Keenan and I were both out of Event #23 and both looking for a half
decent game to play at the Rio in the Amazon Ballroom while Noelle was
still playing in Event #23. How about a friendly little $10/$20 LO8
game? Oh, there’s a half-kill. Anytime a flop is seen and someone
scoops, next hand is $15/$30. Should’ve just called it $15/$30 w/ $5
and $10 blinds. These were some of the grumpiest old men on the
planet, I swear. Out of all the vaginas at the table, Keenan’s had
the LEAST sand in it. I couldn’t believe it. We each got into the
game for $700 or more REAL quick and decided it would be a good idea
to get out pretty soon.

But what to play? The lists were disgustingly long for EVERY game.
Well, almost every game. Somehow, I ended up with a bunch of $100
chips and some green $25 chips. Deep down inside my little brain, I
knew what I was getting into, but I honestly believe I thought I was
about to play in a $10/$20 LHE game. The blinds were $5 and $10,
everyone had a bunch of money, it was definitely Hold ‘Em… yeah,
I’ll play.

I snuck in to the open ten seat and said to the nine, “This is $10/$20
Limit, right?” He tries not to laugh and says “Nah, $5/$10 NL.”

Hmm. Interesting. Well, buy-in for $5/$10 NL at the WSOP is $200 Min w/ no cap. I’ve
got $568 or so in loose change. Yeah, I’m poker, I like play. I muck
the first two cards I’m dealt. Second hand at the table — Second hand
I’ve ever played $5/$10 NL, it’s $40 UTG and called two seats behind
in the eight seat. Nine seat folds. I le-laise to what I believe was
a pot sized bet of $135 more.

I get called by the UTG raiser and the dude who had called behind. Of
course the dude who called behind got in there. It was “only” $135
more. Figure roughly 4:1 on his money or something.

Flop comes out KTx and they both check. Well, this could turn out to
be a short appearance at the $5/$10 NL game. “Arrr Rin.” $495 ish.
UTG Raiser calls. Other dude folds.

Turn and river could’ve read out the location of Jimmy Hoffa’s body or the
sacred recipe to Bush’s Baked Beans. All I know is, at showdown, I
said, “I can’t beat your King, Sir.” He says, “Oh, then I got you,
Ace-Ten.” I didn’t tell the guy I was losing to a ten or had a small
ten. I table my JJ for what was about a $1200 pot, with one pair.

This $5/$10 NL shit ain’t so bad.

I played some of the best poker of my life at that table. I had to,
it was some serious fucking money being thrown around.

Once I was sitting around $1500 or so I finally grew a pair of
testicles and didn’t let the sheer dollar amounts get to me too much.
There was a raise from late position after a few limpers and I called
from the blinds as did the limpers.

Flop came out eight high. I check. One of the limpers bet. Raiser
bailed. I didn’t know what to do. It wasn’t a pot-sized bet. It
wasn’t a ridiculously small bet. It was a fair bet, about $100 into
$200 or so. I close the action, heads-up to the turn if I call. So I
do.

Turn rolls of a nine. Well fuck. I don’t like that card, either. I
check. Dude “only” bets a hundo again. I contemplate. No Hollywood,
seriously confused. I check-min-raise. He damned-near insta mucks.

If that dude just calls me on the turn he’s gonna need a hell of a
hand on the river because I’m shoving ANY river. I had pocket tens
that I’m pretty sure we’re good, but I didn’t like ’em ’cause I could
only beat a bluff/semi-bluffj, nines, or “top pair” of eights. When
the nine rolled off on the turn I was even more confused because now I
sure as shit couldn’t beat nines, and I couldn’t beat 98 top-two.

He folded to the min-raise and I felt unstoppable. Next thing I know
Event #23 is whittling down to fewer and fewer players and they’re
approaching the money bubble. I’ve got roughly $2600 in front from my
<$600 investment. I could get used to this $5/$10 bull shit.

I took a short break from the table, grabbed Keenan from the $2/$5
game, and decided to walk over and look at Noelle and see how she was
doing. As we’re walking over there, we hear that they’re about five
people from the money (with >2,300 entrants). All of the sudden, we
see Noelle burst from her seat, and bee-line out of the Amazon
Ballroom. Oh, Fuck, did she just bust out? We’ve got a crowds and
gawkers and tables and media and all kinds of shit between where we
are and where she’s headed. We alllllmost catch up to her before she
gets to the bathrooms outside in the 98 degree heat. 98 Degrees at
midnight, mind you. We yell to her, to try to get her attention. She
doesn’t turn around. Fuck, she’s almost definitely busted now.

While we’re waiting for her to come out we can look around and see
numerous celebrity players. Moneymaker was BSing with one of his
friends off in the shadows, Phil Gordon had walked by earlier. That
dude is gigantic. Earlier that day I saw Daniel Negreanu and asked
him to sign a copy of his book. I didn’t have the stomach to tell him
I feel he’s a much better player than he is a strat book author. But
I did say “Hi, could you sign this, please.” He opened it up and two
pages in, it was already signed and he said, “Wait a minute, already
signed, where’d you get this?” “Oh, look at that… got it off yoru
website.” “OK, what’s your name?”

He wrote on the inside page “Play Good, Travis.” I took his advice to
heart in that $5/$10 NL game.

But anywho, enough stories about the celebs – back to the girl. She
came out of the bathroom and instead of obscenities and bad beat
stories, she was running, almost didn’t see Keenan and I.

She didn’t bubble! But she was indeed about to burst herself. She
said “Aight, move, gotta get back to my table.”

Shortly thereafter the bubble DID burst, and Noelle was on the good
side of it. This was all good news for Keenan and I because somehow
the three of us had agreed to trade 10% of each other in the
tournament. She was guaranteed $3128 or something like that, 10% of
the profit was $160 in my pocket… and we’re free-rolling for even
more money!

When the tourney ended for the day we were all pretty tired and
decided to head back to the Venetian for some rest.

Keenan had done well enough at the $2/$5 NL game to NOT want to jump
off a building and I was swimming in smiles from my $5/$10 victory.
The girl had a shot at a bracelet and was free-rolling for four or
maybe even five digit cash-out at her first WSOP event. To say the
least, we were all in good spirits.

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