A shot at WSOP glory

OK – for those of you who have difficulty remembering passwords, this week the password for the Freddie Mays Tournament at 8pm is:

aaaaaaaa

The reason for his choice will become clear when you read on….

Next in our rota of weekly fun and games is the weekly caption competition.  See if you can think of a fitting caption for this wonderful specimen striking an impressive pose:

The person who comes up with the winning caption wins a token to the Fantastic Friday $1000 added tournament.  Submit your entry to @paddypowerpoker on Twitter.

A rare thing happened to me this week while I was playing poker – a rare thing indeed. In fact it was so rare that it was the very first time it’s ever happened to me.

Wanna know what it was?

Well it wasn’t a Royal Flush because I’ve had thirteen of those. I’m not kidding either, I really have. I must be very lucky because Daniel Negreanu has never even had one and he’s been playing a lot longer than I have.

It wasn’t the dreaded “set over set over set” situation either. The dreaded “triple set” situation is a very rare beast but I’ve had two of those as well. The last time was a four way all in on a K87 flop with me holding KK against AA, 88 and 77 (what a set up!) Of course the river was the case 7.

Nope – the rare event that happened was running AA into AA and winding up the winner.

Getting dealt AA and running into AA isn’t massively rare when you play as often as I do. I’ve had it numerous times but usually it just ends up as a split pot. But this week when it happened, for the first time in my life I actually won the hand.  Of course the only way to do this is by making a flush and that’s exactly what I did (on the river as well – which sent my opponent into a bit of a tailspin but what can you do?)

Anyway, with the World Series of Poker having been underway for the past two weeks, this hand reminded me of the time I played the main event. Yes, me in the Main Event. Don’t be so surprised! I have in fact played the WSOP main event once, five years ago in 2006 and it was quite an experience. I enjoyed it so much I swore that I would always play the WSOP after that.

“I’ll be back to play this event next year. And the year after. Yeah, every year”. We all agreed we would play every single year from then on.  But I’ve never played it since.  Shame really because it really was a great experience.

Anyway, the story of how I ended up playing the 2006 WSOP is quite a goodun so this week I thought I’d share that story with you.  To start at the beginning we have to go back to the early part of 2006 ……

My mate Mike had just proposed to his girlfriend and she’d said yes. He asked me in the pub if I could be the best man and of course I agreed immediately – I’d known Mike since I was 7 years old. He didn’t have a wedding date at that point but it meant I needed to be thinking about planning a stag do, writing a speech etc – all that stuff I’d never done before.

I thought I’d do something completely different. What I propsed to do was play poker for him as my wedding present. I was playing well and fancied I could make him a few quid.

My megaplan was simple: we would set up a new poker account and I would put £500 aside and play for thirty days. At the end I’d turn all the profit over to him. Simple. I don’t know what his expectations were but he thought it sounded like a bit of fun and so it began. Just to show you how clueless I was at bankroll management at the time I sat down at a £2/5 cash game with all £500 on the table!

I’d play at night because I had a day job back then. After each night’s session I would send him a daily email which he would pick up the next morning – saying what I had done and telling him about the big pots. This was pretty pointless because he didn’t even play poker really, but he could see what the bottom line was and he grew to anticipate these daily emails with a real sense of excitement.

For about 3 weeks I played every night and did OK. I’d play £2/5 and £5/10 and I’d play 4 tables at once sometimes. I think the pot was up to about four of five thousand. I was a prodigious drinker at this time and I used to enjoy nothing more than getting completely smashed on a Friday and coming home to play poker. I used to either lose a load or win a load in those days and in that state. My usual MO in 2005/06 was to win a huge sum and then lose it all back and I did this more times than I care to remember.

Anyway, one particular Friday I was hammered but playing with a rare concentration – a fine balance between pissed up recklessness and solemn determination to win as if my life depended on it.

I started winning and decided I’d move up from £2/5 to £5/10. I won there as well – “easy game”, I thought, and pretty soon I stepped up to £10/20 and won there as well. I was on a roll!  I didn’t stop: I moved up to $25/50 no limit and plonked down $5000 on the table.  I was nervous as hell playing against the top boys but I got a few lucky cards and I kept winning.

Mike was out partying and I’d been texting him through the night with updates. He thought I was a couple of grand up. At about 4am I got a call. It was Mike.

