Coast to Coast in Canada: Running Like Death and Running From Death
The last few days before hitting the road were some of the darkest live sessions I’ve ever experienced.
I was playing at the incredibly juicy Edgewater Casino PLO 1/2 game in Vancouver. An uncapped game, it plays more like 5/10 than 1/2 on most days. Usually I shortstack-attack it and take advantage of the piles of dead money preflop but these last few days before hitting the road were, ummm... different.
A presumably rich, middle-aged guy - let’s call him Mr. D - showed up one night and sat down with 5K. I had slowly built a $200 stack up to around 1K and was amazed at what I saw.
Mr. D potted and re-potted every street of every hand for two consecutive orbits, winning one showdown in 16 hands and burning through 10K in the process. 5000 big blinds. He twice called off bets for more than 1000 big blinds on the turn with a pair and a gutter on monotone boards. It was fucking bananas.
When he reloaded for his third 5K stack, I reached into my pocket for the 2K I had behind and headed to the ATM to max out my withdrawals for the day. Sitting 5K deep, it was time to abandon the short-stacking strategy.
It was time to take a crack at his stack.
Two orbits later I got my 2500 big blinds in with top set on the turn vs. his gutter and bottom two pair. He hit the river and I kissed 2500 big blinds goodbye.
As I walked out of the casino, a reg from the games was smoking outside and asked me if I had heard about Mr. D’s backstory. I hadn’t. I was told me that D had been diagnosed with a terminal form of cancer. He had been given less than two months to live. Faced with imminent extinction, he had decided to say FUCK IT and head out on a suicidal gambling mission. You just can’t make this shit up.
Faced with imminent extinction, he had decided to say FUCK IT and head out on a suicidal gambling mission.
The six days I lasted were just plain unholy. Before his appearance, I was flush with winnings from a live tourney and prepared to risk maybe 15K in these outrageous circumstances.
By the end of Mr. D’s run, he had taken a little under 25K from me, twice hitting gutters against my sets all in on the turn for 5000 big blind pots and once getting it in for a whopping 20K pot (10,000 big blinds at 1/2… WTF?) with a lower flush vs. my flopped nut flush; he went runner-runner full house with an underpair. Mr. D then gave these stacks away faster than he could say “re-pot.”
By the time Mr. D ended his death run, I heard rumors he had donated over 200K to the game.
Of course, more than the grotesque run of cards, I was disgusted by the savagery of the setup. We, the regs, were a caricature of poker ecology metaphors, piranhas feasting off a (literally) dying Baluga. All that was missing was David Attenborough narrating the brutality of the feast.
I was embarrassed to be one of them, but the need to get unstuck and the knowledge that there was a lineup of fellow piranhas lurking if I left kept me fighting for the flesh left on the quickly disappearing carcass. By the time I had dropped my 25K, I was exhausted and depressed. I had tailored my schedule to Mr. D’s 12-14 hour all-night sessions and was left sad, empty and more than a little depressed.
Jacked up on despair, I knew it was time to hit the fucking road.
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