|Sexton's Corner, Vol 63, "Part 2"
"Poker's Amazing Big Game Cash Player"
hen David Oppenheim goes to work in the big Seven Card Stud Game at the Hustler
Casino in Larry Flynt’s game, he quite often has to face the likes of Phil Ivey, Barry
Greenstein, Danny Robison, and several other world class Seven Card Stud players.
Larry Flynt himself loves Seven Card Stud and has made a couple of WSOP final tables
in this event. Phil and Barry have won ten WSOP gold bracelets between them and
Danny has won one in Seven Card Stud, which has always been his specialty. Danny,
as you might recall, was Chip Reese’s partner in the early days in Las Vegas when they
hit town together in 1973.
Chip and Danny were known as the Golddust twins, because it seemed like everything
they touched turned to gold! To go to work and face literally some of the best players in
the world doesn’t seem so easy, yet this is the world David Oppenheim has excelled in
and conquered! When he is in California he plays $4,000/$8,000 limit in poker’s biggest
game, and when he goes to Las Vegas he heads straight for Bobby’s Room at the
Bellagio where he must be able
to play multiple games with the likes of Doyle Brunson, Chau Giang, Jennifer Harman, Phil Ivey, Barry Greenstein, Patrick Antonius, Lyle Berman, Gus
Hansen, Eli Elerza, Bobby Baldwin, and David Benjamine! There are nights at work David may be facing over 30 WSOP gold bracelets in the lineup at one
table, where the limits are regularly $4,000/$8,000 with maybe one of the multiple games being Pot Limit Omaha with a $75,000 capped anytime bet allowed!
David’s world sounds very glamorous, but the tough competition allows very few to come out on top! Millions of dollars will exchange hands on any given
night. When you get to the top of the poker world you have to beat the best in the world to stay there! This picture is an accurate snapshot of David
Oppenheim’s high stakes poker world, as he is there and has the talent to stay on top of Mt. Everest!
Speaking of high stakes, I asked David about his golf game and to tell us what happened when he teamed up with Phil Ivey on ESPN in High Stakes Golf,
which was a highly rated television show about a year ago. Here is how the rest of the interview went:
Sexton’s Corner: You mentioned you like to play golf and travel, but with having three young children: Ashton, your youngest son who is 3 yrs. old; your
other son Mason who is 7 yrs. old; and your 15 yr. old daughter Taylor…………………you have very little time to do either these days. You seem to have
your priorities in great perspective, while you balance being a professional high stakes poker player and good father. I know a little over a year ago you did
get away to play a little golf, but it was no ordinary outing. Your partner was Phil Ivey and you played for $1,000,000 while it was all filmed on ESPN! I
happened to cover the High Stakes Golf Tournament filmed on ESPN about a year ago. This was known as the Doyle Brunson and Dewey Tomko High
Stakes Golf Invitational. This was held at Bali Hai Golf Course in Las Vegas and your partner was Phil Ivey. This was a 2 day format where you and Phil
played 18 holes together on day 1. I understand each two man team had to put up $200,000 each ($100,000 per man) and there were nine teams. (The
two man teams were Doyle Brunson and Dewey Tomko; Daniel Negreanu and Erick Lindgren; Phil Hellmuth and Russ Hamilton; Al De Carlis and Butch
Harman; Billy Walters and Hilbert Shirley; Janet Jones-Gretksy and Vince Van Patton; Mickey Appleman and John Hodson; David Grey and and Huck Seed;
and Phil Ivey and David Oppenheim. Check out Vol. 6
This created a $1,800,000 prize pool and ESPN threw in another $200,000 to create a $2,000,000 prize pool, where the winning team would receive
$1,000,000. Day 2 was a different format of three teams of 3 who would play a nine hole format for $1,000,000 per hole, but if two tie……….all tie. Your
schedules only allowed you and Phil to play on Day 1, so tell us what happened and where you placed?
David Oppenheim: Phil and I won 1st place in the Day 1 Event. We beat all the old golf hustlers like Doyle Brunson, Dewey Tomko, Billy Walters, and
several others. It was one of those weird days where anytime I did poorly… Phil did good and vice verse. Nobody expected us to win, so it was a fun day.
