Ante Up POY Darryll Fish has doubts about Vegas house



One of the most amazing aspects to me regarding the World Series of Poker was finding out how many players spend six or seven weeks in Las Vegas playing poker at most of the 61 bracelet events and surrounding cash games. Of course, the city and nearby suburbs are home to many serious poker players who commute to the Rio just like any ordinary casino employee, but I wondered about those who live elsewhere and still want to take in the complete experience.

Poker players are known for earning large paydays, and if you’re a marquee high roller you could just purchase (or rent) a luxurious, air-conditioned RV and park it behind the Rio.Many players rent a room in the Rio or nearby Palms, though those costs can pile up quickly, so it depends on your finances.

Or, you could get a group of friends together and rent a big house, which was the choice of 2011 Ante Up Player of the Year Darryll Fish, an idea he’s not sure he’ll explore again. Fish, known as DFish online, joined a core group of 10 guys and rented a large house about 10 miles south of the Strip at the cost of $47K for six weeks. Included in the group were David Diaz, Jacob Bazeley, Tim Crank, Ben Mintz, Hafiz Khan, Jamie Armstrong and Corey Burbick.
“It was a pretty eclectic group of guys,” Fish said. “We would get three or four others that would pop in and stay for a few days.”

You would think this would be an outrageous party pad with a group of crazy 20-somethings winning big money and celebrating nightly. Fish said the reality was anything but.
“If there had been a bracelet win among the guys, I think there would have been a little better story to tell, but unfortunately it didn’t happen.” In fact, the group got off to a good start when Bazeley finished second in the first open event and cashed for $327K, while Armstrong picked up a second-place finish in Event 21. But there were only a handful of cashes among the housemates and nothing significant after the second week.

“In the beginning we were planning to have a bunch of parties, but to be honest, we had very little to celebrate,” Fish said. “Any time you put 10 guys in a house for a long period of time, even if it’s a big house, you’re going to have a few problems. But on top of that, when people are doing poorly in poker, it’s going to reflect on their overall attitude. If you are on your own you can shake off the bad stuff, as opposed to being around three or four guys that were having a tough time, too.From the beginning, things were just not going well.I was probably quick to get into a negative mind-set and felt like I was going to have a bad summer before I really was, which I am usually an opponent of that.I think the energy of the house is really what kept me from excelling.”

Fish finished with two small cashes totaling less than $9K and took a beating in the cash games as well.

When I asked him if he would try a similar situation next year, he was doubtful.
“There were just too many people, for me, I think it’s better to do your own thing and stay focused on your own goals, rather than worry about other people’s results.I don’t think I would do it again. It was a nice house, but a little too expensive. I think too many people in one place was the big issue.”

He didn’t rule out another try in the future.

“I don’t know, maybe with the right group of people, like possibly a smaller group of guys.”
Maybe he can find a spot next year in the much-talked-about abode this year that housed Maria Ho, Vanessa Rousso, Vanessa Selbst and Liv Boeree.Well, maybe not
While it’s always exciting to reach for the brass ring and the six- or seven-figure prizes offered at the WSOP events, Fish has started to re-evaluate the decision to spend the summer in Vegas.

“Next year I don’t know if I am really gonna do the whole thing; the value of the tournaments is getting worse because all the players are getting better.It’s much tougher; I have flashbacks from five years ago, and the energy at the tables was different because everyone was so new to the game, and now you sit down and feel like everyone is there to compete.
“It’s a much different atmosphere and it makes for less value, not to mention the rake and how they are getting us in the Poker Kitchen.I think they’re getting a little too greedy and it’s going to reflect in their numbers if online poker does not make a resurgence and allow it to boom again.”

Since his return home to Ft. Lauderdale, Fish scored big final table at the Florida State Poker Championship main event at the Isle Poker Room, finishing sixth for $44K, an amount that should offset a tough summer in Vegas.It definitely makes the daily grind at the softer tables right here in South Florida a bit more attractive.

CONINE CHARITY AT CALDER: The second annual Jeff Conine Celebrity Poker Classic, a charity event to raise awareness and funds for the Conine Clubhouse at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, will be Sept. 30 at Calder Casino & Race Course’s Studz Poker Club. Reception is at 6 p.m., followed by the tournament at 7.

Prizes include a five-night stay in Costa Rica with airfare for two; a $10K designer men’s watch; and a $10K seat (and airfare) to the WSOP main event. Preregistered cost is $250 for the event, but $300 after Sept. 14. For more info, go to or call (954) 265-7241.

— Big Dave Lemmon is Ante Up’s South Florida Ambassador. Email him at

Ante Up Magazine

Ante Up Magazine