Thursday, July 02, 2009

Sunday in Vegas -- Venetian Deep Stack Day Two

OK, so where we left off yesterday, I stayed up the rest of the night after reaching Day Two at around 2:30am, so that I could play a little more and basically just get some time in with my brothers and friends for the bachelor party. As it was, I had already missed group dinner at Fiamma, an Italian place with a restaurant in New York City, on Saturday at 6 due to the Venetian tournament, and my brothers were all bummed when I texted them at some point around 5:30pm on Saturday from the Venetian poker room that I had just doubled up again and was not going to make it. So after missing them all day on Saturday other than the quick beer celebration at dinner break in our suite, I wanted to get in some time with them before the last of 'em left at around 8am on Sunday, and after saying their goodbyes, I finally slipped into bed for a quick nap, not setting an alarm since I knew I had until 4pm that afternoon to get back to Venetian for Day Two. And it's a good thing it started at 4pm and not 3pm or 2pm, because I did not wake up until shortly before 3 o clock, still feeling cloudy but at least having gotten sufficient rest for me to be alert enough to play the game well that afternoon. I took a quick shower, grabbed my lucky sunglasses, and I was off, back up Koval Lane to the Venetian to get it on. Quick smoke before the 4pm start time and we were off.

The first thing to note was that we started with five of the top nine chip stacks remaining in the tournament at our newly redrawn starting table, including a guy who had to be the tournament chip leader just two seats to my left. Yippee. This guy had nearly a million in chips or about 80 big blinds, which at this point in the tournament seemed totally insurmountable, and frankly some of the guys down the other end of the table looked to have similar stack sizes themselves. This was especially troublesome for me as I was again starting in 32nd place out of the 48 remaining players in the tournament. My 157k in chips was about 2/3 of the 241k average stack heading into Day Two's action, and I had about 12 big blinds to start in Round 18. Like I said yesterday, I knew I had my work cut out for me, and although I would have some time before I was truly desperate to make a move, the general plan would definitely have to be to make something happen within the first two-hour session (three blind rounds), as blinds would begin the day at 6000-12,000 with a 2k ante to boot. 12 big blinds was barely acceptable for starters, but by the end of the third blind round on the day -- just two hours in -- we would be up at 10k-20k with a 3k ante, and my M would be a paltry 3 or so. So I was definitely looking to take some chances early and either try to double up or get busted.

At 4pm local time, as the dealers tossed the first card to the first small blind of the day, and I peered at my small stack of red and mostly orange chips, which were 5000 and 1000 $T chips, respectively. Whereas, many of my new tablemates from the wonderfully random draw had mostly blues (25,000) and piles and piles of the same reds that I only had like 20 of to start the day. Little did I know that my 157k stack was about to go on a truly inexplicable ride that would swell it to over 1.6 million in chips over just the next two hours of play to start Day Two.

That's right. 157k to 1.6 million in three blind rounds, or two hours of play at for me at the Venetian on Sunday afternoon. And you know one of the most amazing things about it? I honestly can't even provide many details on exactly how it happened! I mean, I was taking notes on the hands where I won or lost any significant amounts of money, but within maybe 30 minutes of the beginning of play for the day, I was winning so much money, in so many different pots, that I literally just had to give up trying to keep any real notes other than from memory at each break time, generally two hours apart although it got a bit closer as the end neared and the stress levels kept rising. By an hour in, the things I had been writing notes on earlier were so ridiculously far below my new threshold of what counts as "significant" that most of the notes I had taken were already a complete waste. As if the bluff I ran that bumped me up from 310k to 447k means squat anymore when I'm running from 1.6 million to 3.5 million in chips after the break after the first two hour session, that sort of thing. And I know that without the notes I would never be able to capture how this all happened nearly as well as I would like, but im telling you, there was literally nothing I could do to stop it: I was winning too many pots. There was just no time to take detailed notes. So here's what I do have from my breaktime memory sessions:

The first couple orbits of the day saw nothing but rags for me, so I folded a lot and let a couple of the larger stacks at the other end of the table push me out with their bets. It as tough having so many large stacks at the table because they could literally grab just a third of a stack of blue chips -- almost indistinguishable out of their massive stacks -- and bet a guy like me all in for all of my chips. It sucked, but I tried my best to adjust and simply not to play unless I had a hand I could see going all the way with if necessary. About three orbits in, I finally stole my first pots of the day, and then I got caught stealing by one of those big stacks across the table who reraised me allin from his big blind after I had open-raised from the cutoff. I folded KTo, not wanting to get allin dominated with that kind of shit hand, and this put me back down to around 140k, my low point of the last several hours of play, and things weren't looking so great.

