The joint was packed for the second televised $500 event at the Plaza and the entries were almost double at 152. I drew table 19, seat eight, which turned out to be inside the dealer break room. My buddy Clint Baird was in seat three. I got lucky and doubled up early with Ace-Ace versus King-King and had 2825 when David "Chico" Levi moved into seat one. I caught a nice rush and won pot after pot, bringing me up to 3475 when with the blinds still 25-50, Chico made an enormous raise to 425 under the gun and got a smooth call from the solid player two to his left. I knew the guy knew Chico and was pretty sure that smooth call meant Queens or Aces. I had pocket Fours on the button but decided not to put over 10% of my stack in to hope to catch a set and win a big pot. Well, not only did a Four flop, but another one turned, and my quads would have busted both of them, who were all in before it got to me.
They broke the table and moved me to 17, seat nine, with tax accountant Marissa Chien, one of the nicest people in poker and author of theFrugal Tax Guide for Gamblers, in seat four. "Brooklyn" Dan Pugliese had seat six. I got in a coinflip with pocket Tens against Ace-King offsuit and lost, bringing me back to starting level with 1525. I got frisky and had 1975 when they broke the table.
Now I was back out in the main room at table six, seat seven. Max "The Italian Pirate" Pescatori had seat one; Jeff Rine, seat two, and David Singer, seat five. I continued my winning ways and, with an uncalled all-in the last hand of level three, was back up to 2975 at the break.
I kept steamrolling and was up to 4850 when they broke the table, moving me to 16, seat nine. Mike Laing was on my left in seat one; Craig Gray, seat three; David Singer, seat five, and Hoyt "All In" Corkins, seat six. This was a tough table but I had played with all these guys before and I was ready to gamble with them. I called David's short-stack all in with King-Queen on the big blind and he turned over Ten-Five of Diamonds and won the race, bringing me down to 2400. I shoved it in several times without a call and was back up to 4050 when they thankfully broke the table.
Now I was at table 11, seat two, but Hoyt followed me in seat nine and Mike Laing soon arrived in seat five. I picked a few spots and had 3925 at the end of level six. I came back from the break and picked up a ton of chips from seat four, who wouldn't call me when I jammed repeatedly. I was up to 9025 at the dinner break with 22 left.
I went over to Binion's with "Gentleman" Bill Edler and had a nice bowl of chili at the snack bar to tide me over, still planning to have dinner with Shortstack when we broke for the day. When I returned, I jammed with King-Nine offsuit and got called by pocket Fours. I won the race and was up to 16,200. With 18 left, we were in the money! We still had to play down to seven tonight for the TV table tomorrow. I got moved to table 14, seat eight. Craig Gray was in seat one and Mike Laing in seat four. I continued picking up chips and was up to 28,900 when I busted a short stack on the blinds with my Ace-King versus his Ace-Jack. I was up to 32,300 with 10 players left when a nice lady who hadn't been playing many hands raised under the gun. I saw pocket Queens, considered my options, and decided to move in. Mike Laing moved in as well and the original raiser folded. Mike turned over Ace-King offsuit, spiked an Ace on the flop, and I was out of the contest in 10th place.
Shortstack and I had a nice quiet dinner at Al Dente in Bally's, a virtually unknown but excellent Italian restaurant.