Success does happen, just not to me |

Success does happen, just not to me

Jeremy Evans

The World Series of Poker has returned to Lake Tahoe, which means I made my return to the tables for a shot at glory. In the past two WSOP Lake Tahoe circuit events, my plan has been to finish in the money and then parlay my winnings for a bigger buy-in tournament.

I have never been successful in doing that, going 0 for 2 in my previous attempts. But the person who sat next to me at a $300 buy-in, Texas No-Limit Hold’em tournament last Thursday at Harveys did just that a few months ago.

He was playing in Stateline at the final WSOP circuit event last season, just weeks before more than 8,000 players participated in the 2006 WSOP main event in Las Vegas. He won a satellite tournament to earn his seat at the $10,000 buy-in championship event that included world class pros such as Barry Greenstein and Chris “Jesus” Ferguson.

Since he got knocked out and didn’t finish “in the money,” he admitted he would’ve rather sold his seat and play smaller buy-in tournaments. Regardless, his story proved that poker success does happen without ESPN cameras.

When I heard his story after sitting down last Thursday – the first stop of the 2006-07 WSOP circuit event season – I instantly gave him respect. As in life, if someone has experience in something you don’t, shut your mouth and open your ears.

Before long, I also discovered that he doesn’t play anything less than Ace-10 unless it’s suited and he will never raise from early position unless he’s holding high pocket pair. More good information, but it didn’t do me any good except for one key hand.

There were seven tables when I started last Thursday, and within three hours there were two tables left. I increased my chip stack during the first few rounds with a mixture of bluffs and position-raises. I only had to expose my cards twice and was holding the winning pocket pair each time.

However, the biggest blow to my stack occurred with 18 players left and the blinds at $200-400 and the antes at $50. With $3,800 and holding pocket 10s in middle position, I watched Mr. “I don’t play anything less than A-10 unless it’s suited” raise after the player in front of him called the big blind.

Not wanting to get involved in a multi-player pot unless I was getting maximum value on my hand, I considered my options. The guy behind me was short-stacked with $2,400 and I noticed he was fingering his chips.

With the blinds and antes set to increase, I could tell he wanted to move all-in. So I moved all-in, hoping to go heads-up with the short stack. My plan worked and the short stack turned over K-J unsuited.

The flop came Q-7-7 and the turn was a 5. Someone else mentioned they had folded K-J, meaning there were only four cards left in the deck that could hurt me. Of course, the river revealed a King, which busted my 10s and left me crippled with just over $1,000.

In the 70-player field, the top three players earned $5,000 buy-ins to this weekend’s main event at Harveys, while the fourth-place finisher earned $4,329. When the tournament consolidated to two tables, I knew I had to accumulate chips to have a shot at a top-four finish.

Sensing weakness from the other players involved, my all-in maneuver was the proper play, but I got unlucky and was left short-stacked. With my options dwindling and each player equipped with anywhere from $5,000 to $30,000, out of desperation I moved all-in two hands later and got knocked out when my K-J unsuited was beaten by A-J unsuited.

The beauty of these WSOP circuit events is they create more opportunities for rags-to-riches types of stories. Unfortunately, it just hasn’t happened to me yet.

– Jeremy Evans is a Tahoe Daily Tribune sportswriter. He can be reached at 530-542-8008 or by E-mail at

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