Last Men Standing

It was fun while it lasted

Going into Day 3, Gregg and I were the only two NCPT members remaining in the Main Event. Neither of us were endowed with chips to spare. Early on, I doubled up when my pocket aces held up against KK. Pre-flop, there was one caller, the guy to my right raised, I re-raised, he re-raised, I shoved. The board did not hurt me or help him, so I doubled up to 131,000. After that early promise, I went completely card dead. There were stacks over 200k and 300k at my table, so hard to play with air.

Forty five minutes into Day 3 action, Gregg ran into a windmill. He woke up with AK and bet 5K. The button made it 12k, he called. The flop came 296, Gregg shoves and the button according to Gregg, “can’t call fast enough with pocket 9s.” That ended Hamer’s run.

I made it through the first break, at which point I was down to 33k. The blinds had gone up halfway during the first two hours to 400 antes, and 1200-2400 blinds, since we had played an extra half a level the night before.

So, with less than 15 big blinds to go, it was time to find my shoving hand. Starting hands were abysmal. When I got pocket 3s and shoved pre-flop, the next four players folded until it got to Louise Francoeur, who had about 350,000 in chips, and with whom Norm Chad had been shamelessly flirting with earlier in the session, going so far as to give offer her a Starburst, which apparently he did last year before she cashed. She insta-called and turned over AA, which held up, ending my Main Event.

Getting knocked out of any tournament sucks, and this one in particular. You’re making the sausage for 10-11 hours a day plus the breaks between levels and 90 minute dinner break. You focus, you play your best, you get a beat down. But it’s what we do. For a few days a year, you get to test your mettle against the best in the world, a good chunk of them who do nothing else but play poker. If you went out to play golf with Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day and didn’t come home the winner, would you be beating yourself up? You can’t even call what I play at a country club golf. How about singles in a Grand Slam tennis tournament? Anyone of us going to make it through the first round? How about win a set? A game? So, sure, none of us won, none of us cashed, none of us bagged chips at the end of Day 3. It kind of makes sense. The thing that doesn’t make sense, is Begs making it to the November 9. That is freaky-deaky. And I’m not taking anything away from Begs. The endurance, skill, and luck involved in getting through this tournament is ridiculous.

On the morning of Day 3, I rode over to Rio with a guy who turned out to be a neurosurgeon from North Carolina. I asked him, “Which is harder, brain surgery or making it through the Main Event?” Without having to think about it, he said “Making it through the Main Event. You can learn how to do brain surgery, and lots of people can do it.”

So, any of you guys want to enroll in medical school with me? Oh, I forgot, I can’t stand the site of blood. I guess I’ll stick with poker.