Cue the nerdy-lookin guy across the table from me. This was another perfect example of why I have been having such an amazing run in casino poker tournaments lately, and really just a very strong performance in live poker tournaments in my life -- I could just tell, from the look on his face, or the way he would look away and deliberately stare, unmoving, when he was weak, and the way he would just be totally carefree about his mannerisms when he was clearly strong and obviously wasn't crapping his pants at the thought of his whole act being seen through by some soul reader out there. He had a nice big stack, one of the tournament top 5 at that point, and somehow his tells hadn't betrayed him yet, despite being so obvious to me from my vantage point.

First, he raised from late position before the flop, and he immediately froze his head and eyes, clearly nervous that someone would know he was a bit weak. I looked down in my small blind to find ATs, which I quickly reraised with allin based on my cards, my stack size and my read. At this point, down to just 140k in chips, I'm not even sure if I wanted him to fold a pocket pair or just take the race on and see what came of it. In any event, sitting on probably around 500k in chips, the guy made the call and I held my breath as he flipped up? Pocket 6s. Definitely an aggressive call by him -- not one that I would have made, in fact one that I laid down in a very similar spot about 5 other times later in Day Two -- and when an Ace came on the flop, I moved to 4-2 in the tournament in races and managed a quick double to nearly 300k in chips. This was huge for me because within the first hour of play, I was suddenly back right around average and finally had some room to breathe as other players were starting to drop like flies right from the getgo.

Not three hands later, with the blinds having increased again to 8k-16k with still a 2k ante, nerdboy and I mixed it up again, as I raised it up to 60k preflop from middle-late position with pocket 9s, and he called my preflop raise from the button and saw a heads-up flop with me of 552 rainbow. I checked, he bet out for 48k, and immediately I once again got the vibe that he really wanted me to fold this time. So, I proceeded to check-raise him allin, moving in another 200k or so in chips and putting my opponent to the test for more than half of his remaining stack. I think he thought for all of 3 or 4 seconds before sliding his chips into the middle and announcing, albeit timidly, "I call". He showed? Pocket 8s. Another aggressive call from a guy who had a stack and had no need to be calling off 60% of his chips with such am eminently beatable hand, but my ability to be able to decipher what he wanted me to do from the look on his face had led me to another double up, this time to around 375k in chips, now well above average with around 40 players remaining in the tournament.

Still within the same span of maybe 10 hands total, nerdboy pushed allin for his remaining short stack from late position, and I looked down in my big blind to find pocket Queens. Easy call, he showed ATo, and I managed to fade the Ace to eliminate the guy from the tournament, just 10 hands after he had had a top-10 stack. I'm not sure what to say about him, other than that he failed to protect his stack at a time when he had more than enough chips to hold out for a truly strong hand, and instead opted to repeatedly call off his entire chipstack with marginal hands. In any event, this hand jumped me up to around 425k, and more important, left me in great position suddenly at the table, as I had basically taken the entire stack of one of the chip leaders at the table (and in the tournament) over the span of maybe 10 or 15 minutes. He got up from the table, dazed and rolling his eyes as if I had done something wrong (I love it), and walked over to claim his I think $880 cash prize for finishing around 40th place.

