Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Main event memories Day 4.

My Executioner Jason (hope i haven't ruined the surprise, i didn't win)

It was without doubt it was the most tense few minutes of my poker life spanning some 20 years. Mouth was dry, heartbeat extraordinarily fast, all the usual but I felt a new feral fear in this moment. I looked at the Bellagio clock again and realised Tristan was now 15 minutes late and any minute more might missing the first hand of day 4. Armed with just a shorstack and a desire to win i was more than keen to make the first hand, especially as i was to be the Big Blind.

I flaffed a bit more and just as i was going Ian, Tristan's father, approached beaming widely, knowing exactly what i must have been going through. A canny poker player himself Ian would happily have sent me on my way but if i was gonna be late i'd rather be late with him than some random LV taxi driver who might be more stressed than me. Hours later Tristan turned up and by a miracle the first task of the day was complete, be there for the 1st hand.

The night before accomplished pro and long time friend Asher Deri gave me a few lessons, they were, be there on time, make the first break, make it back in time for the first hand after the break, make it to diner etc. It's simple and good advice as ever from Asher and i grinned broadly as i sat down reminded of his wise words.

I was also reminded that my main man Dalzini, who had as always gone the extra mile for a friend, sent me an email wishing me luck and sending me the profiles of the other players on my table; he also added a little nuggett of his own, "so, basically, I wouldnt fuck with seat 1 if i were you", if only i'd listened.

As i emptied my 3 chips, seat 1 (i was seat 2), the 21- year old internet whiz-kid Jason Somerville opened his and the whole table watched in awe in a kinda poker equivilant to penis envy, his bag was so big even Jordan woulda struggled to swallow it. Turned out as well as having a big bag he had a sound personality to boot and it struck me how so many of these top young players do; the ability to chat away with strangers in the most intense of situations is an admirable quality in my book, the confidence they exude is tempered by the manners they show and Jason and I got on just fine.

After about 15 minutes i was all in and survived without a call and this happened repeatedly up until around 1000 players left i reraised by moving my small stack all in on Jason but then the player two to my left moved all in. Jason passed and my 5-5 beat his A-K putting me up to around 90,000, game on.

Game on it was until the following happened. With around 920 players left we were about 140 off the money and i was about half the average but still stacked enough to hurt someone. For the first time that day it was passed round to the blinds, myself and Mr Sommerville of course. He was the 2nd most aggressive player on the table that contained Barry Greenstein, Deweky Tomko and some other very aggressive players.

The running ante was 400, small blind 2000 & big blind 4000. He raises to 9k i call with k-6. Flop comes k-9-3, he bets 23k, i have 78k left, i move all in, he insta calla and turns over k-9. I'm doomed, a jack hits the turn and i don't even realise i have an out until Jason pulls me back laughing saying any jack will do you. It did'nt come; i shook his hand and a few others whole heartidly and by fate looked up as Ali stood up from the next table and seemed more distraught than me at my exit, told you he was a top bloke.

I texted the sponsors and then just stood around in a bit of shock. I don't know what i expected when i got knocked out so shock it was. I thought i was ok as i mooched out to get a cab and cig but turns out shock can manifest itself in many weird and wonderful ways, I went clothes shopping. It still amazes me to look upon those expensive designer ridiculous looking clothes that il never wear and think in my head, wtf was i thinking. ( a worrying trend of post traumatic poker stress related luancy is occurring more frequently as i get older it seems).

This fucker won my money!

Many years ago i was hospitalised after a roast potato eating competition (representing Ireland i got the silver medal, S.A gold) and that was the only comparison i could make with the sick stodgy bloated self loathing feeling that overcame me as day turned into night. Wish i could say i was great company but in fact i cried off on all diner and drinks invites, i just wanted to be alone, be sad, get pissed and then be happy again.
Went to yellowtail and the bar girls cheered me up immensely; drank some funky cocktails ate some sashimi and then headed out.
Woke up feeling Vegas drowzy but the Bellagio spa soon sorted that. Played some more golf then sat in my room for 4 days solid watching the Open, shit rom coms and living off room service, trip over.

I always knew my poker players CV was incomplete until i'd played the main event and though it took me 20 years (and a lot of help from my very rich friends who would in all likelihood sponsor you if you only just asked them) to achieve it was well worth the wait.
Julian always gives great advice and over a beer he told me what to expect when i got home. He said you'l go away thinking, i gotta play that again next year, youl think of getting that buy in sorted before any other and until you do it will an itch you havent been able to scratch properly, he told me it was in my veins properly now and of course he was right.
One track on my poker play-list sums up beautifully my feelings towards the main event (has to be this remix because its the best there is and when you absolutely, positively, have to groove every single motherfucker in the room; accept no substitute,

Unquestionably the whole experience reinvigorated my love of the game and I doubt i'm the first poker player to have come home and smash into online poker. I also imagine in seven months odd time my ambitions will be to get to Blackpool and be able to afford a £100 tourney, not Vegas, a month at the Bellagio and a $10,000 tourney but you gotta have a dream.
The main event, its like comparing a breakfast of toast, pro plus and a coffee with smack crack cocaine heroin drowning your cornflakes. I've never experienced such a buzz in a tournament before, guess the only way to top it next year will be to win it!
Sound advice that may help me achieve my ambition of getting to Vegas next year.