Poker was the main excuse, (I mean reason) for our Tunica trip. Certainly, there was a lot of poker playing going on; however, there were numerous other activities that made it a memorable trip. At least 16 people from our local home games traveled to Tunica; some arriving on Thursday, some on Friday, and others arrived on Saturday. Most of us played in at least one WSOP event; several played in cash games at Harrah’s, Horseshoe, or The Gold Strike.
Walter, Chris, and I were the first in our group to arrive at Harrah’s on Thursday evening. After checking-in, and stuffing myself at Paula Deen’s buffet, I headed to the Harrah’s poker room to play some $1/$3 Hold’em. The poker room was overflowing, primarily because the WSOP was in town, and the wait for a seat was about half-an-hour. When I finally got a seat, it was at a table outside of the poker room. Nothing spectacular happened in my first casino cash game. Eventually, some players left our table and when it broke, I moved to a table inside the poker room. I was down, and then up; eventually ending up exactly even after 2 1/2 hours of play. The most exciting occurrence of the evening was that Chris Moneymaker showed up in the poker room, and was playing at the table next to Chris W., and me after I moved. I believe that Matt A. played at the same table as Moneymaker a couple of days later.
I originally intended to play in Event #2, beginning on Saturday, but learned that several players in our group were going to play in 1B on Friday. I got to the registration desk about 10:15 Thursday night, 15 minutes after it closed. Even though the sign at the desk stated it opened on Friday morning at 9:o0, the security guard, and the person behind the desk said they would open at 8:00 am. They lied! To beat the crowd, the next morning, after about three hours sleep, I got to the registration area a little before 8:00, along with others who had been told the same thing (like Zack), and the registration desk didn’t open until about 8:55.
I did eventually get registered, and later took my seat at table #43 – seat 4, just a little before noon on Friday. Seat 5 was empty for a while, and then Jen (and, the reason I know her name was Jen is because almost every dealer called her “Jen”), sat down. If you’ve played poker in casinos, then you know poker players don’t always smell very good, often because they’ve been playing for hours-on-end, and haven’t had the time to attend to personal hygiene. This was NOT the case with Jen – she smelled really good. She also informed the table that she had just had a baby six weeks earlier. And, it was quite obvious she was nursing her baby, if you know what I mean.
Anyway, I had a strange run of hands during the second blind level. We began with 10,000 in chips. With the blinds at 50-100, I was dealt pocket Aces in early position, and bet about 400, and had one or two callers. The flop came Q-x-x, and I bet about 1,000; and had one caller, a young guy in a red hoodie. The turn was another Queen, and I bet about 2,000; and the caller re-raised me all-in. This is the one hand in the tournament that I’ve replayed over-and-over in my mind, trying to decide if I made the right play. Did he bluff me, or did he have a Queen? I’ll never know, because I laid-down my Aces, and he didn’t show. The very next hand, I picked-up pocket Queens. I bet out about 400-500, and the same guy in the red hoodie called. The flop was K-J-x; both the King & Jack were clubs. I continuation bet again, to see where I was, and “red hoodie” again raised me all-in. Once again, I folded, and this time he showed A-K. Finally, just a couple of hands later, I was dealt A-K. After another series of bets and calls, I was re-raised to almost all-in with a K-Q on the board. I called, and my pair of Kings held-up, winning some chips back.
Eventually, the table broke, and I was moved to a different table, where a couple of bizarre events occurred. Soon after I arrived, a young twenty-something guy on my right bet 1,025, and a large, intimidating (sunglasses, beard, hat pulled-down over his eyes) black man “lit into” him for making an odd-sized bet. The table was stunned, wondering why it was such a big deal. A few hands later, another guy bet 575, just to add “fuel to the fire”, and the mood seemed to lighten-up; even the intimidating guy laughed. A little later, another guy on the other end of the table got into a heated argument with the player on his left, who I learned later was pro Glenn Poole (who finished second to November “niner” John Dolan just a few days earlier at the Beau Rivage’s “Million Dollar Heater”), because Glenn’s friend was talking while the aggravated player was facing a big bet. Glenn asked the dealer to call the “floor”, which he did. After the floor came over and had left, the argument started again, which resulted in three “floor people” being called over and the offending player receiving a two round penalty. I ran into one of the other players at our table the next morning and learned that he was Gene Dudek III, co-owner of gulfcoastpoker.net and Gulf Coast Poker magazine.
There wasn’t much else exciting that happened at our table until I got pocket Tens shortly before the dinner break. I had a little over 17,000 chips. The blinds were 1,000/2,000 with a 400 ante. A player with about 10K went all-in, and I called. He show A-T, and I was ahead until an Ace came on the river; leaving me with about 7,500. A couple of hands later, I was dealt Tens again, and shoved. I had two callers; the first one had 7-7, and the other, who thought a long-time before saying “I probably shouldn’t call”, and then did, had Jacks. The Jacks held-up, and my WSOP tournament was over, just in time to beat the rush for dinner.
I played $1/$3 Hold’em Cash at Harrah’s again on Saturday afternoon, with Matt F. on my left, and finished up $90; primarily due to one hand, where I called a $30 bet (that turned out to be a bluff) into about a $170 pot with K-K and a four-flush on the board, and neither of my Kings was the same suit as the four-flush. Then, Andre, Thomas, and I played in a Deep Stack tournament late Saturday afternoon at The Horseshoe. The shuttle bus from Harrah’s to The Horseshoe was packed, and a lady, about 70 years old, offered to sit on Thomas’s lap to make room for others. That was about the highlight of our Horseshoe tournament, with Andre going out first, me next, and Thomas almost cashing – but didn’t.
Chris was the only one in our group that played in Event 1, to make it to Day 2. He was the most successful, tournament-wise, in our group; making an amazing run and eventually finishing in 26th place out of 1,128 players. During Day 2, he won some pots, playing hands like 5-5, and flopping 5-4-4, and lost some when his A-K lost to K-J. When they were down to three tables, Zack, David, Walter, and I were “railing” him. After he busted, we all headed to the bar to celebrate and tell bad beat stories.
Walter, who I swear is so “tight” that he squeaks when he walks, did not play in any WSOP events. He did play in some cash games, where of course, be bought-in for the minimum amount, and proceeded to improve his chip stack by about 1,000%! I guess you could say he “had the last laugh”.
Several other members of our group: Zack, Kenny, Erick, Derrick, Doc, David, Kevin, Matt A., and some other’s that I’m sure I’m leaving out, played in Event #2 on Saturday. But, sadly, none made it to day 2.
I have a Twitter account (@Boblagio), but had not used it very much prior to the Tunica trip. Several players in our group tweeted a lot during the trip, and it was a great way to keep up with each other. We were constantly crossing paths, in the poker rooms, in the restaurants, in the bar, on the shuttle bus, and so on.
Although my poker results were not what I had hoped for during the trip, it was still tremendous fun. Just being there with a large group of friends and sharing our experiences made it a very memorable trip. There are several more stories from the trip that I could relate, but this blog has gotten kind of wordy already – and, “what happens in Tunica, stays in Tunica”. To sum it up, everyone from our group that I talked to seemed to have had a great time, and we hope to make it an annual event – possibly adding even more players from our local group next time.