Be Careful What You Wish For

LAS VEGAS—For those of you looking for World Series tournament reports, don’t worry, you’ve come to the right place. Starting tomorrow, you’ll be getting my daily reports on all the big events at the World Series of Poker. Because the only thing going right now is satellite and supersatellite action, I thought I’d open with some of my own adventures here.

For the past few months, I have been dreaming about getting here to Binion’s Horseshoe to participate in the 2000 edition of the World Series of Poker. I arrived yesterday (Saturday, April 22) to gather myself for the big event, and it didn’t take long for me to get my feet wet.

I didn’t dive in headlong right way, but today (Sunday) I played in a three one table satellites in an effort to get in cheap to the big opening event, the $2,000 buy-in Limit Hold’em event. Last year, 609 people jumped in for $1,500 each, creating a prize pool of $913,500, $338,000 of which went to eventual winner Charlie Brahmi. Assuming the increased buy-in doesn’t seriously affect the number of competitors, the 33% jump in the buy-in should mean a first place prize well in excess of $400,000. Yum, yum.

I fanned in my first two satellites but chopped (split) the third one, a rational move even though I like heads-up poker, because with blinds of $300 and $600 due to move to $600 and $1,200 in a couple of minutes, playing a heads-up freeze out with a total of $8,000 in chips on the table doesn’t leave much time for fancy play.

With a couple of the $500 “buy-in” chips in my pocket, I decided to try the supersatellite for the Big One, the $10,000 Championship No-Limit Hold’em event. $220 gets you $200 in chips for one of these supers, and there are unlimited rebuys during the first hour ($200 for $200 in chips).

Usually, when I play a supersatellite, I continue to rebuy if I lose my chips, unless I feel like I’m not playing well on a given night. The “dead money” created by the players who lose their chips and leave without rebuying (to say nothing of the “dead money” created by the entrants who have no real idea of what they are doing), makes this strategy correct… usually.

Tonight, though, as I sat down at Table 22, seat 9, I glanced across the table, and saw lined up in seats 4, 5 and 6 three guys who could easily be in seats 4, 5 and 6 of the Big One: 1994 World Champion Russ Hamilton, Shooting Star finalist and hot-as-a-pistol Jack Fox, and the ever-dangerous Eskimo Clark. There were also two other strong players I recognized at the table.

Well, Andy, you wanted the challenge of the competition at the World Series, and as you learned long ago, be careful what you wish for, you might get it. As soon as I saw this line-up, I realized that my usual policy of multiple rebuys might not make sense here, not with three more weeks of supersatellites available. You have to beat someone good eventually to win a seat in one of these supers, but there’s no law that says you have to wade through piranha at your first table.

Fox, a buddy of mine, was actually the first to crash from our table. He took one rebuy, and left when he lost that, a signal to me that I wasn’t the only Michigan lad to think that there might be easier pickings another day, because Jack has both the skill and the money to keep rebuying without hesitation, under normal circumstances.

Because I like both Jack and his pleasant table conversation, the social side of me was sorry to see him go, while the poker competitor in me breathed a sigh of relief. One tough opponent gone: surely whoever came in to replace him would be an easier mark (there is always a list of alternates waiting to get into the event the first hour).

Director Dave Lamb marched in with our www.nettikasinot.fi replacement, Randall Skaggs, a finalist from last year’s Tournament of Champions. I was starting to feel like Hercules battling the Hydra: cut off one head and two new ones sprouted in its place.

Since I lacked both Hercules’ strength, and his clever idea to burn off the new heads with a torch instead of cutting them off with his sword (I was sure that even under the relatively lax World Series code of conduct, I would get a 20 minutes penalty for burning Randall’s head off with a torch), I decided, when my pre-flop all-in move with pocket Kings got called by K-J of spades and then lost to a spade flush, that tonight would be an excellent night to write an article for poker.casino.com.

Plenty of supersatellites left to go, and the line-ups will certainly get easier. The better players will win seats earlier on, and there are also a few nights when the better players aren’t available—during the no-limit tournaments themselves.

Discretion was the better part of valor today, but there won’t be anywhere to hide tomorrow in the big limit hold’em event. Of course, if I can win some gold jewelry in that, I won’t need to worry about supersatellites to get my seat in the Big One.