“Mike, I’m ten grand up”.

“No! You’re kidding me?”

“No messing about – ten grand cash moolahs. Told you I’d sort you out! And I’m stepping off the tables right now. I’m not losing this back tonight”

And I cashed in.  (Cause for a few more beers)

The next day I woke up still a bit groggy but before long I was back sitting down and playing again. It was around this point I realised that the real money was to made short handed, where I could get into more pots and I where didn’t really need a big hand to win a big pot. Before long I was playing $25/50 again with three players.  To cut a long story short I got through to Sunday morning. I called up Mike this time

“Mike I’ve won ten grand”

“Yeah, what a result. Nice one son, I can’t believe it. I’m so chuffed”.

During the course of the conversation he pointed out we’d already spoken about this on Friday.

“No no no. I’ve won ten grand again”, I said.

“Jesus Christ. ANOTHER ten grand? You’re not serious”.

“Yeah, just over ten in fact and I walked away at the absolute highest point. You’re going to have a good wedding son”.

I could hear voices in the background – a hushed conference between him and his missus. Let me tell you, it is about 3.5 miles between Mike’s house and mine and I reckon he was round my house in about 8 minutes.  My legendary ability to piss away my winnings was not lost on them….

The thirty days weren’t up but sometimes you’ve got to cash in your chips and this was one of those times.  Immediate withdrawal was the order of the day before I lost it all back (and I’m certain this was his fiancé’s idea).

We’d set up an account especially for the job and now we were emptying it. I remember we had some security issue for that withdrawal. It was a large sum and it was also a new account so in theory it could be suspicious so there were hoops to jump through. But he got some ID sent it over and he got the funds.

He decided to take £11k for the wedding and I had £9k. This suited me fine – I had originally said he could keep the lot but this was this was way better than we’d expected and more than fair by me.

And there was a little unforeseen consequence….a bonus was in store.

Mike got an email saying that out of all the new accounts opened in April, our account was one of the 15 which had raked the most and we were being invited to a freeroll in a week or so. A reward for that dedication!

The winner of this tournament would go to Las Vegas and play in the Main Event. Mike forwarded me the email and I had a look. Unlike most promotions this was a truly great opportunity. Most freerolls have got 2000 players to beat but this was a basic 15 man Sit n Go – with 1st place (and only first place) going to Las Vegas with a $13k package.

I can remember playing it. I’d been properly hammered on an all nighter the day before so I’d slept the afternoon and set my alarm for this tourney, which was around7pm.

If I thought having to only beat 14 opponents was a great deal you should have seen what happened when the tourney started – only 6 players were sat down! Unreal.  9 players must have not read their email! I was getting a good feeling about this.

I was still half cut and groggy when it started and I set out bluffing like a maniac, not at all with it. On about the third hand I got into a real tizz and I put about half my stack in on the river without even a pair. If he’d called I would have surely capitulated within minutes…..but he folded…phew! I got my composure and got some momentum together and after a while Mike knocked and joined me to watch. I knocked out a player or two and after a while we were heads up.

I remember the final hand. On the turn I had the nut flush and it was a queen high flop. He shoved all in! For a second I got it in my head he must have QQ for a set and I was going to lose to a full house because the board would pair up on the river but I called of course and he only had JJ.

He was drawing dead! We’d done it! I was going to play the Main Event!

Wooooo-hoooooooooooo.

We went mental. I remember I had a bike on the hall and I jumped on it and quite ridiculously started “riding” round my front room. Unbeknown to me my little brother was watching the game unfold online and he called me up to congratulate me.  We were buzzing.

Not long after Mike received an email from the poker site congratulating him and giving him further details.  It was only then we realised something fundamental about the deal:

We’d assumed that it would be me playing the Main Event but of course the account was opened in Mike’s name and the small print confirmed it: this was definitely not transferable.

Whoops!

Oh well – it looks like Mike would be going to Vegas.

Only one problem – Mike didn’t play poker! Ha ha.

Well he’d better start learning then……..

And I’d better get myself qualified too. There’s no way I wouldn’t be going as well. The accommodation was already sorted – Mike’s suite at the Rio which the poker site were putting him up in for 17 days!

(to be continued on Monday)

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