At this point, still only maybe 90 minutes in to the Day Two action, I remarked on that big stack two seats to my left -- still probably the tournament chip leader, the way I saw it -- as he very obviously eyed my stack, counting up every chip I had and trying hard to compare it to his own stack to see if he had more chips or how close it was. And from looking myself through my mirrored sunglasses (thus he had no idea I watched his entire eyeing of my stack like he had), we looked pretty close, and it seemed like it really bothered the guy after having been running away with the table chip lead just a few hands earlier. When he immediately open-raised from middle position on the very next hand after overtly sizing my stack up, I put him on a naked steal just trying to ensure that he could build his chip lead against me. I had crap so I folded, and no one else called, so I can never be sure if that was the case, but at the time it was the distinct impression that I had, and I bet it was 100% accurate.

So, just a couple of hands later, when the big stack -- a guy who had won a series of poker tournaments with his friends to win the buyin to this event (sound familiar?) -- was in the big blind, I was excited to find J♠T♠ in the cutoff, which I opted to raise with as I often do with this particular hand, one of my very favorite to play in all of no-limit holdem due to its versatility as a top pair, flush- and straight-making possibilities, and my open-raise usually causes my opponents to remove such a hand from my range when I play it in this way. So I raised the 16k blinds to 43k chips, and then the big stack surprised me by not just calling, but by reraising. But most of all, he only reraised me another 100k, which was less than twice what was in the pot at the time. By leaving me to call only another 100k to see the flop, this raise was basically begging me to call. Unfortunately for him, I could not have planned his raise any better, and I eagerly called with the hand with the most potential in all of holdem to try to hit something big against yet another big stack early on the day, in a situation where I figured my opponent for a genuinely big hand, one that could pay huge dividends if I could just flop to it here.

And flop to it I did, as the flop came down TT6 with two diamonds. I knew for certain my opponent would lead out, with what was probably Aces or Kings or something similarly strong, and I quickly decided how best to play it so as to hopefully appear as weak and beatable as possible. When he put in a substantial bet of 150k on the flop, I went for the absolute instacall, trying to indicate maybe a medium pair or a draw of some kind. The turn brought the King of diamonds, completing a flush on the board as well as pairing up AK if that's what he was holding preflop, and the table chip leader quickly moved out another 200k from his stack to the middle. At this point, I thought for about two seconds before moving very quickly again all-in. I knew of course that the guy could have a hand like AJ and I would be toast, or of course could have hit the flush as well, but he was definitely betting with super authority and trying to give off an aura of strength, in a way that I am fairly sure he would have wanted to hollywood a bit if he was actually holding the nuts or close to it. I still kind of had him on Aces, though I thought Kings were unlikely given the King on the turn (and I would be going home now if that was in fact what he had, a chance I was willing to take), and with his tiny preflop raise I found it very difficult to put him on two diamonds, other than perhaps the unlikely AK of diamonds. In all I decided I was ahead, I figured he might have AK and be willing to pay me off, and I thought I had played the hand just oddly enough on the flop to possibly convince him I was weak.

The guy agonized. I actually found a lot of respect for him as a player as you could just tell in his eyes that he knew he was beat. But he was pissed, and clearly he did not want to fold his hand. He started talking to me. "What, you hit this flop, huh? You're not scared of the King, and not even of the diamond huh? What, did you call another preflop raise with AT, didya (I assume this was a reference to my earlier hand with nerdboy where I reraised him allin with my AT, he made a bad call with 66 and doubled me up)?" He was getting increasingly pissed with every second that rolled by, and at some point it occurred to me that he was going to fold, that I had played the hand too strong to get the rest of his chips, and I would have to be content with only about 60% of his giant stack. Eventually, the guy got this totally disgusted look on his face, and folded face up. Ace-King. So he folded turned TPTK to my action, which like I said I really think is a major league fold in that spot. It's only one pair in the end, but the fact is that I instacalled on the flop and then pushed on the turn card, which helped him, and I am still really surprised that he found the fold where he did there. In retrospect I think it was the third diamond that prevented me from fully doubling again in that spot, as my instacall on the flop compared with my allin reraise on the turn gave him plenty of reason to suspect I was on two random diamonds (I was after all playing two soooted cards, just not in diamonds, so his read would not be off there at all).

