New York City
Editor's Note: Trisha Lynn returns with another installment of Letters to Pauly. In this edition she gets to play a charity event with one of my heroes, Ira Glass. Enjoy! - P
I'm glad that you had a great time off the grid in NYC. It's a shame we couldn't hang out, but as may have seen from my Twitter messages, I was pretty busy last weekend.
When it comes to poker, I'm a total neophyte. Despite all I've learned about the game for over a year playing in my monthly home game in Harlem, there's still a lot I have to learn, and I will take every opportunity to learn how to shore up my game.
Such an opportunity presented itself last Saturday in Park Slope in Brooklyn at the second annual celebrity charity Texas Hold 'em tournament to benefit 826NYC, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the creative and expository arts for kids and teens. This year's tourney offered players a chance to play against (and possibly bust out) John Hodgman (the PC guy in the Mac ads and special correspondent from The Daily Show) and Ira Glass the host of the hipster-popular This American Life radio and short-lived TV show.
In fact, true poker geeks will recall that TAL covered the 2001 World Series of Poker for one of their episodes called "Meet the Pros," which was the year after the one where Jim McManus came in fifth place and gathered the material for Positively Fifth Street. For 26 minutes, you can hear Glass and his associate Starlee Kine do things like follow Jen Harman to a Tuesday night session at the Bellagio and lose against Phil Gordon and Rafe Furst in Roshambo; listening to a re-run of this show six years ago is one of the things that piqued my interest in the game.
Anyhow, the way this tournament was set up was pretty simple. For a donation of $25, you could get signed into the tournament. Every additional dollar you raised through your friends, family, co-workers and anybody else you could reach who had access to your donation website page would add to your starting stack. Also, on the day of the event, you could add even more to your stack before the start of the event with a two hour limit on re-buys and re-stacking.
This sounded like a really cool event to participate in, and after some discussion, only three of us ended up playing at various stack sizes. Our regular host and house dealer The Doc was seated at what he called "the kiddie table" which held players who had the shortest stacks, and Lyss and I held about $200 each which is typical for a $1/$2 tournament. Of course, that didn’t place us anywhere near Hodgman or Glass’ table because they were starting off with about $500 to $1,000 in chips so for me, being able to survive until our table broke would be a worthy-enough goal.
I’m not going to bore you with our various bad beat stories, but I will mention that I tripled up on an all-in just before the break when my K-9o beat a top pocket pair when my second king paired on either the turn or the river. After the break, and with blinds at $25/$50, I held on long enough to see a few more people leave our table.
I got moved to Ira Glass' table where he still held a respectable amount of his initial starting stack. Alas, because Glass is also one of my personal writing heroes, I got so flustered that I got into some pots I had no business playing, and left the table nowhere near finishing position.
Ira Glass from NPR
Later that night at our satellite location in the Bronx, the Doc mentioned that though this was a fun event, the poker player in him felt that the way the fundraising part was done really handicapped players like him who just couldn’t raise that much money on ten days' notice and couldn’t go very deep at all. He said he was going to start working on a letter to 826NYC executive director Scott Seeley and make suggestions that would help bring everything to a more even starting point while at the same time encouraging people to donate more money.
Which is fine with me, because that just gives me one more year to learn how to better play this game.
P.S. The attached photos should be credited to Terry "The Doc" Chu. And here's a pic of the winners, Steve Trifon and Jerad Mione, who won last year.
Thanks for sharing your experience with Ira Glass, who as you know is one of my own personal heroes. One of my many aspirations is to be interviewed by Ira for NPR someday. That would totally give me street cred among the hipsters.
I'm thrilled that you put some of my donation to good use. I'm all for actively pushing and inspiring kids to write. The world needs more writers and it's sad that what 826NYC is trying to achieve is not in the regular public school curriculum. That's why programs like 826NYC need help from citizens willing to donate their time, money, and extra supplies.
Teach our children to write effectively and creatively, and their future, heck our future, will be brighter ten fold.
I'm glad that you had a fun night, I'm going to do as much as possible to play in next year's event for 826NYC.