...particularly when an earlier one goes awry. My hopes of getting to the WSOP this week were dashed when I couldn't get all the workings into place. Between online-banking delays, ticket snafus, and a bit of a lag (my fault) in securing my press credentials from Harrah's, well, it just all fell through. Last-minute, you see, is only a few ticks away from not at all.
But that's the middle of the story. For weeks, I'd been trying hard to make a trip to Vegas occur, and it was the elusive stick-carrot and I was the donkey... a fitting metaphor at that. Dangling... dangling... haw-hee.
Cash was tight, as always, and though I'd been on my own rush of late (not the least of which is the Poker Dome thing) but I was still one good score away from making the trip. A couple of those juicy freerolls over at Poker.com ended in frustration, especially one where I crashed out on the bubble with an average-sized stack when a top-20 stack called my all-in push on the turn. I had K-Q, the board was Q-J-10-7 with two clubs after the turn, and I had this opponent well enough marked to be sure that he was on a baby pair --- maybe 7-7, but not likely, or the flush draw, despite the fact that I'd denied his odds to chase with a healthy bet on the flop. (A big hand like A-K or A-Q he would have bet himself, along with a two-pair holding or other made straight.) Sure enough, he called my push for half his chips and presented the J-4 of clubs, then hit his garbage-y, fourth-nut flush on the river. Grumble, grumble. Gnash teeth. Slap monitor.
Dream wistfully of the chance to play in the blogger tourney (already done by then, of course), of meeting some people who have been very good to me and have injected some life into my renewed writing career, and of writing a few of those pieces I had planned. But just dream.
And log off.
But if I must tell a bad-beat tale, rest assured that there's more to the story. I turned on the other computer, the Hewlett-Packard Pavilion bomber on my right that runs Windows '98 and only about a third of the poker sites where I have accounts. Only a day or two earlier, Party Poker had dropped one of those "free $40" thingies into my account, and 400 hands later, that $40 was $75 and clear of other play-through requirements. I did the what-the-hell thing, and tried for a last-gasp score. It was $75 of found money, right?
(1) I tried a $22 shootout, and got shot out right quick. Haw-hee again.
(2) I tried one of the plain ol' $10+1 MTTs, and went nowhere in that one, too.
(3) I saw a late-night listing for another $22-entry event, a 7-stud tourney with $6,000 guaranteed in the prize pool. I tried that one, too.
And I took second in the durned thing, despite it being the first stud tourney I'd played in months. $1,078 and a miracle of timing. Party Poker just gave me a grand, quite literally for nothing.
Could I make last-gasp connections on Monday? Nope... too little, too late. But sometimes the hoped-for happens, if not exactly how we we envision. I wished very hard to make it Vegas this year, and out of nowhere came the Poker Dome miracle and a run of small-tournament successes that'll let me make the trip --- not quite the trip I expected, but nonetheless a make-giddy trip for a donkey-stakes player like me. The plans are coming together, and I now plan on being in Vegas beginning the 25th. My press credentials have come through, too, so I'll do the writer thingy through the 27th on a good series of WSOP-atmosphere and satellite pieces. On the 28th I'll move over to Caesar's and enjoy the other side of the coin, culminating in the Poker Dome experience on the 29th, flying back out on the 30th. It turns out that the episode I'll be on will be the first one to be filmed in the now-completed Dome, rather than the temporary studio at Harrah's that was necessitated by, if I remember correctly, ongoing construction-permit snafus.
While I missed the blogger tourney, there are a bunch of you that will still be in Vegas when I arrive, and I'd love the chance to say hi while I'm in town. I'm sure I'll recognize a couple of faces at the Rio, but anyone else, just drop me an e-mail and let me know.