Las Vegas, NV
$5 million? $10 million? $15 million?
No one knows for sure. I heard a range of numbers tossed around back and forth for eight hours. The lowest I heard whispered was $5 million; the biggest number mentioned was $15 million.
According to my spy embedded inside the ropes of the Stud 8 10K Championship, Mike Matusow was overheard telling one of the Binger brothers that Phil Ivey would have been on the hook for $9 million if durrrr won a bracelet in the donkament.
No one in poker has ever won that much in a single clip. Jamie Gold's first place prize at the 2006 WSOP was $12 million... minus an undisclosed amount to Crispin Leyser, which I'm pretty sure was enough that Gold walked away with less than $9 million.
$9 million... and from one person. Phil Ivey. Most likely Ivey bet $3 million on 3-1 odds. That meant if durrrr went on to win Event #11, he had a shot at the single highest pay day in the history of poker. During an interview with Gloria Balding at Poker News, durrrr mentioned that if he won the bracelet, he's be looking at his largest score... ever. Let's not forget that he's won millions in a day playing nosebleed tables on Full Tilt.
If you're still trying to figure out what the hell I'm talking about, here's what happened... Tom "durrrr" Dwan bet a dozen or so pros that he'd win a bracelet this year. According to a post of his website, durrrr specifically detailed the parameters of his bets, but never actually publicly disclosed who/how much. Note that the text was CLTR+C'd from durrrr's blog...
-- 3.25-1 on getting a bracelet this year, london countsWhen Day 3 started, the final table was not yet set and a few pros stopped by to check on the Durrrr's progress. One of them included David Benyamine. Benjo noticed that Benyamine stood on the rail for eight minutes while durrrr played out a hand.
-- 2-1 on getting 2 bracelets in 3years, london counts as a chop (if i win 2+ in vegas i win, if i win 8 in london 0/1 in vegas we wash)
-- me vs ivey getting 2-1, london counts, if we both win a bracelet its a wash (even if i win 8 and he wins 1 its a wash or vice versa)
-- me vs negreanu getting 2-1, london counts, if we both win a bracelet its a wash (even if i win 8 and he wins 1 its a wash or vice versa)
-- most cashes at wsop (with or without london) vs anyone of your choosing i get 1.3-1
Le Railbird Benyamine
"He never does that," explained Benjo. "A guy like Benaymine doesn't sweat tables, especially tournaments. You know he was there out of concern. I don't know how much money he bet against durrrr. It must be a lot otherwise he wouldn't be there."
Durrrr made the final table of Event #11 donkament and not only were his opposing bettors sweating their balls off, they were tortured with the action played out on the final table stage a mere 30 yards away from the section where the 5pm event $10K Stud 8 played out. That list included David Benyamine, Eli Elezra, Huck Seed, Barry Greenstein, Howard Lederer, Mike Matusow, Phil Ivey, Andy Bloch, Daniel Negreanu, Sorel Mizzi, and Doyle Brunson. I'm sure I missed a few names.
Word quickly got out... cash game section, media room, 2+2 forums, the Hooker Bar... that durrrr would win at least $5 million probably more if he won the donkament. One of my trusted sources said it was $15 million. I couldn't believe that, but if you consider that Ivey had $9 riding on it... then $15 million makes sense.
The Amazon Ballroom lit up like it was the Main Event. Buzz. Energy. Tingling. The moment is hard to describe because it doesn't happen to often. Electric doesn't do it justice. If you've ever done Ecstasy, then that's the closest thing I can say described the feeling inside the room. Warm and fuzzy.
The final table stadium area filled up. Fast. The unlucky ones got stuck up in the beef jerky-less and booze-less beef jerky lounge. Some people were sitting on the floor (even Barry Greenstein at one point) and the ones who couldn't find standing room only had to wait for a break and steal a seat.
Durrrr's donkament final table drew more spectators than the 50K 8-Game, and by gauging Twitter, it seemed to attract more buzz from folks following along at home all over the world. I got almost 100 Twitter followers during the final table. Even Annie Duke followed me at one point, and now I can't make fun of her on Twitter. According to Change100, the pros in the Stud 8 championship were glued to their iPhones and CrackBerry's refreshing Poker News' coverage.
And how much of a fucking coincidence (I keep saying this over and over in my head the past eight hours) that the Stud 8 Championship was being played out right next to the final table. I mean on any other night, most of those superstars are not playing. Serendipitous indeed.
Durrrr became the biggest game in town.
A percentage of the crowd had no idea about the prop bets, and they were simply spectators who were fans of durrrr from his spots on High Stakes Poker. A good portion of the crowd were online pros who were rooting for Dwan. I wondered how much side action they had? When the Sunday online tournaments ended, that contingency grew larger. Booze flowed. They got rowdy, like farmhands getting sloshed in Wyoming saloons. A few were unleashing feral animal sounds. One guy was barking. When durrrr won a pot, they chanted his birth name "Tom Dwan" like it was raining down from the blue seats at Madison Square Garden. The tenacious crowd was overwhelmingly rooting on durrrr while on the other side of the room, the old guard sat awaiting a schadenfreude, or a durrrenfreude to be exact. The pros sat in mostly silence with that sort of helpless feeling you get in ER waiting rooms. They played Stud, cringed when the durrrrheads went berserk, and they waited... and waited... and waited...
Before the Stud event began, Benjo noticed that Benyamine was meeting with different groups of pros, some of whom were regulars in the Big Game. Benjo was convinced that they were having a "mafia type sit down" to discuss a buyout. We mentioned this on an episode of Tao of Pokerati, Durrrr Bracelet Buyout?, which we taped moments after Benjo's encounter.
During the first few hours of the final table, durrrr was seen checking his phone as it constantly went off. Word got out that durrrr declined every offer for a buyout except one with Huck Seed. He was playing to win the whole fucking town's bankroll.
Heads up: durrrr vs. Simon Watt
The final table of the Durrrrament ended at 2:59am, or roughly 15 minutes after Day 1 of the Stud 8 Championship completed play. That area had been sullen and on edge for most of the evening. Tense and anxious are also two words that aptly described that part of the Amazon Ballroom. If durrrr had won, the balance of power (power being money) would have grossly shifted from one side of the room to the other. Alas, durrrr lost and the Stud 8 area buzzed like Christmas morning. Benjo and I passed Eli Elzera and he had a Cheshire Grin on his face as he exhaled and unleashed a "Woooooooooooohoooooooooooo!"
You gotta love the testicular fortitude and confidence of durrrr. The kid has no fear and Benjo said it right... "Durrrr is holding the high stakes world by the balls."
It would have been on the same level as Andy Beal's score against the Corporation. Not a single person has ever went up against the big dogs, sharks, old guard... whatever you want to call them... and won. Durrrr came thisclose and I betcha he's getting a ton of requests for buyouts for the rest of the series. If watching durrrr on Sunday (as it bled into Monday) taught me anything... he's going to ignore those requests and play it out.
Not too many times do you get a shot at millions in a single night. Most people have to work a lifetime or a dozen lifetimes to earn $1 million let alone $15 million. Those opportunities only come along for a chosen few and not too many of them actually succeed. Durrrr took his shot -- and he missed. He did so in such dramatic fashion that the entire poker world stopped what they were doing and they watched.
So durrrr lost this time. I'm confident that he's going to be back to a final table a second time and maybe even a third time this summer. When that happens, I doubt he's going to fail to close again. He got so close and caught a whiff of what $15 million smelled like and he's not going to let that come so close and evade him.
The big dogs who bet against durrrr dodged a dirty bomb that if detonated, would have altered the poker ecosystem. Benjo joked that the high-stakes prop bettors were going to sleep well tonight. I agree to an extent -- they are all off the hook for now, but when durrrr wakes up in the morning and realizes just how close he was to $15 million (or whatever ridiculous sum), he's going to step it up another notch. That's when it's going to get ugly.
On a thought to ponder note... I wonder if Ivey, Matusow, and any of the Full Tilters happened to ship a "tip" to Simon Watt's FT account? The Kiwi pro who beat durrrr heads up saved those degens millions of dollars. They should at least make him a red pro and get him laid at the VIP room in the Rhino.
Bouncin' Round the Room on Day 10....
What was going to be a lazy Sunday quickly transformed into a whirlwind day with Durrrr making a final table and on the verge of winning a eight figure prop bet, which whipped everyone into a frenzy.
Event #12 Limitament Final Table: The Pumpkinheads were out in full force at the final table cheering on the tangerine-colored shirt wearing Jameson Painter. The Dutch guys from Poker News considered adopting the guy because he wore the team colors of the Netherlands. Alas, Painter busted in 7th and the Pumpkinheads fled. Jason "I got robbed at knife point in Melbourne carrying around bricks of cash at 5am" Potter finished in 6th. Online LHE guru Terrance "Unassigned" Chan finished in 3rd place.
Crooklyn's Matt Matros took down the bracelet. He had a secret weapon... Action Bob. If you don't know, Action Bob is an Atlantic City legend. He came out to Vegas for a week and won a 1K event at the Venetian for a nice score. The last time he shipped a Venetian event (in 2008), Matros final tabled a WSOP event and won $150K. Action Bob joked that since he won another 1K event, it was Matt's turn to come through because he was destined to make a final table and walk away with a six figure score. Matros had a rough patch at the beginning of the final table and was among the short stacks when Action Bob arrived just in the nick of time. Matros stopped his slide and the rest was history. Yep, Action Bob's good luck paid off for Matros to the tune of $190K and a bracelet. Always good to see one of the nicest guys in poker get recognition.
Event #13 Donkulus 2.0 Day 1B: Nothing to report. I would be foolish to wander inside the room unless I wanted to be stepping in donkeyshit. Benjo compared it to a "barn" because that's where you're supposed to keep the donkeys if you live on a farm.
Event #14 2-7 Lowball: This event got neglected by yours truly. I passed by Erik Seidel's table every time I rushed back and forth between the press box and the Durrrrament final table. When I left the Rio, the final table was just about to set with Alex KGB Kravchenko advancing to the final 7 along with Mike Wattel and one of the Binger brothers.
Event #15 10K Stud 8: Change100 covered this event and she was able to give me little nuggets about what the pros in that event were saying about durrrrr's bracelet run. The event was a who's who among a field of 170 deep. Like most 10K championships these days, the pro heavy field featured a few of them taking a shot at a by bracelet playing a smaller field in a non-hold'em event. Phil Ivey was simultaneously sweating the NBA finals and the durrrrament. At one point, Benjo and Jim Callopy were chatting in between tables and Phil Ivey got irked because he couldn't see the game on the TV. He pretty much told Benjo to get the fuck out of his way, but he did say the magic word... please. Ivey's a degen better, but he still has manners. Between the $9 million durrrr sweat and the NBA playoffs, who knows how much of Ivey's cash was in play. The $10,000 WSOP buy-in seems like food stamps compared to prop bet/sports bet life of Ivey.
Oh, durrrr bought into the Stud 8 event. He played on the dinner break of the donkament, but sat out the rest of the night. He's short, but he still has chips and a bracelet bet to win.
Cliche of the Day: The Devil bought into Day 1B of the Donkulus. He was seated at table 66, seat 6 in the white section of the pavilion. The date of the tournament? June 6. Freaky cliche, right?
Photos courtesy of Harper/Benjo/Wam-Poker