And boy, did we ever. Sunday gave the crew a chance to get our poker playing skills into the casino again, in a way to celebrate my turning the big Three-Oh. So, we made a two hour trek down to the Pechanga Casino to play in their daily morning tournament. A $25 buy in tourney with no re-buys, was what the doctor had in store budget wise for the group.
All decked in our Team7Deuce garb, we arrived at the Poker room ready to rumble, when the news from the gal at the counter devastated us. “Pechanga canceled the daily tournament today, and instead is offering their main event tournament at 2pm.” Trouble is, the tournament main event was a $500+20 buy in. While the $150,000.00 guarantee was certainly appetizing, the $520 buy in was too steep for any of us. And so, we began to scramble for another tournament elsewhere.
Friends of pablosplace, Phat and his crew were intending to meet us there, but they turned around given the news and ended up playing in Lake Elsinore. According to Phat, two members of their group cashed en route to a final table appearance.
Tim, who was planning a trip to San Diego after the tourney, almost bailed on the extravaganza to head south, as the new destination of Morongo gave what we thought was the next best option. The buy in was only $8, with multiple re-buys and an add-on until the first break. But ultimately, he decided to hang with the group and join us for the 1 hour jaunt to the desert, a decision that will go down in pablosplace lore and infamy.
We were 6 total players down to Morongo now (A special “we missed you terribly to Tay and to Amber who couldn’t make the journey), and arrived at their Poker room at roughly 10:30AM for the 11:00 AM tourney. Traci, Tim, Andrew, and I immediately bought our seats into the tournament, and Jordan had to make a quick ATM run. Robert showed up at the time Jordan had just returned, and by the time they got through the line, the tourney was full, and they had to be placed on the alternate list. Luckily, even though they were 8th (Jordan) and 9th (Robert) on the list, the were able to make it into the fray, and participate in the greatest tournament that Team7Deuce has performed in to date.
I joined the same table with Traci (which proved to be catastrophic later), and after a few bust outs, Jordan later joined our little table as well. At the break, we were all still alive as they had consolidated the 8 table tourney (full to 10 players at each) down to 6 within 10 minutes of the break.
Jordan was the first of the group to go. Having been short stacked upon entering the tournament, he couldn’t draw action on the two decent hands that he did get (A-A, and 9-9), and was eliminated just as the tables broke down to 5. Robert, had chipped up however from his short stack and was sitting pretty. I had chipped up from the 1k to around 11k by the break, and was definitely holding my own. Traci had about 8k in her stack, and Tim and Drew were holding steady as well (Tim, doing so by way of making a Royal Flush).
I was the next victim of the group to fall. After losing a good sized stack as made a call from the big blind with 10-3 suited, the flop had come J-10-6. Action was checked to me and I bet enough (6000) to put the guy behind me close to all in. He thought for a few seconds and then made the call with a J, and I couldn’t catch up. Down to about my last 10k, Traci had moved all in. I moved all in behind her, and action around the table folded. Traci turned over As-Qh, and I apologized to her (“sorry babe”) as I tabled Ad-K-h). The flop looked good for me as it caught neither of us, but did produce two spades. The turn made me start to sweat as a 3rd spade hit the board. And the river made my gasp for air as the 4th spade hit the board. Traci doubled her stack to about 18k, and I was left with only 3k. I made my final move just before the blinds with a Q-3, and was called by Q-10. The flop of K-10-brick gave me almost no outs, and I was out just before the broke the action to two tables in 19th place.
Traci and Andrew went out right after another, as Seven Deuce reared her head in the wrong direction for our team. Having just lost most of her stack having Aces cracked (as the guy called with Q-6, and made a straight with the 6), Traci committed her last 1000 with 7-2 offsuit. However, the board ended up with all high cards, and someone paired their K to walk of with the pot and eliminate Traci in 16th.
