I skipped the final $500 event because if I made the final table I wouldn't be able to play in the main event today. With only 55 entrants, it was an excellent chance to make my fourth UPC show and possibly win my first $10k event. I drew table 16, seat three. John Phan was in seat seven; Ted Forrest in seat eight, and Renee Wexler in seat two. I got a great read on Ted early on and called bluffs on the turn and river with Ace-Ten on a low board. Ted showed Ace-Nine and I was up to 33,875. Then Matt Keikoan took seat four and Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi, seat five. Ted raised The Grinder's big blind and I called on the button with Ace-Queen suited. The flop came Ace-Jack-Deuce and I called his continuation bet. The turn was a Deuce and he bet 3000. I decided to raise here both to define my hand and to avoid calling a larger bet on the river if he had me beat. I raised 6000 and he called. The river was a King, which I didn't mind, since when he called my raise I figured I was probably beat with Ace-Jack or Jack-Jack. He decided to check but there was no way I was betting and I checked right behind. He turned over – ready? – Six-Deuce offsuit! His trip Deuces won the pot and I was down to 22,500. I snapped off a couple of Grinder bluffs and chipped back up to 32,275 at the end of level two.
When I returned from the break they had moved me for balance to table seven, seat two. On my left was Allen Cunningham in seat three; Martin "The Knife" Deknijff had seat five; Men "The Master" Nguyen, seat eight; Amir Vahedi, seat nine, and "Gentleman" Bill Edler, seat one. I dribbled down to near my starting stack at 30,075 when they broke the table.
My new assignment was table 14, seat nine. Max "The Italian Pirate" Pescatori had seat three; Chip Jett, seat five; and Layne "Back to Back" Flack, seat six. I was down to 27,100 at the end of level four. I won a couple small pots and got up to 32,500 when I decided to jam with King-Jack offsuit over the top of Max's reraise. He turned over the Cowboys but I made a miracle straight to double through. It had been a long time since I had had a major suckout in a big tournament and I had hopes that my luck might take me all the way. I had 46,150 at the dinner break.
When we returned I limped under the gun with pocket Tens. Chip limped on the button and the big blind rapped. The flop came Jack-Ten-Eight and it checked to me. I bet 2400 and Chip called. The big blind then jammed for 16,000. I jammed and was surprised that Chip quickly called. I was hoping he had Eight-Eight but he had the dreaded Nine-Seven offsuit for the dummy straight. The big blind had Queen-Jack, taking one of my outs to improve but I still had a decent chance to more than double up. My luck ran out, though, and I was out in 34th place. "One of these days, Mr. Jett," I said. He nodded and rapped the table respectfully.
The anticlimax in busting out of a big event was always unsettling. I no longer had plans for the next few days, but it was never dull in Sin City. I knew I'd be back soon.