After it was all over, I told the manager at the Encore that it was a good thing I’d spent some time establishing my table image as a complete fish earlier in the week, with two noon games where I busted out in the first round. Then again, it was a victory in another noon game that got me into the “Freeroll.”
Now—particularly considering the way things turned out—I’m not complaining, but the Champions event (open to winners of the six daily events through a calendar month) does have a $20 door fee. Six games a day, thirty days a month, minus duplicate winners and people who don’t make the event, and you might get around 150 players. (Last Saturday it was 138.) That puts the take in door fees within a couple hundred dollars of the freeroll guarantee, which sort of means the players are funding at least half of it themselves, given that a bunch of degenerate poker players are likely to be putting out a $10 door on a Saturday night anyway.
I got a good start in the first few levels with a full house holding a low pocket pair and managed to pick up about 1,600 chips before let me down as I was drawing for Broadway against an older gent. I needed a but got a on the river and bet my two pair, but that made Broadway for his and I was down to about 6,000. I held the line through level 3 and managed to double up just before the first break.
That’s pretty much where I stayed through the next three levels as the blinds leapfrogged from 200/400 to 300/600 to 400/800. At the second break (when I took the photo above) I still had only 13,000 chips even though I’d bought 5,000 in add-on chips. I’d gone from 30bb to 13bb and was at only two-thirds of the average stack.
Another two levels passed without any movement on my part, which was bad, because the blinds took a big jump between level 7 (500/1,000) and level 8 (1,000/2,000). I managed to hold out to level 9 (1,500/3,000) with only four big blinds left then shoved with twice and managed to take the blinds. Pushed again with on a dry board with as the top card and bets on the table and the take took me up to 35,000 before the third break. I was still a couple thousand chips below average (with 47 players left), and was about to start a level with just eight big blinds, but it was better than my position at the previous break.
The fourth session is sort of a blur for me. It would probably be a lot better if I could remember what happened. All I know for sure is that I sent DV an email during the fourth break just after midnight saying:
2 very good hands in last rounds up to 225000. No idea what those hands were or how they played out, but I did somehow manage to sextuple my stack over the hour. Don’t ask the centipede how he keeps all those feet coördinated.
An hour later and we consolidated to the final table. Incredibly, I was the chip leader, with 510,000, just ahead of the guy to my right who had just under 500,000. Between us we held over half the chips in play (about 1.8 million). He rather quickly set to knocking out other players, and in short order he’d added another 800,000 or so onto his stack by removing five players. I was holding relatively steady at (relatively being the operative word when the blinds are 30,000/60,000).
My only real mistake of the tournament came, I think, in proposing a deal to award the prize money based on current chip standings. The big stack was obviously a good player. I had more than twice what the next player had, and she had half again as much as the fourth player. There was no doubt the big stack was going to hold out for the first prize money. Nobody but me liked the idea of awarding by chip rank, and I probably should have just played it out and seen how the 90,000 chips/orbit affected the small stacks rather than accept the ICM deal for second through fourth, which effectively took $210 from me (assuming I would have kept second place) and gave it to two other players. Nothing’s certain in poker, though.
It may not look like much, but there are sixteen black chips stacked in front of me below adding up to 400,000, with five pink 10,000 chips on the side. If my picture is going to keep showing up online, I’m going to need to do something about my hair.
Seven hours. Second of 138 players. +714% ROI (including entry fee, add-on, and dealer tip; I probably should have counted the diet sodas and something called a Titanic I ordered when I got to the final table, but I didn’t).