Step by Step, Inch by Inch
by Andy Glazer©1999 Andrew N. S. Glazer, all rights reserved. Used with permission. Andrew N. S. Glazer is the author of Casino Gambling the Smart Way available at most bookstores.
Stay with me. You're going to get two stories for the price of one, including chip leaders and positions for the final four tables tomorrow. If you can't wait for the exciting print version of tomorrow's action, you'll be able to go to www.philhellmuth.com and listen to it live.
About three weeks ago, I was sitting pretty. It was late on the first day of Bay 101's Shooting Star tournament, and I had about $440,000 of the $1,500,000 in chips in front of me, the rest belonging to the other 15 players still remaining. If a psychic had approached me then and told me that with 6 tables left in the Big One at the World Series the chip leaders would include an under-appreciated Bay 101 regular, a graduate of the University of Michigan, and a guy wearing an Esalen hat, I'd have thought, "my life is about to undergo a big change."
Well, change is certainly inevitable, but as usual, it doesn't bring what we suspect.
The top three Bay 101 finishers were to get, in addition to big chunks of cash, seats in the Big One, and with nearly one-third of the chips, if I'd had the experience to match the rush of cards I'd just caught, I'd have gotten there. But my "death hand," pocket kings, cost me a bundle when John Bonetti flopped an Ace, and various other bad decisions, including a mis-timed call on Joanne Bortner (an under-appreciated Bay 101 regular) led to an early exit.
So tonight, as I wandered around, I saw Joanne with about $130,000 in front of her. Fellow Michigan grad Chuck Humphrey was, with six tables to go, the chip leader at $190,000, and the Esalen hat was being worn not by 2-year Esalen community member Glazer, but by Paul Rowe (whom I'd met there last year when he made a short visit), who had about $140,000.
Just goes to show that what they say about belonging to the right clubs, going to the right schools, and living in the right places means when push comes to shove.
Joanne has been the talk of the tournament, firing chips and calling with the same sort of aplomb that got Kevin McBride all the attention last year. In just 20 minutes, I watched her in these three hands:
First, she got involved with pro Tony Lantz. Joanne, in the 4-seat, had called a $4,000 raise from the 2-seat, which had already been called by the 3-seat. Lantz made it $9,000 more to go, and the blinds, two, and three seats all said "no mas." Joanne thought about it for quite a while. Finally Lantz grew tired of waiting and said "if you come over the top of me in the next 30 seconds, I'll probably throw it away, but if you wait any longer, I'll call." A lot of drama with no flop yet seen.
Joanne waited about four seconds more and obliged. "All-in," she said, a bet of about $40,000. Lantz didn't stick to his coming-over-the-top promise and called instantly. The dealer turned up a board of Q-4-2-J-6, and Tony showed his A-K. Joanne turned over pocket sevens, and Tony was gone.
About 15 minutes later, noted pro Stan Goldstein raised $8,000 pre-flop, and Joanne took very little time going all-in. Stan hesitated for about 20 seconds before calling with his last $32,000. The flop came A-Q-5 and Stan immediately looked skyward as if to say, "why me?" Joanne turned over A-K, and Stan showed his pocket eights before leaving.
Where did I read that to win a tournament, you gotta both win with A-K and beat A-K?
Joanne was stacking her chips rapidly, a good thing since two hands later she got involved with Ireland's Noel Furlong. Joanne raised $8,000 from the button and Furlong called from the big blind (which was $1,600). The flop came K-8-5, and Furlong bet about $8,000. Joanne instantly went all-in, and Furlong very nearly beat her into the pot. I assumed he held pocket fives or eights, but it turned out to be K-5 for Furlong and A-K for Joanne. Furlong had doubled through to about $150,000 and Joanne, although still very much alive, had lost a big chunk of change.
The other most interesting "live by the sword, die by the sword" player in the early maneuvering was Huck Seed. Huck had won about $90,000 in a pot where he flopped a set and got it all in against a poor unfortunate fellow who had merely flopped the nut flush. But the board paired on the turn and Huck had a big ole pile o' dough. About an hour later, Huck held pocket kings (glad to know I'm not the only one for whom this hand causes trouble), got it all in on a flop of Q-10-5 against someone holding 10-8, only to lose an $80,000 pot when an eight came on the river. Easy come, easy go.
There's still a bit of maneuvering to go tonight, to get down to the final 36 (all of whom will be in the money thanks to the huge field), but after two days of relatively conservative play it is clear the tension is starting to get to a lot of players, even those who've been there before. Without naming names, I've seen some strong players make some mighty strange bets and calls in the last couple hours.
Huck still has a fair number of chips, as does Erik Seidel. Call me a front runner but I like these guys to get there. An Esalen hat and a Michigan guy with chips both will be in the final 36, I'm quite sure, and Furlong has too many chips and too much experience not to get close. As to Joanne, by the time today is finished, I sort of expect she will either be the chip leader or be out. After that... just hope A-K is kind to you, one way or the other.
To be continued below... Same Bat-time, same Bat-channel.
The Kings are Dead, Long Live the Kings©1999 Andrew N. S. Glazer, all rights reserved. Used with permission. Andrew N. S. Glazer is the author of Casino Gambling the Smart Way available at most bookstores.