With this hand, I not only jumped to nearly a million in chips, but I was at or close to the chip lead in the entire tournament, and I had completely demoralized the (former) table big stack all in the same process. The look on that guy's face was absolutely priceless. He could not believe he had lost most of his stack on that hand, and deep down he never even knew if he had laid down the winner in so doing. I certainly wasn't about to tell him, as I figured it's all good if the guy is steaming like mad over me, my play, my donkey calling or whatever other transgressions he wanted to ascribe to me. At this point people started commenting to me about the incredible run I had gone on in the first two hours, and I couldn't deny it. I had played great poker during the run, but I also got myself into a whole bunch of good situations, whether it was pocket winning a key race with a pocket pair over AT, 9s over pocket 8s on an all raggy flop, or my JTs hand calling a small raise against AK. Adding more fuel to the fire, on the last hand before the first break, I reraised a late position raiser preflop with my own AKo, he pushed for another 100k or so and I made the instacall and saw AQs. My AK held up and I had added another several hundy large to my stack. At break time, I had nearly 1.6 million in chips, far and away the tournament chip leader, with 24 players left and an average stack of 478k in chips. I was absolutely on fire.

Over the next two hours and three blind rounds, we slowly inched our way down from 24 players to the final table, which began 9-handed just a minute or two before the second break. I not only maintained my chip lead but was able to increase it, as the shorty players continued to push into me light, and I had the freedom to call a little light as well since I had such a huge stack. All the action on my table revolved around me, and as the second session of the day wore on, and my chip stack swelled, I was "that guy" at the table who everyone wanted to see and watch. Railbirds were constantly lining up behind me and trying to figure out what my secret was. People across the table kept suggesting that I needed a whole other table just for my chips, and eventually a whole table just for my blue chips. At some point near the end of the fourth hour, the TD came by and switched out 5 stacks of blue 25,000 chips for five snappy fluorescent yellow chips with the number 100,000 written on them.

Sometime during the 5th blind round of the day, I picked up pocket 9s in late position and put in a standard raise of the 40k big blind to 140k, and a mid-stack repushed on me from the big blind for around 350k more. I hesitated briefly, sized up the guy's stack in comparison to mine, and figured I had an easy call. He showed pocket 5s, and I was up over 2 million in chips. I climbed up to nearly 2.5 million when I raised a preflop aggressor in a pot where I flopped a King with my own KQs, and he folded, giving me the blinds, antes, his preflop raise and his flop c-bet. Then my last 500k or so chips before the break came when I busted the same guy two to my left who had started the day as chip leader before giving me most of his stack on the AK hand where he showed the fold with TPTK. The guy was still pissed at me even some two or three hours later, and he had consequently called pretty much every time I had raised before the flop since that fateful hand, which he did again in this spot. Only this time I held pocket Aces. The flop came down Jack high, I c-bet weakly, hoping to get him to raise, and that's exactly what he did. I paused for maybe 2 seconds, made sure I wanted to do this, and made the call. His head sunk immediately when I called, and when I showed my hand, he slapped the table hard and flipped up QJs. I dodged the five remaining Queens and Jacks, in addition to the flush draw he picked up on the turn, and I was up to 3.1 million in chips.

Within minutes -- at 8:45pm local time -- we made the final table, where the average stack among the 9 remaining players was 1.2 million, and where I had a massive chip lead. There were only two other stacks at the final table of more than a million in chips, and only one over 1.6 million other than myself, so I was way way out in front to star the FT, just as I had been for the past several hours non-stop of Day Two. The final table had three euro types, easily the coolest guys there (other than yours truly, of course), one from Denmark, one from Norway and the same nice South African guy from Day One, who spoke with a very British accent and totally had the look of a Brit as well, from his clothes to his haircut.

Fast forward a really annoying hour and a half, and we were still sitting with the entire final table intact as of the 10:25pm dinner break which would last 40 minutes. I had gotten two-outered on the turn just before the dinner break by the nice Danish guy to my right when my AJs made top pair on an A64 flop, he pushed on the turn, and I called his push with my top pair, with him flipping up pocket Tens, a hand this same player had already two-outered me with earlier when down to two tables left. The turn card was another Ten and I lost about 600k in chips. Still, however, I remained the chip leader at the final table thanks to the huge stack I had amassed, but I would live to regret those two two-outers before all was said and done.

