And you never saw it coming.
Some days…like today…you will be feeling the perfect combination of older, calmer, more experienced and confident…and at the perfectly timed moment in a conversation you will open your mouth to dispense, finally, what everyone else will instantly realize is indisputably as wise as it is correct…and just as everyone is looking at you in anticipation…you will draw a complete blank.
And you never saw it coming.
As millions of Americans celebrate our nation’s birthday with parades, grill-outs and firecrackers, I will be stuck in a cavernous, over-air-conditioned, non-descript warehouse, leaning over cushioned tables with several hundred other exhausted, bleary-eyed (mostly) men.
And having the time of my life.
Yes, in a few hours, we will begin Day 2 of the World Series of Poker’s “Little One for One Drop” tournament, and I’m still in the hunt. (Read more about the tournament and the incredible charity it supports in my Daily Beast report from last year’s event.)
Precisely, with over 14,000 chips, I’m in 529th place out of the 887 remaining players who have so far survived 10 hours through a field of more than 4400 poker-star wannabes. (Is it fitting that I built my political career around the creation of a 529 pre-paid tuition plan in Kentucky? Naahhhh.)
I am really lucky to be here, and that’s not just some Gehrig-like humility. A little over an hour into the event, I made the stupidest, most regrettable move that I have ever attempted in my three years of World Series events. I was dealt an Ace-10, and the flop revealed a 10, 8 and 6. The betting got intense, and a talky, charismatic Californian at the other end of the table with a larger stack than mine ultimately made a very large bet. I impulsively went all-in, having the top pair on the board (10s) and the biggest kicker (an Ace).
However, with all of the betting, I should have realized that I did not have the best hand. In retrospect, it was very possible that the Californian had flopped trips (three of a kind). Indeed, when he called me and turned over his cards, he held an 8-6, therefore having two pairs.
I was in serious danger of leaving the tournament VERY early. I thought I had 6 “outs” — there were 3 Aces and 3 tens left in the deck that could possibly save me. When the turn (fourth card) revealed a 4. I had one chance left. Finally, came the river. Praying in vain for an Ace or a 10, instead another 4 appeared. I got up thinking my tournament ended with a stupid mistake.
Then, the player to my right quickly informed me that I had just won. I was now the holder of two pair — tens and fours, and my two pair was larger than the Californians. I had doubled up through my stupid luck.
The poker miracle served also as a wake-up call. I became a lot more focused on my conservative/aggressive game (playing only the top hands and playing them with boldness) and played perhaps my best poker ever. I was up to over 20,000 chips, and was poised to jump to 26,000 until I got rivered in an all-in against a short stack. (He had only two cards that could save him from elimination, and one of them showed up.) Still, while the loss took me down to 14,000, I’m still very much in the game, starting today in a slightly below average stack position.
So, now it’s time for your help. Yesterday, I wore my lucky outfit — my Cincinnati Reds Joe Morgan jersey and No Labels ball cap. I’m wondering if I should wear it again (with different undergarments, of course!) — or if I should switch up to my Anthony Davis UK jersey or my Jeremy Lin Harvard jersey. Please provide your counsel in the comments below.
Meanwhile, if you need to get away from Fourth of July festivities, you can follow the action here at the WSOP Web site, starting at 4PM EDT/1 PM PDT.
Then, I was dealt the worst hand of all: Two Kings. Of course, two kings is the second best opening hand in all of hold ‘em. But when one of your table mates is dealt the best hand — two Aces — you are in a whole mess of trouble.
When you are dealt two kings, you feel like the world is in your hands — and a whole mess of your opponents’ chips. You are in clearly a dominant position against any other hand, and when no ace appears on the flop, you are almost guaranteed to be in a heavily dominant position. You know, after all, your opponents only have a .45% chance of drawing aces. A mathematical game, you can’t operate so cautiously as to fear that slim a probability.
So when it happens, two kings are a killer. You have less than an 18% chance of prevailing.
And in my case, the odds held. And I was knocked out of the tournament.
Good news is that there’s another tournament that begins today, and it is one of my favorites: The Little One for One Drop. I wrote about last year’s event and the incredible “One Drop” global water charity it supports here. And I’m back for another try today.
I’ve also tried to change my luck with a new fashion strategy. Take a look at my outfit, and the first person who guesses my shirt fabric wins a prize.
Wish me luck. And hope that I don’t get two kings again.
After two hours, I’ve built up my stack from 4500 to 5950. No special hands, just grinding out small victories. My best move was folding an ace queen when I was convinced my opponent had an ace king. I was right!
Biggest news: I met Trishelle from Real World Las Vegas
Most embarrassing news: I recognized Trishelle from Real World Las Vegas and introduced myself to her.
Something people say when they are still obsessed about some event or person and aren’t really over it (or him or her), but don’t want others to suspect they are still completely obsessed and have been seeing a therapist twice a week for nearly a year-and-a-half to work through the issue and have made little progress.
At airport and huffing and puffing carrying two stuffed bags, one on each shoulder, and neither with wheels.
How do other people know about these much simpler and better options?
I know they exist. I just can’t imagine myself every being particularly orderly and organized. But when I get back into this position I always regret not being. For about 15 minutes.
From Betsy Power of the Toronto Star:
As The RP heads to Vegas for a return trip to play in he World Series of Poker (read here about his improbable journey to the 2012 Final Table), he talks to his friend — and nationally-renowned mental fitness coach — Jim Fannin for some critical pre-tourney advice.
Jim’s advice about how The RP can get “into the zone” — a strategy that Fannin has used to advice some of the world’s most famous professional athletes — can help you better yourself at poker…and in any other aspect of life.
And listen in to their 30 minute poker coaching session…
The RP HIGHLY RECOMMENDS Jim Fannin to his friends looking for an edge in business, sports or any other competitive field. Contact him here.
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