the poker chronicles: $10+1 = ??

i asked this question in my last blog. so what does $10+1 equal? obviously $11 right? well, luckily for me, not always. now i am sure a lot of you are wondering, "what the hell is jamie smokin'? can i have some of that shit?", to which i answer, "none of your business. and maybe."

now back to the question: $10+1 = ??

as some of you know, i occasionally play some online poker at ultimatebet (UB). i've been playing on UB for almost 2 years now. i like their clean interface, the numerous games offered, and hourly tournaments available. they are endorsed by pros like annie duke, phil hellmuth, and the "magician", antonio esfandiari. for the last 3 years, UB has held the ultimate poker classic tournament, one of the prestigious events that make up the world poker tour (televised every wed. on the travel channel). just like the previous years, the 2005 ultimate poker classic will be held on the beautiful island of aruba, between 9/26 - 10/1. UB offers many satellites and super satellites to win your way into aruba. geez i sound like a spokesperson for ultimatebet.

i never seriously thought about trying out for aruba. first of all, the direct satellites are somewhat pricey ($100-$300), and usually have about 150-300 entries, where only the top 3 or 4 win the trip. super satellites are cheap, but again, you have to beat out 100-300 people just to get a chance to play in a regular satellite. way too much work.

well, last week i got my weekly email from ultimatebet, reminding everyone that there was only 1 week left to win an aruba prize package. so last tuesday after work, i got home, logged on, and saw a $10+1 aruba super satellite. i figured "what the hell?". there were 106 entries, where the top 4 would win a $200+15 entry into saturday's aruba satellite. i played pretty solid, and 3 hours later, i finished 2nd!! sweet.

oh i see, so ..... $10+1 = $200+15 then? well, not quite.

on saturday (9/10), after almost forgetting about the tournament, i log on at 7:30pm, ready to play. this time, there were 146 entries. with $200 going into the pot for each entry, there was enough for 3 $9000 aruba prize packages, and some leftover for 3 more places. so top 6 got paid, with top 3 winning the aruba package. i focused on playing well, trying my hardest not to think about aruba.

for the first 2 hours, i was kickin butt. i was hovering around 2nd and 3rd place the whole time. i avoided confrontations against big stacks, and bullied small stacks. so far so good. about 3 hours in and around 40 players left, i started to think about aruba. only 40 left and i was 2nd!! then it happened: bad beat. i flopped trip 9's, and had to call an all-in by someone who flopped a straight with QJ. ouch. it was my mistake by not raising him out preflop. that hand took me from 2nd place to around 30th. arggggh. i stayed poised and was forced to play conservatively. shortly after, i went all-in with one of my favorite hands, QQ (the ladies :P), and tripled up. that put me back somewhere in the middle of the pack.

the next hour went by incredibly slow, as players tightened up, and knockouts became more infrequent. finally after 4 hours of total play, we reached the final table of 10, with me in 2nd!! my heart was racing so fast at this point. the final table was a BATTLE. wow. everyone played really strong and aggressive. within 15 mins, i went from 2nd to 10th. then back to 3rd. talk about rollercoaster. eventually 6 remained. at this point, i was somewhat happy because i knew that no matter what, i would win something. then there were 5 ...... then 4!! holy crap. here i was, about 5 hours into this tournament, and i only needed one more player out, and i would win a trip to aruba!! BUT ... i had one big problem. i was the low stack.

all they had to do was bully me. they could un-intentionally intentionally collude, and basically take my chips as a team. "f*ck me!!", i thought. i did not spend my saturday night playing 5 hours of poker, only to miss aruba by one place. oh hell no. luckily for me, the chip leader "creekhouse" was an idiot. he/she made a HUGE mistake by getting into a confrontation with another player, calling and losing an all-in bet. that left "creekhouse" with around the same chips as me. now the game turned into "let's watch two bullies beat up on two small kids", with "pmjackson21" and "9_baller" being the bullies, and "creekhouse" and "eimajination" (that's me) being the small kids. i hung around, and played tough, either folding or raising.

and then it happened:

  1. "creekhouse" raised the standard pot amount.
  2. "9_baller" re-raised all-in. yes!!
  3. "pmjackson21" folded.
  4. "eimajination" quickly folded. i fully expected "creekhouse" to call.
  5. "creekhouse" called the all-in (which was the right move, being pot-committed).
  6. "creekhouse" turned over A-6, and "9-baller" turned over J-J. yes!!
  7. i jumped up and screamed, "no ace!! no ace!! no ace!!"
  8. the flop came without an ace, with no draws for "creekhouse".
  9. i continued, "no ace!! no ace!!"
  10. the turn was a blank, and the river was ...... a blank!!

woooohooooo!!!! i jumped and screamed "ahhhhhhhhh!!! holy shit!!!! oh my god. oh my god." i ran around the living room a few times, did a couple of cartwheels, and then accidentally kicked my foot against the couch. ooooouuuuch. then i remembered aruba, and began doing the roger-rabbit. oh yeah. my technique was flawless for a few seconds, and then it turned into a semi-roger-rabbit, semi-running-man dance. boy that was ugly.


and then it really hit me .... i ... just ... won ... a $9000 prize package to aruba!!! the package includes:

  • $5000+200 entry into the 2005 ultimate poker classic wpt event
  • roundtrip airfare to aruba for me and a guest (my lucky brother is going)
  • hotel accommodations in aruba for 8 nights
  • private welcome party and awards ceremony for online winners
  • special welcome gifts

in addition, there will be a special invite-only, winner-take-all, "let us make you a poker pro!" tournament for online winners, where the lone winner will receive:

  • $25,000 in cash
  • fabulous UB gear
  • buy-ins (paid for by UB) for the following 2006 tourneys:
    • $25,000+500 wpt world championship at the bellagio in las vegas
    • $10,000 world series of poker main event in las vegas
    • 10,000 euro grand prix de paris in paris
    • $5000+200 aruba poker classic
    • $15,000+300 five diamond world poker classic at the bellagio in las vegas

all for 11 bucks!! wow. wow. wow. i'm still in shock by the whole experience. this is all so surreal. of course, this means i have to cancel my vegas trip for the weekend of 9/24, but i think it will be worth it :)


so finally ... $10+1 = aruba right???

no!!! have you not been paying any attention? with the guaranteed $1 million first prize at the ultimate poker classic, not the mention the "let us make you a poker pro!" tourney, the answer is still unknown. if i make the final table of 6, i'll be on tv!! who knows? maybe i'll be a millionnaire in two weeks. ha ha, yeah right jamie. dream on ...

so the question remains: $10+1 = ??

- "eimajination"

more on the aruba prize package and tourney: here
more on the "let us make you a poker pro!" promotion: here (see my screenname "eimajination" on the list of participants!!)
the hotel/resort i'll be staying at: here (check out the virtual views)

screenshot from the tourney page on ultimatebet (see my screenname in third):

i plan to make the following t-shirts to wear during the tournament in aruba: