I made my way to Vegas today. The Oakland airport was almost totally empty as was my flight. As per usual we hit some pretty bad turbulence coming over the mountains into Vegas. I don't often get airsick, but I have unloaded into a few airsickness bags on special occasions. This time I managed to keep my breakfast down...barely. Landing was like the classic movie moment when the hero cuts the blue wire with 2 seconds left on the timer and saving the flight crew and passengers on a mostly empty July 4th flight to Vegas from a bomb made of eggs, sausage and pancakes.
Once I got into town my good friend Matt Lessinger who is also here for the main event picked me up from the airport. After a quick stop at the Rio (which was buzzing with poker players) to register for the tournament it was off to the Palms to meet up with the folks from pokerstars.
Part of the deal with the package pokerstars has given me is wearing a pokerstars logo at the table while I'm playing the main event. So I had to go pick up a bag full of pokerstars hats, shirts, a jacket and other swag. Also since they transfered most but not all of the money I have coming to me into my account (they're holding $1,000 hostage until I play) I had to show them my tournament ticket to prove I was actually playing the tournament.
On top of this business there was also a free poker tournament for everyone who got their entry through pokerstars. At six pm today I got to play a 6 handed no limit single table tournament (in person) that paid six spots! That's right it was free money! 6th-3rd place paid $100, 2nd place paid $300 and first was $500 plus an entry into a tournament with an $800,0000 prize pool that will be taking place online in 3 weeks.
The tournament was designed to last about an hour or maybe 90 minutes (with each player getting 2,000 chips the blinds started at 25/50 and doubled every 15 minutes). The players at my table were all pretty weak, but after 30 minutes it was go time. I moved all in with 66 and got called by 99! ACK! But, I flopped a 6 and doubled up to about 4,000 chips.
I took out another player when I got dealt AQ and my opponent moved all in with A9. Now I had a commanding stack with 6,000+ chips. After a little back and forth another player ended up with the other 6,000 chips at the table and we were heads up.
Interestingly enough this guy had on a plain black T-shirt that had four names on it in 2 inch high white letters. Another player asked him what was up with the names and he said they were characters from Gossip Girl. "What the hell is Gossip Girl?" the guy asked as I snickered. Black T-shirt informed him that it was a TV show and he wore the shirt because it often sparked conversation with girls. Clearly he didn't take himself too seriously and we all gave him shit about his shirt like we were old friend for the next half hour. "Maybe I could get pocket aces if I wore a god damn gossip girl shirt! Was your The Hills shirt dirty today?"
After we got down to heads up we played a few hands and my opponent got the better of me. I was under 4,000 chips and he had over 8,000 and I knew I'd need to get lucky to win given the structure. When we started heads up play he said he give me all the money if he could have the online tournament entry. I declined, but now that I was in bad shape I asked him if the offer was still on the table. He thought for a minute and then agreed.
So I got $800 and he got the entry. This might have been a good deal, an OK deal or the worst deal I've ever made. I know the prize pool for the online tournament, but I don't know how many entrants there are going to be. If it's 300 players I screwed myself to some degree. If it's 600 or 700 I made a fair deal and if it's 1,000+ I made a great deal. We'll have to wait and see. The good news is I got $800 that seemed like money falling from the sky. It seemed like this was a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush situation.
After a nice buffet dinner with Matt, his Mom and two of his friends it was off to the Flamingo. Which is where I am now. It ain't the Bellagio, but it's alright.
Tomorrow the action starts at noon. I'll put up a detailed post either tomorrow night or Monday morning and Jen will be putting up the text updates that I'll be sending every 2 hours when I'm on break.