OK, seeing as how this is the Big One, you all get two for one today. Two for one is usually a good deal, unless you were playing late on the second day of the World Series and got two Kings dealt to you on one hand. With one notable exception, holding two Kings late tonight was more harmful to your health than smoking, drinking, skydiving, bungee-jumping and playing Keno, all rolled up into one.
Paul Rowe, my Esalen buddy, made it into the final 36, but not without losing $100,000 when he found his pocket kings opposing two aces.
Chuck Humphrey, the chip leader when I last sat down at this keyboard, had the misfortune pocket to hold the Cowboys three times, including once against Joanne Bortner when she had eights. All three royal duos fell. Joanne flopped an eight, at least putting Chuck out of his misery early. The other two were as ugly as the time Chuck's Aces got cracked. In case you're wondering how a chip leader can go out in four hours, give him three pairs of kings and one pair of aces and have none of them hold up and now you know how.
Young Phan had slightly better luck with his Kings. Two players had already gone all-in when the betting got to Phan and he pushed them in also. When the flop came A-5-5, he slammed the table in disgust, ending the rail debate about whether he held Kings or Aces. The first bettor had held pocket 10s, so Phan won a side pot, but the second held A-K (to win a tournament you have to win with A-K and beat A-K...) to win the main pot. Phan lost about $5,000 net on the hand, the start of a frustrating sequence of hands which eventually led him to bet (with 38 players remaining, 36 of whom were going into the money for a minimum $15,000 payday!) his remaining $20,000 in chips without looking at his cards (or so he said when he was called by A-K). Young turned over 10-6 offsuit, making his story about not having looked much more believable, and A-K held up.
Then there was the all-in hand where Kings went up against A-Q suited, survived a flop of 4-7-10 offsuit, and then went down to a Queen on the turn and an Ace on the river. The ill-fated success of two Kings coming together was starting to resemble Baltic political alliances of the 18th and 19th centuries.
Remember, all this happened AFTER Huck Seed lost with his Cowboys to 10-8 offsuit. And didn't I mention earlier something about a John Bonetti A-10 and my pair of Cowboys? All this regicide made the hand where A-K beat pocket Aces (four clubs hit the board and the King was a club) seem ordinary by comparison.
The only player who made Kings hold up is the guy who had EVERYTHING hold up the last hour, the tormentor of both Chuck Humphrey and Joanne Bortner, Ireland's Noel Furlong. Furlong took out Joanne when Kc-8h-6h flopped. He bet $30,000, and Joanne stared at him for about two minutes. Finally she moved over the top with her last $103,000, and Furlong called the $73,000 raise fairly quickly. No more hearts came, Furlong turned over Kh-Qh, and Joanne mucked her hand without showing it. The end of a nice run for the last woman left in the tournament.
Best line of the late night went to Jonathan Kaplan, a stock trader for the Chicago Susquehanna firm, who said, about moving on to the third day in his very first World Series: "you know what this is like? You know the minute before you're going to have sex for the very first time ever? Not the sex itself, but the minute before? This is like that. A unique and grand experience." That's a nice analogy, Jon; I'm sure Day Three will be exciting in ways you can't predict, although I suspect your fellow players have no intention of being gentle. And you're a likeable fellow, so I hope you last longer than I did back in my dorm room in Ann Arbor.
Furlong has well over half a million in chips now. There are some very heavy-hitting veterans still in action. Huck Seed has plenty of chips, as does Erik Seidel, and Randy Holland is in the hunt. The most interesting seating position to come out of the re-draw, as you'll see below, is that Furlong and his billions will be in the big blind when Huck Seed has the button. Can't wait to see what happens if Furlong finds himself in the BB with KK. I'm sure BB King has some sort of blues riff that will be appropriate.
1) Bob Smith 61,000 2) Ty Bayne 135,000 3) Eric Holum 85,000 4) Doug Traverso 51,000 5) Mike Davis 36,500 6) Jonathan Kaplan 41,500 7) Huck Seed 149,500 8) Don Thompson 74,500 9) Noel Furlong 555,000
1) Stephen Lott 135,500 2) Scott Amos 16,500 3) Erik Seidel 216,500 4) Lance Straughn 108,500 5) John Inashima 46,000 6) Chris Bigler 50,500 7) Alan Goehring 354,500 8) Randy Holland 138,500 9) Mike Epstein 179,500
1) Joel Fischbein 71,500 2) Robert Oxenberg 99,000 3) Robert Cooke 41,500 4) Dewey Weum 55,500 5) Mickey Finn 46,000 6) Gary Lent 137,500 7) George McKeever 113,000 8) Paul Rowe 54,000 9) John Hennigan 121,000
1) Mel Fisher 39.500 2) James Van Alstyne 148,500 3) Padraig Parkinson 74,000 4) Bill Brenske 129,000 5) BBQ John 3,500 6) Q Knopow 7,500 7) Hal Kant 220,000 8) Glenn Schott 66,500 9) Bill Fain 65,500
Remember, live audio broadcast at www.philhellmuth.com!
|Internet coverage of the 1999 World Series of Poker is brought to you as a service of ConJelCo with the full and active cooperation of Binion's Horseshoe. ©1999 Binion's Horseshoe some portions © 1999 ConJelCo|