My starting table included Josh "pbdrunks" van Duhn (who by himself makes the table entertaining enough), John Roveto (third-place finisher in the 2008 $25k Bellagio WPT Championship), and Jason "treysfull21" Mercier (winner of EPT San Remo and EPT London's "High Roller" event).
Although this may sound like a stacked table, it was a relatively weak one as far as Bellagio $5k preliminary events go. I wouldn't have been surprised if I could have named every single opponent when I sat down.
After buying into the tournament, I was approached by Bryan "badbeatninja" Devonshire to do something I'd never heard of before ... a "Noodles last-shorter."
People often make side bets between friends on who will last the longest in the tournament, but this one had a slight twist. Whoever was in the bet and busted out of the tournament first had to go to Bellagio's Chinese food restaurant "Noodles," buy lunch for everyone, and bring it back to the tournament room.
It's one thing to take the dreaded "walk of shame" when exiting the tournament room ... but it's quite another to have to take that walk after picking up everyone's lunch orders.
Add to that the two additional walks of shame endured as you bring the food back and exit the tournament area for the final time. That's just brutal.
On that note, I'd like to thank Scott Montgomery for the chicken with broccoli and steamed dumplings. They were delicious.
However, I guess Scott gets the last laugh since the $6k he spent today on the tournament and lunch is a pittance of his winnings at the Main Event final table as a member of the "November Nine."
While I'm at it, I guess I should also thank Roy Winston in advance for dinner at Fix, since he lost the over/under bet on how many players would be in the tournament. I set the line at 140 and he took the under - which worked out perfectly with about 150 entrants.
Hey, I may have busted early, but at least I squeezed some extra juice out of prop bets! Good thing none of them were last-longers. =)
On to the tournament. We started with $15k stacks at $25/$50. Levels were one hour long and the blind escalation structure was slightly fast, but with a small ante structure.
I didn't get much going in the first two levels, so I spent most of my time BS'ing with pbdrunks and breaking Roveto's balls ... you know, the usual.
During the third level ($100/$200), I lost a $24k pot when the nut-flush draw bricked out against the nut straight and an overpair.
Then with $6k chips left at $100/$200 ($25), I squeezed all-in with 7♦ 7♣ from the button after the hijack opened to $625 and the cut-off called. The big blind just called (::gulp::) and the original raiser tank-shoved for just over $7k total.
The cut-off folded and the big blind obviously called about $1,300 more.
Now I just had to pray for both of them to turn over A-K ... and I was half to three-quarters of the way there, depending on how you look at it, as the original raiser showed A♥ K♣.
Unfortunately, the big blind showed K♠ K♥. The flop and turn bricked out, and John Phan came over from another table to say "seven of hearts!"
Despite the fact that John is running hotter than anyone in the poker world this year, the river bricked and the big blind's K♠ K♥ held for a huge pot. I must be running bad when I would have won against the original raiser's A♥ K♣ and John Phan can't call a two-outer for me!
Oh well. After all, if I hadn't busted from the tournament I wouldn't know what a "Screaming Monkey" tastes like, or that it's made almost purely of several different types of rum! Yummmm ...
Time for me to get back to the Vegas strip. I needed to save my rungoodsauce for the $15k main event, anyway.
"All In At 420"
More blogs from Matt Stout: