This is one of those rare rags to riches gambling stories, well not that extreme, but it felt like that at the time.
Back in April this year Jamie (if you want to know who jamie is check out his blog post here) was over in London for a week on a work trip and fancied playing poker at The Victoria Casino in London ( one of the biggest card rooms in the country ).
After grabbing some food we headed down to the Casino to register for the Sunday night £50 re entry tournament. When we go there we were a bit disappointed to see the number of entrants. We both had an early start in the morning so and were not overly keen on having a late night, grinding a tournament in the casino. Jamie was flying back to Israel with his 3 year old son first thing so had to be up at 5am. I had my youngest sons birthday who was turning 5 the next day so was invariably in for an early start as well.
We made the decision to skip the tournament and head back to my in-laws ( as they were away so the house was free ) to play a few online Sunday tournaments on Pokerstars instead. As we headed out the casino we walked straight passed one of our favourite online slots, Book Of Ra. We couldn’t resist a quick spin and after sticking in £20 and going for a rather optimistic £2 spin we managed to roll in 3 books and the bonus feature on our first spin! After hitting a retrigger our bonus hit £460 and we knew our night was just starting……
Firing up our laptops 30 minutes later back home we scrambled into as many tournament as we could, agreeing that we would split any winnings any of us made 50-50. Being one to dive straight into the deep end I jumped into the $215 Sunday Million although it was 3 hours in and left myself with only 10 big blinds to start with. Despite Jamie calling it a waste of money we managed to double up immediately, winning another few hands soon after and being in a nice spot as the registration period ended.
We had a few other tournaments going on the side, but by 2am we were down to just the Sunday Million with a healthy stack and firmly in the money.
It was hard to not compare similarities between a night we had 12 years ago on Boxing Day, using our very last $10 at 3am to enter a rebuy tournament on Pokerstars which we managed to go on and win for a lovely $15,148.
As the night got later and the players started to fall we couldn’t help but start to daydream about the top prize payout of $128,620. Despite Jamie still working for 888 we were very much clear on what we wanted to do in business together and started plotting our next business venture with this money that wasn’t even ours yet! Sidenote – this is the worst thing you can ever do when you are significantly deep in a poker tournament. Focus on every hand, play with confidence with an attitude to win, but NEVER start thinking about the money until it’s in your account!
Before we knew it there was approximately 30 players left and we had already locked up $2,140 – a very nice return courtesy of a £2 slot spin!
The morning was approaching and Jamie had to dash back home in order to pack, wake up his son and head to the airport for a 7am flight. I also realised that sitting at my in-laws on the morning of my sons birthday would now go down well, despite the magnitude of money we were playing for. If one thing is to come before poker and money that’s Family. So if i had to play out the final table with my 2 sons running around the house excitable opening presents then so be it. And that’s exactly what happened……
I managed to drive home at 5.55 during the 5minute break, having the tournament open on my mobile just incase i couldn’t get home in time for it to re start. Luckily i live 3 minutes away from my in-laws ( in this instant it was lucky, many people would suggest this isn’t ideal!!).
Jamie was on text needing frequent updates as our chips were bouncing around like a yo-yo, spinning up a top 5 position and then back down to a low stack with just a few players short of the final table.
At around 6.30 am we scrambled our way onto the final table, sitting with 3.25M which was good for 15bb and 7th place in chips as the final table started.
Our 3rd hand into the final table, on the button we were dealt the bullets… UG+1 opened for a raise and we were left with a decision on how to play our hand. Visions of that first place prize of $128,620 came rushing into my head.
As you can see the hand played out very un dramatically. I shove all in and the player made a good fold with AQ. Despite winning a nice pot and chipping up to 4m, not managing to get my chips in for what could have been a very significant double up dented my believe that this was the night everything fell into place on the virtual felt. If you have read my post ‘ about me ‘ you will know that i have played poker for a very long time, in some very big tournaments, but have never managed a 6 figure score.For the first time over the course of the last few hours, that winning confidence shot away from me in a heartbeat. A few players were also now short in chips but no one went out so i hadn’t managed to secure any pay jumps. Then, half an hour into the final table i was again starting at Aces on the button having everyone folded round to me. This is what happened next…..
With approximately 10 big blinds I could have easily shoved all in preflop and hoped one of the blinds found a hand to go with. I decided to min raise instead, hoping either of the 2 players raised or came along to see a flop. The hand played out as it should have once i had opted to just raise and there i was sat, son on my lap opening a present at 7am as myself and Jamie had just cashed for a very nice sum of $9,326.