Murphy’s Law: If anything can go wrong, it will. We used to play a lot of poker. But two years after I retired, the bad beats kept on coming and the big wins went away.
My favorite bad beat story, really isn’t even a bad beat in the traditional sense. Poker players love to tell bad beat stories but they never want to hear one. I got up for a lunch break but instead of leaving my chips on the table, which I did 99% of the time, I picked up my chips, went to lunch and returned. As luck would have it, I was assigned to the same table I just left. I was not dealt into the hand because the only open seat put me in the small blind. A bad beat jackpot hand was dealt (straight flush beating 7777) to the seat that I had left for lunch. Not only did I lose $7,000 for the bad beat, to add insult to injury, I didn’t get the $500 “table share” because I wasn’t dealt in the hand, so I was the only player at the table, not eligible for any share. The other players gave the dealer a huge tip but stiffed the Wolf even though I’m the reason the bad beat was dealt not the dealer. If I had been dealt in the hand, there would not have been a bad beat jackpot.
I have a lot more bad beat stories. Every poker player does but no other poker player wants to hear them. I kept playing regularly for a year after that bad beat, but my luck never turned around and I lost half my poker bankroll and retired. I don’t feel bad about it. In fact, I’m one of the lucky ones that walked away ahead. I’m one of the few players who never lost his entire poker bankroll, which I never mingled with real money. If you play long enough, that is going to happen, even if you’re one of the best players in the world. I didn’t finished with twice as much money as I started with because I was good. I was lucky for over five years before I got unlucky for three.
This year is the first in over thirty years that I’m not taking at least one trip to Las Vegas. Eventually I’ll get back to playing poker. I still have my poker bankroll locked away in a safe. I plan on going to Las Vegas in January for the SHOT Show, but that’s about this blog and guns not poker. Of course the chances of the Wolf sitting down at a poker table when he’s in Vegas are about as close to a sure thing as you can get.
I’m following the 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event, which is down to less than 100 players. It started out with almost 6,600 participants. Poker is a game of skill but luck is a huge factor. You can’t win a tournament without a lot of good luck no matter how skilled you are. And if you aren’t very skilled, you can go a long way with a lot of good luck.
The final 139 players returned from dinner last night. It was a great run for actor Kevin Pollak and former November Niner Joseph Cheong and for their own reasons, the 2012 WSOP main event was a truly memorable experience.
Seated at the feature table, Pollak returned to action with a stack of about 700,000 in chips and all the intentions in the world to make Day 6. He said before play resumed that he wouldn’t be going all-in with less than a premium hand. He lived up to his obligations on that front, moving all-in with Q-Q. He was called instantly by Kirill Rabtsov, who held … Q-Q.
Yup. That happened. And by the way, Pollak lost the hand and was eliminated from the tournament.
Pollak watched in amazement as four hearts ran out on the board and the dealer pushed the pot Rabtsov’s way as he held the queen of hearts. With his hands on his head, he realized his fate, shook the hands of his opponents and gave the 2012 WSOP a wave goodbye. He said afterward that going out that way gives him a great bad beat story to tell. That’s poker!