Beaten by a two-three

Updated: July 6, 2005, 6:26 PM ET
By Jay Lovinger | ESPN Poker Club

Previous WSOP Moment

In case I haven't made this clear enough by now, poker is one vexing game.

For example, even though I'm up several thousand dollars in one-table satellite play at the WSOP, I'm 0-11 in the $50 buy-in satellites, where the top two finishers get certificates worth $200 (which can be used for Second Chance tournaments, super-satellites, super-satellite rebuys or, if you collect enough of them, to get into $1,000 buy-in mega-satellites). In other words, if you finish in the top two, you make a profit of $175.

So, basically, I've spent $550 to try to save $175 -- and I haven't even been able to accomplish that. And, as I'm sure I don't really need to point out, the top professionals are not ... I repeat, not ... playing in the $50 satellites.

Yesterday, after playing all day and all night, I wanted to try one more event before heading off to sleep, perchance to dream. After being a bit bored with poker for the past few months, now, as my year-long odyssey is coming to an end, I can't seem to get enough of it. (Obviously, poker isn't the only vexing thing around here.) I didn't want to play in a high buy-in satellite, because I was way too tired, and I didn't want to go to the well again in a $50 satellite -- $550 is enough, thank you. So I sat down at my first $65 buy-in satellite, where one winner walks away with a tournament chip worth $500 and $70 in cash.

Though there were three total novices at the table - one poor guy raised his own blind twice (he was pretty good-natured about it, though, I must say, laconically allowing that "a man's got to start somewhere") - and a couple of other players that might just as well have been holding up a sign that read, "I will fold for any bet," whenever they failed to hit the flop, I couldn't seem to make any headway. We were down to six players, and I had only $475 in chips (we had started with $800), most of that from stealing blinds.

With the blinds at $100-200, the guy to my immediate left, who had been playing like a rock - and not just any rock, but The Rock of Ages - raised $300. I looked down at my hole cards to discover by far the best hand I had seen thus far, A-K of hearts. Naturally, although it was possible that Mr. Rock had A-A or K-K, I went all-in.

Before the raiser saw my hand, he said, "You're not going to like this," and turned over 3-2 of hearts. (I'm not sure, but I think he was trying to be ironic.)

The flop came Q-10-4, with two hearts. That means I was roughly a 6-1 favorite if nothing good happened for either of us. And even if he hit one of his six outs on the turn, I had 16 outs of my own to retake the lead  the seven remaining hearts, three aces, three kings and the three jacks that weren't hearts. In other words, I was such a big favorite that ... "How big a favorite were you, Jay?" ... oh, shut up!!!

I don't think I have to tell you what happened next - a 2 came on the turn, a 3 came on the river, and before I knew what hit me, I was on my way back to my hotel, dazed and confused.

Did I say, "0-11"? Make that 0-12.

Jay Lovinger

Founding editor, Page 2
Jay Lovinger is a former managing editor of Life and a founding editor of Page 2. "Jackpot Jay" spent a year as a poker pro and participated in the World Series of Poker. He will be writing a book on his poker adventures for HarperCollins.

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