading female player "won two million dollars in a televised poker tournament". But not that she only had to outlast nine other players – sucking out on most of them – to take down that freeroll.

So, take the deal now and the offer also includes admission to some women-only poker seminar thing, but the really special part is that it would also include a whopping four hours of private poker tuition from the special star guest.

Annie was really giving it the hard sell trying to get the contestent to take the deal, quoting impressive-sounding results from people she had mentored the past. She said she hardly ever gives personal lessons, so it’s really a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing. And a fast track to easy money, obviously.

Her efforts made perfect sense when we found out the reason that there might be a shortage of takers for her private tuition.

The value of this little package, Howie Mandel revealed, is $25,000.

Twenty five grand for four hours work.

No deal, apparently.

Royal variety performance

What better way is there to belatedly start a trip report than with a photo of a royal flush?

Claire hit this beauty at Palms on monday on the bank of Deuces Wild machines we’ve played so much in the past – and seen the progressive jackpot hit at least half a dozen times while playing there. So I’m sure this was overdue!

Remarkably, another player also hit a royal flush at almost exactly the same time but Claire just got in there first. The jackpot meter showed $1067.01 for hers (it’s rounded up to the nearest quarter for the hand pay) and $1000.56 for second place.

Nice work indeed, and it’s not even her only one. Make it three royals in three days… spades, clubs and hearts ticked off the bingo card – just diamonds to go.

The one of the left came from a 10-line machine and the one on the right from a 50-line machine, so these weren’t quite so difficult to hit but each was worth $200 nonetheless. A royal flush always looks pretty, even if you do have to get quite close to the screen to actually see it.