At this point I should take a moment to discuss what happened during the dinner break. At only 40 minutes, there was not enough time for me to get back to my suite at the MGM, so instead I headed up to the new food court in the Venetian and ended up grabbing a quick burger from Johnny Rockets. I ate it, it was good, but suddenly I realized that the stress and tension of playing poker for such high stakes was really getting to me, physically speaing. Let's just say that I'm really glad that the Venetian has such clean bathrooms, because I ended up spending most of the dinner break in there instead of out smoking like I would have liked to have been doing. I mean, not that I specifically realized this at the time, but playing in that situation had to be without a doubt the most tension-laden poker I had ever been a part of, and I imagine it was the same for everyone else at the final table on that night. I hadn't felt sick before the dinner break was called, but it was almost like as soon as my body realized it had some time to relax and take in what was going on, it took on a mind of its own. Anyways, not to belabor the point, but I thought it would be interesting for you all to know that I was physically ill for no apparent reason other than stress during the final table, still sitting with 9 players remaining as we neared 11pm, another 7 hours of play into Sunday's poker action.

There's not a whole lot to say about what happened at the final table, truth be told. Our first final table elimination happened to a short stack about 5 minutes into the next round, and the next guy actually got busted by me when he pushed his own short stack allin under the gun, and I woke up with AK in the big blind, getting in dominated against him. One general trend to note, however, was that, in stark contrast to Day One, there were absolutely zero flops at the final table. Even after starting off with such deep stacks and such a favorable structure on Day One, by the time Day Two came around, the Venetian had given up trying to offer a big stack event and instead was basically doubling the blinds every 40 minutes in an attempt to end this much quicker that we saw on Day One. The result? We saw literally three flops over the entire final table, more than five hours of play. Three flops. It was just as much push-and-pray poker at this point as your standard online donkament by the time the final table is reached, and this in general left me feeling very uneasy about my dwindling chip lead. Shortly afterwards, this feeling was validated when the short stack at the table pushed allin from under the gun for at least the fourth straight time when first to act. Having played in the WSOP and seen how often some guys like to do their stealing from UTG in the later rounds because it appears so strong and legitimate, when I found pocket 9s again on the button, a hand that had been very good to me so far in the tournament, I opted to call and take my chances that the guy was stealing again. He disgustedly flipped up AJs when I called him, but my 9s could not hold up as he flopped a Jack (4-3 in races overall in the event), and suddenly I was no longer the chip leader.

Maybe 15 minutes later, I once again found myself in the big blind against the player in the small blind, the nice Danish guy who at the time was the short stack at the table, who pushed allin from the small blind for what had to be the 8th or 9th time in the previous hour of sitting on his short stack. This time I found AQs in the big blind, and of course I'm calling with that, and of course the guy flipped up AKs. I could not suck out -- I didn't lay a single suckout on anyone in the entire 27 hours of poker -- and before I knew it, my chip lead was gone, my huge stack in general was gone, and I found myself in 5th if not 6th out of 8 players remaining. Luckily, I was fortunate to find AKs not long afterwards, and one of the other bigger stacks called my allin reraise with his pocket 7s -- again a hand that I must have laid down in similar spots 9 or 10 times during the two day tournament -- and I managed to survive the race (5-3 now) when I flopped an Ace instead of being eliminated in 8th place. A couple of stolen pots later and I was right back up at 2.5 million and in a solid second place, but the Dane whose AK had bested my AQ retained the chip lead over me, this after 2-outering me not once but twice in just the previous couple hours of playing.

