Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2009 | 2:05 a.m.
James Akenhead is infamously remembered for a bad beat he suffered in a World Series of Poker tournament last year on ESPN.
Akenhead was one of two players left in the event and pushed all his chips in with Ace-King, one of poker’s top starting hands. His opponent called with 10-4, a weak starting hand.
Akenhead had a clear advantage. Despite the odds, his opponent flopped a full house and knocked out Akenhead.
“He was the best player,” ESPN poker commentator Norman Chad said, “but didn’t win because of the luck of the tournament draw.”
Now, Akenhead is back at a final table. And this time it’s the Main Event, where the stakes are much higher.
The 25-year old poker professional from London has the shortest stack at the table with 6.8 million chips. That should drastically change his mindset when play resumes this weekend.
“He needs to get lucky in the first hour or two and then he can play poker after the first time he pushes all his chips in and doubles up,” Chad said. “He certainly has more experience and more skill than about half of the players on the table.”
Akenhead is considered one of Europe’s top young players. He’s cashed in a number of tournaments, including a final table appearance at the World Series of Poker Europe Main Event.
He started playing poker just a few years ago and decided it was a more promising career-path than working as a train driver.
So far, it looks as if he made the right decision. Even if he had to deal with losing his best shot at winning a bracelet in devastating fashion.
“That has made me so much hungrier to win a bracelet,” Akenhead told CardPlayer magazine.
Carnival lasts all year at the Rio. With a float occasionally passing overhead and dropping beads while feathered dancers fire up the gamblers below, the Rio tries to keep its 120,000-square foot casino jumping with excitement. Special Brazilian mixed-drinks are also served throughout the casino. The hotel suites tend to be larger than similar priced rooms on the Strip and many offer excellent views with floor to ceiling windows.
The Rio offers some quality shows like "Penn & Teller" and "Chippendales." Many come to the Rio for the nightlife at the VooDoo Lounge, located on the 51st floor, or McFadden's Irish Pub on the casino level.
Others come for a bit relaxation at the Rio Spa or pool area and still others come to shop at the hotel's 60,000 square feet of shops. In each of these endeavors, the Rio attempts to make the experience a bit more fun and spontaneous.
The Rio also offers guests a variety of dining choices from all-American food at the All-American Bar & Grille to Gaylord India Restaurant for something a little spicier and even Carnival World Buffet for the indecisive.