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Busting out of the World Series main event early made it possible for me to play in the very first event in season two of the Ultimate Poker Challenge at the Plaza, referred to fondly by Shortstack as “La Última.” While the first events were only $550 buy-ins, every event was televised so my sponsor Full Tilt Poker was happy for me to play in as many as possible. I planned to play in half of the two-day events, unable to play the other half by virtue of winning the previous event.
I had reserved a Hyundai Affront from Avis, since there was no way in hell I was staying at the Plaza, and they had upgraded me to a gray Cadillac Sedan de Ville, which I thought was a nice gesture. I drove it into the Plaza self park, a scary, prison-like edifice with imagined muggers waiting around every corner, and resolved to park with the valet in the future.
They got a nice turnout of 146 entrants for the first event and I got assigned table 29, seat one. My table was set up in a makeshift auxiliary tournament area across the casino. I only recognized one player at my table, Noam Freedman, brother of my buddy Avi “Two Cokes.” Despite his being on my left, I was running over the table perhaps better than ever before and I was up from 1500 to 4325 when they moved us en bloc to the main tournament room, table 14.
I was stealing like mad and after raising three hands in a row and winning the blinds and antes one seemingly solid player, who had made a show of telling me what hand he was laying down every time I stole, reraised me. The only problem was that I had a real hand this time, pocket Tens. I decided to call but he had Alcoholics Anonymous and I was out of the contest in 68th place.
Noam also busted out in time for dinner and we had a wonderful meal at the trendy N9ne steakhouse at the Palms along with Avi. I had the bone-in filet and Noam, Shortstack and I shared a nice bottle of 2001 Napa Cabernet while Avi had two Diet Cokes. Tomorrow: another $550 event in La Última!