The tale of how Michael James cashed at the World Series of Poker.
(What? You’re saying that you didn’t know I was in Vegas recently to play in poker, and you certainly don’t think that my poker skill could earn some money for me at a World Series of Poker (WSOP) event? Are you saying that doesn’t even look like me? Sigh, well then read on…)
A few years ago, a couple of my friends (Dane and Scott) started a poker league in my area. The league schedules 15 tournaments, roughly every other week between September and May (though the schedule slows down in November through December, beginning with the solemn religious holiday known as “Gun Deer Hunting Season” in Wisconsin). The tournament format changes with each tournament, often Texas Hold ‘Em, but also mixed in with some Omaha, Stud and other poker variants. Entry fees range from $50 to $100.
In addition to payouts to the weekly winners, part of the entry fee is put in a fund to send some players to Las Vegas (with airfare) for a seat in a WSOP event. The winners are determined by a point system as well a season-end tournament. This season, our league awarded four seats to the $1500 Monster Stack, which began on Saturday, June 24 and held at the Rio Hotel and Casino. Though the league only awarded the four seats, Dane, Scott and a handful of others also flew to Vegas as a group of 12 for a week to also play some WSOP events (as well as some down time for desert fun).
Dane and Scott posted daily updates on the league’s Facebook page, and though the nobody was winning a heck of a lot, they did seem to be having a whole lot of fun.
Until, that is, the updates started rolling in about Neumann…
“Learning from his WSOP experience last year, Neumann says he will be playing more of ‘my game’ this go around.”
“Neumann 30,000 (chips).”
“Neumann sitting at approx 41k.”
“Did Neumann bag last night?” (“Bag” is a term for placing chips in a sealed bag after play ends for the evening.) “Yes, 67,700.”
So after one day, Neumann had a little more than starting stack (good for 480th place), but was still alive as the original field of 6,717 entrants had whittled down to 1,984 remaining.
Then the next day’s updates started rolling in…
“Mike (another league rep) a mid stack and Neumann a big stack at their respective tables…go get them, boys!!!”
“1,311 players remain, 1,008 cash. Neumann 71,000 chips.”
“3 tables, 27 players away from $$$.”
Oh, now it was getting good. See, since our league sends the winners from entry fee money, the rules are that if a league member cashes, he gets a majority of the money, but some crumbs are sent to all league players based on how many events each person had played. I was getting 0.43% of whatever Neumann cashed for, and with first place paying over $1.094 million, my cut could have been as much as $4,700! Go, Neumann, go!
I was actually glued to the Facebook group page, wading through all of the “Go get ’em, Neumann!” posts to get to more updates from Dane and Scott.
“Bubble Has Burst! We are In The Money!”
“If you haven’t been following the goings on in the WSOP, Neumann is In The Money in the Monster Stack & still laddering up!! Stay hot Neumann!”
(From Neumann himself while on a break) “Thanks, everyone. Sitting at 57k blinds are now up to 1500/3k with 500 antes. Let’s hope for a double up.”
“All in with A 10. Called by 10’s. Turned an ace. Now at 75k. Heart rate is at 127. Lol”
(Another from Neumann himself) “Card dead for 30 minutes. Down to 35k.”
“Just shoved AJ suited called by KQ suited. Flopped an Ace. 95k”
“Neumann shoves 5 5from the cut-off, button calls with A-10, board A Q T 3 8. Out in 250th for $5,415! Hell of a run, well done.”
Well, $5,415 isn’t over one million dollars but netted me a cool $8.14 (my first WSOP cash!!!). Neumann was touched by the well-wishers from the money-hungry league members and is quoted on his Facebook page saying “Wanted to thank my family and friends for all the support that I got this past week. I was lucky enough to get my second chance to play in a World Series of Poker tournament in Las Vegas. I finished in 250th place out of 6,717 entrants. Far from winning, but still a good showing and a nice little $5,415 payday. Big shout out to the guys who run our little poker league at home. The way you guys run things is definitely a training ground for success at the WSOP. Thank You (Guys) for all you do to make our little league so much fun and offer the opportunity to live our life long dreams. Also to my wonderful wife for the support. I am nothing without you. Hoping next year provides another run in this tournament.”
As soon as Dane and Scott returned from Las Vegas, they began planning the 2018 WSOP League. Hopefully, with a little luck and a run of cards, I can win a league spot in next year’s World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.
I don’t recall if I’ve ever been to Vegas. Is it nice?
[Photos: Dane “D-Dub” Wojciehowski, Scott Schiesser]