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Making the Most of My Opportunity

April 11, 2010

Saturday was a beautiful here in Vegas, or so I was told. Sunny, 80 degrees, no wind. Perfection.

I’ll have to take my friends’ word on the weather though, since I never got outside to see it. Instead, I spent the day inside the Caesars Palace poker room where I played in a charity tournament to benefit Opportunity Village.

I generally don’t play a lot of these events because they’re designed for people with a lot more money than me. The tournament uses a super-turbo structure where your initial $300 buy in gets you just 1,000 chips. Players are then encouraged to rebuy – often – for $200 a pop, and take an additional $200 add-on at the break.

For someone like me, this can be a bankroll buster. But still, it’s a good cause and the event was sponsored by my friend Emily, so I figured I’d earn some Karma points by heading down to the Strip and donating a buy-in. If all went well, I’d be done in time for a late lunch.

Somehow, things ended up going better than well and, when all was said and done, I’d managed to weasel my way through a field of more than 200 players and eek out a second-place finish worth more than $5K.

Honestly, I never expected to get so deep and I didn’t bother with taking notes throughout the day, so I’m ill-equipped to provide any significant hand histories. In fact, the two key hands that I remember clearly both occurred at the final table.

In the first, blinds were 4,000/8,000/200 when I decided to steal the blinds and antes by shoving for 66K from middle position with Qh-10h. Howard Lederer was on the button and called with Ac-Ks. I’d been running well, however, and my luck held when I spiked a Queen on the flop. I then faded Howard’s outs and, when it was discovered that his stack was exactly the same size as mine, busted him from the event.

In the final hand, I actually got my money in ahead. We were three-handed when Gina Hecht (an actress I’ve never heard of) shoved for about 45K from the button. I looked down at two 10s in the small blind and re-shoved for about 120K. Jeremy Jensen, who had the big stack, called from the big blind with Ac-Jc.

The race didn’t last long, as Jensen wasted no time in flopping the nut flush. Then, to add insult to injury, he spiked running Aces to finish off the tourney. The victory earned him a seat in the WSOP Main Event.

Overall, it was a truly fun day and I got to spend some time with some interesting people at the table. In fact, one of the highlights, was getting to spend an all-too-short amount of time chatting with Adam Savage of the Mythbusters, who joined the table for about 20 minutes before busting out. Thanks to Grump for the visual proof.

Adam Savage and Me - Courtesy of Poker Grump

Adam wasn’t the only celebrity at the table though. Joining us during this part of the tournament were Christina Keegan (Miss Nevada), Taylor Barton (a Full Tilt Poker-sponsored NASCAR driver), Gina Hecht (actress) and Howard Lederer and Allen Cunningham, both of whom are professional poker players. Or so I’ve been told.

And really, that’s what yesterday was about. A bunch of people getting together to have some fun and raise money for a good organization. The fact that I happened to benefit in the process… well, I guess I should also say thanks to everyone who played.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. April 11, 2010 4:00 pm


    Sorry you didn’t have the anti-whistle during your all-in hand 😦

  2. April 18, 2010 5:54 am


  3. April 18, 2010 10:10 am

    Nice. I final tabled the Venetian DS that same day, though I got absolutely no karma points. Sounds like a good time.

    I went once to a charity poker event with a very wealthy poker friend. Place was full of bankers and the surroundings we’re super-posh. 1k buy-ins with 1k rebuys. Definitely not a charity event for writers.


  4. katkin permalink*
    April 18, 2010 4:00 pm

    Nice job on your final table Jay. I love those Venetian tourneys.


  1. Poker for a Good Cause Notable Charity Scores by Katkin, Full Tilt | Pokerati | Texas Hold'em and Las Vegas Poker Blog

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