Then, a few seconds after that, Andrew’s table let out a giant yell as someone called his all-in bet with, yep, you guessed it – Seven-Two offsuit. That wasn’t the big yell though. The yell came as the board flopped 7-7-2, giving the guy a full house, and Andrew was drawing virtually dead with two over cards. The turn and river bricked out, and Andrew busted in 15th.
Robert was the next member to get dropped from the tourney, as all the chips went in with Robert holding K-J. However, the board was very friendly to his opponent who had paired their Q, and caught another case Q on the river, eliminating Robert in 14th place.
That left our sole representation down to Tim, who was sitting with a comfortable chip stack of around 60k. He had quietly been playing dominant poker, raking in really big pots when he was in, and chipping up nicely. When action went to 12 handed, he was strong. After the next player was bumped out, hand-for-hand play began as the final 10 places were to be paid. Eventually, with the blinds at 4000-8000, the eleventh place finisher busted, and a final table was composed, with Tim holding a good sized stack.
A chop was presented to the table, in a manner where each player would receive at least $240, but not all players agreed, and play resumed. It was a good thing for Tim that it did, as someone from middle position moved all in with pocket 9’s, and Tim made the call with pocket J’s. Action was folded around and the J’s held up.
9 Handed, Tim dealt out another blow as he eliminated his second player in 3 hands, calling an all in bet with a set of 7’s. The other guy had flop an Ace, but was in terrible shape. The turn and river didn’t bail him out, and Tim chipped up to around 90k. Things were that way for Tim for a while, as he tightened up and lost a few blinds after a few orbits around the table. A few eliminations later, we were 5 handed, and Tim stuck again. Tim limped in from the small blind, and a check brought a flop of Qd-4d-8s. Tim checked, and a very aggressive player bet out 16k, to which Tim called. The turn produced the 9d, and Tim again checked. The guy then fired out again with a bet of 32k, at which Tim thought for a minute, before moving all in. The guy almost instantly called and tabled only a pair of 8’s. Tim turned over Ad-5d for the made nut flush, and had the guy drawing dead. That knockout increased Tim’s stack to approximately 200k with just 4 players remaining, and gave him a tremendous chip advantage. The shortest stack at the table moved all in two hands later with A-Q, and got his hand caught in the cookie jar as Tim called, and flipped over bullets. Tim’s Aces held up, and again he raked in more chips. Then action got bad for Tim, as the Guy in seat 1 took a few good sized pots from him, and a few blinds later, Tim had lost his chip lead.
But it didn’t take long for him to get it back. Tim limped in from the small blind, and both players took a flop of A-J-10, and Tim checked. Seat 1 guy moved immediately all in, and Tim insta-called, tabling K-Q for the made straight. The turn made things interesting with a K, but the river was an 8, and Tim crippled Seat 1 guy. The blinds got him on the next hand to Tim’s other opponent, and we were heads up.
Heads up was crazy action with the chips going back and forth. We saw several all ins, and the chip advantage changed hands several times. Finally, with a tremendous chip lead, and the blinds increasing to 64k-128k, the two finalists agreed to chip the pot, and a win was given to Tim for taking the Morongo Casino Tourney.
It was an incredible, amazing, unbelievable, awe-inspiring performance by Tim, who dominated the final table action. While the rest of us on Team7Deuce wore our shirts with pride, and played like champions, there was only one champion to be had today. Tim took down a great pot of $535 and an entry to a tournament that he wasn’t able to play in, so he sold for another $100. All in all, it was an amazing day. This was maybe the single most memorable tourney for Team7Deuce as we saw 5 shirts to 3 table action, and 4 shirts to 2 table action, and an eventual championship for Tim.
Congrats to Jordan, Traci, Andrew, Robert, for such a marvelous run of poker. Overcoming the disappointment of not having the tournament at Pechanga, and having the resolve to really bring it to the casino today was commendable.
But a special congrats to Tim for taking our coveted first casino title. Hopefully, this will be the first of many to come.