Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Vegas And Winning A WSOP Bracelet

What a trip to Vegas this was, I am still in aww, shock, and just can't believe what just happened and what I witnessed. Things started off normal, arrive at airport, fly to Vegas, check in at hotel, register for our World Series Of Poker Event, that would start the next day. Some of us went to Aria to play their daily 1pm tournament, and some went to Venetian to rail a couple of buddies that started playing The Venetian Deepstack $2,100 buy in tournament.

So we all meet up at 10am before The WSOP for breakfast at The Rio buffet, when I say all, I mean about 10 or 11 of us, some Orangeville Poker Tour Satellite winners, and friends. The majority of us are playing The WSOP $1,500 Event at noon except Ted Safranko who made Day 2 of The Venetian Deepstack.

We all make our way to our assigned tables and The WSOP starts for us. We meet up on breaks to give updates on our chip stacks, and it seems we are all having kind of the same run, we are up and down in chips, and by the end of Day 1, only two of us have advanced to Day 2, Kirk "Pudge" Caldwell who is sitting around 15th in chips, and myself and sitting aroung 50th in chips. We also find out that Ted has finished 5th in The Vebetian Deepstack for a $25k pay day, which makes me happy as I had a piece of his action. (my blog post on buying action)

Kirk and myself are pretty happy that we made Day 2 with good chip stacks and we are not far from the money. Day 2 starts and players start busting all over the place. Players were busting so fast that when the dealers were told to pause after this next hand so they could start hand for hand to get into the money, it was over without even starting and we were in the money as everyone cheered and clapped.

I ended up busting in 53rd for a $10.5k pay day, but Kirk who was an Orangeville Poker Tour Satellite winner was still in and made Day 3, sitting in the middle of the pack with chips. Kirk is in the money which means whatever he cashes for minus the 30% withholding taxes, 15% of that gets paid out to those that participated in the satellite that he won.

Day 3 starts for Kirk and we are all there railing him and giving him as much support as we possibly can from the rail. Before we know player after player are eliminated and Kirk is racking his chips and moving to the final table that is live streamed online with a 5min delay at wsop.com.

There is a big hand early at the final table that saw 2 players eliminated when A Q defeated J J and 10 10. Kirk's biggest hand also came pretty early when he had QQ vs KK, we all on rail were screaming for a Q and right on the flop came a Q and Kirk had eliminated the player with KK. That was the first of many big hands that played out at the final table. Kirk's biggest play I think came when he held 4 5 of diamonds and checked raised the flop with bottom pair, and the turn gave him two pair. Also another big hand was when they were three handed, and he found himself against the chip leader at the time with J 9 of hearts on a 9 high flop with two hearts, chip leader pushed all in and after Kirk thought for a bit he called and saw he was good with a pair of 9's but no heart was good to him as the chip leader held K 5 of hearts for a bigger flush draw. Kirk's hand held up and he now was the dominate chip leader. When Kirk was finally heads up, it didn't last long, and Kirk used his dominate chip stack wisely, and the final hand played out when Kirk raised with 8 8 and then got re raised, and then Kirk pushed all in and his opponent called with A Q, Kirk's hand stayed ahead and he won WSOP Event 32 and a Gold Bracelet with about 3mins left in Day 3. Congrats Kirk.

Kirk "Pudge" Caldwell is a very good friend of mine, and I have been playing poker with him ever since I started Orangeville Poker Tour, and this will be a day that I will never forget in my life, since I was there to witness this and it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. Thanks for the memories Pudge.

So what's next for us, well a few of us are heading back to Vegas to play in The World Series of Poker Main Event which is a $10k buy in, hopefully I will have another amazing story to tell when I get back from this next trip.

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