Thursday, June 23, 2011

2011 WSOP - Day 23: Timex Flashback, Jason Mercier Wins PLO Bracelet, and More Sordid Tales About Chasing the Dragon

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

I met Timex a few hours after he turned 18 years old. Flashback to 2007. London, England for inaugural WSOP-Europe at the Empire Casino in Liecester Square. The bouncers gave the kid guff and wouldn't let him inside because it was less than an hour after Midnight. Technically, he was 18 and eligible to set foot inside a casino in the UK, however, one of the bouncers was being a stickler for the rules and said he couldn't enter until the morning when the casino re-opened. After a bit of negotiation, Timex was allowed inside the Empire. Funny thing is that at the time, he probably had more cash in his pocket than the yearly salary of both bulky guards at the front.

Timex was a wunderkind -- a baby-faced teenager who ran one of the biggest staking syndicates in the world. At the time, Timex rivaled the Russians, Bax-Sheets, and Erick Lindgren in terms of backing numbers. I only caught a glimpse into their world because a friend of mine was one of Timex horses with a make-up of almost six figures. Part of me to this day is still astonished at how a high school kid from Canada could amass a big enough bankroll to back several of the premier online pros (circa 2007). With a knack for investing in profitable tournament players and generating income from his own deft skills at the tables (he holds the record for being the youngest EPT champion), Timex should be probably be working at Goldman Sachs or at Barcalys in London.

Then again, when you're 21 years-old the last thing you want to do is wear a suit and grind out 16-hour days at a trading desk, especially when the alternative is the life of a baller poker pro, when sleeping in late and skipping the first two levels of a tournament is the norm because you're spending your nights with your face buried in warm bosom of an exotic dancer, working her way through grad school for Anthropology, of course, because all Vegas strippers are either coke whores or PhD candidates. Every once in a while you hit the jackpot and find both.

Timex played in his first WSOP this summer because he's 21-years old now -- a dinosaur in the online realm, where teenagers ruled the virtual world like the meathead jocks in a John Hughes film. If Black Friday didn't happen and online poker continued to flourish, it was a matter of time before rogue 12-year olds dominated the scene. It's the video game element to poker -- for some kids, it's like when I was in high school and finally beat Zelda on the first incarnation of Nintendo. Then again, for some of these superusers and other known-cheaters, the online poker world is just like Contra, where you were just a few steps away from unlimited lives by using the cheat code (Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A).

In the post-boom (yet pre-Black Friday era) the time an online pro is able to legally play at the PCA or the Aussie Millions, they're like Chinese gymnasts -- at least five years past their prime.

Did you see the last summer Olympics? Some of those tiny, acrobatic gymnasts from China looked like they were eight years old. Who knows, but maybe right now, there's uber-wealthy Chinese businessmen creating massive sweat shops, and instead of hiring little kids to sew swooshes onto golf shirts, running shoes, and basketball sneakers (with a retail price the equivalent of three months wages), they hired kids to play video games -- in this case online poker. Currently, scattered throughout Southeast Asia, thousands of sweat shop kids are sitting in front of an impressive grind station and playing 43 simultaneous SNGs.

Sorry for the tangent. Moving on...

Timex made the final table of Event #35 $5,000 PLO 6-handed, but busted out in 6th. Also at the final table was David Chui, four-time bracelet winner, who busted out in 4th place. When it got to heads-up, Jason Mercier was pitted against some dude named Hans from Nicaragua. Whenever I see someone with a German name with a Latin American country listed as his home nation, I instantly get suspicious. If Hans won, he'd instantly become the Godfather of Nicaraguan poker (that is, if he wasn't already a Godfather in some other realm). Alas, it was not meant to be. Hans was slayed by Jason Mercier.

Mercier won his second career bracelet, and both were in PLO. Everyone knows he can play NL, but you can add PLO to the roster of games in which Mercier dominates. According to Hendon Mob, he has over $1.5 million in career WSOP earnings and over $6 million in lifetime earnings. Mercier has certainly come along way since he got shanked in a bar fight in Italy. He was in the wrong place, at the wrong time. But on Day 23, he was at the right place, at the right time.

According to a tweet from @JessWelman, one of the weirdest incident thus far at the WSOP happened at the final table during one of the breaks. Allen Bari, who won a bracelet earlier in the year and is staked by Mercier, was shithoused drunk and threw his flip flop at Mercier -- either trying to hit him, or knock over his fortress of chips. The security quickly 86's Bari from the Mothership. When Maercier won, they let him back in during the winner's photo.

Guess which guy is Bari?

* * *

I got a text from my fake-lesbian friend Halli that a douchebag video poker pro wouldn't leave her alone as she minded her business pecking away at a video poker machine, so I saved her from that awkward, yet annoying situation. Instead of blowing big bucks on booze, I suggested the Pai Gow tables at the Gold Coast because we could drink essentially for free. We had only one problem -- she didn't know how to play Pai Gow. I gave her a quick tutorial in the parking lot and we sat down at an empty table.

I knew KevMath was slumming at the Gold Coast because of his tweets. He had the day off and was on a bender that included bingo. He joined us, we ordered a round of drinks, and one slight fumble caused a spill. The last time I played Pai Gow at the Gold Coast, we also experienced an embarrassing table spill and shortly after we all got cut off. We were extra saucy that night, but that was not the case because we were in the middle of the first round. What amazed me was the expanded surface area of the spill. According to the Bill Chen formula for spilling bottles of beer at the Pai Gow tables, this spill was a category 3 (out of 5).

The deck was ruined and the pit boss quickly fetched a new deck. I asked for the old, wet one but my request was denied.

When a new dealer took her seat in the box, she joked with KevMath,"You no pee on my table! No pee!!"

I never considered urinating on a Pai Gow table, but come to think of it, there were instances over the last few years when I was so tilted by Pai Gow dealers that I could have whipped it out and let 'er rip.

Eventually more troops arrived including Change100 (who was grinding out our rent money at the Venetian), WhoJedi, Homer, and Landon. We had reuinited three of the original five who were with us during Monday's festivities, except we had a significantly less booze, due to the slow-moving, yet slammed cocktail waitresses.

I left some of the boys still in the trenches and left early to go home and write (if you consider 3:45AM early). I could have taken a leak on the table after WhoJedi took my exact seat and got dealt A-A; 5-5-5-5-x. He also had a fortune bonus riding, which he always plays, so he added a few more bonus bucks to his dominating hand. Dammit. I knew I should have played one more orbit. I was so pissed, I could've pissed on the table.

1 comment:

  1. I've been so busy with the finding of temp work and securing a place to live that I haven't had time to backread, but I have to admit that your posts about the WSOP are part of what makes summer fun. Thanks!

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