Shana had quit the World Poker Tour to try her luck at being a movie star but I entered the first event of season four anyway. The Mirage wanted $10,200 to play and I plunked it down in the now all-too-familiar ritual. There were 317 entered, smallish for a WPT event, and I drew table 34, seat four. A real movie star, Jennifer Tilly, was two seats to my left in seat six, looking gorgeous and 10 years younger than her 46. David Benyamine, prevented by the US government for a year from entering the country because someone with the same name was on the terrorist watch list, was back in competition in seat eight. Seat 10 was last year's WPT champion, Martin "The Knife" De Knijff. Seat one was the talkative but now sober Mike Laing. And on my right was WSOP champ Huck Seed in seat three.
With all those great players at the table it was Jennifer who got hit with the deck, flopping sets and Straights and piling up huge stacks of chips. I found pocket Queens in early position and raised. David re-popped me in middle position and I called. The flop came Ace-Nine-Eight with two Hearts. I checked to David, who bet 1500. I probably should have just folded there but I saw something funny in his face and decided to take a stab at the pot, making it 5000. He called and I was done with the hand. The turn was a King I checked and he thought for a long time before he checked behind me. Now I was confused. Could he have reraised me with something like Jack-Ten of Hearts? The river was a Ten. I deliberated mostly so as not to appear weak, then checked. David thought for a while and then bet only 4000. If he had Jack-Ten I don't think he would have bet there. I decided he had Ace-King or Ace-Ace and I mucked. He later said he had Ace-Ace. I was down to 8000 at the break from my starting 20,000.
Seats five and nine busted and Pete Moore, a tourney regular, came into seat nine. Marc Aubin, whose Aces I cracked in Tahoe, took seat nine. They moved Huck to another table for balance and my bad luck continued. I was down to 5500 at the break. I won a couple small pots in the next 90 minutes and scratched my way back to 6950 at the next break. Then Paul "Pretty Boy" Phillips, one of my favorite players, came in on my right in seat three. I loved playing with Paul because of his wit and energy but every time we had been at the table one of us busted within 10 minutes. This time it was me. I got my chips in on a three-way pot with a Flush draw that didn't come and I was out of the contest 208th.
That was it until the World Series in June.