Friday, November 19, 2010

Eric "Basebaldy" Baldwin Wins NAPT Shootout in Compton

By Pauly
Compton, CA

I thought drive-bys in Compton were quick affairs?

I found myself in the city of Compton way past Midnight on two out of the last three nights. Both of those nights, the Bounty Shootout at the Crystal Casino ended up a prolonged affair. $5,000 buy-in. 81 runners. Winner take all. Well, mostly all. $4,000 of the buy-in went towards the prize pool, while $1,000 went towards the bounty side. Everyone who advanced to the final table netted $20,000 and only the winner would walk away with cash -- $134,280. Of course, the players kept whatever money they won for collecting a bounty. PokerStars threw in a bonus for the player who collected the most bounties -- a seat to the 2011 PCA Bounty Shootout in the Bahamas.
NAPT LA Bounty Shootout Final Table:
Seat 1: Justin Young
Seat 2: The Grinder
Seat 3: Clint Coffee
Seat 4: Eric "Basebaldy" Baldwin
Seat 5: Tom Marchese
Seat 6: Moshin Charania
Seat 7: David Williams
Seat 8: Kevin MacPhee
Seat 9: Pat Pezzin
All players began the final table with 100,000 in chips.

The Grinder was the second player to bust from the final table. He had been running as good as you could since early June, but he couldn't keep it up for just one more day.

Three-handed action (among David Williams, Eric Baldwin, and Justin Young) actually went for almost four hours. Wanna talk about tedious small ball? I had a ring side seat for all of that inaction. That's what happens when you have three methodical players nursing their big stacks with blinds puttering along.

David Williams busted out in third a few minutes past the 1am hour when his A-Q did not improve against Young's pocket tens. His life coach escorted the "RugDoctor" out the door. Justin young locked up the bonus for the "most bounties" in the Shootout. Yep, he collected the most scalps and got a free ticket for a Shootout in the Bahamas. Doesn't have quite the same ring to it as a Shootout in Compoton.

A heads-up match was set between Justin Young and Eric "Basebaldy" Baldwin. The two were actually friends off the felt, and actually neighbors. They drove out to LA together, so it was a little weird that that they were fighting each other to the death.

Young had almost a 3.5-1 chip lead over Baldwin. Young looked like a Russian. If I saw him on the EPT, I would have pegged him as a former chess player turned online pro because of his velor sweat suit jacket that bag men from the Russian mob back in Brooklyn have been known to wear. In case you were wondering, he's an American. Across the table sat the phenom known as Basebaldy. He is someone that typifies Americana - Apple Pie, Baseball, Poker. He kept his attire very simple -- jeans, black t-shirt (with a small gold UB logo), and a red Arizona Diamondbacks hat. Five or six years ago, Baldwin had aspirations of appearing on ESPN during a major league baseball highlights package on SportsCenter. Alas, he'd get notoriety on ESPN for his poker skills. Only Justin Young stood in his way from winning a televised event on ESPN (actually it will be ESPN2).

It didn't take long before the two got it all-in with a flip: pocket sevens versus A-Q. Basebaldy raced with the pair -- and it held up. He doubled up and nearly pulled even in chips. And that's when the action hit a wall. A brick wall. Reinforced with steel. In case you were wondering if the two buddies cut a deal, well, it did not happen. Sweet Jesus, two hours later, they were still at it. Maybe they made save for a much smaller amount, but it wasn't significant enough for them to get it all in with rags.

I had to step outside to get some fresh air -- but then talked myself out of it. I didn't want to be wandering around the parking lot at 3am -- even if I wasn't holding. By the 3 o'clock hour almost every single spectator was gone. Even the ones from central casting had clocked out (union rules). The only chumpstain left in the crowd was some sort of sleazy used car salesman-type, who got shitfaced at the bar, and then passed out his business card hoping to get a piece of the eventual winner.

With 55BBs each, the tournament didn't have any inklings at ending before 6am. I had a bad feeling this was gonna be one of those instances when you were driving home at sun up. Man, I worried that we wouldn't get out of Compton before the LA morning rush hour kicked off in a few hours.

A member of the film crew wandered over to the press row and said, "What are we doing with our lives? Why did we pick this profession?"

I tried to be upbeat -- had I not been fortunate enough to fall ass-backwards into the poker industry, I'd still be grinding out a commission check in a boiler room down on Wall Street. Sure, it's 3:30am on the Left Coast, but if I was working in NYC, I'd would have already finished the 3s (Shit, Shower, Shave) and swiping my Metrocard en route to the trenches, where I'd spend the next 12 hours cold calling random names from a list of leads and begging my sales manager for the Glengarry Highland leads.

And just when things started to look even more grim, we finally had an all-in and a call at 3:47am. Basebaldy held the lead and woke up with Kings against Justin Young's A-Q. Basebaldy's Kings held up and he collected his only bounty at the final table -- but it was the one that counted the most. Basebaldy won the Shootout in Compton for a cool $134,280. He better run to his car with that bag of cash! Justin Young finished in second place and went home with just $20,000 (for making the final table) plus his bounties and the bonus for most bounties.
NAPT Los Angeles $5,000 Bounty Shootout - Final Table Results and Payouts:
1st - Eric "basebaldy" Baldwin - $134,280 + ($3,000 in bounties: Brown, Esfiandari, and Young)
2nd - Justin Young - $20,000 + ($6,000 in bounties: Montgomery, Stein, Clements, Williams, Coffee, and Mizrachi)
3rd - David Williams - $20,000 + ($4,000 in bounties: Affleck, Barbero, Marchese, Charania)
4th - Mohsin Charania - $20,000 + ($5,000 in bounties: Woodward, Ramdin, Habib, Pesek, Pezzin)
5th - Tom Marchese - $20,000 + ($4,000 in bounties: Obrestad, Robl, Shak, Bardah)
6th - Clint Coffee - $20,000 + ($3,000 in bounties: Jaka, Bonomo, MacPhee)
7th - Pat Pezzin - $20,000 + ($2,000 in bounties: Laak, Richey)
8th - Michael Mizrachi - $20,000+ ($4,000 in bounties: Shorr, Aguiar, Selbst, Kornuth)
9th Kevin MacPhee - $20,000 + ($3,000 in bounties: Deeb, Binger, Lamb)
With the conclusion of the Shootout, the NAPT Los Angeles has finally come to an end. That will probably be the last live tournament that I cover in 2010. Maybe I'll be back to the tournament reporting grind in the Bahamas in January with the 2011 PCA? Who knows for sure, but satellites are currently running on PokerStars for the PCA as we speak.

And who knows, maybe I'll start covering high-stakes cash games. Anyone want to buy me a ticket to Macau?


  1. Anonymous11:52 AM


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  2. >>...where I'd spend the next 12 hours cold calling random names from a list of leads...

    So that's what you did in your Wall Street job? No wonder you got sick and tired of it.

    Why don't you try to break into trading? There are trading firms out there that look for winning poker players to hire and train. I'm not saying they are easy to find, but I think they exist. The mindset needed to be a winning trader is not too different from that of a winning poker player, and they know that. You might even enjoy it as much or even more than poker.

    With the poker boom evaporating it must be getting harder to make a living in poker. If you ever get squeezed too much then you might want to keep this in mind.