posted by Absinthe | 8:31 PM
At the Tilted Kilt:
Everyone’s a pint or three deep into what will eventually become a three-figure tab – small stakes for those of you who travel in the Can’tHang circles but a tidy sum when you’ve got two Hollywood lightweights contributing their meagre drinking skills to the process – when word comes down that Hellmuth is heads-up with Helppi for the bracelet in the $1K NLHE rebuy event. (You know, the one Negreanu dumped $48K into without making the money.) Hellmuth is thus on the verge of his 10th bracelet, the one that would tie him with Doyle and Johnny and make him, indisputably, the 10-bracelet winner with the lowest ratio of World Series cashes to declarations of supreme greatness.
It is proposed that an historic event is perhaps in the offing and, considering the fact that three of the four of us are ostensibly poker journalists and the fourth (me) certainly doesn’t have anything better to do, we ought maybe make our way down to the Amazon Room and see if a scrawny Finn really can make a 6’5″ Wisconsin boy cry like a little girl. This proposition is seconded, carried on a voice vote, and instantly forgotten milliseconds after our waitress notices that Otis’ beer is less than 82% full and offers to procure another round.
X number of rounds later another passerby informs us that Hellmuth is indeed heads-up with Helppi and that Hellmuth has the chip lead and it’s decided that to-go cups are going to be the skid-greasing that gets our asses off their stools. These turn out to be mostly unnecessary but give Wheaton something to do for a few minutes while Otis decides whether our tab will bear the scrutiny of the revenooers.
On the way to the Amazon Room I discover that Otis is too important a person to wash his hands after making use of a urinal. Later on I mistakenly shake his hand anyway.
At the Amazon Room:
Spaceman uses his access kung-fu to spirit us to the best seats in the house, a little section between the rail and the media tables that gives us a nice profile of Hellmuth, a head-on angle on Helppi, and the back of the head of some guy who isn’t the dealer. The fuck? We have been mislead; it’s not heads-up at all.
Three hands later Helppi busts Some Guy Who Isn’t The Dealer when he calls an all-in with A9ish against Some Guy’s KQ. Some Guy slinks off to wherever it is non-celebrity winners go and Helppi and Hellmuth prepare for a titanic battle.
Helppi has Hellmuth outchipped nearly 2:1 at the outset and begins making further dents in Hellmuth’s stack right away. Phil raises, Helppi moves in, Phil folds; Helppi raises, Phil folds; Helppi and Phil both just fold the button once each, from what I can tell, proving that not even the pros play power poker all the time.
Suddenly the crowd’s on its feet and surging forward, because Helppi has 9-time bracelet winner Hellmuth all-in. It’s a race; Helppi has A6o, Hellmuth 55. Hellmuth flops a set of fives but it’s all diamonds; Helppi has a sickly four-flush draw with his six of diamonds.
Turn’s a diamond. Crowd is aghast. Even the people who usually hate Phil are rooting for the board to pair. Except for Wheaton, who’s got the under in a prop with Otis about the length of the heads-up match, the loser being responsible for yet more three-figure tabs at the Tilted Kilt; Wil needs this thing to be over tout suite. (I am not involved in the prop but will reap a few pints’ worth of benefits either way, making this the first true freeroll of the Series for me, and therefore I am ambivalent about whether I would rather see a Hellmuth blowup or a Hellmuth end-zone dance.)
River pairs the board. Hellmuth has a boat, Helppi’s four-flush is no good, and they’re about dead even in chips.
Not so much later, Hellmuth limp-calls Helppi’s all-in with AJo vs. A9o. Hellmuth wins, there is much rejoicing, and Spaceman ensures that we are all invited back to the UB suite to partake of Dom and the benevolent glow of Hellmuthian greatness.
This is the point at which Otis has an idea. Let me be perfectly frank: Otis is incapable of having a good idea after 1AM in Las Vegas. I think very few people are and Otis is definitely not one of them, viz. crayon consumption, high-three-figures Pai Gow bets, &c.
Otis actually has several ideas. He has so many ideas that “So, what should we do now?” changes from an essay question to a multiple choice-quiz incorporating options like “E: A and B and maybe C if there’s time.” None of Otis’ ideas are especially wise or good, insofar as they involve things like a) playing games that we are virtually guaranteed to lose at, b) playing games we are hypothetically good at but in no condition to play, c) drinking enough to induce comas, or d) all of the above, especially if there’s time. And, hey, it’s only a quarter after one!
Those of you who believe in the power of groupthink might do well to take notice of the thinking powers of our little group, because of all of Otis’ ideas, we manage to settle on the most kamikaze option available to us: going downtown to Binion’s to play the 2AM tournament, where we will be miles away from our beds, playing poker with the sort of people who go to Binion’s on a Monday night, with little or no chance of escaping with our lives.
Oh, and with a last-longer bet.
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