After I eliminated the South African guy to my left and we got down to 7 players, the older Asian dude across the table started lobbying the rest of the players hard for a chop. Personally, I loved the idea, given how pushfesty and luck-based the entire final table had played for a good three hours or so already, but there was a crucial problem with the plan: at the time, there were five big stacks (I was one of them), and two stacks much smaller than all the others. Predictably for this situation, the shorties had no interest whatsoever in accepting anything remotely close to the 7th and 6th place money payouts for the tournament -- which were 11k and 14k and change, respectively. The Asian guy started a pretty nasty fight with one of the shorties, saying he was an idiot for demanding significantly more than what 7th place would pay already, while the shorty's point was that since he was guaranteed that 11k anyways, why would he accept something like 14 or 15k when he could just randomly shove all his chips into the middle on the very next hand, take the 11k if he busts, but be in a much better position for himself with just one double-up. Personally, I tended to agree with the short stack, and even though I definitely was interested in a chop to eliminate some of the massive luck involved in playing this kind of final table, my real feelings were that I did not have any intention of sitting around and listening to douchebags negotiate for a chop that some portion of the players involved would obviously never agree to. As soon as the short stack let us know that he would not be satisfied with the 11k payout already slated for 7th place, but that he would be willing to deal for no less than 30k, the Asian dude lost his shit, and that's when I withdrew from any discussions for a deal. Like I said, I didn't come here to mediate a hotly contested negotiation. That's what I do during my real job on all the rest of the days of the year. I came to play poker, and I told the rest of the table that's exactly what I wanted to do. And, since the decision to chop has to be unanimous, as soon as I withdrew, they shuffled up and dealt out the next hand. Funny enough, as we had been first considering a chop, we asked the TD to run the numbers for each of our payouts based on our proportion of the total chips outstanding, and the tournament must have stopped for close to an hour as the TD frantically ran back and forth to each of our chip stacks in an attempt to discover where his count of each of our chips kept going wrong. As I had flashbacks of the WSOP Main Event recently where some number of chips were found added to the prize pool and nobody could every figure out when, where or why, at some point it suddenly dawned on me: the 75k in chips that was removed from the tournament late on Day One when the idiot with the big stack swiped all the chips off the table and got himself and his stack eliminated from the tournament and from the casino in general. Once someone at the table reminded the TD of this fact, he totally calmed down after having been pretty much in a panic for the previous half hour or so, and he was then able to complete our calculations, using as the denominator in the chip proportions the total number of chips in the event (15,000 starting chips times 772 entrants), minus 75k in chips removed from the tournment late the day before.

Fast forward maybe 15 minutes, 99 ran into JJ, and we were down to 6. Once again the Asian guy broached the subject of a chop, but once again the short stack -- the same guy who had objected the last time (guaranteeing himself 3 grand more in the process as another player had busted while he still remained in the event) -- made the exact same request for 30k payout, while still 6th place was only slated to win 14k. Things started to get heated again, really illustrating I think just how much tension there really was in the air as the stakes progressed higher and higher, and again I responded by withdrawing from all talk of a deal, even though I made it known that I was actually quite interested in making a deal if one could be reached that would be workable for everyone.

We tried to chop again with five players left, when the shortest stack remaining at the final table was eliminated after he allowed himself to blind down to just over 100k remaining and then was forced allin with ATC. This time, with the last of the really short stacks out, and with over $231,000 of prize money to be divided up among the last five runners, I thought we might have a chance of actually agreeing to a chop. But this time it was the big stack, the Danish guy to my right, who resisted, insisting on receiving a payout of at least 70 grand even though his chip stack indicated a payout of no more than 62k and even given the ridiculous pushfest that the final table had become. I was not about to pay the chip leader even a dime more than his proportion of the total chips in play times the total 261k left in the prize pool, and most of my opponents agreed, so we were forced to play on again.

Now I'm not sure exactly what changed between when there were 5 left and when we got down to 4, but when the chip leader Danish guy happened to be the one to eliminate #5 as well from the tournament, suddenly he found himself with 5.1M in chips, to my 2.7M, 2.8M for the old man to my left, and 1.3M for the new short stack across the way. At this point, this was the first time that I became actively involved in discussions for a chop. I thought that with the new and improved chip stack he had, the chip leader might be willing to accept the number that his new stack corresponded to, in particular because with his latest win I figured he would be up somewhere in the 70-75k range, which had been what he was requiring just a few hands earlier. After some quibbling back and forth over largely irrelevant numbers, we reached unanimous agreement between the final four players, and we stopped the tournament for good.

