Beating 738 just not good enough

May 27, 2003 3:43 AM

Do you know that the saddest words of tongue or pen are "it might have been?"

Carol, I know that I told you and the folks that I was going to play in the $10,000 championship event of the World Series of Poker, and that I was going to be the oldest man ever to win the WSOP championship.

Gosh, I am so sorry to tell you that I did not quite make it this year.

You also know that it is said that statistics are for losers, and that although I am too old to cry and it hurts too much to laugh, that I must now take a look at the statistics of the game.

This year there were 839 players from around the world who put up their $10,000 to play in the WSOP poker championship of no limit poker.

The event started last Monday (May 19) and ended Friday at Binion’s Horseshoe in Las Vegas.

Each player received $10,000 in chips to begin play; this resulted in $8,390,000 in chips in play, and in order to win the championship, all you had to do was play for five days and outlast 838 other players and wind up with every chip on the table.

I brought my A-game to the table; I was rested, focused and I played with courage and some degree of luck.

The first day I moved my chips up from $10,000 to $20,400, which was my goal for the first day. I had as many as $36,000 the first day, but lost a $40,000 pot when I had the best hand when I put the other player all-in, but the poker god said to me, "Not this time."

The schedule called for the players to play five rounds of two hours each; I got to bed about 2:15 a.m.

About 400 players lost all their chips the first day, and the remaining 439 of us came back at noon the second day.

On the second day, again, I had my chips up to $40,000 and got the other player all-in with the best hand, but I lost a $60,000 pot when the better player drew out and the poker god said to me, "Not this time" and I finished the day with $26,400.

The schedule called for us to play another five rounds of two hours each; I got to bed about 2:45 a.m.

Wednesday at noon, the remaining 111 players returned to the green felt poker tables.

I had some luck and got some good cards and built my chips up to $80,000-plus at about 4:30 p.m. The schedule at this time changed to a $400 ante and $1,200 and $2,400 blinds.

This means that your chips bleed away from you at the rate of about $800 per hand or $7,200 each round. I played 50 hands at this rate and the poker god kept saying, "Not this hand, no, not this hand."

At this rate of chip depreciation, I found myself with about $34,000 in chips and I would be broke in about 40 or so hands if I did not find a hand to play.

I never want to go broke by bleeding to death, so now I changed modes into condition red, and I must pick a hand that I could try to play. It is better to die trying that not trying at all.

I raised another shorter stack all-in. The better player called and the poker god said, "No, not this time," and I had $600 chips left.

The next hand I played, and the poker god said, "I told you no."

I went broke with 69 players remaining — I was six places out of the money — the pay line was 63.

Last year in the WSOP championship event, the player who won the championship and won $2 million played in a field of 631 players, or he beat out 630 players.

I outlasted 768 players — 13 more than last year’s champion — and I was six out of the money.

Now, Carol, I am very happy and I played as well as I could, and daddy always told me, "Son, do your best you can do and be the best you can be and everything will always work out."
And, dear, you know that I don’t tell bad bests, just good wins.

So this is a win.

I am the oldest man to ever beat 738 players in the WSOP championship game.

Carol, I am so very happy because I know that the poker god said "Yes" to you at your "The Seniors" Second Chance Tournament at the Orleans, where you had 246 players, and met your goals and was able to pay your second chance champion the $100,000.

But that’s a story for next week.

But I will give the folks a little preview: you finished fifth and beat 242 of the best no limit poker tournament players in the world.

Do you know that together, Carol, we beat 1,010 of the best no limit hold ”˜em tournament players in the world? So how can we be sad? Not bad for one week.

Oklahoma Johnny’s Poker Tip of the Week

In Oklahoma we have a saying: Son, if the horse throws you, you must get back on and ride him.

Do not ever be discouraged in life or your poker game. If you lose, try to learn a lesson and get back in the game at the first possible time.

And you have my Oklahoma Guarantee that next time you can take the money home.

I will get back on the horse in the Orleans Open when I host The Seniors WCOP at the Orleans Open Poker Tournament on July 17.

Come play with me, Carol. If I cannot ride the horse, Carol will break that horse and those other poker players for me.

Until next time, remember to always stay lucky!