The last time I saw John Eames in Planet Hollywood, I was showing him a picture of the hairy bits of the former Miss USA, Shanna Moakler. If you think that’s a tad bizarre then imagine how bizarre it would be if she was actually sitting there giving me her blessing.
Well that’s exactly what happened.
The surrealism doesn’t end there.
At one point during the action a guy that looked like Mickey Rourke’s sibling sat down at the table and started talking to her. When I started taking the piss – by calling him Mickey Rourke – Moakler told me it was Vince Neil, the lead singer from Motley Crue.
So I have vivid memories of that particular night. Especially, the moment when Moakler told me that her former husband, Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker, f**ks as fast as he can drum.
Eames didn’t want to play. He was a little moody. Things weren’t going well for him. In the end I convinced him to stay. He sat in my mate’s seat whilst he went to the toilet, won a few hundred, split the money with my mate, and then left in the same mood that he had arrived in.
Like I said.
It wasn’t a good time for John back then.
Fast forward 18 months and Eames is back in Planet Hollywood; only this time he is smiling. His mood has changed dramatically. He has just won $289,706 and a World Series of Poker Circuit (WSOPC) gold ring. It’s the single biggest haul of his seven-year career, and boy did he need it.
Speak to anybody who knows anything about the game and they will tell you that he is one of the best. The only difference between John Eames and the rest of the ultra successful British poker school that came up around the same time is nothing but a little bit of luck.
Back in the day he was known as Mr. Consistency. He would cash in every tournament that he entered, and with the exception of the odd swap here and there, he almost always had 100% of his own action. Nobody owned John Eames, and that was a rarity back then – even rarer in today’s climate.
In Season 7 he came so close to becoming a European Poker Tour (EPT) Main Event champion. He reached the final three players at EPT Copenhagen – Eames of England versus Per Linde and Michael Tureniec of Sweden.
At one stage in the match Eames held 6.8m chips, Tureniec 3.9m, and Linde 2.5m. Then Eames was all-in against Linde in a dominating position. It was AJ for Linde, AK for Eames, and the lad from Southport was about to take a huge lead into the heads-up phase against Tureniec; that was until the jack on the flop gave Linde the double up.
Unperturbed, Eames would grind out another chip lead before once again being knocked right back down. It was pocket queens versus the ace-king of Tureniec. The board was clean, but the turn and river produced consecutive kings. Eames never recovered and had to settle for third place.
As the years wore on, Eames’ time in the live tournament scene diminished, until his forays into the bigger European tournaments were more scarce. After this year’s World Series of Poker (WSOP), Eames decided to stay in Vegas to grind out the cash games. His decision to play in the Planet Hollywood event coincided with his flight home. It was the perfect ending to his Vegas experience, and puts him right back into the action.
1,044 players entered that event, $289,706 sat up top, and John Eames got the lot. It was a difficult field with a lot of the Las Vegas pros coming out to play. It was one of the rare occasions that a non-American wins a WSOPC event, and it was the first time Eames had ever entered one.
WSOPC Planet Hollywood Final Table Results
1st – John Eames – $289,706
2nd – Matt Berkey – $179,119
3rd – Ping Liu – $133,110
4th – Dustin Johns – $100,067
5th – Brad Libson – $76,092
6th – Corey Emery – $58,537
7th – Johnny Neckar – $45,555
8th – Quang Ngo – $35,861
9th – Michael Skomac – $25,864