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Jun 28, 2016

Team Belize at the World Series of Poker Tournament in Las Vegas

We’re just back from Las Vegas, Nevada where over the weekend; Belize was represented by eighteen poker players in the World Series of Poker Monster Stack Event. It was the second year a group travelled to Sin City to compete in the event. While the performance of the Belize team has improved, the poker players did not make it past day two, but three managed to cash in. Here’s a recap of the event.


The team arrived late Thursday night. For many of them it was their first time to the ever stimulating Sin City. It was a short night’s rest and quick group lunch and it was off to the Rio Hotel and Casino for registration. For the new members, being a part of the team came with a combination of emotions. And while it was their first time playing as part of team Belize, they were definitely not new to the game.

The first day of play for the team started at ten a.m. on Saturday. Scattered amidst the thousands of players in the different convention rooms at the Rio, the team drew quite a bit of attention standing out in their green Belize t-shirts. But attention aside, their purpose was clear—to survive the next ten hours of play and move on to day two.


Rommel Berges

Marleni Cuellar

“You have any specific strategy in terms of being able to run deep?”


Rommel Berges, Poker Player, Team Belize

“Calm, patience, wait and attack. And find the right time to attack. That’s the whole thing about it. But a good poker player one time told me, it is not a sprint; it is a marathon.”


Players Gian Fabro and Jason Southwell both progressed to day two in 2015, but this year, the luck simply wasn’t on their side and within the first two hours of play, they were both out. Within the next hour, the team was down three more. Nick Fabro, Ajinder Garcha and Drew Miller were out. And by the eighth hour, it was only five men left standing: Geev Abadi, Houston Carr, Adan Cal, John Chee and Bob Bounahra.


Marleni Cuellar

“It’s day two here at the WSOP’s Monster Stack and we have three Belizean poker players surviving into the second round of play. I am here with one of them, Houston Carr. How does it feel to make it to the second day?”


Houston Carr

Houston Carr, Poker Player, Team Belize

“Oh it feels really good and I think I am about the chip leader. I have about three hundred thousand chips so I am going to take my time and just look at the process and try get into the money and reach the finals. But I am doing really well.”


Geev Abadi, Poker Player, Team Belize

“Well it start out the same way it started out yesterday; noh really di ketch no hand. But we still have chips, we still di hang in there; we just di pace wiself and di wait of the right cards. We done invest about twelve hours worth of time in it so it noh make sense we just try chase and get knock out simply. So we wah wait and pace wiself. We got enough chips to go around a couple more rounds. So dah just about time right now and di wait for some cards come.”


Adan Cal

Adan Cal, Poker Player, Team Belize

“Dah wah wonderful feeling; I love the experience alone. I think we can make it to tomorrow.”


It was a short-lived glory though as the next hour would see both Adan Cal and Houston Carr eliminated. Cal ranked eight hundred and ninety-six and Carr, six hundred and ninety-seven. This left Giv Abadi as the last team Belize player in the tournament. Unfortunately Abadi was not able to build enough chips to make it through day two and was knocked out shortly after.


Geev Abadi

“I have no regrets. I was short stacked on chips. The blinds were at five thousand dollars; I had probably about thirty thousand chips and got an A-Six and just made the wrong decision at the wrong time, went all in and walked into a pair of Eight Pocket Aces. It wasn’t pretty afterwards, but like I said, I mean if I was to do it all over again I’d probably do the same thing. I don’t see that I made any mistakes during the tournament it was just the way it was designed.”


Bob Bounahra

Bob Bounahra, Poker Player, Team Belize

“The past couple days were a little different than last year, like I said earlier. People are a bit more experienced. This year we had three cashes, one semi deep run so it is better than last year’s results. The objective is always to get more players to compete internationally. Anytime we represent Belize in any tournament anywhere in the world, it is always a good thing to do.”


Geev Abadi

Geev Abadi

“It was an amazing experience; way more than just poker. You’d be amaze on how many people came up to us, members of the group, saying they’ve been to Belize; the wonderful stories they shared about their times in Belize, their friends who’ve been to Belize, possible vacation spots that include Belize. So it was more of a cultural exchange or as much a cultural exchange as it was a poker tournament.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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