Inside the Tour, Vol. 94: Seniors Tournaments
There has to be a lot of equity in playing in events where the players are falling asleep at the table, showing cards, and falling out of their wheelchairs. Or so one would think. But I've played well over 30 senior events in poker and have yet to even cash once. Wow! I mean for someone who is used to getting to the final table one in every six events that I play, this is disappointing to the nth degree, and no explanation is in sight.
This year at the WSOP nothing changed, nothing at all. I had a decent stack (meaning above average) through three rounds and then lost a race (J-J versus A-K) and suddenly was an endangered species with 1,475 in chips and then expired with the other side of the same "race" (A-K versus J-J), showing my versatility. In this instance none of the above incidents happened, but they have all actually happened in games I have played in over the last decade.
Last year at the World Series of Poker I had over 11,000 in chips when I was moved in from the tent and set in front of a blaring loudspeaker that never rested for one second during my last hours on Day 1. The blinds were 300/600 with a 75 ante so one can easily see that I didn't have a very comfortable stack and was likely below average, as a lot of the field had taken an earlier exit. The gentleman on my left had mountains of chips and was the table leader with more than 35,000. Despite this he played in very few hands during the first two rounds that I was there. In middle position with I raised to 1,800 and he made it 5,000 to go. My first instinct was to let it go but I thought upon this for a bit and he shuffled up his cards while awaiting my decision, first a black ace when I looked over, then a red ace… oh well, this was an easy one to muck at that point!
After going through the blinds one more time they raised the limit to 400-800 with an ante of 100. It was passed to the player on my right who had two more hundred chips than I did, and he raised to 3,000. I looked down at and moved all in for my last 8,200. It came back to him and he insta-called with and I was done as no miracle appeared.
That same brings out old memories. About eight years ago in another senior's event in Reno, Nevada I was second in chips and picked up this very hand under the gun and raised to 2,400 over a big blind of 800. I was called by only one player, Hal Kant, who was the chip leader. (Remember him? He is an attorney and represented the Grateful Dead and also played a good game of poker.) The flop came and I bet 4,800 and he thought a bit and then went all in which covered my remaining 18,000 in chips. Now it was my turn to think. The pot had 34,900 in it and it seemed unlikely that I was drawing dead. He could have or or or …well a big range of hands that I could beat and should call with getting the odds that I was—additionally if I won the hand I would be a huge chip leader. I called. He had for a set and after the and then the showed up I was done.
The only other senior's tournament in which I was near the money was a $2,580-buyin no-limit event at the Bellagio a few years ago. On Day 2 I was fourth from the bottom in chips but had plenty and won a pot or two. On my right was Ron Faltinsky, a player who had (at least in my mind) a history of holding over me in tournaments the previous few years in Los Angeles; he started the day quite short but went on a rush that included winning several hands in a row prior to my being in the big blind and him in the small. It was passed around to him and he looked down at his cards and then went all in. I looked down at and would have called a young player immediately, but gave Ron a much deeper look as he is not generally reckless with his chips and we were two spots from the money. Nonetheless I was still leaning to the call when John Esposito spoke up with, "You don't have to worry, Dennis never takes more than a few seconds to make a decision!" and I inexplicably mucked! This might have been my one opportunity to score, who knows? I do know that two hands later I put my money all in with only to have my opponent turn up and I became the bubble boy.
Speaking of that pair of kings (), another hand in another senior's event at the World Series of Poker (this one at Binion's, downtown) comes to mind as well as the fact that I seem to have lost a lot in these tournaments with K-K! Oh well, I can't change those hands. The hand I remember is one where an unknown cowboy limped for 200 UTG and another player raised to 600 from the five hole and I re-raised to 1,800 from the cutoff with and 4,400 more in chips. The cowboy had me covered (barely) and he started to muck his hand and then thought better of it and called, and the raiser threw his hand away in obvious disgust. The flop brought and the cowboy checked and I bet 2,800, at which time the cowboy went all in. I thought he had a flush draw and hoped it wasn't something like where he held a lot of extra outs, and I called. He turned up and after the came off on the turn I was drawing dead.
Wait! I have more stories like this. My warning is don't be anxious to play in senior events because horrors may await you there…
Until next time play good, and get lucky…