In the end, here's where we ended up. Again, the chip stacks were 5.1M, 2.8M, 2.7M (me) and 1.3M. There was around $212,000 in the prize pool to be divided up amongst the four of us, with the tournament payouts scheduled to be 26k to 4th place, 35k to third place, 50k to second place and 101k to first. As the TD calculated our exact payouts based purely on the percentage of total chips outstanding we each held, I just kept thinking how we had only seen literally three flops at the entire final table, which at this point was going on five hours long (counting several stops along the way to discuss chops, plus a couple of extra breaks thrown in for good measure), and how much I would really like to chop this thing up now rather than just take a luckshot at either doubling up and surviving, or buting out and getting the "paltry" 26k payout instead of securing something much higher here. When the TD came back with the numbers for us, I was realy psyched to see that both myself and the old man with just slightly more chips than me could each be , paid essentially 2nd-place money of 51 grand if we could just chop it now. The short stack was an easy sell on the chop, because 4th was slated to pay only 26k, and he was being offered 37k based on his 1.3 million in chips at the time, so he was very happy to chop. Both me and the other man with 2.7 or 2.8M in chips seemed satisfied with payouts in the 50k - 51k range. I turned to the big stack, with whom I had been quite friendly despite him 2-outering me twice over the preceding few hours of play, and I asked him to just level with us, was he willing to accept the $70,536 the chip counts suggested for a chip chop. He mentioned that the number he had had in mind was 75k. I told him again that I wouldn't consider giving him any more than the amount that his stack dictated, and he reluctantly stated that he would be willing to agree to the chop for 70 grand even. Upon hearing this, the old man with 2.8M in chips jumped on the Dane's exact words, insisting that he (the old man) be paid the last $536 from the big stack since the big stack had said he would chop it "for 70k" despite having been awarded $70,536 by the casino's tournament computers. The big stack said he didn't care about the last $536, so I let the old man know that it was "totally asshole" of him to insist on the last $536 going to just him since there was absolutely no logic whatsoever other than sheer, stupid greed, but that I was not about to hold up a 51k chop for me based on $536 going from player #1 to player #2. So we all agreed, the TD secured a written agreement from each one of us, and the tournament was over.

I'll have more on this in tomorrow's post, but I really could not believe it when they tried to pay me out my $50,800 and change in casino chips. Essentially, cash. Apparently, they expected me to walk right out the front door of the casino with $51,000 in cash, from a tournament where probably hundreds of people had been sitting and watching the final table play out for the past several hours, and not worry about getting mugged or killed for the money that so many people had watched me win. Plus, I guess I was just going to throw 51k into my bags and fly across country with it as well, huh? Even though I am well aware that there are tons of rich-ass people who regularly walk around the casino with more than 50 grand in cash, I'm not one of them, and I wasn't even about to think about doing it in this spot either. I asked them to give me a check for the proceeds, which they agreed to do, but soon after I was informed that there was a problem with the Venetian's check-requesting process, one that could not be fixed right then at 3am, and that if I wanted a check I would need to come by on Monday afternoon after 3pm to pick it up. I thought it over and quickly decided that that's what I wanted to do. This would mean missing my flight out of Vegas early on Monday morning, which would mean missing all flights leaving Vegas at any level of convenience on Monday, which would ultimately mean extending my trip one more day and taking the 7am flight out of McCarran on Tuesday morning, a flight out of the desert which I have taken many many times in my day.

This would end up leaving me with a whole extra day in Vegas, which will be the subject of my Friday post, in addition to some general thoughts in retrospect in what ends up going down as the best poker weekend of my life. So far.

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Blogger Memphis MOJO said...

great recap.

1:14 PM  
Blogger jusdealem said...

Excellent recap, hoy. Congrats again.

10:59 PM  
Blogger OES said...

incredible recap. A pleasure to read and here about yo shit. You did a pretty damn good job writing this for a guy who "won too many pots" ;)

1:44 AM  

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