Sexton’s Corner: I guess putting up $200,000 between you and playing a round of golf in four hours, thus picking up a $1,000,000 check on ESPN is just
another day at the office for you and Phil Ivey! It sounds like you made an $800,000 profit or $400,000 each that day! You and Phil are friends, where you
face each other all the time in the big $4,000/$8,000 game in LA or Las Vegas. Teaming up together as a golf team in a format like this on ESPN must have
been a lot of fun. You guys didn’t play in the Day 2 format, but did you hear what happened in the nine hole match at the end on Day 2 that was so
David Oppenheim: Well, I know the winning team on Day 2 was the three man team that consisted of Doyle Brunson, Dewey Tomko, and Vince Van
Patton. It was a great finish on ESPN with Doyle Brunson making the winning putt on the last hole to win the $1,000,000 1st place prize!
Sexton's Corner: Yes, Doyle made the winning putt on the 18th hole, after everyone else missed their putts……he was amazing under all that pressure
including all those ESPN cameras watching his every move! Doyle has been a legend on both the poker tables and the golf links for big time betting his
Here he was……..the oldest participant on one of the hottest days of the summer and he came through under all of that immense pressure! There were
three teams of three men each on Day 2 of the format playing for $1,000,000 per hole! Of course if two teams tied…………..all tied. What that meant was
each team ended up winning one skin as they approached the ninth hole in a 9 hole format. Whichever team won the last hole would win the $1,000,000
prize! What wasn’t shown on TV was the negotiations on the last tee. All three teams agreed on the tee whichever team won the last hole………… all three
teams would play one extra hole for $3,000,000! Not knowing which team was about to win the $1,000,000 on the last hole……… this idea would give all
three teams a chance to come out on top no matter who won the ninth hole. After Doyle won and made the winning putt, the producer was probably in a
state of euphoria as the Godfather of Poker finished the show on a winning note ESPN couldn’t have scripted better! The scenario that the public didn't
see on TV at the end was Dewey Tomko asking to borrow Mike Sexton’s ESPN headset who had been following the group on the course as part of the
broadcast team. Dewey went into a discussion with the director/producer wearing the headset on the ninth green trying to lobby for ESPN to let the
cameras follow the three teams onto the $3,000,000 playoff hole they had all agreed to play! Dewey seemed surprised the director/producer wanted to
stop right there. Dewey and his partners Doyle and Vince had won the $1,000,000 on that second day format, but lobbying for the extra playoff hole they
had agreed to play with their gambling buddies was halted during Dewey’s headset appeal. After all, the show on ESPN had found their perfect ending with
Doyle Brunson sinking that dramatic 20 foot putt on the last hole in regulation. Anyway, since you only played the first day of the event…………that was
the inside scoop of the dramatic ending on the second day of the event. Actually you and your partner Phil Ivey split your $1,000,000 on Day 1 for
$500,000 each (Minus your $100,000 entry fee each.), while Doyle, Dewey, and Vince split their $1,000,000 prize won on Day 2, only pocketing $333,333
each! You and Phil came out on top money wise over the two day format that was so spectacular on TV! David, since you are one of the most successful
big game cash players in the entire poker world, could you share with us where you like to play the most, as most poker rooms don’t offer the high limits you
like to play.
David Oppenheim: For the last five years in L.A. I’ve been playing in the highest limits in the big game at the Hustler Casino. This is the game Larry Flynt
plays in and five or six of the best Seven Card Stud players in the world. We always play Seven Card Stud playing $4,000/$8,000 limit and usually start at
4:00 PM and play till 11:00 PM. I take about 3 months out of the year and play at Bobby’s Room at the Bellagio.
Stay tuned for Part 3 of the David Oppenheim story where he will tell us about some of the players he faces in Larry Flynt’s game and a little about Larry
himself. Also hear his thoughts about Danny Robison and Chip Reese. Check out Vol. 24 about the Golddust Twins. David is so successful playing in the
world’s biggest cash games, that you’ll be able to gain some valuable insight as to his philosophy regarding the cash game player and the tournament
poker world in next week’s story.
The Cab Is Parked,