If possible, go for the Rolls!

Jan 27, 2003 10:45 PM

Now, what was it I was going to tell you?

Oh, I remember. I was telling you about America¡¦s Cup poker tournament that was held by Bob Stupak, the Polish Maverick, at the old Vegas World hotel and casino, which subsequently evolved into the Stratosphere.

I remember that Bob, ever the promoter and showman, gave away several cars and two special prizes, including a mink coat to the lady who won the ladies championship; my wife¡¦s mother, Jane, won the coat while playing her first ever poker tourney.

The other special prize was a freeroll opportunity to the winner of America¡¦s cup to play Bob head up in a freeze out poker match for his casino¡¦s limousine, a beautiful vintage Rolls Royce.

My friend and fellow Oklahoman, Berry Johnston (a member of The Seniors World Championship of Poker¡¦s Hall of Fame) won the America¡¦s Cup final event, and Bob, true to his word, played Berry a No Limit Hold ¡¥Em Head Up Freeze Out with his Rolls Royce in the balance.

But Berry¡¦s foot missed the log, and Bob kept the pink slip to his limo.

All of this is groundwork for the next story. Fast forward a few months to the next poker tournament, the Stairway to the Stars held at the Stardust.

This occurred during the time frame when the movie Casino was being filmed, and Billy Smith was the cardroom manager and Bob Thompson, the "Silver Eagle" and member of the Seniors Poker Players Hall of Fame, was the tournament director.

Thompson, one of the best, arranged to hold in addition to the regular events, three special head-up match play tournament events.

Like a tennis match bracket ¡V first round with, say, 64 players is cut down to 32, then 16, then 8, then 4 and finally two left who play in a head up freeze out.

The events were $500 +50 buy-in, No Limit Hold ¡¥Em, Omaha Hi No Limit Hold ¡¥Em and Limit Hold ¡¥Em.

Well, when the No Limit Hold ¡¥Em match play was scheduled, there was an odd number of players. So, Bob Thompson had the players draw for a bye in the first round and gave out several bye¡¦s, thereby making the bracket work so that 32 players would remain after the first round. I drew a bye for the first round; I am always lucky and try hard to stay lucky.

Bob Stupak arrived at the Stardust tournament too late to enter and be in the draw for a bye and could not play in the event.

He really wanted to play in the event, so Bob Thompson told him he could play if someone who already had a bye would agree to give it up and play him for the position.

Bob Thompson told me about it and I said sure, I will work out a deal with him so that he can play, and I gave up my bye.

Keeping in mind that Bob had previously beat my fellow Oklahoman Berry Johnston in the America¡¦s Cup, my deal with Bob Stupak was this: If I beat Bob, I would get the Rolls Royce, the chauffeur, a tank of gas and $500 expenses for one week.

It did not sit well in Oklahoma poker playing circles that someone from Vegas could bet one of us Oklahoma boys. Plus I wanted to expunge the stain on Oklahoma poker.

The match was on and, of course, I beat him and won the Rolls Royce, $500 expense money and Bob¡¦s driver for one week.

It would be better if someone else could finish the story, because in Oklahoma we only tell the facts and the facts are: I not only beat Bob and won the limo for a week, I won the tournament as well. In fact, I won all three of the Match Play events, and I still have all three trophies up at my ranch in Arizona to prove it.

We have a saying in Oklahoma for just about everything. The saying fits here: If it¡¦s fact, it¡¦s not brag.

Well, Carol¡¦s mother and father were flying in for a visit, so I just put the limo at their disposal for the time they were here. It sure made me look good around the house while Carol¡¦s folks were here on their visit.

Just a minute, Carol is saying something. "What have you done lately? Go play Bobby or Steve and win us another limo for your grandchildren Lorie and Eric to use. They will be coming out to stay a couple of weeks soon."

Oklahoma Johnnny¡¦s Poker Tip of the Week

Develop the Can Do attitude. In some circles, self love is thought to be a bad trait, but you have to believe in yourself, to believe you can win.

If you believe, you can make other players believe that they cannot beat you; you can psyche them out.

Try it and then take the money to the bank.

Remember, to stay lucky.